steve nelson ….
‘We have a situation, for instance, here in America, David, where an ex-slaughterhouse labourer and decorated veteran of the Spanish Civil war was found to have his unofficial hands all over the distribution of a cache of extremely sensitive, top secret information. Some of which could only have come from the cables intercepted at the Gawler station.’
Excerpt from The Bookmaker from Rabaul.
Steve Nelson (Stephen Mesarosh) was born in Chaglich, Croatia, in 1903. Following the First World War, aged 16, along with his mother and three sisters immigrated to the United States and joined an extended family of uncles, aunts, and cousins in an ethnically diverse, working-class neighborhood of Philadelphia.
According to Nigel West, the author of Venona: The Greatest Secret of the Cold War (2000), “when he arrived he pretended to be Joseph Fleischinger, an American citizen who was actually married to his mother’s sister. The impersonation was discovered and deportation proceedings were initiated, but then abandoned two years later, thus allowing him to become a naturalized American citizen in Detroit in November 1928.”
Nelson found work in a Pittsburgh slaughterhouse, where he worked eleven hours a day. Later he found employment as a carpenter and became involved in the trade union movement. He joined the Socialist Labor Party, but frustrated by a lack of action, he left it for the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) in 1926.
During the Second World War Steve Nelson moved to California and in 1942 he became chairman of the San Francisco branch of the Communist Party of the United States. He also became involved in espionage activities. One part of Nelson’s task was to gather information on the atomic bomb project.
Nelson died in America (at Cape Cod) in 1993, aged 90.
Herbert Romerstein – The Venona Secrets …
Steve Nelson had a relationship with Lillian Hellman who, in turn, had a relationship with Dashiell Hammett, who, in turn, has a relationship with The Bookmaker from Rabaul.
Header pic is Bogart from the movie.