Nicola Napoli

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Nicola Napoli was the President of Artkino Pictures, Inc., the primary distributor of Soviet films in the United States, Canada, Central America and South America from 1940 to 1982. Napoli passed information from the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) to Soviet intelligence during World War II.

Napoli was born 16 November 1905 in New York of Italian parentage and was taken to Italy at an early age by his parents. He returned to the United States in 1924, and up to 1928 edited Il Lavoratore, an Italian Communist publication in New York. In the mid-1930s, he became an employee of Amkino Corp., at that tiime the US distributor of Soviet films. In 1936 Napoli travelled to Russia and other European countries. At one time Napoli was an officer of Intourist, Inc., the parent company of World Tourist, which was operated by Jacob Golos, high level operative in the CPUSA's secret apparatus. Shortly before Golos' death of a heart attack in November 1943, Golos told Soviet defector Elizabeth Bentley that he was turning Napoli over to another Russian contact to continue the covert relationship.

In 1940, following the collapse of Amkino Corp., Napoli found, with Rosa Madell, Artkino Pictures to continue Amkino's mission. During World War II, with the Soviet Union as part of the Allies, Napoli saw the firm's imports being accepted by a far wider number of cinemas that during the 1930s, with its Red Scare. With the collapse of Soviet-American alliance following the War,...
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