US: Frederic Pryor, Player in ‘Bridge of Spies’ Case, Dies at 86 - PressFrom - US
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USFrederic Pryor, Player in ‘Bridge of Spies’ Case, Dies at 86

04:55  12 september  2019
04:55  12 september  2019 Source:   nytimes.com

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Frederic Pryor , an American graduate student who was jailed in East Germany in 1961 on suspicion of espionage but later freed as part of the famous prisoner trade between the United States and Soviet Union dramatized in Steven Spielberg’s film “ Bridge of Spies ,” died on Sept.

Frederic L. Pryor (April 23, 1933 – September 2, 2019) was an American economist. He was known for his involvement during his graduate-student years in a noted Cold War " spy swap" subsequent to the

Frederic Pryor, an American graduate student who was jailed in East Germany in 1961 on suspicion of espionage but later freed as part of the famous prisoner trade between the United States and Soviet Union dramatized in Steven Spielberg’s film “Bridge of Spies,” died on Sept. 2 at his home in Newtown Square, Pa. He was 86.

Frederic Pryor, Player in ‘Bridge of Spies’ Case, Dies at 86© Ted Russell/The LIFE Images Collection, via Getty Images Frederic Pryor arriving in New York in 1962 from East Berlin, where he had been held prisoner and later freed as part of a prisoner exchange.

His son, Dan, confirmed the death.

By the summer of 1961, Mr. Pryor had been living in West Berlin for two years. Despite worsening Cold War tensions, he crossed regularly into East Berlin to interview economists and government officials for his doctoral thesis about the Soviet bloc’s foreign trade system.

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In " Bridge of Spies ," Tom Hanks plays James Donovan, the attorney who defended a Russian spy and then negotiated his swap for an American pilot Government officials told him that Powers was the priority, but there were two American students also being held behind the Iron Curtain: Frederic Pryor

Frederic Pryor , now aged 82. Mr Pryor said his East German lawyer, Wolfgang Vogel, played by Sebastian Koch in the film, is Stasi prisoner portrayed in Spielberg film brands depiction 'false'. 1/2. In ‘ Bridge of Spies ’ Tom Hanks plays James Donovan, enlisted to negotiate the release of a US pilot.

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While the Berlin Wall was being built, Mr. Pryor drove into East Berlin on Aug. 25, 1961. He tried to visit an engineer who had helped him on a research project, but when he reached her apartment she was gone.

The Stasi, East Germany’s secret police, which had been staking out her home, arrested Mr. Pryor for aiding in her escape to the West. After they found a copy of the thesis in his car, they charged him with being a spy.

Mr. Pryor was confined to a cell that he described as “six paces long by two paces wide,” interrogated nearly every day for most of his time in prison and informed on by a cellmate, who had apparently been planted by the Stasi.

“I wasn’t worried about being brainwashed, and I didn’t think I would be tortured,” he told Michigan Today magazine in 2016, “since whatever ‘crime’ they thought I was guilty of wasn’t very important. I accepted my situation and tried to make the best of it.”

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In Bridge of Spies , Steven Spielberg once again masterfully goes to the historical drama with a Bridge of Spies was a great disappointment. Cars and costumes were fine but the spirit and the However, the version of events presented in this film and the case it attempts to make in favor of an

The movie BRIDGE OF SPIES starring Tom Hanks is very different than the book BRIDGE OF SPIES by Giles Whittell. It goes into about him and who he was associated with. How messages were sent to the Soviet Union. Then it tells Powers and Frederic Pryor complete stories.

Frederic Pryor, Player in ‘Bridge of Spies’ Case, Dies at 86© Eleftherios Kostans/Swarthmore College Mr. Pryor on the Swarthmore College campus in 2006. He taught economics there for many years and, after retiring in 1998, kept an office and continued his research.

Still, the East German prosecutor in charge of his case planned to put him on trial and declared that he would seek the death penalty.

Mr. Pryor was unaware of a larger drama going on involving negotiations to trade prisoners already known as Cold War proxies: Francis Gary Powers, the Air Force pilot shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 on a U-2 reconnaissance mission for the C.I.A., and Rudolf Abel, a K.G.B. colonel, who was serving a 30-year prison sentence in a federal prison in Atlanta after a Brooklyn jury convicted him in 1957 of spying.

They were the key pieces in the exchange orchestrated by James Donovan, the lawyer played by Tom Hanks in “Bridge of Spies.” Although Mr. Pryor was not a spy, his release was a priority of Mr. Donovan’s.

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In Bridge of Spies , Pryor is arrested while trying to rescue a pretty acquaintance from East Germany as the wall rises around them. "I came to get you and your father," the Pryor character, played Pryor saw Bridge of Spies when it hit screens, declaring the movie a good thriller but inaccurate as to his life.

Insurance lawyer James B. Donovan (Hanks) is soon thrust into the middle of the Cold War when is recruited by the CIA to swap captured Soviet spy Rudolph Abel (Rylance), captured US spy pilot Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell) and later captured American economics graduate Frederic

On Feb. 10, 1962, after nearly six months in jail, Mr. Pryor was driven to Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin and released. The Powers-for-Abel swap occurred at Glienicke Bridge, a border crossing between East and West Berlin.

When he returned to the United States, Mr. Pryor was wearing the same suit he had been captured in. But now its buttons were gone and its fabric threadbare. At a news conference, he told reporters he would not criticize East Germany to score propaganda points.

“After tomorrow,” he said, “forget me.”

Frederic LeRoy Pryor was born on April 23, 1933, in Owosso, Mich., and grew up mainly in Mansfield, Ohio, where his father, Millard, was chairman of the Barnes Manufacturing Company; he later worked with the United States Agency for International Development. Mr. Pryor’s mother, Mary (Shapiro) Pryor, had been a journalist before becoming a homemaker.

After graduating from Oberlin College in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry — a subject he came to dislike after spending a summer working for Dow Chemical — Mr. Pryor took a year off to travel, living on a commune in Paraguay and working on a freighter to Europe.

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American economics student Frederic Pryor had been held by the East Germans on espionage charges. Prior to the Berlin Wall going up, the Yale Like in the Bridge of Spies movie, the Americans and Soviets exchanged prisoners at Berlin's Glienicke Bridge and Checkpoint Charlie on the morning

Bridge of Spies ’ reconstruction of what might have happened in the cockpit after Powers’s plane It shoves bits of it in anyway. The dramatic scene in which Pryor is arrested as the wall goes up is Splendid performances make Bridge of Spies compelling viewing, and the sped-up timeline gives it

The trips inspired his interest in economics, which he studied at Yale, where he earned a master’s degree and the Ph.D. he would receive after leaving East Germany.

Mr. Pryor wanted to work for the government, but his arrest on an espionage charge made him unwanted. At General Motors, where he had been a consultant before his arrest, an official said he would not consider him because of his prison record.

“I said, ‘But it was the Commies!’” he recalled responding in a 2015 interview for the website of Swarthmore College, where he taught for many years. “They said, ‘Tough.’”

Although he was reluctant to teach, he found academia welcoming. Soon after his release from prison, the University of Michigan hired him to teach economics. He stayed until 1964, when he became a staff research economist at Yale. He left for Swarthmore in 1967.

Mr. Pryor became known mostly for his research, whether he was comparing capitalism to socialism or examining the economics of agricultural and primate societies.

“The range of his curiosities and interests was wide, and he always put a distinct spin on a debate,” Stephen O’Connell, chairman of Swarthmore’s economics department, said by phone. “He also dove into issues in public policy with papers, like one about the geography of hate.”

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In “ Bridge of Spies ,” a gravely moody, perfectly directed thriller, Steven Spielberg returns you to the good old bad days of the Cold War and its great fictions, with their bottomless political chasms and moral gray areas.

Bridge of Spies finds new life in Hollywood's classic Cold War espionage thriller formula, thanks to reliably outstanding work from Steven Spielberg Tom Hanks stars as the American attorney tasked with negotiating the release of a U-2 spy plane pilot who was shot down over Russia at the height of

Mr. Pryor retired from Swarthmore in 1998 but kept an office there and continued his research.

For decades he preferred to discuss his latest paper rather than his role in a long-ago Cold War saga. But with the release of “Bridge of Spies” (he was played by Will Rogers), Mr. Pryor began giving interviews, reflecting on his imprisonment and pointing out errors in the film — for example, its depiction of his being arrested while trying to help a woman and her father escape as the Berlin Wall was rising.

“I enjoyed the movie,” he told Michigan Today. “But the person with my name in the film has nothing to do with me.” He added, “I resent the fact that Steven Spielberg never contacted me to find out what really happened.”

In addition to his son, Mr. Pryor is survived by three grandchildren. His wife, Zora Prochazka, who was also an economist, died in 2008.

All along, Mr. Pryor said he had not been a spy. Nothing in his dissertation — with its analyses of Soviet trade and charts on commodity pricing — could have been construed as evidence of espionage.

“The reader can judge the nature of my ‘spying’ for himself,” he wrote in the preface to the version of his dissertation that was published as a book in 1963, “for this book is essentially the ‘spy document’ which was found in my car upon my arrest.”

When he returned to a reunified Germany in the early 1990s, he found the Stasi’s 5,000-page file on him but no complete answers for his arrest.

He felt queasy, however, he said, as he read about the collusion between his cellmate and the Stasi, and about an accusation that he had worked for the C.I.A., and about the interrogation strategies used against him.

“I felt again what it was like in my cell and the efforts I took to maintain some mental equilibrium — for instance, trying to remember everyone in my third grade class,” he wrote in The National Interest magazine in 1995.

“In that reading room," he added, “I began to have difficulties in maintaining my objectivity, and I had to remind myself that 31 years had passed since these events took place.”

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