Berlin (JFK+50) In one of the most dramatic scenes of the Cold War, the Soviet Union and the United States exchanged prisoners convicted of espionage on the Glienicke Bridge here in Berlin 52 years ago today, February 10, 1962.
American U2 pilot Francis Gary Powers* along with American student Frederic Pryor were exchanged for Soviet spy Rudolf Ivanovich Abel.**
The Glienicke Bridge
Spanning the Havel River
Photo by Lienhard Schulz (2005)
The Glienicke Bridge, which spans the Havel River and connects the cities of Potsdam and Berlin, has been described as one of the few places where the USSR and US could make prisoner exchanges without involving third parties.
The bridge, which was to be the scene of more exchanges in 1964, 1985 and 1986, came to be known as "The Bridge of Spies."
*Francis Gary Powers (1929-1977) born in Jenkins, Kentucky, was a graduate of Milligan College. He was commissioned in the USAF as a 2nd Lt. and recruited by the CIA.
Powers, who was shot down by a Soviet MiG on May 1, 1960, was convicted of espionage & sentenced to 10 years in prison.
**Rudolf Ivanovich Abel (1903-1971), born in the UK to ethnic Germans from Russia, served in the Red Army and the KGB.
Abel arrived in the US in Nov 1948 where he would pose as an artist and photographer. He was arrested in June 1957 by the FBI, found guilty of espionage and sentenced to 45 years in prison.