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'I hey call it intelligence

Spies and Spy Techniques Since World War II
by ioachim ioesten
Abelard-Schuman - London - New York - Toronto
they call it intelligence
~ Copyright 1963 by Joachim Joesten
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16 Spyland's Capital-Bonn or Berlin? 149
17 The Mysterious General Gehlen 155
18 How the Gehlen Service Operates 168
19 In the Opposite Corner: the S. S. D. 176
20 A Dime Novelist Fouls Up the Works 189
21 The Dear Old Landlady Was a Spy 196
22 The "Patriotic" Spy: Krisponeit Just
Wanted to Help 202
23 Spying A mong A /lies .206
24 Sauce tor the Dane Is Sauce tor the Finn:
This Spying Business-What's the Use of It?
(The Blechingberg Affair, I) 210
And I Do Mean Silent
25 How To Buy A Diplomat: (The Blechingberg
Not Cheaper by the Dozen
Affair, II) 215
The Underworld of Secret Service
It's No Game for Amateurs
The "New Look" in Espionage
It's More Fun in Peacetime
26 The Anatomy ot Detection 225
27 Soviet Intelligence Debacle: Herr Maennel
PART II Gave the Show A way 233
THE BIG SWAP 28 Spy Scare in Reverse: Burgess and Maclean
Ace Spy Trapped in His Den
Aren't Coming Home-Yet 239
Spy-in-the-Sky: 10-10+U-2=0
29 Tokyo Turncoat 252
Mr. Donovan's Package Deal
30 Just Call Me MUller 261
31 Two Petrovs and the Australian Way of Life 269
The Traitorous Clan: To the Ludwigs,
32 The Otto John Story, I: A Background ot
Espionage was a Family Business
Intrigue 277
Red Casanova 33 The Otto John Story, II: Bonn's Secret Service
Movie Spy Thriller Come True: The Fantastic
Triangle 289
Career of Viktor Schneider
34 The Otto John Story, Ill: The Prodigal's
The Blake Riddle Solved
Return 301

t that Ger-
. . likel to dispute the conten Ion
No one m NO
1 spyland. Austria was a pretty strong
many today IS e wor . f Ma 15 1955 sent all the oc-
runner-up, until the Treaty 0 the army of secret
forces P3:
, been hanging out in Vienna
service men, and women, . 0 longer an occupied coun-
since the end of the war. IS n s of at least half a dozen
try, either, but it is by halves makes for a
nations; besides, its diVISion mto two
perfect climate. I th controversial question whether
It is not qUlte as easy to sett e e
Bonn or Berlin has the better title to the claim of being Spyland's
capital. Your echter (authentic) Berliner can get quite upset at the
mere hint of a suggestion that a "village" like Bonn could compete
with a big metropolis like Berlin in the number or quality of its
secret agents.
However, the makeshift capital on the Rhine has its defenders,
and some of them are certainly qualified to speak authoritatively on
the matter.
"There are more secret services than Cabinet Ministers in Bonn,"
Dr. Otto John declared at an East German press conference on
.August 12, 1954, and he added, "everybody is shadowing every-
body else." John ought to know, for he himself had done a lot of
. shadowing before he decided to give up his comfortable job as head
of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution for the precari-
ous and harassed life of a political renegade.
As there were eighteen cabinet posts in the Bonn Government at
the time, it may be inferred from this remark that there must be
about a score of Intelligence agencies operating in Bonn. But Ber-
lin usually claims "two score," which would give it a two-ta-one
lead over the rival capital.
The Soviet High Commissioner in Berlin, ,in 1954, formally ac-
cused the Americans of operating seventeen different spy outfits in
West Berlin (insiders would probably call this a rather conserva-
tive estimate). Add to this respectable phalanx the British and French
secret services (at least two or three each), then the Soviet's own,
plus those of Red China and all the satellite countries; don't forget
to count Yugoslavia, Belgium, The Netherlands (which has a very
good one at that) nor the neutrals, like Sweden and Switzerland,
and you'll easily get at a figure of about forty.
There are unconfirmed rumors that Andorra, Liechtenstein, Mo-
naco and the RepUblic of San Marino are not represented through
organized spy networks in Berlin, but this report was probably
planted by a hostile Intelligence service and should there.fore be
taken with a grain of salt ...
Any attempt to arbitrate the pending issue between Bonn and
Berlin must proceed from the fundamental fact that their respec-
tive Intelligence worlds are not at all alike. In Bonn and neighbor-
ing areas, where the diplomatic corps. accredited to the West Ger-
man Government reside, the haute volee of Intelligence is at home.
It is almost exclusively concerned with ferreting out diplomatic, p0-
litical and military secrets of distinction.
You never hear of a kidnaping in Bonn, and even murders are
infrequent. But you do hear, now and then, about a disloyal dip-
lomat peddling documents to the other side. A recent case in point
was that of Einar Blechingberg, counselor at the Danish Embassy
In Bonn, who on May 6, 1958, was hustled off to his homeland by
armed guards airlifted express from Copenhagen, on charges of
having passed on confidential documents to Whom It Did Not Con-
cern (cf. Chapters 24 and 25).
Berlin, by contrast, is the favorite hunting ground of all the un-
derworld sections of Intelligence. In Berlin, secrets are extracted
rather than peddled. People have been drugged, slugged and
dragged unconscious across the demarcation line between the east-
ern and western sectors.
In an article entitled "Clear the Secret Service Jungle," the All-
gemeine Zeitung of Hanover, one of Germany's major newspapers,
on August 3, 1954, claimed that there were no less than eighty In-
telligence services at work in Berlin (poor Bonn: that would give the
old capital a 4: 1 lead).
"Since 1945," the Hanover paper wrote, "Berlin has increasingly
become a center of trafficking both in news and in human beings.
More and more the border lines between the counter-Intelligence
agencies of the Allies, the espionage and sabotage services, and the
so-called freedom organizations, which use the ideological struggle
against communism as a threadbare cover-up for other activities,
are being blurred ... Of late, this battle of the Intelligence services
has become an intolerable nuisance to the long-suffering Berliners.
Everybody's life is being poisoned by informers ... "
In the same context, the Allgemeine Zeitung sharply took issue
with what it called "the all-too-often amateurish operations of West-
ern Intelligence services which time and again have been foiled by
more expert machinations of the other side. The victims are large
numbers of Germans, who, out of a mistaken idealism, or sheer
stupidity, have allowed themselves to be used in these operations
and who now serve long prison terms in the penal institutions of the
Soviet zone."
In the wake of the Otto John affair, which caused a great outcry
against "Intelligence" in Germany, all parties in the Parliament of
West Berlin joined in a resolution urging the occupation powers to
.. put a stop to this Rattenpest (rats' plague), as one speaker called it.
Needless to say, nothing came of this bold initiative. The Ber-
lin "rats' plague" is still very much in evidence and will no doubt
continue to be, as long as the city is divided into two hostile camps
and represents the focal point of the East-West struggle.
The New York Times, in a dispatch from Bonn dated September
28, 1954, severely took the American Intelligence agencies in Ger-
many to task for their unimaginative and rigid approach to the prob-
lems confronting them:
. "United States agencies still are engaged in large-scale routine
underground combat and the collection of the type of information ur-
gently required in the summer of 1950 when it was feared the
world was on the verge of a third world war.
"This static view of Soviet policy has kept the numerous United
States Intelligence agencies submerged for the most part in the
jungle warfare in Germany. The jungle warriors include the enemy's
operatives of all hues and garbs but they also include hundreds -
some say thousands - of double agents who operate for one side
against the other and vice versa for mere pittances.
"In having to combat the mass underground organizations of the
Russians, the United States agencies have had to, or thought they
had to, adopt the enemy's own methods. The mass enlistment of
information on both sides has reached such proportions that the
value of the information brought to the Russians about the United
States and vice versa is said to have very little if any value. Some-
times ridiculous situations arise.
"The story is told that one big United States agency pumped false
, information into East Germany to rattle Soviet Intelligence and
another United States agency bought the information back as valu-
able evidence of something new going on in the Communist ranks."
Nothing has changed in that respect either, in the past few years.
Berlin still is today the greatest rumor factory on earth. One of the
most common and lucrative of the many shady businesses operated
by seedy characters in that city is the sheer fabrication of "news"
from two ingredients: thin air and gall.
A man can come sneaking into any of a hundred "walk-ins"
(i.e., front offices for Intelligence agencies) and report in hush:d
tones, say, that he has just witnessed a breadline riot at Karl-Marx-
Stadt even though he may never have been within fifty miles of that
East German Saxon city. If he dresses up his story with a few de-
sirable and plausible trimmings, he can be sure of earning his chow
fOli a week or so through these labors.
Seldom enough do the recipients of such confidential nonsense
even make a check before they let their informer go away with his
'reward. When they do, it can be bad for the tale-spinner, as in the
case of Hans-Rolf Keislinger, 25, who early in 1955 palmed off on a
Western agency a story of a train wreck in East Germany, in which
allegedly dozens of Soviet soldiers had been killed. He was ar-
rested on March 9, 1955, after it had been found out that his tale
had been made up out of the whole cloth.
Forgery is also a thriving business in Berlin, for the jungle war-
riors need plenty of documents, both in the dirty tricks department
and for what they call "psychological warfare." Not only passports,
identity cards, rationing coupons and foreign currency are manu-
factured en masse in busy counterfeiting shops, but also such things
as false orders for the release of prisoners, bogus cancellations of
factory contracts and even phony letters telling people that their
vacation plans have been altered, or that they have been down-
graded at the office.
This sort of thing goes on day and night, year in year out, in
West Berlin as in East Berlin. While it assuredly causes a lot. of
confusion and heartbreak to individual persons, no one has yet
been able to make a plausible case for the theory that it really does
any good in the name of Intelligence.
The gullibility of so-called Intelligence agents sometimes passes
the lawful limits of stupidity. At a trial before a British military court
in Berlin,in 1954, a German testified he had taken a typewritten
report on British dairy shows, marked it "secret" and sold it in East
Berlin for 45 marks.
Western agencies sometimes have been caught the same way,
reported The New York Times on June 27,1954. "In refugees' cir-
cles it is said that if one is short of money he can draw a 'map' of a
Soviet air base in East Germany. After carrying it for a few days
inside his underwear, it can be sold for a good price to one of the
more gullible groups in West Berlin."
Besides inventing news and forging documents, Berlin does a brisk
business in the manufacture of spying apparatus. From microfilm
cameras to tape recorders and wiretapping equipment, everything
needed for the trade is in plentiful supply. One firm has recently
come up with a brand-new device: an "anti-listening machine."
This expensive contraption, which grinds out a continuous noise,
guaranteed to drown out every normal sound of conversation, is
sold to people who want to make sure they won't be overheard,
whether by eavesdroppers at a keyhole or by a mechanical "bug,"
planted under a floorboard.
If you can't afford an "anti-listening machine," Intelligence-wise
Berliners will tell you the next best thing is to hold your secret con-
claves in a bathroom and keep the faucet running all the time. Bet-
ter still, take your contact along with you in a car, and keep moving
_ but stay away from any street close to the demarcation line.
One day in the summer of 1957, so one of spyland's favorite stories
goes, a prominent member of the West German Parliament dis-
patched a letter to General Reinhard Gehlen, head of the Bun-
desnachrichtendienst, or Federal Intelligence Service, in Bonn
which ran approximately as follows:
"My dear General Gehlen:
1 have reason to believe that my telephone wires have not yet
been tapped by your service. All of my prominent colleagues in
the Bundestag, 1 understand, have had their wires tapped for a
long time. As 1 felt that 1 am just as important as any member of
the House, 1 wish to protest strongly against this flagrant case of
discrimination and 1 demand that the situation be corrected forth-
Whether or not the story is true, it illustrates well an indisputable
state of affairs, as well as a prevalent state of mind in spy-conscious
Bonn. Everybody who is anybody at all is an object of keen interest
to the Intelligence agencies operating in the West German capital,
and in particular to General Gehlen.
That everyone of any standing in public life was bound to have
his wires tapped by the Gehlen service has long been accepted in
Bonn as a matter of course. Indeed, jokers for years have made it a
standing practice, whenever they hear a crackling noise on the line,
to shout into the receiver, Griissen Sie Gustav (Give my regards to
Gustav), meaning General Gehlen.
For this my:;terious personage, whom few people have ever met
in the flesh, was thought - and still is thought - by many people
to bear the name of Gustav Gehlen, while in reality his Christian
name is Reinhard. Not so long ago, he was so hush-hush that it
would have been risky for the average German even to mention
his name in public.
Who is this Gehlen character and why is he ~ o awesome to his
Reinhard Gehlen was born about 1902 (exact birth date is not
available from any source) in Breslau, the son of the editorial di-
rector of a well-known publishing house (Ferdinand-Hirt-Verlag).
After graduation from high school at the age of 18, he joined the
newly organized Rekhswehr, the rump army left to Germany by the
victorious Allies of World War I, as a Fahnen/unker, or officer
candidate. On December I, 1923, he was commissioned a second
lieutenant in the artillery.
Gehlen, then, is a career officer of pre-Nazi vintage :- not, as
one of the many legends that have grown up around him would
have it, a dyed-in-the-wool Nazi who made his career in the Waf-
fen-SS. He cannot in fairness be identified with the Hitler regime
any more than any other of the professional military men who
stayed with the FUhrer till the bitter end - as Gehlen did.
His military career was unspectacular, which is of course one of
the reasons he could make a much earlier comeback than most of
his fellow officers of high rank in the fallen Wehrmacht. He became
a first lieutenant in 1928 and a captain in 1934.
By that time, Hitler was in power and a big expansion of Ger-
ptany's armed forces began. After a year's special training at the
War Academy in Berlin, Gehlen in 1935 was transferred to the
i newly revived General Staff.
Gehlen is what they call a born general staff officer. While he
is not a bureaucrat by inclination - as a matter of fact, he is an
excellent horseman and a fine marksman, too - as a young cap-
tain, he was better qualified, in the opinion of his superior officers, to
serve in the planning and operational sections than in the field. He
possessed in marked degree what European military men sum up
as coup d'oeil, i.e. the ability to grasp at a glance the decisive ele-
ments of a given tactical or strategic situation and to act according-
ly with rapidity.
Having served for a year as adjutant in the Quartermaster-Gen-
eral's office, Gehlen, in 1936, was transferred to the Operations
division of the General Staff, which was headed by the then General
(later, Field Marshal) Fritz Erich von Manstein.
Manstein was to become one of the foremost - and most con-
troversial - German military leaders of World War II. The fact
that Gehlen over a number of years was closely associated with him,
not only in general staff work, but also from 1938 on as a major in
Manstein's 18th Division (which smashed through Poland and then
into Russia, in 1939-41) was to have grave and unexpected conse-
quences some fifteen years later. Its importance cannot be over-
For Gehlen, in 1949, had to look on, with impotent rage, while
his former commander, Field Marshal von Manstein, for whom he
had always held a feeling compounded of professional admiration
and great personal affection, was sentenced by a British military
court to 18 years in prison as a major war criminal. Although Man-
stein was paroled in 1952 and the following year was uncondition-
ally released from the British jail for war criminals at Werl, the "in-
justice" that had been committed against him, as in the eyes of most
German military men, rankled deep in Gehlen's heart.
And, like many of his fellow-officers, past or present, Gehlen
concentrated most of his anger on the German "traitor," who as
assis!ant to the prosecutor had played a prominent part in
sendmg Manstem to prison - a man named Dr. Otto John.
Here, one of the hidden roots of the great Otto John
drama, which Will be described in detail in subsequent chapters
For from the Manstein trial sprang one of the several sources of
flict was create a bitter antagonism, in 1954, between the
two mal Intelligence chiefs then jockeying for supremacy - Otto
John and General Gehlen.
After two or three years of active service on the eastern front
- a major since 1939 - went back to the operations
of t?e G:neral Staff, then headed by General Adolf Heus-
mg:r. Aga1O, thIS past association in military service was to playa
major many years later because in 1954, when Gehlen's fate,
too,. 10 the balance, as a result of the furor over the Otto John
affaIr, It was. General Heusinger, among others, who came to his
Heus1Oger, at time, had become the topranking officer
10 the new German mIlitary establishment, which he still heads. In
Bonn, the. Heusinger-Gehlen still works as smoothly
and effiCIently as It did under Hitler in the early forties.
Up to 1942, Gehlen - in the meantime promoted to colonel -
had been a purely military man. The fateful switch from routine staff work to Intelligence occurred at a critical moment in
the hIstory of World War II. Hitler's blitzkrieg against Russia had
stalled before Leningrad; General Heinz Guderian's panzer armies
had suffered defeat at Tula; Moscow remained out of reach and a
long war of attrition was in prospect.
In this situation, Intelligence, on the eastern front, came to as-
sume a new and more preponderant role.
To be sure, there was no dearth of Intelligence agencies in Ger-
many at the time. As a matter of fact, at least three such outfits
were already engaged in bitter internecine strife. They were:
- The famous A bwehr headed by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris
whIch functioned within the framework of the OKW
mando der Wehrmacht - Supreme Command of all Armed
2 - The SO (Sicherheitsdienst - Security Service) under the
command of the Gestapo chief Heinrich Heydrich and, after the
latter had been assassinated in Prague on June 4, 1942, by Ernst
3 - The ,foreign Intelligence service (Ausland-Abwehr) of the
SS or Elite Guard.
The latter two organizations were grouped together in the Reichs.
sicherheitshauptamt (RSHA) headed by Heinrich Himmler, but,
they, too, were frequently at odds with each other. Together, they
carried on a running feud against Admiral Canaris.
On top of all this, the Gehlen organization was now created.
I It sprang from the military Intelligence service operating within the
OKH or Army High Command - not to be confused with the
Within this military Intelligence, there were already two main
divisions, respectively called Fremde Heere Ost, and Fremde Heere
West (Foreign Armies East - and West). Each was subdivided into
Intelligence, sabotage and counter-espionage sections.
After Colonel Gehlen in 1942 had been put in charge of Fremde
Heere Osl, he quietly went about building up this formerly sub-
ordinate Intelligence unit into the biggest, most complex and most
efficient German agency in this field. At the same time, Gehlen,
an unobtrusive and retiring man, was able to keep out of both the
limelight and the Canaris-Himmler-Schellenberg feud.
Besides developing his military Intelligence service along con-
ventional lines, Gehlen organized the so-called Vlassov Army, an
auxiliary corps made up of White Russian emigres and deserters
from the Red Army as well as prisoners who decided to change
sides more or less of their own will. It was headed by a former Red
Army general, Andrej Vlassov, who had been taken prisoner by
the Germans in 1942. Captured by the Americans in 1945, he was
extradited and hanged in Moscow the following year.
Not all Vlassov men fought in the field with the German forces.
(As a matter of fact, the German High Command, distrustful of the
Russian general's ulte.rior motives and intentions, kept him on a
rather short leash.) Many more were used by Gehlen to infiltrate
the Soviet lines. As Russians, they could move about far more freely
in enemy territory than the best-trained German spies.
A basic element of the Gehlen organization, then as now, has
always been the use of foreign nationals - emigres, deserters, p0-
litical renegades, even escaped criminals - on a large scale for the'
massive infiltration of their respective homelands. Besides Rus-
sians, Ukrainians, Cossacks, Tartars and other citizens of the USSR,
thousands of Czechs, Rumanians, Bulgarians, Albanians, etc.,
have been, and still are being, used in this capacity.
The "Gehlen-Apparat," as it soon came to be called functioned
smoothly and To be sure, hundreds of its were
caught by the RUSSians and summarily disposed of, but the survivors
did ve,?, job .. A typical case is the story of the "Gorky
couner, which IS stJllbemg related with pride in German Intelli.;.
gence circles today. ' '
In the fall of 1944, there was an urgent message to be delivered
in person to a Gehlen agent in Gorky - a Soviet town some 600
miles the German front lines established at that time, where
the RUSSians had set up a "re-education center" for German officers
taken prisoners-of-war. A Vlassov man was picked to deliver the
message., One night, he was escorted by German soldiers to a point
?ear a Red Army post. Casually, the "Gorky courier"
clad m the of a Soviet major in the Engineers Corps, walked
across the hne and presented himself to the Red Army officer in
charge. He had been instructed by Headquarters to inspect the
mine fields in the area, he told the officer, who accepted the state-
ment after having .the military papers, credentials, diplo-
mas, etc., the SpUrIOUS major was carrying with him - all clever
forgeries, of course.
In the next city to which he proceeded, the "Gorky courier" com-
pletely changed his identity, again on the strength of expertly
forged documents. Now he was a high PoUt-Officer, i.e. a Commu-
nist Party representative in the Army. A sealed envelope, stamped
"Top Instructions," came out of the courier's dispatch case.
The verIfymg officer at the regional command post knew what it
meant; he had seen this type of envelope before; it was not to be
by anybody, but the superior officer (in another city) to
which It was ostenSibly addressed. It identified the bearer as an
of the OGPU, traveling on a highly important top secret
Inside the envelope - but this, the verifying officer never knew
- was another sealed envelope, accrediting the bearer on another
mission, in a different city; and so on and so forth. In addition to
official-looking mumbo-jumbo, the "Gorky courier" carried a
Of. personal identity papers, rationing cards, travel orders,
bIlletmg tickets and what not, all tailored to fit specific needs un-
der specific circumstances. He had thoroughly memorized several
personal histories that went with his various aliases and he reeled
off the details without ever betraying himself by a slip of the tongue.
His chest was richly decorated with medals and ribbons and his
body showed just enough scars to make it believable that he had
earned such marks of valor.
The courier got through to his destination, accomplished his mis-
i sion, and returned safely to the German lines a few weeks later.
On the strength of such exploits, and the unusually reliable In-
telligence reports from the enemy's rear which he was able to de-
liver as a routine matter, Gehlen in 1944 was promoted to the rank
of major-general, at the age of 42. He was now virtually alone in
his field, for in the meantime Canaris had been ousted by the Him-
mler-Schellenberg team (in May 1944), and the Abwehr command
in the OKW had been merged with Schellenberg's service. Undis-
turbed by this politically inspired upheaval in the Intelligence
world, Gehlen carried on in the quiet assurance that nobody could
take his place in Fremde Heere OSlo He had, in fact, become indis-
Yet early in 1945, with Hitler getting more desperate by the
day, Gehlen himself came close to being liquidated. He had a first
brush with disgrace on Christmas Eve, 1944, when the FUhrer
strongly objected to an analysis of the military situation and an
evaluation of Soviet strength that had been prepared by Gehlen's
No less an authority than General Guderian, the German army's
last Chief of Staff, has testified that Hitler regarded the Gehlen
reports as capital nonsense and wanted to put the author into a strait-
jacket. In his book of memoirs, Erinnerungen eines Soldaten, pub-
lished in 1953, Guderian writes the following:
"My report on the military situation (delivered on December 24,
1944, at the FUhrer's headquarters at Ziegenberg, Hesse) ... de-
scribed the strength and array of the enemy's forces. The report
was based on information prepared by my division 'Fremde Heere
OSI'. They had done a very competent and absolutely reliable job.
I had known the head of the department, General Gehlen, and his
staff long enough to be able to judge the quality and results of their
work. Gehlen's forecasts have been proved accurate; that is a his-
torical fact.
. "Hitler, however, couldn't see it that way. He dismissed the data
supplied by the department as 'bluff' .... 'This is the worst bluff
since the days of Gengis Khan,' he exclaimed. 'Who on earth has
dug up this poppycock?' "
On January 9, 1945, Guderian once more was called upon to
give a report on the military situation at the FUhrer's headquarters.
He gives the following account of it in his book:
"Gehlen bad gone to great pains to prepare a well-documented
report on situation, ilIustr::lted with maps and charts comparing
the respective forces. When I submitted this report to Hitler he
. himself with rage and shouted that this was sidtply
IdIOtiC. I was ordered to have the person responsible for the com-
pilation of these data confined to a lunatic asylum forthwith.
"This outburst made me angry, too, and I told Hitler: 'These
data have been supplied by General Gehlen, one of my most capable
general staff officers. I would not have submitted them to you if I
did not agree with them. If you ask me to have General Gehlen
confined to a lunatic asylum, I request permission to join him there!'
I flatly refused to dismiss General Gehlen, in spite of Hitler's or-
ders. He calmed down after that."
When the end drew near a few months later, Gehlen, with the
same studious and meticulous concern which he had applied to his
wor.k, set about saving his records for "posterity," He had three
copies made of every important Intelligence report he had com-
piled about the Soviet Union and deposited them in various safe
places. He gave formal instructions to his staff not to reveal under
any circumstances these hiding-places except on his own explicit
In the last phase of the war, with the American armies slicing
through Bavaria on their way to Prague. Gehlen, with a handful of
his men, entrenched himself for several days in a corner of the
"Alpine Redoubt," just above Schliersee. He did not give himself
up until the entire surrounding area had been occupied by the U.S.
forces. .
A.t first, Gehlen was treated by his captors just like any other
NaZI general taken prisoner. The U.S. Counter Intelligence Corps
show:d no particular interest in his position as the Germans' top
Intelhgence expert, or in his records which he immediately sought
to use as a bargaining asset. It was not until several months later
that Gehlen succeeded in getting the ear of a top-ranking
in charge of foreign Intelligence. A meeting was arranged at WIeS-
baden and before long the two men came to terms... .
In the summer of 1945, an army transport plane wmged Its
across the Atlantic to carry .Gehlen, his staff, an.d a of hiS
ords _ including in particular a complete hst With
addresses of all Gehlen agents still living. in the Soviet -
i to Washington. There, the deal initiated at Wlesbaden was fimshed.
Gehlen was not only set free - a most unusual procedure
the circumstances - but the former enemy became, practically
overnight, a highly regarded friend and collaborator.. .
Before the year was out, the Gehlen-Apparat was 10 busmess
again this time in the seclusion of a U.S. Army compound near
Frankfurt. A few days later, its headquarters transferred to
an even better screened site at Pullach, near Mumch.
The basic elements of the U.S. Army-Gehlen these:
1 _ Gehlen was to set up an to the
h h d t d before
aimed at the Soviet UOion and Its satel-
one e a opera e ,
lite countries; . .
2 _ This service was to be operated, for the time be 109, on be-
half of and for the account of U.S. Intelligence; .
3 - The staff was to be exclusively German ( for
agents behind the Iron Curtain), but it was to 10 close halson
with, and under the supervision of, U.S. IntellIgence;.
4 _ Gehlen and his associates would not be reqUired to work
against German national interests; ..
5 _ Upon restoration of German sovereignty, the service and Its
staff would be placed at the of the
How much money had Gehlen been getting for hiS
he was on the U.S. payroll? Surprisingly, the figures publIshed 10
the East German (Communist) press are lower than those reported
by West German newspapers. The former has put the
sidy at 3.5 million dollars, while the West German press, With
unanimity, has named the figure of 25 million marks (about 6 mIl-
lion dollars). .
As a matter of fact, neither one of these sounds very Im-
pressive, especially considering the astronomical of the
C.I.A " which is generally believed to run to around 1 bIllIon dol-
lars a year.
After the Otto John affair, which will be detailed in subsequent
chapters, the Gehlen apparatus, until then ostensibly a private or-
ganization, became the official Bundesnachrichtendienst, or Fed-
eral Intelligence Service. As the C.I.A. is responsible only to the
U.S. President, so in West Germany the Gehlen Service (which
is still so called by most people, in preference to its cumbersome
official name) is under the direct authority and supervision of the
Chief Executive, Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (the Presi-
dent of the Republic, in Germany, holds a decorative post with lit-
tle actual power).
According to official data published in March 1958, the budget
of the Federal Chancellory for the 1958 fiscal year amounted to
69.3 million marks (15.6 million more than in 1957), of which a
lion's share:.... 41.5 million marks - was allocated to the Gehlen
service. In addition, however, the budget lists a "Special Fund for
the Expansion of Information Services," amounting to 11.5 million
which the Chancellor is authorized to use as he sees fit. There is
every reason to believe that most of this money is also spent by the
Gehlen apparatus.
Moreover, it is common practice in all countries to hide addi-
tional secret service funds under inconspicuous appellations in the
budgets of various governmental departments. It is, to say the least,
not unlikely that the Gehlen service also draws on such unspecified
and unpublicized subsidies. In any event, the above figures indicate
that the Gehlen apparatus has undergone a considerable expansion
since it was formally taken over by the Federal Republic on August
1, 1955.
Were the ties that formally linked the Gehlen outfit with the
C.I.A., the C.I.e., and other American Intelligence agencies cut
on that date? By no means. Not only do all Western Intelligence
services cooperate closely (including a few neutral ones, as we,ll),
but there exists a virtual inter-dependence between the Gehlen or-
ganization and the e.1.A. The latter would be completely stymied
the day it could no longer count on the services of Gehlen agents
inside the Soviet orbit and, in particular, in East Germany.
The question is asked sometimes whether the Gehlen service was
modeled on the C.I.A., or vice-versa. Actually, the two grew up
together like twins. The C.I.A. was not formally established until
1947, but in embryonic form it already existed before that date.
Its formative process coincides closely with the of the
Gehlen organization under new Hence, It may be as-
d that the same guiding hand presided over the early develop..
of these two organizations. The original pattern for both of
them, however, was the old Gehlen apparatus, as developed under
'the Hitler regime.
When the problem of taking over the Gehlen organization in
f the Federal Republic arose in the fall of 1954, public
name 0 h d d d n this iss
opinion in Western Germany was very muc IVI e 0
The Social-Democrats, in particular, were wary of a secret service
genius who had already served two masters (Hitler the U.S.),
apparently with the same unswerving loyalty, and who did not
to be especially suited, therefore, to stand guard over the national
interests of democratic Germany.
The Lander (states) opposed the move as a further step towards
centralized administration of the country. .
Western countries, outside of the U.S., were not ha?-
py either over the prospect of another powerful secret service am-
ing in the Germany where once the Gestapo had ruled supreme.
According to an AP dispatch from Bonn, dated 1954,
"opposition to Gehlen has developed among some gov-
ernment officials because he has worked for the Amencans .. The!
stress that the next intelligence chief should not be Iden!l-
fied with any of the Allied powers. Dr. John was a Brl.t-
ish agent and got the post of West. ?erman director. In
1950 at the insistence of British pohtlcal and mtelhgence offiCials
at Bonn. ,. ,.
"Gehlen's opponents also argue that he has a bad reputation In
other European countries. He has bee.n assailed France
. for allegedly stationing agents at Pans. The Bntlsh, !OO, .
t b cool toward Gehlen, although his friends attnbute !hls to
between the American and British
"Some say that Gehlen has dabbled in pohtlcal atIalfs
though he has no governmental post, and he has a number 0
f S S (N
azi Elite Guard) officers on his statIo
ormer . . . h Ch 11 Ade
"Gehlen's supporters use these arguments Wit . a?ce or d
nauer to support their case: Gehlen is a fine a:_
only a firm hand can restore order to the nation s shattere I
teUigence setup; his private organization is called by the Allies one
of the ablest intelligence groups in the West; he is the only West
German who has been engaged in almost continuous espionage
activity against Russia since 1942."
Actually, there wasn't much need for Gehlen's friends to con-
vince the Chancellor, for the old man had long since made up his
mind that Gehlen was the right man for the job. And so Des Kanz-
.lers Iieber General (The Chancellor's Darling General), as the news-
magazine Der Spiegel nicknamed Gehlen on September 22, 1954,
was installed.
The suggestion, frequently made, that the Gehlen Service is
"shot through with Gestapo boys," has not much basis in fact. There
are probably more former Gestapo men on the payroll of the East
German "State Security Service," than one would find on Gehlen's
NaturaIJy, the general has given jobs in his new organization to
a number of his former associates in the old Gehlen apparatus, but
these are mostly career officers, like himself. One very important
name, however, is missing from the list, and this is only one of
many delightful ironies in Intelligence; Lieutenant-General Rudolf
'Bamler, who had been for many years Gehlen's close friend and
neighbor in the OKH (Bamler was in Charge of Section III, while
Gehlen handled Section II, which were concerned with counter-
espionage and espionage, respectively), now works for the Russians,
and much. in the same capacity.
Reinhard Gehlen has been called (and thus depicted in cartoons)
the "faceless general," because so few people have come face to
face with him. The most recent picture of Gehlen that has appeared
in the press is dated from 1943 and shows him in the uniform of a
German colonel.
Nevertheless, there are a few eyewitness accounts available as
to what this mysterious personage looks like. He is a man of medi-
um height, with a rather spare frame and oval head. The most note-
worthy feature of. his otherwise regularly shaped face is a pair of
ears that project like those on a pitcher. A high brow, straight nose,
thin lips, sparse blond hair and inteHigent blue eyes complete his
countenance which is rather characteristic of the better type of Prus-
sian officer. A man of generally modest manner, he dresses simply.
Perhaps out of deference for the "Big Brother" in Washington,
the formerly clean-shaven general in recent years has sported a
brush-type moustache; as a professional mark no doubt, he often
wears dark glasses on his rare appearances in public.
I Gehlen is married to the daughter of a Hussar officer of the von
Seydlitz clan and has four children. According to Der Spiegel of
I September 22, 1954, he lives - or lived at that time - with his
family in an unpretentious two-story villa at Starnberg (Bavaria).
The wooden fence that surrounds the lakeside property bears above
the No. 68 a conspicuous Warnung vor dem Hunde (Beware the
Dog), and Gehlen's watchdog is indeed reputed to be the fiercest
living thing around for miles. Although he has lived in the neigh-
borhood for many years, hardly any of his neighbors - who in-
clude the beautiful movie actress Ruth Leuwerik - have ever set
eyes on him.
Gehlen's chief hobby is still horseback riding, but he now seldom
finds the leisure to indulge in it. Instead he likes to race his power-
ful Mercedes car.
On a. memorable (to me alone) occasion in the spring of 1951, I
on Gehlen headquarters at Pullach, near Mu-
mch, 10 almost ludicrously accidental fashion.
My family I staying, or rather, we had planned to stay,
for a few days 10 MUOlch. The city just then was full of tourists
and every hotel in a price class acceptable to us had the "No Va-
cancies" sign out. So we decided to look for accommodations in
one of small towns on the city's periphery. We got back into our
handy lIttle car, with our luggage piled high on top, and
drove out of town ID a southerly direction. After an 8-mile drive
through the scenic Isar Valley, we came to a pleasant little village
called Pullach. There was a fairly good hotel in a reasonable Price
class that looked almost deserted. So we put up there and left our
car parked outside on the trim little village square.
Before going to bed, we took a stroll through the neIghborhOOd.
A short distance from the hotel there was what looked like a large
i estate, shielded from view by tall shady trees. A high barbed-wire
fence ran around it and the wide driveway that gave access to it
was barred on one side by a spiked grille and on the other by a
able boom. We saw no guards around, but noticed a gatekeeper's
lodge. .
Out of pure curiosity, we approached the gate and looked through
the bars, seeing nothing but trees and a curving stretch of
The only noteworthy thing about the place was the profUSion of
warning signs. First, there was "No the gate
keeper's lodge. On the grille, a "No Trespassmg Sign also forbade
"Soliciting". Finally, there was a notice saying: "Tum off Your
Headlight. Turn On Interior Light."
We decided it probably was a U.S. Army compound and for
got about it.
The next morning, when I stepped out of the hotel to start the
car I saw that there had been mischief during the night. Some-
body with a sharp knife had neatly slashed all four tires; they were
flatter than pancakes.
I took this to mean that the local people didn't like us because
we were Americans, or maybe because our Renault bore French
license plates and the required "F" sign. In any case, we felt this
was a way of telling us that we were unwelcome at Pullach. We
took the hint and moved on.
It was not until several years later that I learned that the Gehlen
organization maintained headquarters at Pullach. of the
entrance gate that appeared in a German magazmechnched the
matter. We had been prying, quite unintentionally, into Germany's
best-kept secret of that time.
And then I realized that those slashed tires were the Gehlen
way of telling us: No snooping newsmen wanted around here. Get
. ,
gomg. .
When I understood what really had happened, I felt like sendmg
the tire repair bill (10 marks) to U.S. Army Headquarters, but
somehow I never got around to doing it.
In the particular parlance of the Gehlen people, the Pullach
rl'nrnocmoa, which had been originally laid out by the Nazis as the
.. and was taken over by -the U.S. Army
,after the war, is never referred to as "headquarters." Rather, it is
called the Generaldirektion.
For obvious purposes of camouflage, the entire Gehlen organiza-
tion is built like a business concern. There is nothing military about
. it (except the armed guards at important installations who keep
. 'out of sight as much as they can). Indeed, the boss himself is not
referred to by his military rank, but goes by the noncommittal title
of "Herr Doktor." (General Gehlen never received a doctor's de-
gree, unless perhaps an honorary one.) Officially, he is now "Presi-
dent" of the Bundesnachrichtendienst.
Regional, local and branch offices, which are numerous through-
out the Federal Republic and West Berlin, are called Generalver-
tret:mgen (general representations), Bezirksvertretungen (regional
representations), Untervertretungen (sub-representations) and FiIi-
alen (local branch offices). All these apellations are in general use
Each individual agency is camouflaged as a business enterprise.
A typical Gehlen Filiale at Munich, for instance, was the
Siiddeutsche Industrievertretungs GmbH (South German Industrial
Corporation) of Munich, Emll-Geis-Strasse 50 (it no longer exists).
These bogus firms are, as a rule, registered corporations or
"Ltds." They occupy regular business premises and operate un-
der elaborate disguises, with flocks of secretaries, receptionists,
clerical staffs, etc. These employees, only a few of whom are aware
of their firm's covert activities, pay union dues and social insur ..
ance contributions. In each office, at least one person is assigned to
carry on normal business routine, receiving suppliers and custo-
mers, answering inquiries, filling orders, etc. This person is always
a real expert in the particular line of business selected as "cover"
for a given Gehlen branch office.
. There is, however, a decisive difference between this set-up and
the organization of a normal business concern. For the various of-
fices and branches maintain no contact whatsoever with each other;
Indeed, they are as a rule totally unaware of one another's existence.
A local office in West Berlin, for example, may be reporting to the
"regional representation" in Hanover, by-passing another center
on the same level in Berlin.
The general rule, as in all secret services, is that individuals as
well as units should be in touch with as few other individuals or
units as is absolutely necessary for the purposes of giving and re-
'ceiving instructions and of forwarding information to headquarters.
Even within a single unit, "cut-outs" and other methods of iso-
lation are used to separate individual agents from one another. This
applies in particular to units operating in hostile territory.
Agents are called "V-Manner," or V-men, which is an abbrevia-
tion of Vertrauensmiinner (men of confidence). The head of a
filiale or branch office goes by the name of Haupt-V-Mann-Fuh-
rer, (chief V-men's leader), a monstrous term in any man's lan-
Contact between the V-man and his "leader" is maintained, in
enemy territory, either by means of a toter Brie/ka:o.ten (dead mail
drop) or by a lebender Brie/kasten (live mail drop), the general
rule being that the latter should never live in the same Au/kliirungs-
gebiet (reconnaissance area) as the one in which the reporting V-
man himself operates.
Incidentally, the blunt word "espionage" is just as taboo, in the
Gehlen lingo, as is the less offensive Nachrichtendienst or Intelli-
gence service. A u/kliirung (reconnaissance) is the thing.
What a "dead mail drop" is like has been described in the East
German press by a captured girl agent for the Gehlen Service,
Kathe Dorn, as follows: When she had information to be sent to
West Germany (she worked as an office clerk in a state-owned en-
terprise in East Germany), she would go to a local cemetery and
deposit her report in a cache attached to the bottom of the tomb-
stone over an old grave. After she had done so, she would fix tacks
into two trees in the neighborhood of the cemetery, at about knee-
height. From the position of these tacks, the courier could tell wheth-
er or not there was news for him under that tombstone. Thus, when
the agent had no information on tap, the courier was prevented
from making unnecessary trips to the cemetery, which could have
aroused suspicion.
"A "live mail drop," by contrast, is a courier whom the agent
meets at a secret rendezvous outside his operating territory.
Messages to be transmitted from agent to courier are generally
written with invisible ink, photographed on microfilm, or scat-
tered through the text of a harmless-looking communication. They
are, of course, always couched in a special code, which is changed
whenever the need arises.
There are many different kinds of agents, the main classifica-
tion being into "residents", i.e. those living in Soviet-controlled
territory, and "non-residents", which includes all operatives in
friendly territory. The latter may be Forscher (researchers); V-Quel-
len (from Vberprii/ungsquellen, that is, checkers); P-Quellen (from
Penetrierungsquellen meaning persons in important positions in the
Soviet regime from which they can give aid); R-Quellen (from
Reisequellen), by which term traveling salesmen, tourists and other
persons making frequent or occasional trips into the Soviet orbit
are designated.
Finally, there are the most important of all these various
"sources": They are the IIl-Quellen, or Abwehr-Quellen, i.e. V-
men within the enemy's espionage or counter-Intelligence appara-
tus. These are worth their weight in gold, for with their assistance
misleading information (Spieimaterial) can be slipped to Soviet In-
telligence, or the latter's plans and operations can be effectively
countered. This is the classical "III-F-Case" - the penetration of
Foreign Intelligence by one's own agents - beyond which there is
no greater joy in Intelligence heaven.
A standing rule of course is that nobody is enlisted who has
applied for the job. This is an indispensable and self-evident pre-
caution. In all cases, then, prospective agents must be recruited
from the immense reservoir of people (they are still the vast major-
ity everywhere, thank God) who are not naturally inclined towards
this spy business.
Starting point of the recruiting process is a tip provided by an es-
tablished Gehlen agent abroad, by a political refugee, a deserter
or a turncoat: So-and-So, in a given territory, is a likely prospect.
Why is he a prospect? Well, in the first place, he must be in a
position to supply useful information. For instance, he should be a
government official, industrial manager, technical expert, diplomat,
. police officer, or a member of the armed forces. He may be known
to be anti-Communist, or he may have personal reasons - usually
of a financial nature - for making his service available. An expe_
rienced tipper - and veteran Gehlen men have been thoroughly
schooled in this as in all other lines of the spy business - can de-
duct even from a casual conversation whether somebody is a likely
prospect, even without the person in question being aware at all
that he or she is being explored.
Once the tip has reached the recruiting branch, the tipper is cut
out of the subsequent processing. As a rule, he will never learn
whether his information has been acted upon or not.
Now a "researcher" or analyst is put to work for the purpose of
finding out on the basis of other information available whether
the suggested prospect is really qualified for the job. The research-
er, apart from checking any dossier that may already exist in the
files concerning that person, will handle his task approximately
like this:
Suppose the prospect is a construction engineer living at Jena
(Soviet zone of Germany); he usually works on bridges, trestles,
viaducts, tunnels and similar undertakings of a potentially strategic
nature. Such an occupation, of course, would make him ideally
suited for the purposes of the Gehlen organization.
The next question arising is: how to approach this man?
Well, almost every adult German now living has been, at one
time or another, a member of the armed forces. In the case of this
prospect, it is likely that he has served in the Engineer's Corps. A
check of Wehrmacht records indicates that a former pal of this
man, who served with him in the same regiment, is now living, say
at Cologne, in West Germany. Contact now is made with the latter
and after it has been ascertained that he is reliable, he is sent to
Jena to pay a social call on his old comrade. In the course of a
gemutlich (cosy) evening, with plenty of Stimmung and old-time
reminiscences, the fateful question is asked with infinite precau-
This kind of mission, of course, is extremely dangerous and if
an alternative is possible - for instance an invitation to the man
in Jena to visit West Germany, say, to attend a convention of bridge-
builders - it will always be resorted to.
Once contact has been established in this manner, both the "re-
searcher" and the contact man drop out of the picture. If any further
persuasi?n (or pressure) is needed for enlistment of the prospect
q,uestlon, man from the Werbeabteilung, (in commer-
usage thIS term con:e.sponds to Public Relations Department)
In other words will be put on the job. After
he has hIS mISSIon, he, too, is cut out from further
in the end, nobody but headquarters knows for sure wheth-
er a gIven prospect actually agreed to cooperate with the Service,
ba!ked at the proposal, or informed the police.
Gehlen "branch offices" .abroad usually are staffed by no more
than to persons; m West Germany and West Berlin they
sometImes, but there again it has been found that there
IS danger m large numbers.
the I?cal, regional or headquarters office receives con-
fidentIal mformatlOn that a certain V-man is in danger of a t
ddt 1 . d' rres ,
a co e e IS Ispatched or a prearranged telephone call is
made to warn hIm, or some other danger signal is given. He will
then try to reach West Berlin, or cross the demarc'ation line into
the Federal Republic.
On th!s score, .surprisingly enough, a fairly accurate estimate
can be Dunng the Otto John crisis, when most details be-
came avaIlable about this peculiar outfit, it was freely reported in
the West German press that the Gehlen-Apparat numbered about
4,000, about 3,000 thereof in the "political" and 1 000' th
"T" . ' m e
ml Itary establIshment of the organization.
Apparently all of these Gehlen-men were taken over into
Federal IntellIgence Service. Prior to this conversion, a screen-
mg-?ut proccss was conducted under the auspices of an Adenauer
CabInct Committee composed of four State (Under)-Secretaries:
G1obke, Strauss, Von Lex and Bleek.
According to Der Spiegel of October 5, 1955, only 2,000 out of
3,800 Gehlen employes were shifted to Federal service. A dis-
patch from Bonn to The New York Times, published on March
29, 1957, states that "The Federal Intelligence Service employs
1,240 agents not including persons who receive temporary assign-
ments." .
Considering the comparatively small budget on which it operates
and the limited staff - the C.I.A. is believed to have at least ten
times as many persons on its payroll - the Geblen-Apparat ap-
pears to be as compact and well-knit an intelligence agency as any
of the majors. It enjoys throughout the Intelligence world a reputa-
tion for almost uncanny efficiency. As one neutral observer put it
not long ago: "Nothing has happened in recent years this side of the
I Ural Mountains without some Gehlen agent or other getting wind
of it."
Among Western IntelIigence men, the Gehlen service is gen-
erally considered the best-run, most competent outfit of its kind,
this side of the Iron Curtain - though British Intelligence and the
C.I.A. would undoubtedly, while silently, question this statement.
Just how efficient the Gehlen service is supposed to be can per-
haps best be illustrated by an anecdote that has been going the
rounds in Bonn lately. According to this story, an important visitor
was invited for dinner at the official mansion Gehlen now main-
tains in the neighborhood of Bonn, not far from the Chancellor's
private residence.
As the guest sat down at the table, his eye fell on a neat little card
that had been placed beside his knife and fork. It read:
"Do Not Hesitate to Speak Frankly-
The Butler Will Be Shot After Dinner."
While the West Germans hitched their Intelligence wagon to a
World War II star and stuck to him, the guardians of Communist-
controlled East Germany have not been so constant. In fact, they
have already changed horses twice - both times very much in
. midstream.
In its present form, the East German Intelligence Service;
called Staatssicherheitsdienst (State Security Service), commonly
abbreviated to S.S.D. or SSD, is ten years old. Its origins, however,
go back to 1945, when the Kriminalpolizei (criminal police) in the
Soviet zone of Germany was revamped under Communist auspices.
At the time, a special political division was set up within the
framework of the Kriminalpolizei. As it was listed in the official
nomenclature as Department V of that body, it soon came to be
known, in popular parlance, as "K-S."
In 1946, "K-S" was taken out of the criminal police organization
and placed under the direct responsibility of the chief of police in
each of the then five existing states of the Soviet zone. In the SUro-
i mer of 1948, when all police power in the zone was concentrated
in the hands of a "Central Administration of Interior," headed by
Kurt Fischer, all "K-S" units in the zone were put under the au-
thority of the latter. .
After the so-called Deutsche Demokratische Republik (German
Democratic Republic) or DDR had been set up by the Soviet Mili-.
tary Administration, in October 1949, "K-5" was taken out of the
ordinary administrative set-up still further and was placed under
the direct command of the strong man of the new government, Dep-
uty Premier Walter Ulbricht.
From the start, "K-5" combined Intelligence activities with ex-
ecutive functions, as is the case in nearly all police states. Unlike
the Gehlen organization in West Germany, which cannot arrest.
people on its own, but must act through the ordinary or military
police, "K-5" possessed (and so does its successor, the SSD) dis-
cretionary powers of arrest and detention. ..
In November 1949, a special department designed to conduct
Intelligence and sabotage activities in West Germany was set up
within "K-5." A former Nazi colonel named Rosentreter, who had
been on the staff of Admiral Canaris' Abwehr, was placed in charge.
According to figures published in the West German press, "K-
5" in September 1949 had on its payroll 3,078 officials and agents,
not counting part-time informers.
From its first day of existence, the new secret police unleashed
a reign of terror in East Germany. In June 1949, Protestant bishop
Otto Dibelius of Berlin publicly protested against what he called
the "Gestapo-like" methods of "K-5."
"There is no need to describe in detail how spies and stool
pigeons gather information, the nightly arrests, the brutal tortures
to which suspects are subjected, the endless interrogation, where
the accused have no possibility of defending themselves, the un-
determined detention, the uncertainty of what will become of one's
. family ... " the Bishop declared.
Early in February 1950, a Ministry of State Security was set
up by the East German regime, with the S.S.D. as its chief execu-
tive organ, into which "K-5" was integrated.
Wilhelm Zaisser, the first of the three chiefs the SSD has had
to date, was one of the most interesting and elusive figures of world
Communism. Born on June 20, 1893, at Essen, of middle class
stock, Zaisser chose a teaching career. He served as an officer
in the Imperial Army in World War I. While stationed at Gomel
(White Russia) in November 1918. he made contact with the Red
Army. He became an ardent Communist and joined the KPD, or
German Communist Party, from its inception (December 31, 1918).
In the years immediately following the end of the First World
War he was active in his home country, the industrial Ruhr, where
he headed the so-called "N-Apparat," a secret military organiza-
tion of the Communists. Hunted by the police, he fled to Russia in
1927. There he enlisted in the Red Army, working for its 4th
bureau, the Intelligence section.
In the late twenties, Zaisser was sent by his bureau on a secret
mission to Asia, which took him to Manchuria, China and South
East Asia. He traveled in the disguise of a German business-
man claiming affiliation with the nationalist "Stahlhelm" organiza-
Good-looking, well-educated and urbane, Zaisser easily found
access to high circles. He is reported to have been on friendly terms
even with the Japanese-sponsored Emperor of Manchukuo, Pu-Yi.
In 1931 Zaisser returned to Germany, reportedly as head of the
economic espionage division of Soviet Intelligence. He turned his
. attention in particular to the huge chemical combine IG-Farben.
After one of his agents had been arrested at IG-Farben Headquar-
ters at Hochst, Zaisser once more took refuge in Russia, embark-
ing clandestinely on a Soviet freighter at Stettin.
His greatest adventure began in 1936 when the Spanish Civil
War broke out. Zaisser then was sent from Moscow to Spain to
organize the famous International Brigade. He did an excellent job,
welding a heterogeneous band of volunteers from many nations
into a well..msciplined fighting force. As "General .Gomez,"
made headlines in the world press. Few people at the tune knew his
real identity. .' . . .
After the final defeat of the leftist force 10 Zalsser
turned up in Soviet Russia. Whether from stlgma of failure,
ot because he had been guilty of some deViation from the party
line, he was arrested and sentenced to two in a camp.
i However, his old friends in the Red Army lOtervened 10 hiS favor
and he was soon released. .' .
The Nazi invasion of Russia, or rather Its failure, gave him a
new job. He now became one of the principal instructors -:.
'd f Ulbricht and other Communist bigwigs - at the antlfa-
Sleo h" hd
school" (Anti-Fascist School) which the Soviet aut a set
up at the Krasnogorsk POW camp for th.e of makmg Com-
munist converts out of disgruntled NaZI pnsoners.
Many top-ranking figures in East Germany today,
ing General Vincenz MUller, former head of the "People's
and organizer of the new East German were the high
Nazi officers who took Zaisser's "reonentatlon courses at Kras-
nogorsk. . . th 'f f
By 1945 Zaisser was back in Germany, sull 10 e um orm 0
a Red ArO:y colonel. He became first police of the State. of
Saxony-Anhalt and then, in September 1948, Mmlster of Intenor .'
of the neighboring state of Saxony. In 1949, he was
Berlin where he helped to organize the "People's Police" and 10
particular its political security division, "K-5." When the was
transferred into the SSD, Zaisser went to the top. On Feb.ruary I?,
1950 he was formally appointed Minister of State Secunty by hiS
party comrade and fellow instructor at Wai-
ter Ulbricht, then acting Premier. A little later, Zalsser s Wife, Else,
was named Minister of Education. .
Zaisser's fall flUm grace, three-and-a-half years later, was a di-
rect result of the turbulent events of June 1953, when a
ous uprising took: place in East Germany (on the whole, It
spontaneous though Western Intelligence a hand m
it, too). His old friend Ulbricht now turned Zalsser, charg-
ing him with negligence, factionalism and other sms, because the
police forces under his control had neither the .revolt nor
had they been able to put it down without the aid of Soviet troopS.
On July 24, 1953, a terse announcement from the office of Pre-
mier Otto Grotewohl informed a surprised world that Zaisser, who
. until then had been the No.4 man in the Communist hierarchy of
the DDR, had been relieved of his duties as Minister of State Se-
curity. The Ministry itself was to be absorbed into the Ministry of
Interior as a state secretariat, the announcement added. (Later, it
. was revived as an independent government department.)
Worse still was to come for Zaisser and a few others supposedly
associated with him in a bid to oust Ulbricht from the leadership
of the SED (Communist Party of East Germany). At a meeting of
the party's Central Committee, July 25-26, 1953, Zaisser and his
friends were stripped of all party posts and thus reduced to political
impotence. Specifically, the fallen Intelligence chief was ousted
from the Politburo, the all-powerful policy-making body of the
SED, as well as from its ZK (Central Committee). The charges
were routine for such party purges: factionalism, deviationism, de-
featism, etc., etc.
Afler his dismissal from public office as well as from the party
leadership, Zaisser lived in complete retirement, making a frugal
living as a translator of Soviet works on Marxism. His wife Else
followed him into political disgrace. On March 3, 1958, the lonely
old man. died. An inconspicuous announcement in the East Berlin
press stated merely that he had succumbed after "severe suffer-
ing." The cause of his death was not indicated.
Curiously enough, the death of Wilhelm Zaisser almost coin-
cided with the political disgrace of his successor, Ernst Wollweber,
under circumstances which practically amounted to a repeat per-
formance, if with a new cast of characters, of the 1953 drama.
So far, however, no valid indications have developed that Zais-
ser's death, in the midst of this new political convulsion, was at-
tributable to anything but natural causes.
Six days before the axe fell on Zaisser, the staff of the Ministry
for State Security noted a new and yet familiar face in their midst.
The face, bloated and pockmarked, with keen, piggish eyes under
bushy brows, belonged to Ernst Wollweber, known and feared
throughout the Communist world as a topflight secret executive of
the Kremlin.
Wollweber, ostensibly State Secretary of Shipping - a post he
had taken over but a few weeks before - had been assigned by
Ulbricht to find out why the SSD had been taken unawares by
the outbreaks of June 17, how it could best be streamlined, and
which members of the staff should be dispensed with in the name
of efficiency. What Wollweber's findings were has never been
public, but the fact that he himself, a week later, stepped
,into the boots of the man he had been assigned to investigate
surely speaks volumes.
The life and career of Ernst Wollweber is really something out
of a Red storybook. He was born on October 28, 1898, in the
small town of Hannoversch-Minden, the son of a Silesian coal dig-
ger who was killed in World War l. As a young man, Ernst be-
came a longshoreman on the North Sea waterfront. At the age of
17, he joined the Socialist youth organization, but before very long
he switched his allegiance to the revolutionary Spartacus League,
which later merged with the Communist Party.
Wollweber's first recorded exploit dates from the last phase of
World War I, when he organized a group of saboteurs who sank
cement-laden barges in German canals to obstruct military ship-
ping. Toward the end of the. war, Wollweber was a stoker on the
battleship Helgoland, stationed at Wilhelmshaven. He also was the
secret leader ofa revolutionary cell among the ship's crew.
When the Helgoland in the first week of November 1918 re-
ceived orders to put out to sea for a last desperate blow at England,
Wollweber gave the signal. Open mutiny broke out at Wilhelms-
haven, followed within hours by a similar uprising at Kiel. At the
head of a truck cavalcade of shouting and gun-toting mutineers,
Wollweber, the man who had hoisted the first Red flag o,ver Ger-
many, triumphantly rode into Bremen. The November Revolution
was in full swing.
After the Armistice, Wollweber returned to the waterfront to
rule the dock workers with an iron hand as secretary of the Com-
munist-controlled Seamen's International. As a cover-up for his
illegal activities, and in order to get immunity from arrest, Woll-
weber was put on the Communist ticket in various parliamentary
elections. He became a member of the Prussian Diet in 1928 and
of the Reichstag in 1932. He now belonged to the party's inner
circle, alongside of Ernst Thaelmann, Heinz Neumann and Wil-
helm Pieck. He was, on the other hand, the acknowledged head
of the Comintern's maritime division.
His real big time, however, did not begin until after the advent
of the Nazi regime. One of the few top-ranking party chiefs who
neither. fled abroad n.or fell into the hands of the Gestapo, Woll-
10 1933 organized the Communist underground
tn 10 1934, he left the country to set up and re-
orgamze Commumst groups in neighboring states. Of course, he
always traveled under assumed names and false papers.
Between 1937 and 1939, Wollweber headed the "organization
department" of the Comintern's Western Bureau which had its
headquarters in a modern office building on 's main
Vesterbrogade. Wollweber's outfit, camouflaged as an en-
gmeenng concern, was located on the third floor of the building.
On anothe.r floor, the ,Gestapo maintained an agency operating un-
der the gUIse of a radiO firm! From these operational headquarters
in same office in a neutral country, the Nazi and Com-
secret services waged a fierce struggle that reached a cli-
max 10 th: so-called "non-intervention" in the Spanish Civil War.
. (Later, 10 July 1941, at a trial in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen of
twenty members of the Wollweber organization - the boss him-
not in the dock - twenty-one acts of sabotage were listed,
tnclud10g two vessels sunk in 1938-39.)
After the Nazi invasion of Denmark, Wollweber and his "ap-
- or as many as got away in time - had fled to Sweden.
headquarters in that country, the Wollweber or-
gamzatlOn 10 1940-42 carried out one of the most daring and suc-
cessful sabotage campaigns ever launched. Most acts were aimed
at the German occupation forces in Norway and Denmark but
German railroad traffic through Sweden (under the "transit
ment") also suffered heavily.
In the midst of this sabotage campaign, Wollweber was arrested
on 20, 1941. It was the only time this master saboteur,
who 10 the cO,urse of his long and checkered career has been hunt-
ed by the police of a dozen nations, was caught and convicted; he
was sentenced to three years in prison.
Then the Kremlin played its trump card. Claiming that Woll-
weber had long ago acquired Soviet citizenship Moscow filed a
formal extradition demand based on an alleged' embezzlement of
state funds by Wollweber. Since this was an extraditable charge un-
der, Sweden eventually agreed to turn over the
"embezzler" to Soviet authorities - who promptly set him free.
Shortly after the end of the war Wollweber again turned up in
Germany. In April 1946, he became deputy director. of water-
ways and shipping in the Soviet zone. After th.e of
the "DDR", he was made an undersecretary 10 the MIDlstry of
Transportation in charge of shipping. ..,
His official positions in the East German
I never been anything but fronts for his activIties.
His principal assignments, in the 1950-53 penod, were
of NATO deliveries in northern Europe and arms smugghng to
Communist groups around the globe. He also is believed to have
had a hand in several suspicious fires that broke out on transat-
lantic liners. Scotland Yard is convinced that the Wollweber or-
ganization was responsible for the of the Empress of Canada,
two fires on the Queens, and many, If not all, of some un-
explained explosions aboard British ships occurred durmg
Korean war. That the Wollweber organizatIon also had a In
the frequent acts of sabotage against and naval
tions in northern Europe, which took place 10 the same penod, IS
taken for granted by West German and Scandinavian Intelligence
In keeping with his lifelong role as a secret agent and master
saboteur Wollweber has always been extremely shy of publicity.
Not his picture appeared in the official Reichstag of
1932 has he allowed himself to be photographed for pubhcatlon.
Despite his formidable reputation as one of the most dangerous
men in the world, Wollweber does not cut a very impressive figure,
physically. With bald pate, heavy jowls and
he rather looks like a cartoonist's sketch of a typIcal bourgeOIS. Ber-
liners with their ready wit and broad dialect, dubbed Wollweber,
a incongruously, "Pfannkuchen uD Beene" translates
as "pancake on legs," or walking pancak:. Per.haps It have
been more appropriate to call him a walk 109 stIck of dynamIte.
Who would have thought that a man with such a record should
eventually come under fire, in Communist party circles, as a "soft-
ie" and a defeatist? Yet this is exactly what happened eventually,
as history, in almost ludicrous fashion, repeated itself in the coun-
cils of the "DDR."
Just as the uprising of June 1953 led to the downfall of
Zaisser, the Hungarian revolt of 1956, coupled with Poland's suc-
cessful bid for greater independence, set in motion a train of events
that culminated in Wollweber's ouster from his office as well as
from his party posts on virtually the same charges.
When Wollweber suddenly resigned as Minister of State Secur-
ity, effective November 1; 1957, the customary official explana-
tion that he had done so for reasons of health did not seem too im-
plausible, for the aging terrorist had indeed been suffering for some
time from asthma and from a liver ailment.
An altogether different light fell on this resignation, however,
when Wollweber, in February 1958, stood accused (along with Karl
Schirdewan and others) of having attempted to change the party
line and supplant Ulbricht from the leadership of the SED. He
furthermore was charged with having advocated a "soft" line to-
. wards seditionists who wanted to follow the example of the Hun-
garian freedom fighters. Indeed, the Ulbricht clique went so far
as to hint that Wollweber might have been playing into the hands
of Western Intelligence services trying to foment unrest in East
On these grounds, Wollweber, on February 6, 1958, was ex-
pelled from the party's Central Committee and at the same time
was given a stern reprimand; a few weeks later, he was also forced
.to give up his seat in the East German Parliament.
For all their misfortunes, Zaisser and Wollweber were lucky in
one respect: They did not share the fate of their Russian colleagues,
a long line of secret police chiefs up to and including Beria, who
no sooner lost their jobs than they were "liquidated" in a
dark cellar.
The day Wollweber's retirement was announced in the East Ger-
man press (November 1, 1957), an evening paper published in West
Berlin came out with this bannerline: "It Could Happen Only in
Pankow - Double Killer in Minister's Chair".
Note: Pankow, a suburb of East Berlin, was originally the seat of the So-
viet-sponsored government. It is no longer, but the term has stuck as a
derogatory nickname used by West Berliners.
The story behind this unusual charge does not lack a certain
In the summer of 1931, Berlin was in a state of effervescence.
Nazi and Communist strong-arm squads clashed openly and fre-
q}lently in the streets. Hardly a day went by without its toll of
dead and injured. The police tried hard to keep the peace, but it
. was no secret that its sympathies generally lay with the Nazis.
I When they came to blows, the Communists usually got the harder
knocks. .
Walter Ulbricht, who was even then a power in the Communist
Party, was dissatisfied. "If this was Saxony (Ulbricht's home
state)," he once railed, "we would have taught the cops a lesson
long ago."
Eventually, Ulbricht's views prevailed in the Party councils. It was
decided to make an example, to keep the cops at bay. A few of them
had to die.
On August 9, 1931; an unruly Communist mob demonstrated
on Biilowplatz. As the police moved in on the rioters, two men
dashed out. Their jackets, belts and caps indicated that they were
members of the Communist Parteiselbstschutz, a para-military or-
ganization not unlike the Nazi stormtroops.
The pair boldly advanced towards the mounted police, whipped
out pistols and fired point-blank. Two police officers, Lenk and
Anlauf, were killed in the affray. In the turbulence that followed,
the two cold-blooded killers were able to get away. Hours later,
they made their way across the Polish border and on to Moscow.
One of the cop-killers was Erich Mielke. He was then 25 years
old and had been a member of the Communist Youth organization
since the age of 16.
In Moscow, Mielke in the following years attended indoctrina-
tion and training courses at the Frunze Academy where profes-
sional agitators are put through their paces.
In 1936, he turned up in Spain, serving as "agitprop" with the
Communist forces in the Civil War. Between 1940 and 1945, he
again lived in the Soviet Union.
When the Red Army smashed into Berlin, early in May 1945,
Mielke' returned with it. Unlike Ulbricht and a few other party
bigwigs, however, he did not fly back in a transport plane, but rode
irito the burning capital in the turret of a Red Army tank, clad in
the uniform of a Soviet officer.
No sooner had the conquering forces reached the city proper,
than Mielke, gun in hand, made for the slum district in Wedding
where he had been born and raised. Whether this was just a home-
coming visit, or he had some old scores to settle in the neighbor-
hood, has never been learned.
At this stage, there occurred an almost ludicrous interlude.
Mielke, the cop-killer, was one of those appointed by the Soviet
Military Administration to reorganize the Berlin police. He him-
self, naturally, gave his special attention to "K-5", and in due course
he became "Inspector-General" of this outfit.
It happened that in the archives of the same criminal police
there had been gathering dust, for the previous fifteen years or so,
a judicial warrant against the presumed assassins of police officers
Lenk and Anlauf: WANTED FOR MURDER: Erick Mielke and Erich
Two years passed and nothing happened. Then, one day in the
spring of 1947, the then head of the Berlin criminal police (not
"K-5"), Chief Inspector Erdmann, walked into the office of Dr. Wil-
helm KUhnast, Attorney General of the city of Berlin.
From his bulging briefcase, Erdmann produced a sheaf of docu-
ments. Among them were the murder warrants against Ulbricht
and Mielke. The Inspector wanted to know whether his depart-
ment should prosecute the cases, since the objects of these warrants
now were known to be back in town after a long absence.
KUhnast, himself a member of the SED at the time, was keenly
embarrassed. After some soul-searching, the conscientious bureau-
crat decided to let justice take its course. He renewed the warrants
and handed them back to the criminal police chief for execution.
At the time, Berlin was still jointly controlled by the four-power
Allied Kommandantur, though its three Western members and
their Soviet colleague were hardly on speaking terms. Under the
regulations adopted earlier by the Kommandantur, high-ranking
officials appointed by the occupation authorities could not be re-
moved or arrested without the consent of the responsible sector
While Ulbricht did not, as yet, hold any official position, he was
the recognized political boss of the Soviet zone, As to Mielke, he
had just been appointed deputy chief of the zone's Interior De-
When the Soviet commandant, Major-General Alexander Koti-
koy, learned that two of his principal German henchmen were to
be arrested by order of the Attorney General, he blew up. Kiihnast
was summoned to the Kommandantur, where one of Kotikov's
'aides, a Major Kucharenko, gave him a stem lecture on occupation
law. At the end of this interview, the German official was ordered
to tum over all papers relating to the case of Kucharenko and to
refrain from taking any further action in the matter.
Kiihnast stood his ground as best he could. While he did not press
for the arrest of Ulbricht and Mielke, neither did he relinquish his
dossier to the Russians for safekeeping.
At this point, Soviet Intelligence swung into action. Before long,
they had an imposing case ready against Kiihnast himself, who now
stood accused of being a Nazi, a thief, a sex criminal and what have
you. At the demand of its Soviet member, the Kommandantur,
on May 29, 1947, reluctantly suspended Kiihnast from office and
ordered him confined to his home, pending further investigation
of the charges against him.
For 14 months, Kiihnast remained in the custody of the Com-
munist-controlled Berlin police. During that time, however, the
mounting East-West conflict led to the gradual breaking-up of the
Kommandantur. Eventually, the city's administration split into two
mutually hostile halves and its police force was divided between
rival commands.
On July 31, 1948, the Western commandants agreed among
themselves that the charges against Kiihnast had been groundless
and that he should be released. The Russians, in whose custody
the former attorney general was, protested against this decision
and refused to give up their prisoner. A spokesman for the Soviet
commandant declared his Western colleagues had no authority over
Kiihnast, adding: "They might as well order the moon released from
the sky."
Now it was the tum for Western Intelligence to take a hand in
the case.
On August 3, 1948, Kiihnast, accompanied by two Soviet zone
detectives, was to be taken through a street near Jhe border of the
Soviet sector in Berlin. At a point conveniently near the demarca-
tion line, the broke and fled. With quick jumps,
be managed to get hiS feet Just across the border into the American
sector before his guards were able to catch up with him.
drew their revolvers and attempted to drag the prisoner
mto sector. Kiihnast threw himself on the ground,
klckmg and yellmg for help. At this critical moment, a prowl car,
manned by Western police, providentially arrived on the scene.
Kiihnast escaped, while his pursuers were taken away, handcuffed.
Needless to say, such things don't happen by chance in real life.
They are always, and carefully, arranged beforehand.
Through all the commotion of the Kiihnast affair the cause of
it, Erich Mielke, stayed put in his job. Then he on to climb
higher ru.ngs of power. When the SSD was organized, he became
deputy director, first under Zaisser, then under Wollweber.
This, then, is the man who is now matching wits and power with
the no less formidable General Gehlen, in an endless, dramatic ex-
change of secret blows that runs on like a serial story in
a mystery magazme. HIS predecessors, Zaisser and Wollweber,
were also pretty good at the game.
Some of the most fascinating episodes from this continuing bout
between the Gehlen Service and the SSD will be told in the follow-
ing chapters. To be sure, they represent but a tiny fragment of
the total, b.ut to relate them all, in detail, would require a work
about the sIze of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

To readers of the German equivalent of dime novels, Hans-1oach-
im Geyer had been for some twenty years a steady source of as-
sorted vicarious thrills. Writing under the pen name of Henry Troll,
Geyer used to turn out detective stories, adventure yarns and gore-
filled mysteries with the speed and precision of a well-geared as-
sembly line, chiefly for the benefit of lending libraries. . .
Geyer, a short, bespectacled Prussian, started out hIS ltterary
career in the early years of the Nazi regime. He had no trouble
marketing his output, for he had the foresight to join the Hitler
party in 1928, when he was about 27 years old.
In due course, H. 1. Geyer, alias Henry Troll, had amassed a
tidy little fortune. He purchased an expensive property in the fash-
ionable Berlin suburb of Falkensee, where he lived happily with
his wife and three small children.
In May 1945, however, the thunderous arrival of the Red Army
brought Henry Troll's carefree world of make-believe down with
a crash. Falkensee became part of the Soviet zone and the Com-
munist regime in East Berlin promptly expropriated the affluent
scribe, who now was forced to put up his family, his belongings and
his literary assembly line in somewhat cramped quarters.
But the prolific Troll did not allow this misfortune to cramp
his style. After taking a few years' rest, he was roIling again, as of
old. However, after due market analysis, the pint-sized genius de-
cided that there was decidedly more money in writing trash for the
free-enterprise publishers of Western Germany than for their "peo-
ple-owned" opposite numbers in the Soviet zone. So he now placed
his output with a Brunswick publishing house, kept his nose to the
grindstone and watched his expenses. Before long, he had a sub-
stantial amount in good West German marks to his name again.
Exactly what provided the first impulse for Geyer to exchange
the quiet comforts of cloak-and-dagger living in an armchair for a
personal stake in the real thing may never be fully known. To all
appearances he made enough money from writing, but perhaps he
wanted more. Or, maybe, he felt the conscientious author's urge to
experience first-hand what he so often wrote about.
At all events, Geyer in 1952 became a secret agent. He enlisted
in the Gehlen Service and was put to work as a "researcher."
One of the biggest and most active of the various Gehlen branch
offices in West Berlin was Filiale 9592, located in the Wilmersdorf
section of the city and headed by one Arndt Polster, alias Alfred
Geyer-Troll was recruited into the service by a member of this
outfit, while he still was a resident of the Soviet sector of Berlin.
After about a year of field service or Aussendienst, he was shifted
to the less dangerous Innendienst, or an office job with Branch
9592. While Geyer himself took lodgings in West Berlin, his fam-
ily stayed behind in the Soviet sector - a capital blunder in any
Intelligence service.
Nor was that the only imprudence of which the boss of 9592 had
been guilty. He had done much worse - allowing office stail to
expand far beyond the limits of reasonable precaution. !h
at the time 30 people on Polster's payroll - about ttmes
many as the average Gehlen cel! Even the fairly elastiC
cover of "industrial representatIOn, which had been for
particular branch did not warrant such a concentration of spy
talent in one place. .
I In his capacity as "researcher," Geyer to contact.
other likely prospects in the eastern zone a view to enhstmg
their services for the organization. Operatmg under the nom de
guerre of "Grell" - apparently a combination of. his name
and his literary pseudonym - Geyer performed hiS duties to the
complete satisfaction of his superiors. .
As he had proved himself reliable, Geyer .was put m
charge of the files department at Branch 9592. was to
stand guard, nights, over the wooden closet - no, It wasn t a steel
safe - where all personnel records were kept. .
Whether or not Geyer at the time was already a Soviet
spy cleverly planted by the SSD, as been suggested later
some quarters, he certainly had the makmgs of the double agent m
him. With the aid of a micro-camera, he photographed the file.s he
was supposed to guard. Although tile closet was locked at OIght,
Geyer easily gained access to it by having a key made.
The climax came in a manner absurd beyond behef.
In mid-October 1953, chief of the Branch, Herr Polster, was
looking for a new secretary. He told his assistant, Geyer, to put
ads in the local papers and screen the applicants. For this purpose,
Geyer posed as the personnel manager of the large West German
industrial concern the Gehlen outfit in Wilmersdorf was supposed
to represent.
As he could not very well ask applicants to come to the office,
for fear of giving the show away too early, and modesty forbade
him to receive the girls at his private lodgings, he arranged to meet
them instead in a restaurant. He talked to several of the
women who had applied for the job, keenly looking them over With
a professional eye. .'
One of the girls misunderstood thiS scrutmy. She
was more interested in her charms than in her secretanal ablhtles.
Being interviewed in a restaurant also struck her as kind of fishy.
W1tat kind of a representative was that, anyway? she wondered.
So she went to the police and told them this fellow surely was a
recruiting agent for the white slave trade. It didn't sound too im-
plausible, for there had been many such cases in the public lime-
light at the time.
On October 29, 1953, at 10 A.M., two detectives from the Vice
Squad rang the bell to Geyer's apartment in West Berlin. He had
not come back from his nightly labors yet, and the landlady could
but tell the cops, quite honestly, she hadn't the faintest idea where
her lodger worked.
About an hour after the detectives left, Geyer came home. The
landlady told him she thought the cops were looking for him, but of
course she didn't know what section of criminal police the two gen-
tlemen had been from.
Geyer was panic-stricken, jumping to the conclusion that coun-
ter-espionage agents had found out all about his extra-curricular
activities at the office. He slapped his load of microfilm into a bag,
jumped out of a back window into the garden below and scampered
for the nearest exit into the Soviet sector.
Within hours after this little bird had flown the coop, a big crack-
down on Gehlen men in Eastern Germany was under way. By
nightfall, more than 300 persons, including key agents in ministries,
newspapers, offices, the police, etc., had been rounded up, or so
the Reds said.
The following day, the Soviet zone press gleefully reported, with
plenty of photos and facsimiles for evidence, that the biggest West-
ern spy ring yet had been smashed. They were not too far from the
truth. For, even though the claim of "hundreds" of Gehlen men
captured may have been an exaggeration, it has been conceded in
the West German papers (in particular, Die Welt of November 10,
1953) that Geyer's photographic records contained the names of
63 members of the organization.
Other booty included photocopies of operating instructions is-
sued by Gehlen headquarters at Pullach; a manual giving direc-
tions for the use of Soviet-made weapons; and the secret code of
underground radio transmitters operating behind the Iron Curtain.
Besides the large number of arrests directly due to Geyer's be-
trayal of top-secret records, the bizarre affair had a number of
other no less untoward consequences for the Gehlen apparatus.
Among many other things, it indirectly led to the capture by the
SSD of one of the most capable operatives in the Gehlen Service.
This man, a former Wehrmacht major named Werner Haase,
headed the Gehlen Branch Office No. 120a in West Berlin under
the cover name of Herr Heister. An engineer by profession, he
was a daring and imaginative operator who had won several dec-
orations for valor in the last war.
I In order to establish better communications with his V -men on
the other side of the demarcation line, Haase devised an ambitious
project to lay a secret telephone cable between the United States
and Soviet sectors of Berlin.
At one point, in the southeastern part of the city, the two sec-
tors are separated by a narrow, sluggish stream"resembling a water-
filled ditch officially called Heidekampgraben, but popularly
known as Kuhgraben, or Cow's Ditch. The neighborhood is rural
and almost deserted, except for a few scattered weekend cottages
of the small popular type known as Lauben, which are little more
than shacks.
One of the shack-dwellers on the Soviet side of the line was a
Gehlen man connected with Branch 120a. It was arranged that his"
property, adjoining the stream, should serve as the clandestine
telephone exchange for the organization.
The problem now was: how to lead a cable across the Cow's
Ditch? Haase, who had reason to believe that his identity was well-
known to the SSD, could not venture to set foot on Soviet-con-
trolled territory. So he devised a floating gadget, much like a toy
boat, that was to carry one end of the cable across the stream. The
V-man on the opposite bank then was to pick it up and connect it
to the underground system already laid on his property.
Unfortunately, however, a lead obtained by the SSD through
Geyer's defection had led to the arrest of the shack-owner, who
now was "turned around " under duress.
The cable-laying across Cow's Ditch was to take place on the
night of November 13, 1953. Shortly before, Haase had received
the pre-arranged code signal from the other side that everything
was in apple-pie order. He couldn't know that a couple of SSD men
were lying in ambush on the Western side of the ditch and that a
whole task force was camping on the land of his V-man.
No sooner had Haase reached the bank of the stream with his
coils of wire and his toy boat than he was jumped by the two men
who had been hiding in the bushes. They knocked him down and
dragged him, unconscious, across the shallow water to the Soviet
" side. Since there were no eyewitnesses to this dark drama so typi-
cal of Berlin night life today, the Communist press could, and did,
proclaim that this Western agent had been seized on East Berlin
soil. Haase was sentenced to life imprisonment in December of the
same year.
Another highly unpleasant consequence of Geyer's defection for
the Gehlen people was that it forced headquarters to flash the
emergency signal to one of its most valuable undercover agents in
the Soviet zone, thus ending his usefulness to the Service.
His code name was "Brutus," which sounds conspiratorial enough
in any man's language, but in real life he was East German Min-
isterialrat Waiter Gramsch, head of the harbor division iIi the Min-
istry of Transportation.
Gramsch was a "lollipop," as they say in Gehlen lingo, which
uses the phrase einen Bonbon ans Hemd kleben (literally, "to stick
a lollipop to somebody's shirt") in the sense of slipping a secret
agent into the immediate entourage of an important personality.
The V.I.P. in this case was none less than Ernst Wollweber, who
at the time was still ostensibly undersecretary, in charge of ship-
ping, in the Ministry of Transportation, but who actually cut a
large swath even then in the SSD. Gramsch was not only one of his
closest and most trusted aides in the shipping department, but he
was also a personal friend.
As late as March 28, 1953, Wollweber, on his official letterhead,
wrote a message of thanks to Herr Gramsch, commending him for
his good work in the service of the "German Democratic Republic."
A photocopy of this letter was subsequently reproduced in the West
German press.
By that time, Gramsch had already supplied to the Gehlen ap-
paratus scores of Intelligence reports from Wollweber's inner sanc-
tum. This was an outstanding example of a successful "III-F" op-
eration by the Gehlcn service.
After Wollweber, in April 1946, had become deputy director
of waterways and shipping (d. the preceding chapter), the "lolli-
pop" was "stuck to his shirt." Gramsch, an expert in this field and
already a Gehlen V-man in the eastern zone, was told to approach
Wollweber and apply for a job on his staff. As his technical quali-
fications were excellent and he had already taken the precautions
of enlisting in the Socialist Unity Party or SED (which had then.
just been formed through a shotgun marriage of the Communist
a ~ d Social-Democratic parties), Gramsch had no trouble getting
what he was after.
/ He rose with, and close to, Wollweber from a comparatively
modest position in the zonal administration to the rank of a Min-
isterialrat in charge of a major Government department. From
1947 on through October 1953, Gramsch "Brutus" regularly sent
to the Gehlen apparatus, by courier or coded messages, reports
covering a wide field, from inside information on transportation
and shipping in the Soviet orbit to intimate disclosures about Woll-
weber's secret service activities.
A few hours after Geyer had bolted to the eastern zone, about
noontime, October 29, 1953, an anguished courier arrived from
East Berlin at the main Gehlen office in the western part of the city.
"We're in a stew," he reported out of breath, "our men are being
rounded up in droves!"
No sooner had the dire news been relayed to headquarters at
Pullach, than coded instructions flashed back: "Evacuate Brutus
and family immediately." Whether Gramsch's cover actually had
been "blown" by Geyer, or there were other reasons to believe him
in danger, Brutus and his kin were spirited away to safety in West
Berlin in the first days of November.
By all tokens, the Geyer affair was to the Gehlen organization
a major disaster. However, in the shadow of the veritable catastrophe
that was soon to follow - the Otto John affair - it almost came
to pale into insignificance.
But before we tackle that, it is well to discuss several more spy- '
land tales, some less spectacular than others, but all of them im-
portant in the way they help show other faces and levels of Intel-
What Frau Charlotte Wallbruch prided herself upon most, was that
her small hotel, "Pension Hammes," was a respectable place be-
yond a shadow of doubt.
Any of her boarders, past or present, could attest to the
fact that there was nothing fishy about the neat and trim fam-
ily hotel on Rlidigerstrasse, No.6, at Bad Godesberg, some six
miles below Bonn, on the Rhine. No dubious couples ringing the
doorbell in the dead of night or sneaking out in the small hours of
the morning; no rooms being rented-by the hour, or in the day-
time only; no suspicious-looking characters hanging about the place.
No hanky-panky of any kind.
Pension Hammes, in one word, was gutburgerlich or solid middle
class and it was being frequented by respectable people, many of
them Stammgiiste, who would come back again and again, when-
ever they had some business in Bonn.
I They all liked the gentle, white-haired widow and many of them
felt genuinely sorry for her. It was too bad, really, that she had to
I start all over again at the end of the war when she had
reached normal retirement age (before 1945, she had been runmng
a convalescent home at Cologne that was bombed out in last
phase of the war). Now she was going on for and stIll had
to work hard, day in day out, for she was runnIng the hotel prac-
'tically single-handed.
And, she had a tough time of it, trying to make both ends meet.
What with the high cost of living, the substantial lease-mon.ey she
had to pay and the comparatively low prices she was chargIng for
her rooms, the balance sheet of Pension Hammes never seemed to
stay in the black. As a matter of fact, Frau Wallbruch had debts to-
taling several thousand marks.
So when that nice young refugee from Eastern Germany, Ger-
hard 'Roller, 30, put up at her house, in August 1955, and stayed
on week after week, even month after month, Frau Wallbruch could
not but regard him as a godsend.
Not only that Herr Roller, an architect, who seemed to be mak-
ing pretty good money, paid his rent regularly, he was a
handy man to have around the house. He was at .fixIng thIngs,
doing odd jobs for the old lady, and generally makIng
Moreover Frau Wallbruch had a very personal, very IntImate
reason for the Rollers to stay with her. This was some-
thing of a skeleton-in-the-closet in her thoroughly
house, but she had kept it a well-guarded secret from all outSIders.
Frau Roller, who had arrive" together with her husband, once
had been the girl friend of her only son. Before the two young peo-
ple had a chance to get married during the war, Hans Wallbruch
had been killed on the eastern front. There had been a child, and
now the boy, who had been adopted by Gerhard Roller he
married the bereaved fiancee after the war, was also stayIng at
Pension Hammes.
The old widow dearly loved her grandchild, even though she
would never approve of the way he had come into this world. She
got aJong well with his mother, too, and anyway one had to be kind
to those poor refugees from the East.
"It was simply awful, living over there," Frau Roller had com-
plained on arrival. "We just couldn't stand it any Jonger. We're so
bappy to be in a free country again."
But Frau Wallbruch was not happy. Her financial worries kept
her on edge. She became moody and depressed.
"You shouldn't have to worry so much," Gerhard Roller said one
day in March, 1956, "and you really deserve to take things easy at
your age." Frau Wallbruch sighed.
"Maybe I could help you," Roller went on. "I might be able to
get you a loan on easy terms. I happen to know some people in
Berlin ... "
That's how it began.
Toward the end of that month, Frau Wallbruch, accompanied by
Herr Roller, flew to Berlin. From Tempelhof Airport in the West-
ern sector they made their way to the eastern zone by way of the
V-Bahn (subway) which still connects the two halves of the city,
cold war or no cold war.
At the Stadtmitte (City Center) station in Easter Belin, two gen-
tlemen were waiting for them. They introduced themselves as Her-
ren Mehnert and Meinert. The two visitors from Bad Godesberg
were escorted by them to an apartment on Stalinallee, No. 285,
where a third man, Herr Meister, was expecting them. After the
usual preliminaries, the three M's, all veteran SSD agents, got down
to brass tacks.
Up to this point, Frau Wallbruch had no idea of what it was all
about, Or so she pleaded later in her defense. She genuinely thought,
she said, that Roller had taken her to Berlin for the purpose of ne-
gotiating a regular business loan.
Now she knew what was expected of her: She was to turn her
boarding house into a Communist spynest. But she had no choice,
she felt. It was. the only way for her to stay out of the red, if one
may say so under the circumstances.
"We'd like to get regular reports on the people who take up rooms
at your place," Herr Meister informed her. Of course he wasn't
interested in just anybody who might chance to come by. She was
to go out and look for a certain clientele - diplomatic personnel
connected with, or visiting at, any of the Western embassiel in
She was instructed to advertise her hotel in the right places,
so as to attract U.S. and British diplomats, in particular. It would
al,o be useful for her to seek contact with the staffs of the West
German administrative departments scattered in and around Bonn.
. Furthermore, she was asked to keep an eye on the comings and
I goings of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. What time he usually
drive from his home in Rhondorf to his office at Bonn? What kind of
car did he use? Who accompanied him? What roads did he travel?
And so on and so
For all these intelligence efforts, the old woman was promised
a monthly allowance. of 100 marks - about 25 .dollars. If she did a
good job, a raise would be forthcoming soon, she was told.
For the next two months or so, Frau Wallbruch did little more
than pick up odds and ends of conversation she chanced to over-
hear at her hotel. It proved to be enough to whet the appetite of
the SSD.
In the course of a second visit she paid to East Berlin, in the
early summer of 1956, it was arranged that Pension Hammes
should be thoroughly wired for sound, from top to bottom.
Gerhard Roller himself took care of that job. Miniature micro-
phones, about the size of a silver dollar, were installed by him
under the floorboards of all rooms for hire. They were strong
enough to transmit every word spoken in any room to the attic of
the house, where Roller set up his own listening post, complete
with various recording machines and a large supply of tape. When-
ever he had something that sounded interesting, he would enclose
the roll of tape in a can labeled "Maggi" (a popular soup mix) and
send it off to a commercial address in Berlin.
The setup seemed to work to the satisfaction of the spymaster
on Stalinallee, for Frau Wallbruch's monthly salary was doubled
immediately after the microphones had been installed. All told,
she received 2,700 marks before she was caught early in June 1957.
Roller apparently had been forewarned, for he had flown the
coop when the hotel was raided by West German police. Frau
Wallbruch, 69, was arrested and indicted on charges of espionage
and high treason.
On October 8, 1957, the pitiful old woman faced a panel of
the West German Supreme Court at Karlsruhe. Although the court
was quite considerate toward the aged widow, she suffered several
minor cardiac crises during the proceedings; a nurse stood by to
administer her sedative pills.
. "You were aware that you misused the trust of your guests in a
revolting manner, were you not?" the presiding judge, Dr. Geier,
asked the defendant. Frau Wallbruch nodded, sobbing into her
The evidence introduced in court by the prosecutor showed that
the defendant, even before the microphones were installed, had reg-
ularly sent messages to an SSD mail drop in West Berlin and that
she had paid a personal visit to her taskmaster on Stalinallee about
every two months.
When the accused was asked what kind of information she had
supplied about Chancellor Adenauer, she replied:
"I told them he was always escorted by police."
Which sounds like a pretty stale piece of news.
Generally speaking, the question of just how much was accom-
plished by rigging up this cozy spy nest in Bad Godesberg was left
open at the Wallbruch trail - as it usually is.
West German spokesmen, while stressing the seriousness of Frau
Wallbruc.h's offense, have deprecated the notion that anything
worthwhIle to the SSD came of it.
only diplomat of any importance who ever stayed at the
PensIon Hammes, they noted with evident relish was Comrade
at the Soviet Embassy in Bonn. Nobody thought
to mqUlre (at least not for the benefit of the public) just what a
diplomat was doing in a spy nest set up by the
IntellIgence servIce of a major Soviet satellite country.
All the other guests were small fry, the West" Germans contend-
ed. A here, a Yugoslav there, one Afghan, if you please
-all thIrd or fourth-rate members of the diplomatic staffs of third
or. fourth-rate nations.
!hese assurances need not necessarily be taken at face value.
It IS a standing rule in this game to belittle your own defeats (if you
. can't hush them up altogether), while playing up those suffered by
the enemy.
One may well wonder, in any case, whether Soviet Intelligence
is so stupid as to keep paying month after month (not much; still,
hard currency) without getting anything tangible in return.
In passing sentence, the Court granted Frau Wallbruch the bene-
fit of attenuating circumstances, taking into account her old age
and her financial predicament as well as her rather manifest lack
of intelligence (Article 51 of the Penal Code).
i In the end she got 16 months - one for each she had been spy-

"This one is a tough customer," a courtroom reporter whispered
to his neighbor as the trial of Lothar Johannes Krisponeit, 48, be-
gan before the Supreme Court at Karlsruhe on March 17, 1959.
"Just watch him throwing his weight around."
. Krisponeit, designer and engineer, stood accused of industrial es-
pionage on behalf of the East German Ministry for State Security.
According to the indictment, he had regularly supplied to his East
Berlin taskmasters secret blueprints, construction plans and other
interesting particulars from his professional domain over a period of
two years, beginning in 1956.
Since that time, he had been employed successively at the huge
Henschel Motor Company's plants in Kassel, at the Borgward auto-
mobile factory in Bremen and at the Henschel-Hanomag works in
Hanover. From each location, he had dispatched copies of indus-
trial secrets to his spy bosses in East Berlin.
For/these services, he had received a total of 2,500 marks (about
$600) - precious little for a man of his experience and capabilities
For'Krisponeit was a good man, both as a designer and as a spy. .
No wonder he was getting restless. What is more, Krisponeit had
or thought he had, reason to believe that he was being cheated'
as well as underpaid, by the Communists. They were holding ou;
on him, he thought, turning thumbs down on perfectly good mer-
chandise on one phony pretext or another.
Every time his faithful courier, a mechanic named Stahl, came
back from a business trip to East Berlin, there was the devil to pay.
"Hast du Miiuse mit?" (Got the mice, i.e. money) invariably
was Krisponeit's first question when he saw his courier.
Stahl would sadly shake his head.
"They said the pictures were no good. Couldn't make head or
tail of them. They won't pay good money for a poor job. That's
what the boss told me."
. Krisponeit was f u ~ i o u s . He knew how hard he had labored nights
m the darkness of hiS hotel room at Hanover, developing the films
he had taken with his micro-camera of the HS 30 Panzer construc-
tion plans. And now those Communist bums had the cheek to de-
scribe his work as "no good"!
"Those miserable crooks are just trying to cheat us," he raged
at Stahl who stood by, duly crestfallen. "They say they can't use
the films because they want to dodge paying for them," Stahl mourn-
fully nodded.
. It never occurred to Krisponeit, apparently, that his man Friday
might have been in business for himself. Yet Stahl certainly wasn't
a very reassuring character. He had a police record as long as your
arm, beginning in the early '30s when he went into competition with
the public mint in the production of five-mark pieces.
Anyway, Krisponeit stood now in the dock at Karlsruhe as Stahl,
the prosecution's star witness, testified' against him. All Krisponeit
could do, under the circumstances, was to deny everything, and
that he did. '
He would admit only one transactio':l with the East, and that
one, he claimed, was entirely to his credit.
When he was asked to explain in court why he had transmitted
to East Germany the secret designs of HS 30, a new type of arm-
ored car being tested at the Henschel-Hanomag plant in Han-
over, he exploded:
"You call that secret? Why, the stuff they were fooling around
with at Henschel-Hanomag was so poor it would have made laugh
any constructor worth his salt."
"If I turned over these designs to the East," he added proudly,
"the only reason was that I wanted to prevent the Bundeswehr
from getting equipped with such trash."
Krisponeit apparently thought he was entitled to a medal for
what he had done. But the judges didn't see things that way at all.
On the last day of the trial, his former pal Stahl had a piece of
good advice for Krisponeit.
"I urge you to make a clean breast of it and tell the Court the
whole truth," he said from the witness stand to the defendant, "oth-
erwise you won't even get credit for time spent in jail during the
investigation. "
In voicing these pious sentiments, Stahl obviously was also think-
ing of himself, for his own trial was already fixed on the court's
But Krisponeit stood his ground. Apart from letting the East in
on a secret that wasn't any good, he never had betrayed a secret,
he maintained to the end.
After a stiff warning had proved futile, the Court, on March 19,
1959, gave Krisponeit a stiff sentence - three years at hard labor.
It also declared the 2,500 marks the spy had received for his labors
to be forfeited .
In imposing the sentence, Chief Justice Jagusch pointed out that
the accused, by his stubborn denial of well-proven facts, had made
it impossible for the Court to consider attenuating circumstances.
"He has only to thank himself for the severity of the sentence,"
the Judge declared.
The Court held that the defendant not only had betrayed his
country but also had committed a grave breach of the confidence
placed in him by his employers. And that his motive had been the
lowest'in the book - just plain greed.
However, the Court also had a surprise in store for the "old
hand" Stahl. In spite of the defendant's stubborn refusal to con-
fess, he did get credit for the 15 months already spent in jail pend-
ing investigation.
WlJile he was serving the Communist spymasters, Krisponeit had
used a high-flying code name, "Roland von Bremen" (a legendary
German hero). And he tried to act the part of a hero throughout.
B ~ t , like most "tough guys," he couldn't take it in the end.
As the sentence was read, he broke down and sobbed: "I never
thought I'd get such a harsh sentence. I'm deeply shocked."

Behind hermetically closed doors, the West German Supreme Court
at Karlsruhe early in 1960 grappled with one of the most unusual
espionage cases it had had to deal with in its ten years of existence.
What sets this case apart from all others that have come before this
tribunal in the past few years - and they are legion - is the fact
that the defendants were accused of spying not for the Soviet Bloc,
but for Germany's currently best friend and closest ally - France.
In the dock sat Marian Karpinski, 36, a Polish-born resident of
Bonn, who professed to be a newspaperman, but actually was a
top agent for the Deuxieme Bureau, the French Secret Service;
! !
Maria Ott, a dazzling redhead; and Katharina Krauser, 4S, a
plump, greymg matron.
Although the judicial authorities at Kalsruhe refused to give out
the slightest bit of information about the case, which proved a hot
potato to the Bonn Government ever since investigators established
true identity of the spymasters, I can reveal the background
and plot of this baffling espionage affair. For, when the case first
,broke, a year and a half earlier, the German authorities, who at
the time still thought they had bagged another bunch of Red spies,
were not quite so discreet in handling the details.
Katharina Krauser, divorced wife of a White Russian (named
Michailoff) and mother of four children, had been employed as a
secretary in the Bonn office of the former Vice-Admiral and now
Christian-Democratic member of the Bundestag (Bonn Parliament),
Hellmuth Guido Heye.
In spite of her middle age, "Katja" Krauser was a full-blooded
woman who enjoyed living it up. Indeed, she used to brag, "I've
got gypsy blood in my veins."
One day she chanced to meet - if it was by chance - the good-
looking, lean-faced Karpinski, a fast talker and an experienced
ladies' man. Thle lonely, middle-aged woman fell madly in love
with the young man who, for his part, was far less interested in her
charms than in the military secrets he might be able to worm out
of her.
Karpinski knew that Katja's boss, Admiral Heye, was a promi-
nent member of the Bundestag's Committee on National Defense,
who frequently had secret documents in his possession. Without
too much difficulty, he was able to persuade his lady friend to "lend"
him some of these papers for the purpose of making photographic
That the pair were caught in an early stage of their joint spying
career was due to chance rather than to the alertness of the Bonn
In the spring of 1958, Admiral Heyewas scheduled to attend
a meeting of the Western European Union. On the eve of his de-
parture, he meant to study at home a confidential report on the
Rapacki Plan which he had received from the German Foreign
On his way home, Heye noticed that this paper wasn't in his
briefcase. He thought he had forgotten it and hurried back to his
office. He unlocked the secret drawer of his desk where he used to
keep state documents. The report wasn't there either.
Heye the police who began to shadow potential
suspects m the A few days after the investigation had got
under way, Admiral had another surprise: One morning, he
found the .mlsslOg document wrapped in a plain envelope, lying on
top of a pIle of papers in his drawer.
By that time, the Gehlen boys had swung into action. Before
.. long, their suspicions centered on Katharina Krauser and her beau.
Now a well-baited trap was set for the couple. The Gehlen men
instructed Heye to become ostensibly more and more careless in
papers lying around. After they had thus con-
ditIOned their prey, the counter-intelligence sleuths one day put a
document marked "top secret," but actually worthless, in Heye's
Karpinski and Frau Krauser rose to the bait. Early in July 1958
they were caught still standing before Heyes desk, the
they had taken in the Pole's pocket, while the woman was about to
put the document back where she had found it.
Grilled by the police, Karpinski not only confessed freely, but
.also put finger on another of his contacts: pretty Maria Ott, a
secretary 10 the Bonn Defense Ministry. She was picked up in
August 1958.
rumors began flying that Soviet intelligence for once was
not IOvolved, the Bonn Government clamped a tight lid on the case.
Both the Foreign Office and the French Embassy in Bonn
demed that France had anything to do with it. But im-
.following Karpinski's arrest, two French attaches were
qUietly relIeved of their duties and sent home.
the late summer of 1958, a spokesman for the Bonn Defense
conceded in a backhanded sort of a way what by that
time .had. become general knowledge in informed circles - that
been working for the French Secret Service. Harassed
by newsmen, the official replied with a wry smile: "So
you the. French are the party in the case? Well, if they
are, diplomatiC protocol reqUires utmost discretion in disposing of
the matter."
A year and half later, the Karlsruhe Court indirectly provided
the final confirmation. After having dealt with a long string of
Soviet espionage cases in the full glare of publicity the Court, be.
fore tackling the Karpinski affair, ruled that. "the security of the
state" was involved and that all proceedings therefore would be
held in camera.
I Even the sentence added a further bit of confirmation, for the
prison terms handed out by the Court, on January 16, 1960, were
I unusually light. Karpinski got two years, Katharina Krauser 21
months, while Maria Ott got off with a suspended three-months
sentence. Had they been Soviet spies, the trio, according to the
"tariff" established by precedent, would have received stretches of
4 to 6 years each - and at hard labor at that.
However, the Court apparently felt that the wages of sin must be
forfeit, even if one is caught spying for an ally. It slapped a whop-
ping fine of 15,000 marks on Karpinski who, judging by that
amount, must have been one of the highest paid agents in the Deux-
;eme Bureau.

The sacred hour of dinner was near, so Heikki Brotherus, Finnish
Consul General accredited to the Bonn Government, shoved aside
the stack of papers on his desk and betook himself to the kitchen.
With the same ponderous solicitude with which he performed his
official duties, the distinguished amateur chef set about his favorite
pastime: preparing a spicy gravy with his own hands and from his
own recipe.
The date of the solemn ritual about to commence was Saturday,
May 3, 1958. The place: a quiet villa at Marienburg, fashionable
suburb of Cologne which has absorbed a good deal of the diplomatic
overflow from nearby crowded Bonn.
Consul Brotherus' strong and sensitive nose was hovering raptly
over a battery of pots, pans and condiments from which arose a
breathtaking whirl of aromatic flavors when there came a sharp
rap on the front door. Seconds later, the Finnish diplomat's best
friend, Einar Blechingberg, counselor at the Danish Embassy in
B6nn burst into the spick-and-span kitchen like a tornado chased
by hurricanes.
i "I need your help, Brotherus," the visitor panted, "I'm in a stew."
The stolid Finn barely raised an eyebrow. He was not to be
distracted from his own stew at the critical moment of compounding
the precise dosage of spicy ingredients for the gravy.
"Pass me the pepper," he commanded matter-of-factly. .
"Please, Heikki, listen to me. This is an emergency," Bleching-
berg pleaded. "In fact, it may be a matter of life and death," he
added, his voice choking with emotion.
With a sigh, Brotherus turned off the electric range and they went
to his office.
"Paulson is waiting downstairs in a taxi," the caller whispered
as they sat down in the diplomat's private study. "I told him you
had the documents. You've got to back me up on this."
"What documents?" Brotherus inquired.
"Oh, never mind what documents," his friend brushed him off
impatiently. "I took them home, really, but I'm not supposed to
have them in my private possession. They're classified. Top Secret."
"I see." Actually, all that Brotherus could see was that his friend
was in a hell of a fix. He didn't have the faintest idea what it was
all about, but he knew of course that removing top secret files from
the office was a damn serious thing to do for any diplomat.
"All right, Einar," the Finn said after a moment's pause. "I'll see
what I can do for you. Let me in on a few details."
A sharp tug at the doorbell reminded the two friends that there
was little time for discussion. With a few whispered words they
agreed on what each of them was to say.
The third man to join the party was Counselor Bjarne Paulson,
Blechingberg's superior officer at the Embassy.
"Where are the papers?" he demanded without regard for the
usual diplomatic preliminaries.
"They're not here," Blechingberg stammered. "I was going to
have dinner with Mr. Brotherus at his private residence, so 1 tllought
be would give them back to me here. But he left them at the Con-
sulate General, he tells me. Anyway, the documents are safe. Heik-
ki is the representative of a friendly power, a fellow-Scandinavian
nation. What difference':"."
"If the papers are at the Finnish Consulate General," Paulson
icily interrupted this palaver, "we'll all go there to fetch them.
Right now."
"No use going there now," Brotherus replied. "The Consulate is
closed and the staff have left. All important documents are of course
kept in a special safe which I cannot open alone."
"Who has the other key to the combination?" Paulson demanded.
Brotherus mentioned the name of one of his assistants, then
added quickly: "He's away on vacation. Can't reach him now."
"Then there's only one thing to do," Paulson announced em-
phatically. "We have to get hold of a locksmith and blow up the door
to the safe. I've got to have those papers right away."
. So much insistence from the representative of a foreign power
was too much for the usually placid Finnish diplomat. He was not
going to allow anybody to tamper with his records, he replied firmly,
and showed the door to his uninvited caller.
"You're coming with me," Paulson ordered his assistant coun-
,selor. Blechingberg meekly obeyed.
After the two Danes had left, Heikki Brotherus sat down to a
lonely dinner. Somehow the gourmet's feast he had meant to serve
to his friend tasted like army chow today.
Meanwhile Einar Blechingberg had been placed under house
arrest on personal orders of the Ambassador, Frants Hvass. The
head of the Royal Danish Embassy in Bonn was beside himself
when he learned what had happened.
BIechingberg, 62, was a trusted career diplomat of long stand-
ing. In his thirty-eight years in the Danish Foreign Service, he had
served in Warsaw, Washington, Mexico City, Melbourne and Bern,
among other places. Since 1956, when he was assigned to the Em-
bassy in Bonn, he had been in charge of the trade department
As commercial counselor, Blechingberg had no business what-
soever poking his nose into the secret file concerning joint Ger-
man-Danish defense arrangements in the Baltic Sea and other
NATO documents. Much less was he authorized to remove these
vital documents from the Embassy grounds.
Yet on the morning of that day, Blechingberg had casually in-
structed a secretary to get him these papers, and the girl had done
so unquestioningly. When Blechingberg left, at the close of busi-
ness hours, he was observed carrying a dispatch-case bulging with
papers. Suspicion immediately arose that something was wrong. A
pr6mpt check of the confidential file revealed that top secret
NATO docume,nts were missing.
I Summoned back to the Embassy, Blechingberg under question-
ing admitted to his boss, Paulson, that he had "borrowed" the pa-
pers without permission. Since he was unable to produce them on
demand, he tried to make the best of a bad job by claiming he had
loaned them to his good friend Brotherus for a perfunctory look.
As Finland was a Scandinavian sister nation and her sympathies un- '
doubtedly were with the West, he pleaded, he could see no harm
in giving a trustworthy Finnish diplomat access to material that
must be of obvious interest to him.
Paulson was flabbergasted, yet he hoped the story was true. The
documents were in wrong hands, but it was far more comfortable
to think that they were in Brotherus' possession than - the Dan-
ish diplomat shuddered as he contemplated the alternative.
Minutes later, the two Danes were on their way out to the Broth-
erus residence in Cologne.
"If you will just back me up for a couple of hours," Blechingberg
had whispered to his friend when they had adjourned from the
kitchen to the study, "everything will be all right. I can get the pa-
pers back at a moment's notice. Just the time to get Paulson off my
But Paulson wasn't to be shaken off, and so the little plot failed.
Later that night, as Blechingberg dejectedly sat waiting in the ar-
rest room at the Embassy, with an armed guard posted outside his
door, security agents, summoned post haste from Copenhagen, ar-
rived in Bonn by airplane. They took the indiscreet diplomat into
custody and flew back with him to the Danish capital. There, Blech-
ingberg was arraigned on charges of having endangered the secur-
ity of the state by letting secret documents fall into improper hands.
He could get up to 12 years at hard labor under Article 109 of the
Danish Penal Code.
About the time the offender was being escorted back to Copen-
hagen under heavy guard, Danish Ambassador Hvass put through
a late telephone call to Brotherus' residence in Cologne.
"Your friend has confessed everything," he told the Finnish con-
sul in his iciest tone. "We know now where the stolen papers are.
That clears you, of course, but it does not explain your conduct
which I hesitate to qualify. I am afraid we shall have to take up
the matter with your government."
A few days later, Brotherus learned that the worst had come
to pass: He was being forcibly separated from his beloved kitchen
where he had prepared many a memorable roast and gravy the
most fastidious gourmets of the diplomatic corps were still dream-
ing about. And he would have to say good-bye to the convivial,
congenial social life of Bonn, too. His recall to Helsinki could mean
only one thing under the circumstances: either demotion to an in-
ferior office job at home or reassignment to some barbarous land.
There was no official indication, as yet, as to the real identity of
the recipient to whom Blechingberg had turned over the purloined
state papers, but the truth, of course, was simple enough to guess at.
Anyway, newspapermen in Bonn thought they could swear, aft-
er the scandal. broke, that thl;: representative of the Soviet news
agency Tass was wearing that unmistakably triumphant mien of the
cat that's swallowed the canary.
And they had almost guessed right.
(POSTSCRIPT - In mid-May 1960, it was officially announced
in Helsinki that former Consul General Heikki Brotherus had been
dismissed from the diplomatic service.)
If I were to start a school for spies - incidentally, I'd make it a
non-political, non-partisan, non-sectarian, non-committed sort of
establishment located somewhere on neutral ground - I think I
would use the Blechingberg case as a primer.
For it provides a perfect object lesson in the subtle art of mak-
ing a and man of the world serviceable for espionage
purposes. .
Intelligence - that is the kind that really deserves thIS name -
is always an art. For a; example of supreme craftsmanship, I give
you the case of Einar BIechingberg.
The odd circumstances of his capture by counter-Intelligence
sleuths have already been related in the preceding chapter. For
many months, as is usual in such cases, the background of this af-
fair was overhung by question marks. Not until Blechingberg was
brought to trial at Copenhagen, in February 1959, were the sig-
nificant details, the little telltale items that count, sketched into
the story of his downfall and arrest.
Einar B1echingberg was born in Copenhagen in 1895, the son
of a small official in the Danish Ministry of Finance. He was a
good student who through elementary and secondary school usual-
ly stood at the top of his class. After studying law, he entered the
foreign service on July I, 1920. His first assignment abroad came
. in 1922 when he was sent to Australia as a vice-consul; after three
years in that country, during which he rose to the rank of consul
general, he returned home.
After a few years in the Foreign Ministry, he was again sent
abroad, first as delegate to the League of Nations, then as charge
d'affaires to Bern, as Secretary of Legation to Warsaw, and finally,
in 1933, to Persia.
So far, his life had been, by and large, uneventful. But now a
trend began to set in that was to lead the young diplomat on and
on, down and down.
In Teheran, B1echingberg, who with his good looks, his refined
manners, his easy smile and his gay charm presented the picture of
a model diplomat, won the heart of a Danish lady of some means
whom he married early in 1939. His wife brought into their
hold two young daughters from a previous marriage, while her
union with Einar Blechingberg was to remain without issue.
If Blechingberg up to that time had been able to live comfort-
ably, and even in the style befitting a diplomat, on his salary and
expense account, he now was to find that with a family of four it
was a far more difficult matter. To be sure, his wife had money of
her own, but tact forbade him to borrow from her - at this early
stage, anyway.
In the summer of 1939, Blechingberg was transferred to the Dan-
ish Legation in Mexico. He was not happy about this assignment,
for he was aware that diplomatic life in Mexico City was expen-
sive, and he was beginning to feel the pinch. When he got there
with his family, he found that things were even worse than he had
feared. The only suitable quarters he could find was a somewhat
dilapidated villa which, he estimated, would cost him about 30,000
Danish kroner to put in good repair and furnish according to his
(and his wife's) expensive taste. And those 30,000 he did not have.
l'So 1 borrowed the money from the Legation treasury," Blech-
ingberg calmly confessed at his trial. He added, "I felt justified in
,doing so because my wife's account in Denmark at the time was
in excess of 50,000 kroner, so there was enough collateral on hand."
"Isn't it customary to ask the head of the department when you
wish to take up a loan from public funds?" Judge Ove Christensen
politely inquired.
"Quite," Blechingberg replied, as cool as a cucumber. "I did so,
too. I was in charge of the legation."
For a while, everything went well. With nobody around to watch
him, Blechingberg was able to juggle the accounts at will. Then the
war brought unexpected complications. On April 9, 1940, Den-
mark was occupied by the Nazis. From that point on, its foreign
service was a house divided against itself. Some of the Danish dip-
lomats abroad refused to go along with the new order in Copen-
hagen, while others bowed to the fiction that nothing really had
changed since the king and his government were still functioning,
ostensibly unmolested by the occupiers.
In the early summer of 1940, B1echingberg was transferred to
Washington. At the time the Danish envoy there, Henrik Kauff-
mann, was leading a "Free Denmark" movement that culminated
in a complete break with Copenhagen after Kauffmann, in April
1941, had signed, on his own, a treaty with the United States per-
mitting the establishment of American military bases in Green-
The German overlords of Denmark were incensed at this move
and put pressure on the Copenhagen Government to dismiss Min-
ister Kauffmann, which they did. It was Blechingberg who then was
put in charge of the Washington Legation, but Kauffmann, backed
by virtually his entire staff as well as by the State Department, re-
fused to yield ground. Upshot of the imbroglio 'was that Bleching-
berg found himself cut off from legation funds. He was barely
able to scrape together enough money to return to Denmark after
the Copenhagen Government had granted his urgent request for
transfer back home.
If Blechingberg thought he had played it safe by doing the bid-
ding of the Nazis who were in control of his country, he soon was
to find out that he had miscalculated. For in the meantime, his
Mexican peccadillOes had been discovered and upon his return to
Copenhagen, he was promptly called to account. Although he im-
mediately offered to make restitution and used his wife's dowry for
that purpose, he could not escape official censure.
From that moment on, Blechingberg was a marked man. When-
ever promotions or decorations were handed out by the royal gov-
ernment, he was passed up. His overriding ambition to obtain a
major diplomatic post (which alone would have carried a stipend
large enough to help him out of his growing financial difficulties) was
to remain forever unfulfilled. With his wife's fortune gone (she
later inherited another 70,000 kroner which quickly went down
the drain) and unable or unwilling to reduce his style of living,
Blechingberg in the following years sank ever deeper into bottom-
less indebtedness. Over a period of 17 years, the public prosecutor
brought out at the trial, Blechingberg had spent almost 300,000
kroner more. than he had received from his salary and had taken up
loans totaling (after deduction of repayments) 145,000 kroner.
Another blot on Blechingberg's record came to light at the trial.
While in Washington, he had taken advantage of the plight of a
Jewish refugee from Denmark by selling him dollars at a usurious
rate of exchange (10 kroner to the dollar, against an official rating
of exchange of 5.18).
During the occupation, Blechingberg was employed in the cen-
sorship division of the Foreign Ministry's press department, which
was, of course, completely under the thumb of the Nazis. (While
there is no evidence that Blechingberg was a Nazi sympathizer,
neither did he at any time show his disapproval or opposition.)
After the war, BICchingberg briefly served in Spain, where he
was seriously injured in an automobile accident in 1947. Upon
his recovery and return to Copenhagen, he was named department
head in the trade division of the Foreign Ministry. He served in
this capacity for five years during which he was much tortured by
headaches - an aftermath of -his accident. In 1955, he suffered a
nervous breakdown, he told the court.
Meanwhile, his road to ruin had taken a precipitous turn. On Jan-
uary 26, 1953, Blechingberg arrived in Warsaw where he was to
conduct trade talks with the Polish Government. A few days later
while trying to forget his pains and his worries in gay company U;
a Warsaw night club, he became involved in a costly scandal the
exact nature of which was not disclosed. (The court dealt with this
matter in camera. Later rumors were current in Bonn that the
aging diplomat had been lured into a compromising situation by a
seductive Polish dancer named Anja.)
Whatever happened, Blechingberg found himself penniless in
the Polish capital. He did not even have enough funds to pay for
his hotel accommodation. In this plight, he remembered (or was
discreetly reminded of) an acquaintance he had in the Polish diplo-
matic corps. He had done this man - mention of his name was rig-
orously barred at the Blechingberg trial - some small favors, es-
pecially, as he recalls it, by giving him some practical advice on
negotiating tactics. The Pole proved a worthy disciple.
So B1echingberg called on this friend (who providentially happened
to be staying in the same hotel) and asked if he could borrow from
him 500 zlotys (the equivalent of 900 kroner). The Polish dip-
lomat immediately agreed and handed over the money in the lobby
of the hotel, against receipt. .
A few months later, the Polish diplomat turned up in Copen-
hagen. Blechingberg invited him out for lunch and, over coffee and
put 300 kroner on the table. He wanted to start repaying
hIS debt, he told his Polish friend.
The latter brushed the money aside. "No hurry at all," he said.
Then he produced his own wallet and extracted from it 4,000 kroner.
"I guess you need this more than I do," the Pole said and he
was perfectly right, for by that time Blechingberg was deeper in
debt than ever. Of course the Danish diplomat didn't just pounce
the money and shove it into his wallet. He was very con-
SCIOUS of the rules of protocol. After protesting feebly that he could
not borrow such a large sum even from a friend, he waited for the
Pole to insist that he should take the loan and finally allowed him-
self to be persuaded that the lender was really repaying a debt of
Later, at the trial, Public Prosecutor Waage Jensen said to the
defendant: "Mr. Blechingberg, you are an intelligent person. You'll
agree that it rarely happens, even among the best of friends, that
somebody proffers a loan of 4,000 kroner without even having
been asked ... Didn't you have any suspicions?"
"No," Blechingberg replied, "but afterwards I felt uneasy about
having assumed a debt of gratitude towards him."
Which did not prevent the Dane from staging a repeat perform-
ance again a few months later. For in August 1953, the Polish
diplomat again visited Copenhagen. Once again, the two men met,
had lunch together, and enacted the same little scene as above.
First Blechingberg put 500 kroner on the table as first installment
towards repaying his debt, whereupon the Pole, with a perfectly
straight face, pulled out 2,000, covered the "return money" with it
and pushed the total amount back towards B1echingberg who pocket-
ed it without flinching.
Now the Danish diplomat was thoroughly trapped, though he
never knew it until it was too late.
The Poles, indeed, waited for almost four years before claiming
their pound of flesh. In the meantime, Blechingberg, in 1956, had
been attached to the Danish Embassy in Bonn as commercial coun-
selor. He now was earning 60,000 marks a year, free of taxes, but
still found it difficult to make both ends meet.
So even if he had remembered his Polish debt, Blechingberg
would have been hard put to trying to repay it.
The Poles, for their part, had not forgotten. In February 1957,
a man who called himself Baumgarten and described himself as a
salesman of photographic equipment and supplies called at B1ech-
ingberg's office in Bonn. He claimed to be a representative of Dan-
ish firms and said he was anxious to make contact with Germans
who were in the same business. B1echingberg gave him a few ad-
dresses and thought he was rid of him.
That night, however, "Baumgarten" phoned B1echingberg at his
private home for the purpose, he said, of conveying to him the best
regards of his diplomatic friend in Warsaw. "He asked me to tell
you," the voice on the telephone said, "not to worry about the 7,000-
kroner loan, nor about that little scandal in Warsaw."
That was the beginning of the end for Einar B1echingberg. He
was clever enough to realize that the message meant the exact op-
posite of what it purported to be: He was to worry, unless he agreed
to talk to Baumgarten in private.
At their clandestine meeting in Bonn, the Polish Intelligence
agent put his cards on the table. For value received, Blechingberg
was to deliver the goods: a number of documents stored in the se-
cret archives of the Danish Embassy in Bonn. To his amazement,
Blechingberg learned that the man who sat opposite him in a dark-
ly'menacing posture, even knew the code numbers of the docu-
ments he was anxious to get hold of. Blechingberg noted them: 8,
19, 19, 21, 24, 54.
BIechingberg tried to procrastinate. He managed to put the agent
off for a while with sundry excuses. For instance, he pretended to
be searching the files only to find that the documents had been
"cosmicated" (this, he later explained in court, was diplomatic slang
and meant that the papers had been placed on the "cosmic" or super-
top-secret list).
In December 1957, BIechingberg was sent to Berlin to take part
in German-Danish talks being held there. On the eve of his de-
parture from Bonn, he received an anonymous summons to meet on
a certain date at the entrance of the Tempelhof Airport subway
. station (in the Western sector of the city) with a person as yet un-
known to him. This agent would identify himself by holding a brief-
case in one hand while fingering his lapel with the other. To make
quite sure that it was the right felIow, Blechingberg was to ask this
man about a certain church and if the conversation then turned from
Protestant to Catholic churches, he'd know this was his contact.
If by any chance prevented from going to the meeting, Blech-
ingberg was to send to a given post office box a coded telegram in
the best espionage tradition: "Sorry, can't come. Aunt Elfriede is
sick. WiII be taken to the hospital on December 15 ... "
The Danish diplomat simply ignored the summons. He neither
went to the rendezvous, nor did he send the wire. For a while, it
looked as though he might get away with it. But he was mistaken.
Intelligence, like the elephant, never forgets.
On February 13, 1958, Baumgarten turned up again in Bonn.
He warned Blechingberg that "the boss" was getting really mad at
him and that he better make amends. There was a good opportu-
nity now, he told the Dane, for squaring accounts.
On May 5 of that year, an important NATO conference was
scheduled to be held in Copenhagen. In preparation for it, copies
of a number of secret documents had been deposited in the archives
of the Danish Embassy in Bonn. All Blechingberg had to do was
to make microfilms of these papers and turn them over to Baum-
Blechingberg still hesitated. He toyed with the special camera
Baumgarten had given hini for the purpose, but could not get him-
self to go through with the deal.
Then, on the very eve of the Conference - it was Saturday
May 3, 1958 - there came another call from Baumgarten. This
time his threat was precise and peremptory beyond any chance of
misunderstanding: "The documents:"'" or else we'll report you to
the Danish authorities right away."
"With this terrible threat hanging over my head," BIechingberg
later related in court, "I could not but give him something .. I went
to the archives and picked out at random ... some papers that
looked relatively innocuous to me. put them into an envelope and
. went to meet Baumgarten. I told him that he had to return the
papers by Monday at the latest."
The secret papers he had taken out numbered eleven in all. One
of them was a Western Intelligence report on Marshal Zhukov's
role in the executive committee of the Russian Communist Party.
(The fact that this paper fell into the hands of a Red Intelligence
agent at that time may well have contributed to Zhukov's final dis-
grace.) The others were concerned with the Rapacki Plan, a visit
to Washington by West German Defense Minister Strauss, and va-
rious NATO matters.
Blechingberg, in his desperate gamble, had banked on the week-
end rest at the office. Unfortunately for him, another Embassy of-
ficial a few minutes later went to the archives to look up some of
these papers only to learn that Blechingberg had taken them out
- very much against regulations. And now the fat was in the fire.
At the conclusion of the trial, which lasted from February 9 to
22, 1959 - it was described in the Danish press as the most sensa-
tional espionage affair ever to be judged in that country - Blech-
ingberg was found guilty and sentenced to eight years' imprison-
"This is a human tragedy," his chief counsel, had exclaimed in
his final plea.
No doubt. But tragedies of this kind are a dime a dozen in the
spy business.

Intelligence in our day, is keyed as never before to betrayal and
defection. The renegade, the turncoat, the Judas are the high trumps
in both espionage and counter-espionage. .
Borris Morros who had faithfully served the Soble-Stem spy nng
for a number of years turned around in 1945 and made his serv-
ices available to the F.B.I. - for a consideration. After that, he
played a double game for twelve years, then blew the .Soviet o u t ~ t
sky high. He thus became a national hero after havmg been, 10
succession a foreign spy and a stool pigeon. Of such cloth are
"heroes" made in our day.
On the other hand, George Blake, who played the same game
the other way around, and got caught in the end, became the vil-
lain of villains and drew the stiffest sentence on record, even though
he did not betray for money.
There is nothing new, of course, in the use of traitors and rene-
gades as a weapon in warfare and diplomacy. What is new, how-
ever, is the systematic employment of this weapon on a massive
scale. A veritable "Cult of the Defector," as I would call it, has
sprung up in recent years. It is particularly marked in the West,
but the Russians practice it, too.
"Our virtual survival as a nation may well depend on our abil-
ity to attract defectors who can bring us military secrets and warn-
ings of what is being plotted by Red Moscow," Robert Morris,
chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee,
declared on November 10, 1957. This basic objective of U.S. In-
telligence has seldom been voiced as bluntly, in public, as Morris,
himself a former officer in Naval Intelligence, did in this case.
In the past few years, an impressive number of important dip-
. lomats, police officers, military men and other key personnel from
the Soviet orbit have defected to the West. Some may have done
so on their own initiative, but the great majority undoubtedly have
been enticed by the C.I.A., which has ample funds at its disposal
for just that purpose.
Rather significantly, it seems to me, there has not been the
name of a single really prominent scientist among these "refugees."
There have been a few of lesser importance, but one of these, Al-
exei Golub, did more harm than good to the Western cause by first
defecting to the Netherlands, but then returning home to his wife,
in March 1962.
Indeed, all indications are that the scholars, the scientists and
the technicians today represent one of the most stable and content-
ed sectors of the Soviet society, one that is singularly immune to the
lure of better living abroad. And it is precisely these educated
classes that form the real backbone of the Soviet regime today, as
the "Sputniks" and long-range ballistic missiles have demonstrated
beyond a shadow of doubt.
Generally speaking, however, the Communist side, while it e;<-
eels in the black arts of subversion and in guerrilla tactics, is more
vulnerable than the West to defection. This is in the nature of things
because far more people are tempted to exchange the regimentation
and austere living conditions of the "Socialist camp" for the free
life and the fleshpots of the capitalist (or Social-Democratic) coun-
tries than the other way around. Thus, in a way, .the "balance of
power" is restored in the cold war. The more so, because a single
individual in a strategic position who deserts the Communist cause
may do more harm to it than a whole brigade of guerrillas can do
to Western interests.
Western Intelligence operators, probing the Soviet orbit for soft
spots, have found junior members of the diplomatic corps of Com-
munist countries to be the most promising targets for a "conversion"
drive. For they are often exposed, for considerable periods of time,
to the temptations of a "high life" they could not lead at home.
Among the satellite nations, moreover, a fairly large number of
highly placed Intelligence officers have been drawn over to our
side in the past few years. When such an official changes sides,
he does not always do so entirely of his own free will or initiative.
When a certain cog in the Intelligence apparatus may seem to
break away, more probably it was "broken" out, sometimes by
subtle means (bribery, attractive company, etc.), at other times by
more forceful ones (blackmail, abduction).
Invariably the side to which a renegade defects, regardless of
motive, tries to get the maximum propaganda advantage out of it.
The turncoat, accordingly, is presented to the public as a person
inspired by the highest motives, an honest soul writhing in pain, a
bold seeker of the truth, a paragon of virtue.
If the defector comes to our side, he has been for years "long-
ing for freedom," he has long since rejected in his heart Communist
"tyranny and oppression," he is "fed up" with the shortcomings of
a planned economy etc., etc.
The one going in the opposite direction has seen the light as only
Marxists see it. He has come to realize that all warmongers are in
one camp and all peace lovers in the other. He has had his fill of
capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, clericalism and all the other
time-tested bogeys of Communist propaganda.
Because the man who goes West generally looks forward to an
easy and plentiful life, while his opposite number is likely to find
conditions far more difficult than what he is used to, it is a safe
assumption that the number of genuine converts, of people inspired
by ideological or moral considerations is far greater among those
who defect to the Communist camp.
This, I realize, is an unpalatable statement that will grate hor-
ribly on Western ears. Yet I am fully convinced that it is true.
After studying carefully a large number of test cases - not all of
which are included in the following pages for lack of space - I
have come to the conclusion that eight out of ten ex-Communists
who "chose freedom" are strictly phonies, crooks and self-seekers.
And I am not even sure that the remaining two are much better.
I also feel sure - again this will be hotly disputed - that at
least ten times as much Western money, especially dollars and
German marks, is spent for the purpose of buying potential defec-
tors for cold cash than the Soviets allow for that purpose. The Rus-
sians and their satellites may budget huge sums for espionage and
subversion - there is not the slightest doubt about it - but very
little of this money goes for bribery and hardly any of it is used to
buy defectors on the open market. By contrast, the C.I.A.'s wallet
bulges with green for just that purpose.
Some prize catches of Western Intelligence in recent years have
been the following:
Igor Gouzenko, former cipher clerk at the Soviet Embassy in
Ottawa, Canada, whose defection, in 1945, led to the uncovering
of a vast Communist espionage network in North America;
Colonel Joseph Swiatlo of the Polish secret police, who, after
. coming over to our side in December 1953, shed new light on the
Noel Field mystery;
Yuri A. Rastvorov, Soviet diplomat and lieutenant-colonel in
the Intelligence Service, whose defection in Tokyo, on January 24,
1954, led to the cracking of a far-flung Soviet espionage network
in the Far East (d. Chapter 29);
Vladimir Petrov, anoth(:r Soviet diplomat attached to the Em-
bassy in Australia, who changed sides in April 1954. He, too, had
been a high Intelligence officer and was able to reveal much about
the background of the Burgess-MacLean mystery (cf. Chapter 31);
Alexander Yurievich Kaznacheyev, a young Soviet information
and Intelligence officer attached to his country's Embassy in Ran-
goon, Burma. When Kaznacheyev defected to the West in June
1959, he took along with him a complete blueprint of the Soviet
I' ,
Intelligence setup in Burma as well al of Moscow's long-range
plans of subversion in South Central Asia;
Guenther Maennel. a key member of the East German InteUi-
gence Service who bolted to the West in May 1961 (ct. Chapter
27). Before him, a number of other important East German In-
officers had defected to the West, in particular Lt. Col.
Siegfried Dombrowski (January 1959), Captain Helmut Hoefer and
First Lieutenant Walter Glassl (April 1959) and Captain Guenther
Malikowski (August 1960), but none of them caused as much dam-
age to the Communist cause as Maennel did.
On the other side of the balance sheet, the name of Dr. Otto John.
who in July 1954 crossed into East Germany (he returned IS
months later), tops all others.
He was followed, in August 1954, by Karl Franz Schmidt-Witt-
mack. ranking member of the Bundestag or West German Parlia-
ment. A member of the Bundestag's European Defense Commit-
tee, as well as of its Committee for All-German AfTairs (Le., Com-
mittee on East Germany), the defector had plenty of military and
political secrets to tell.
Other notable defections from West to East, in previous years,
had been those of the famous British-Italian atomic scientist Bruno
Pontecorvo in 1950, and of the two members of the British For-
eign Office, Guy Burgess and Donald MacLean (cf. Chapter 28).
A striking parallel to the Burgess-Maclean case was set on June
24, 1960, when Americans Beman Mitchell. 31, and William Mar-
tin. 29, two mathematicians employed as code clerks with the Na-
tional Security Agency (NSA) left their Washington desks to fly to
Mexico City, then on to Cuba, where they disappeared without
trace. It was not until September 6 that the missing pair - friends
from their service in the Navy - were "surfaced" in Moscow for
the inevitable propaganda show.
At a government-sponsored press conference, they made a num-
ber of "startling" disclosures, including that U.S. cryptographers'
had broken the codes of America's friends as well as her foes and
that the NSA "reads the secret communications of more than 40
nations, including its own allies."
From Washington, besides the routine denials, came word that
Mitchell and Martin had flown the coop because they had been ex-
posed as homosexuals. In a neat rebuttal of this charge, the two de-
fectors informed the Moscow press corps they had found Soviet
women to be far superior to their American sisters. And that was
In addition, many minor figures of defection have crossed the
, line, sometimes crossing it twice, or even more often, in opposite
directions. Quite a few such cases will be dealt with in the follow-
ing pages.
A dramatic and revealing episode of this mutual defectors' game
took place on February 5, 1955, in a cafe in Vienna. It may be
called a little "classic" which has often been re-enacted in other
parts of the world, with slight variations.
The central figure in this peculiar incident was Boris Nalivaiko,
a veteran Soviet Intelligence officer who had ostensibly bee'n from
1945 to 1951 a vice-consul on the stafT of the Russian Embassy in
Berlin. His real job, however, had been to supervise Soviet espio-
nage activities in West Germany and in the western sector of Ber-
lin. From 1951 on, he was Soviet Consul in Vienna.
In the course of his six-year stay in Berlin, Nalivaiko had come
to meet "socially" a young American, Mr. Robert Gray of Falls
Church, Virginia, who at the time was serving with the U.S. Army.
later, after Nalivaiko had gone to Vienna, Mr. Gray also turned
up there as a "civilian employee working for the U.S. Army" -
ie., c.l.A. man on dangerous mission.
Consul Nalivaiko and Mr. Gray continued to see each other at
.intervals. In June 1954, Gray returned to the U.S. Early in Feb-
ruary 1955, however, he was back in Vienna, with the announced
intention of "gathering material for a book."
On Saturday afternoon, February 5, Nalivaiko had a date with
Gray in one of the many Viennese cafes that had become favorite
meeting places for the kind of business the two were going to dis-
cuss. Mr. Gray brought along a friend, Colonel Francis Manning,
U.S. Army.
Whether it was Nalivaiko who had wanted to see Mr. Gray or the
latter who had expressed the wish for a chat with the Russian, is as
unimportant as solving the question whether the chicken or the egg
came first. later, as usual, two diametrically opposed versions
were put out by the two sides. The Russians said the two Ameri-
cans tried to lure Nalivaiko into deserting to the West. The Ameri-
. I
cans said Nalivaiko had asked Mr. Gray and Colonel Manning
for political asylwil.
Anyway, for a while the three men in the cafe seemed to be car-
rying on a friendly, spirited conversation. Then, all of a sudden

the Russian jumped up and threw a glass of beer in the faces of
the two beWildered Americans.
"This was a signal to a number of disguised Russians in the
cafe and'to Soviet officers outside to block windows and doors," an
official statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Vienna was to
declare later.
In this predicament, Mr. Gray and Colonel Manning quickly
made for the only exit from the cafe that was still open for retreat:
the men's room. It must have been a small place, for single occu-
pancy, for they were able to lock it on the inside.
There they waited for reinforcements, which soon appeared on
the scene in the shape of an International Police patrol attracted
by the fracas (Vienna was still under four-power occupation con-
trol at the time). Nalivaiko, in the meantime, had been "escorted
from the cafe by Soviet officers."
After the incident, the Russians issued a bristling statement de-
claring that Colonel Manning and Mr. Gray had made "an impu-
dent and provocative attempt" to get Consul Nalivaiko to desert
"under pressure of blackmail."
An American Intelligence spokesman shot back, saying that
Nalivaiko was an agent provocateur who had professed to be seek-
ing political asylum and then had lured the two Americans into a
"carefully planned entrapment by the Russians." Nalivaiko, the
spokesman added, was a major in the KGB, who "doesn't spend
much of his time on consular duties:"
The U.S. Embassy, queried by reporters about the duties of
Colonel Manning, maintained a dignified silence.
All the way, this is Intelligence, in classic and typical action.
* * *
If, among the large number of names listed above - and the
list is of course far from complete - only a few have been selected
for more detailed treatment in the following chapters, the main rea-
son is that to give a circumstantial account of each and all of them
would require a book about twice the present size. Moreover, those
that are dealt with in these pages may be looked upon as veritable
textbook cases of defection, not only because the personalities in-
volved were important per se, but also because the amount of in-
formation available in each case makes it possible to present a com-
prehensive, well-rounded picture. Only thus is it possible to dem-
onstrate in practice how renegades are made, how they behave
and what comes of their defection.
, I
One of the biggest and most recent reverses to Soviet Intelligence
has been the defection of First Lieutenant Guenther Maennel, 30,
who, at the end of May 1961, apparently decided to heed the
classic American advice for enterprising young men and "go West."
His defection has led to the unmasking of at least half a dozen
well-ensconced Soviet agents abroad, including two Americans.
Soviet Intelligencers probably still are puzzling just what went
wrong with Maennel. By his background and training, the young
man must have seemed to be predisposed for a loyal career in the
service of Communism. Indeed, the trust his superiors had put in
bim was so great that he had access to top-secret information - all
of which he turned over to Western Intelligence agents.
Guenther Maennel is the son of a working man from the Zwickau
. area of Saxony. His father had been an active who spent
JIluch time in a concentration camp. In the summer of 1946, the
then 14-year-old boy joined the Communist-controlled "Free Ger-
JIlan Youth" organization, and at the age of 1 7 he had become one
of its officials at Zwickau.
In the fall of 1952, Maennel enlisted with the People's Police
and a year later he enrolled as a cadet at the Doebeln Military
College. Intelligent, industrious and, to all appearances, a devoted
follower of the regime, he was selected, in the fall of 1955, for
graduate training at an East German counter-Intelligence school
located at Potsdam-Eiche.
Upon graduation at the end of 1956, he was attached to the
Ministry of State Security with the rank of sergeant. He worked
. in Department Ill, the Ministry's Foreign Intelligence division
headed by Major-General Marcus Wolf, apparently to the full sat-
isfaction of his superiors. He won a number of quick promotions:
to Unterieutllant (sub-lieutenant) in 1957; lieutenant in 1958; first
lieutenant in 1960.
From 1958 on, Maennel was attached to the "American Divi-
sion" of his Department, where his duties, besides studying Ameri-
can and British publications, included making contact with poten-
tial sources of information in the U.S. and Britain. These contacts
had undesirable results (from the eastern viewpoint) for it is a mat-
ter of record that Maennel was recruited by the C.LA. some time
in 1959 or 1960.
That Maennel had been a C.LA. agent before his defection to
the West is attested, among others, by the West German Der Spie-
gel. In its issue of December 20, 1961, it reported: " ... Besides
serving as head of the 'USA' division at the Ministry, Maennel
worked as agent for the American secret service C.LA. His extra-
curricular activities included signalling to the latter whenever the
Ministry of State Security was sending agents in the guise of 'com-
mercial attaches to Cairo, Conakry or to the capital of some other
underdeveloped country."
It is also a fact, though of course one officially not acknowledged,
that when Maennel early in June 1961 turned up in West Ger-
\ I'
i, .
: .
\ .
many he had not come as a bona fide refugee but had been spir-
ited dut of the "DDR" by C.I.A. agents. He was immediately sent
to Camp King near Frankfurt-on-Main, an establishment "used by
the United States Intelligence Service to interview East Bloc ref-
ugees," as an Associated Press dispatch from Wiesbaden (4-12-62)
put It.
The effects of Maennel's "processing" at Camp King did not be-
come avparent for several months, but when. they did, they were
noteworthy for their variety and importance.
In mid-December 1961, the German public was startled by the
piecemeal disclosure that a number of high-ranking officials in sev-
eral sensitive departments of the Bonn Government had been ar-
rested on charges of being in the service of the East German Intel-
ligence Service. .
Although the proceedings from the start were kept under a tight
security blanket, there were some interesting leaks.
Initially, the greatest commotion was caused by the news that
an active Bundeswehr colonel, Carl-Otto von Hinckeldey, had been
taken into custody on charges of espionage. His arrest was officially
confirmed, but only sparse dctails wcre given. When
got wind that Von Hinckeldey had been in touch With a maJor-
general and that the latter had suddenly died, the wildest rumors
began flying. "Only death has prevented the general's arrest," one
paper reported. . .
But subsequently a different face was put on thiS affair, appar-
ently with official blessing. The general in question was no longer
on the active list. He was Major-General Feuchtinger of the Waf-
In the last years before his death, which came in 1959 , of natural
causes - as far as can be ascertained - the retired SS-general
had been active as a writer on military affairs and historian of the
last war. In this capacity, he one day appealed to his wartime sub-
ordinate Von Hinckeldey, now attached to the Bundeswehr Gen-
eral Staff at Bonn, to let him have a look at some documents from
the army's archives for research purpo!>es. What the unsuspecting
colonel did not know when he acceeded to this request (so the
story goes) was that General Feuchtinger, since the war,
an agent of the Soviet Intelligence Service and that he was usmg
scholarship as a cover for espionage activities. Von Hinckeldey, It
was reported in the German press, would therefore be called to
account only for "negligence" in the handling of official papers, Dot
on the much graver charge, as thought at first, of willful betrayal.
Of far greater consequence to Western counter-Intelligence men,
but also a source of keen embarrassment to them, were MaeDnel's
revelations concerning two high-ranking West German Intelligence
One of them was Oberregierungsrat (title of a senior Govern-
ment official) Peter Fuhrmann, a former close aid of General Wes-
sel, head of the Military Division (MAD),
and currently a MAD representative with the Hanover Military
Area command.
The other was a ranking Gehlen man, Heinz Felfe, who at the
time was acting as liaison officer of the Bundesnachrichlendienst
with the C.I.A. and other NATO Intelligence agencies.
Two couriers that Felfe had employed to forward his spy re-
ports to East Berlin, Erwin Tiebel and Hans Clemens, also were
picked up.
Finally, a Captain Peter Laas, also of the Hanover Military Area,
was arrested about the same time as Fuhrmann, also on suspicion
of espionage. (All the above-named cases were still pending when
this book was finished, in mid-1962.)
A most intriguing aspect of this rash of espionage affairs follow-
ing Maennel's defection has been the way the names and ranks
of the persons involved have been brought to public attention.
For the first reports that a Bundeswehr colonel, a captain and
two important Intelligence officers had been arrested on charges
of spying for the East German Security Service did not originate in
Germany. Rather, they were leaked by an unidentified Intelligence
source in Stockholm to the local correspondent for a leading West
German newspaper, the Deutsche Zeitung of Cologne. Once the
tipoff had been given in this manner, the German newspapers nat-
urally got busy and started hunting for additional information, of
which they obtained only very little from begrudging official sources.
Why should any major West German espionage affair break in
Stockholm of all places? Bonn's psychological war experts, sadly
pondering the damage that had been done in the public mind by
these simultaneous disclosures, soon came up with what was, un-
doubtedly, the right answer: If anybody was interested in publiciz-
ing at this particular time (the eve of the annual conference of
NATO Foreign and Defense Ministers) the involvement of German
military and Intelligence personnel in a number of resounding espio-
nage affairs, it would be Moscow. What better way to arouse sus-
picion among the Western. allies concerning the trustworthiness
and efficiency of West Germany's armed forces?
The emphasis which the unspecified informant in Stockholm
had placed on the fact that Felfe had been a NATO liaison officer
also pointed in this same direction.
Bonn therefore assumed that the Soviets, alerted by their East
German satellite to the importance of Maennel'sdefection and know-
ing that their agents Fuhrmann and Felfe (discounting for the mo-
ment the other two cases) could not be saved, had deliberately
"planted" the news of their arrest on a German reporter by way of
a Swedish intermediary. In this way they could at least get some
propaganda mileage out of a very painful Intelligence disaster!
In other parts of the world, too, Maennel's defection was to have
far-reaching repercussions. The most important of these unques-
tionably was the discovery, by U;S. Army counter-Intelligence men,
that a hitherto unsuspected Air Force officer, Captain Joseph P.
Kauffman, had betrayed military secrets to the East German In-
telligence service.
Capt. Kauffman, who had been stationed in Greenland and Ber-
lin, among other places, was arrested on November 19, 1961, at
Castle Air Force Base, California, where he was a finance officer
at the time. He was then flown back to Germany for investigation
and confrontation with his accuser - Guenther Maennel.
The story, as told by Maennel, was that he had met Kauffman,
in September 1960, in East Berlin and then had taken him night-
clubbing. As drinks flowed freely and gay company was on hand,
the American officer mellowed. He joined in singing the "Inter-
nationale," toasted the "Socialist countries" and declared himself
willing to contribute some military secrets to the eventual triumph
of socialism.
Kauffman, in rebuttal, claimed he had been taken out of an inter-
zonal train by East German Intelligence agents in September 1960
and thus forced into contact with Maennel. That was a weak story,
of course, for if he had really been kidnaped, or forced to cooper-
ate with the SSD, there was nothing to prevent him from later re-
porting it to his superiors, which he had not done.
On April 11, 1962, Captain Kauffman went on trial at the Wies-
baden Air Force base before an eight-man court-martial. He was
accused in particular of having given to his East German contacts
details on radar installations, number of airplanes and tactical tasks
of American troops stationed in Greenland, as well as on the "short-
comings and weaknesses" of various American Air Force officers
assigned to the Sonderstroem Air Force Base there.
A farcical note was brought into the deadly serious proceedings
the star witness for the prosecution appeared in court wearing
a WIg, a false moustache and distorting eyeglasses for the purpose
of eluding potential SSD agents. Kauffman's defense attorney,
G:orge H. Latimer of Salt Lake City, felt sufficiently goaded by
thIS comedy and by Maennel's behavior in court to brand him "a
pathological liar, a traitor who came here with the trappings of. a
. Hollywood actor who changes his story each time he tells it."
The evidence against Kauffman nevertheless appeared conclu-
sive to the eight judges who on April 17 found him guilty as charged
and the following day.sentenced him to 20-years confinement at
hard labor and dismissal from the service with forfeiture of all pay
and allowances. (Kauffman had served honorably in the Army for
19 years; at his trial, he wore on his chest four rows of ribbons and
Maennel also put the finger on still another American citizen, one
Harold N. Borger, who in recent years had been living as a busi-
nessman at Nuremberg. He had already been arrested on March
3, 1961, for being in touch with known Communist agents. At Bor-
ger's trial early in May 1962 - the first of any American citizen
on espionage charges in Germany - Maennel testified against
the defendant whom he had known as a spy, he said.
still another country, Maennel's defection was to have reper-
- England. Although he could not claim personal expe-
nence In the case, Maennel claimed to have inside knowledge of
an East German spy network operating against the British in Lon-
don and Bonn.
As a result of this information, Colin Lawson of the Daily Ex-
(London) reported from Frankfurt on January 5, 1962, "a
big screening operation, I understand, is now going on among Ger-
mans in England."
And that may not be the end of the Maennel story yet.
What happened in London on April 18, 1962, definitely was a
startling innovation in old spydom. Arid it was introduced, some-
what paradoxically, under a conservative Tory Government.
On the face of it, the action was routine. Acting on instructions
of the Attorney General, Sir Reginald Manningham-Buller, detec-
tive superintendent G.G. Smith of Scotland Yard's spy-hunting
Special Branch went before the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate,
Sir Robert Blundell, at Bow Street, to obtain in closed court war-
rants of arrest against:
Donald MacLean, 49, last known residence Moscow, USSR;
and Guy Burgess, 51, also last residing at Moscow - both on sus-
picion of having violated the Official Secrets Act.
Quite a few times in recent months Mr. Smith had performed
this ceremonial duty, what with the resounding Lonsdale and Blake
cases still fresh in everybody's memory, and the nameless small
fry that may have been picked up or set up for capture in between.
So there was nothing unusual in the move itself.
But then the Special Branch, departing from its time-honored
custom of tight-lipped action, did something most unusual: It is-
sued a statement to the press.
Although the statement itself was brief, and couched in terms
of dignified restraint, it was bound to explode like a bomb in Fleet
Street and editorial rooms throughout the world.
The statement read: "There are grounds for supposing Donald
Maclean and Guy Burgess may be contemplating leaving, or may
have left, the USSR for some other territory.
"In order that they may be arrested should they come, in tTllOsit
or otherwise, within the jurisdiction of our courts, warrants have
been applied for and issued for their arrest for offences against
Section One of the Official Secrets Act, 1911."
The next morning, the world's newspapers blossomed out in some
of the biggest and most fanciful headlines of the year. At the same
time, the giants of the international press threw whole regiments
of reporters, including their aces of aces, into action to cover the
most sensational story of the day: the return of the "runaway dip-
lomats" Burgess and Maclean, who eleven years before had van-
ished from desks in Downing Street, five years later had
come to the surface in Moscow and, in between, had often hit the
front pages of the world press for various reasons.
A typical example of how the story was handled by the press out-
side of Britain (inside that astonished country, a great deal more
restraint was used) was afforded by the Paris newspaper France-
Soir, which mobilized its correspondents in London, New York,
Moscow, Amsterdam and God where else and then on April
20 trumpeted the essence of their findings in an eight-column
double-header bannerline: "Burgess and Maclean Will Be Ex-
pelled from Moscow Within Two Weeks."
Two weeks passed, two months passed, and nothing whatsoever
happened to Burgess and Maclean who both continued to live
peacefully at their apartments in the Soviet capital and to go about
their jobs as top English-language researchers, translators and prop-
agandists for Moscow.
The German press also indulged in speculative headlines such as
"Moscow To Ship Back Two Spies to England." God knows what
the more lbrid fringe of the American press may have printed on
the occasion (I wasn't in the United States at the time).
Perhips the only sensible headline about the suddenly revived
Burgess-Maclean case appeared in a regional Italian newspaper
which wondered aloud whether the whole thing wasn't maybe a re-
tarded "pesce d'Aprile" (April fish, i.e. the kind of practical joke
played everywhere in the world on April Fool's Day) .. Well, if it
wasn't an April fish, it very much looked and smelled like one.
In Moscow, where the most notorious pair of renegades in re-
cent history also was badgered by zealous representatives of the
world press (though with the discretion due to the r o u g ~ local cli-
mate), Maclean took the thing in rather ill humor, whIle Burgess
tried to brush it off in a light vein.
Reporters who went ringing the bell of the apartment on the
fringe of the biggest "Western colony" in Moscow, where Donald
Maclean has been living for years with his wife Melinda and their
three children, either failed to elicit any response or were shooed
away with an angry "I have asked you before never to come and
see me. I have nothing, absolutely nothing to say."
Burgess, still a bachelor, living in a third-floor flat on Moscow's.
southwest side, had been: away on a Black Sea vacation which he
decided to cut short when he heard of the rumpus over his imminent
"expulsion." On the evening of April 22, he met with a few re-
porters in a Moscow hotel room. Still wearing his old Etonian bow
tie, the once remarkably handsome ex-diplomat, now considerably
rounded-out by the supposed austerity of Moscow life, delivered
himself of one very British and one very Russian-sounding com-
"I am delighted that Her Majesty's Government is frightened,"
he declared, then added bluntly that, in his view, Sir Reginald was
just an "idiot" (New York Herald Tribune, 4-23-62).
When this greatest "ado about nothing" had blown itself out over
the Moscow plain, British newspapers and members of Parliament
begaI1 wondering just what had caused it.
The most noteworthy aspect of the whole affair evidently was
the quiet deliberation and meaningful emphasis with which Scot-
land Yard had made public the issuance of warrants against Bur-
gess and Maclean. There was no mistaking the official intention of
thereby conveying a message or warning To Whom It May Con-
cern. But why?
There seem to be three possible explanations.
When it still looked like Moscow was going to send the two men
back to Britain, The Daily Telegraph, on April 19, surmised that
a new East-West spy deal might be in the offing:
"The possibility must be considered of a repetition of the Gary
Powers-Col. Abel exchange. By indirectly arranging for the diplo-
mats to be brought to trial Russia may well be paving the way to a
request for the return of Gordon Lonsdale (Soviet spy convicted by
Britain) ... "
Later, when it had become amply clear that Burgess and Mac-
lean were not on their way back to England (for days, hordes of
reporters had vainly mobbed every arriving ship or plane), and
that Moscow had no intention whatever of expelling them or using
them for exchange purposes, speculation boiled down to this real-
Evidently the Yard's official announcement, with the attendant
publicity, was to have a deterrent effect. It was designed to warn
Burgess or Maclean, or both, against doing something they may
have been contemplating at the time.
About the nature of this unknown "something" two versions cir-
culated widely. One was that Burgess, who had made no secret
of the fact that he would like to pay a short visit to England if he
could safely do so, had applied for permission to return under a
laissez-passer procedure in order to visit his 74-year-old mother,
Mrs. Eve Bassett, who was believed to be ill.
In that case, the warrant had a clear meaning.
When one newsman asked a British Embassy spokesman in Mos-
cow what would happen if Burgess landed at London Airport, the
official wryly smiled: "I can't guarantee Who would be there to
meet him." Someone, with that warrant in his pocket, at all events.
On the other hand, The Sunday Times of April 22, 1962, (among
other papers) alluded to the possibility that the "deterrent" had
been used for the purpose of thwarting a Soviet diplomatic initia-
tive. The paper wrote:
post in Whitehall, the same day, and under equally mysterious cir.
cumstances. Already the hue-and-cry was being sounded in the
press .
Mrs. Maclean closed her eyes and settled herself more comfort.
ably in the easy chair in order to escape for one moment the two
pairs of knowing' eyes focussed on her. The strain was beginning
to tell on her, but she mustn't give in to it. Too much was at stake.
Perhaps'the young life stirring inside her . . .' Surely the freedom
of the man she loved, the father of her two small boys and of the
baby whose birth was now but one month away.
"I'm sorry, gentlemen," she repeated, this time on a note of
finality, "I know nothing at all about it. I haven't the faintest idea
where Don could be. Now, if you'll excuse me ... "
After they had left, she nearly broke down, sobbing. It would be
a long, long time, she thought, before she'd see him again - if
ever. By now, he and Guy ought to be in Paris, if everything had
gone according to plan. Tomorrow they would be winging their
way eastward - to freedom.
The next weeks and months were harrowing for Melinda Mac-
lean, the attractive, American-born wife of one of the pair of trait-
ors. Right up to the birth of her third child, and again as soon as
she was out of the hospital, she was relentlessly hounded, by secur-
ity men, private detectives, reporters, curiosity seekers. She 'gave
them the slip, again and again, but after a while they always man-
aged to pick up her trail.
Three months after Donald Maclean's flight - he was supposed
to be somewhere behind the Iron Curtain, though nobody knew
for sure - Mrs. Maclean took her children on a to the
French Riviera. She was not stopped at the border, as she'd half
expected to be. But she knew, or sensed, that this did not mean
she was no longer under surveillance. France and Britain were close
allies, and their Intelligence services always cooperated with each
other in such cases. Not until she had reached Switzerland, or an-
other neutral country, could she be sure of being able to travel at
As a matter of fact, Melinda Maclean was being kept under close
observation, throughout her stay on the Riviera. Day and night,
agents of the Stlrete kept a discreet watch on the villa where she
was staying with her three children. Her every movement was re-
ported to British security officers. At the first sign of her trying to
leave the country, in any direction other than back to Britain, she
would have been stopped.
Whether Mrs. Maclean acted on a hunch, or on instructions se-
cretly conveyed to her by the (pre-KGB) MVD, as has been claimed
by the Russian turncoat Petrov, among others, fact is she returned
to England after a few months.
Back at home, she began to play, as Petrov has called it, "a game
of incredible duplicity."
"She unburdened herself to her friends about her broken home,"
the former Soviet spy wrote in The People of September 25, 1955.
"Tragically she spoke of the 'far;ade' of her marriage. She an-
nounced her intention of divorcing Donald."
"This was a sheer blind to throw British security off the scent.
I no doubt that her story of a forthcoming divorce was part
of a 'cover' plan in which she was cooperating with the M. V.D.,"
Petrov went on (printed in bold type in The People).
In July 1952, Mrs. Maclean announced that she was leaving
Britain to live in Switzerland with her children. She was going to
stay at her mother's home in a Geneva apartment house, she said.
According to Petrov, the vigilance of British security had by now
completely relaxed: "Surely," they must have argued, "a woman
who has finished with her husband will make no move to rejoin
Petrov's account of Mrs. Maclean's eventual escape continues:
"The Swiss Intelligence organization did, however, maintain
some sort of surveillance over Mrs. Maclean's new home in Geneva.
She clearly fooled the Swiss agents, too. For Kislytsin reported to
me that in Geneva an MVD representative arranged with Mrs.
Maclean the final details of her journey to Moscow.
"On Friday, September II, 1952, (this apparently is a misprint
in The People; the year was 1953 - J.J.) two years and four
months after her husband's disappearance, Mrs. Maclean' drove
off with her children in her black Chevrolet car, ostensibly on a
visit to friends. Their movements were traced to the Austrian bor-
der. There the trail ended."
Petrov is wrong here. Mrs. Maclean did not drive in her car to
the Austrian border. She went to Lausanne, where she boarded a
direct train to Zurich. A teacher at the University of Lausanne,
Professor Andre Guignard, recognized her and her children at the
"Shortly before the train was due to leave the Lausanne Station,"
Guignard reported in the regional press at the time, "I noticed a
woman holding a baby in her arms who was standing near a news-
paper stall. A porter beside her was carrying two light-colored suit-
cases and held, squeezed under his arm, a batch of picture books
and a toy rifle.
"As the train entered the station," Guignard went on to say, "the
woman standing in front of me'boarded a first-class compartment.
Suddenly she was terrified to notice that her two boys had disap-
peared. I thought she was going to have a fit of hysterics, for she
turned around wildly gesticulating and screaming for her children,
Then she saw that the boys had used the other door to the compart-
ment and calmed down."
In Zurich, Mrs. Maclean and her children apparently boarded
the Vienna express, leaving at 5:59 A.M. and arriving in the Aus-
trian capital the next day at 2:48 P.M. From Vienna, which at the
time was still under four-power occupation control, she could eas-
ily have flown to Moscow, Prague, Budapest or any other city be-
hind the Iron Curtain without having to pass another border check
point controlled by Western Intelligence.
To go back to Petrov's account of the Melinda Maclean story:
"Mrs. Melinda Maclean had triumphed over the security serv-
ices of three countries. The part she had played as an abandoned
wife disillusioned in her traitor husband, was crowned with suc-
, .
"Now she is living with her husband in Moscow as he secretly
continues with his work for the Soviet Foreign Ministry alongside
his fellow spy Guy Burgess."
Petrov, in his version of the Burgess-Maclean case, has credited
his former associate in the Canberra, Australia, spy ring, F. V.Kis-
lytsin, with having played a leading part in the escapes of both the
two British Foreign Office men and of Mrs. Maclean with her chil-
dren. He makes Kislytsin appear as a sort of diabolical mastermind,
specialized in engineering bold kidnapings and escapes on behalf of
the M.V.D.
It is doubtful, though, whether one can take at face value every-
thing Petrov has to say about his former associate. Indeed, it was
this very same Kislytsin who in April 1954 attempted to send Mrs.
Petrov 'home to Russia against the will of her husband. It would be
only natural, therefore, to assume that Petrov's picture of Kislytsin
has been somewhat colored by resentment.
According to Petrov's articles in The People, Kislytsin was sta-
tioned in London from 1945 to 1948; and during that time he was
"in personal touch" with Burgess and Maclean. However, he "was
never allowed to meet the two men whose highly valuable informa-
tion went through his hands."
Burgess and Maclean, Petrov said, were long-term Soviet agents
who had been recruited for Intelligence work while they were still
students at Cambridge in 1935. Later, "they regularly supplied the
Kremlin with all the information they could lay their hands on as
trusted servants of the Foreigri Office."
Then, in May 1951, "came catastrophe," according to Petrov.
"The two men discovered that they were under investigation (by
the British Security Services). Terrified, they reported to their So-
viet contact in London.
"At once, Kislytsinrevealed to me, the full resources of the
MVD were mobilized to snatch them from danger. In Moscow an
urgent conference of top MVD agents was called. Chief of those
present was Colonel Raina, head of the First Directorate, which is
responsible for Intelligence work in Britain and America. His dep-
uty, Gorsky, since dismissed from his post, was there. So was Kis-
lytsin himself. (Elsewhere in his article, Petrov reported that Kislyt-
sin had worked since 1948 at MVD headquarters in Moscow in
the department handling the Maclean and Burgess operation.)
"The conference quickly decided that Burgess and Maclean were
agents of such value, that at all costs they must be saved from ar-
rest and brought to sanctuary in Russia."
After their successful flight behind the Iron Curtain, Burgess and
Maclean, on their arrival in Moscow, were greeted by Kislytsin,
who now saw the two men face to face for the first time.
"And Kislytsin was given the job of looking after the precious
pair. He became, indeed, their welfare supervisor. He saw them
installed in a comfortable house on the outskirts of Moscow. He
signed the chits for all their food, clothing and personal necessi-
"And he prepared plans for exploiting their diplomatic knowl-
edge and skill in the service of the Kremlin. Obviously, Burgess
and Maclean would best be used as advisers to the Foreign Minis-
try, especially on questions affecting Russia's relations with Britain
and America. And that was the job which Kislytsin arranged for
At this stage, if we are to believe Petrov, there arose a prob-
lem that shows Soviet Intelligence in an altogether novel and
piquantly different light, namely, as an agency solicitous of reunit-
ing displaced families. Who would have thought that the cal\ous
MVD w o ~ l d care a hoot about also bringing over to Russia a woman
like Melinda Maclean, who obviously could supply no information
whatsoever in her own right? Of what conceivable use to the So-
cialist Fatherland could be this alien lady, with her three little chil-
dren, including a two-year-old baby?
Yet, apparently, the MVD not only cared, but it again brought
all its resources into play for the purpose of "rescuing" the Maclean
Life in Moscow for Burgess and Maclean, Petrov informs us, was
"idyllic - but for one thing. They missed their families.. .
"Maclean especial\y was no doubt concerned about hIs wIfe and
three children. He had sent Melinda affectionate notes and placed
money to her account in a Swiss bank.
"And so the MVD had started to plan the final operation in the
missing diplomats affair - the spiriting away of Mrs. Maclean and
her children. It was even more daring than the coup by which Bur-
gess and Maclean themselves were snatched from under the noses
of the British Security Services.
"Kislytsin was in it from the beginning, though he was not in
Moscow to see its final outcome. By this time he had joined me in
"But when he read the reports in Australian newspapers of Mrs.
Maclean's disappearance he recognized some of the details of the
escape plan to which he had devoted so much of his skiJIed atten-
In describing the scene of Kislytsin's telling him all about the
successful operation, Petrov waxes positively enthusiastic with the
still glowing pride of the big Intelligence operator he used to be:
"The date was September 17, 1953. Into my office at Canberra
burst secret Agent Kislytsin, one of the best operators in the Aus-
tralian branch of the MVD, of which I was Chief.
" 'It's come off at last, just as we planned it,' he shouted, waving
a newspaper. He showed me the huge front page headlines. They
reported the disappearance from Switzerland of Mrs. Melinda Mac-
lean and her three children ...
, "No wonder Kislytsin was exultant. This was the final coup in
the most daring spy operation in history ... It was a triumph for
the entire world-wide spy network run from the Kremlin. Dozens
of the most cunning agents of the secret service had taken part in
it ... "
How did Petrov, who himself had nothing to do with Burgess
and Maclean, learn about Kislytsin's leading role in the affair? (He
himself points out in his article that "as in other secret services no
one group of the MVD is allowed to know anything beyond its
own special sphere of duty. So I had no right to question Kislytsin
about his work in the Burgess and Maclean affair.")
Well, according to Petrov, Kislytsin, upon learning from the Aus-
tralian papers that the big operation had come off as planned,
sought to get in touch with the MVD men in Moscow with whom
he had been working on the project before he was sent to Australia.
(A propos, why was he sent to Canberra? While Petrov has nothing
to say on this subject, it would seem to be a reasonable inference
that Kislytsin, an ace at the game, was assigned to the staff of
Petrov - an inefficient operator, as the Royal Commission later
pointed out - to keep the latter on his toes!)
To quote Petrov again: "To secure permission to send coded
cables to Moscow he (Kislytsin) had to explain to me, his chief,
all about his work in the missing diplomats operation.
"I gave him permission. My wife Yevdokiya was our cipher
clerk. She coded the cabled messages he sent and the replies he
received. As a result I learned almost every startling detail of the
Burg<!ss and Maclean story. From the secret cabled messages and
from Kislytsin himself I was able to build up an astonishing pic-
ture of the gigantic coup."
This brought Yevdokiya Petrov into the picture in a new role -
as confidante in the Burgess-Maclean case. And it may well have
been one of the principal reasons why Kislytsin as shall be seen in
Chapter 33, tried so hard a few months later to get her out of
Until Petrov's disclosures in The People blew the lid off, the
Burgess-Maclean affair had been one of the great Intelligence mys-
teries of our time. Neither one of the two men had yet been "sur-
faced" by the Kremlin. In fact, as late as October 3, 1953, one of
the principal organs of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, the English-
language weekly New Times, had explicitly denied the press re-
ports about Melinda Maclean's flight to Moscow. The magazine
also disclaitrled any knowledge that the two former diplomats them-
selves were in the Soviet capital. It described all theories on the
subject a ~ fantasies of a "Modern Sherlock Holmes in the Interna-
tional Arena."
Now, however, the Soviets changed their tune. On February 11,
1956, Burgess and Maclean 'gave a news conference for foreign
correspondents in Moscow. They denied, of course, that they had
ever been Soviet agents, but at the same time conceded that they
had been Communist sympathizers since undergraduate days at
A few months later, Burgess, in a casual conversation with an
American lawyer and retired Air Force colonel, William W. Good-
man, of Memphis, Tennessee, dropped a hint why he, and the
Macleans, felt no regrets and indeed were quite happy in their
self-chosen exile.
"They do well by eggheads in Moscow," said Burgess.
The downfall of the cruel Soviet Secret Police Chief Lavrenti Beria,
in July 1953, was a, boon to the Russian people, who have been
able to breathe more freely ever since.
It also was a veritable windfall to the Western Intelligence serv-
ices which avidly picked up all the broken pieces of Beria's
shattered instrument of personal power, the MVD, that happened to
fall outside the Iron Curtain.
Quite a few such fragments were scattered around the globe by
this Kremlin earthquake. Some turned out to be tinsel, but a few
others were real nuggets.
By the time the deposed Beria was made to face a firing squad
on December 23, 1953, several of his henchmen abroad had been
sufficiently rattled by the evident hazards of political prominence
in the Soviet Union to give earnest thought to the advantages of
life among the capitalists.
One of these thinkers was Yuri Rastvorov, ostensibly second
secretary ot the Soviet diplomatic mission in Tokyo, but in reality
chief of the Soviet espionage apparatus in Japan. .
Rastv6rov, a tall, broad-shouldered man in his early thirties, with
a handsome, well-tanned face and curly dark hair, had been a fa-
vorite protege of Beria's. Before he entered the diplomatic service,
he had been a personal courier for the redoubtable police chief.
Despite his young age, he had made a rapid career in the IntelIi-
gence service, rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel in the. MVD
before the disgrace of his protector placed his future in earnest jeop-
Rastvorov had been thoroughly trained on the "Japan desk" of
a special Soviet Foreign Ministry section under the direct control
of Beria's MVD before being sent to Japan in 1950, at the age of
29. He left his wife and four-year-old daughter in Moscow, pre-
sumably because the MVD liked to have potential hostages around
whenever a young man not yet thoroughly immune to the induce-
ments of capitalism was sent to the glittering world outside. Rast-
vorov's father, a retired Red Army colonel, also stayed behind in
Under the thin veneer of his diplomatic cover, Rastvorov in Tok-
yo carried out espionage duties. He worked on political Intelli-
gence concerning Japanese internal and external affairs, maintained
close liaison with the local Communist party and kept an eye on .
goings-on in the Far East generally.
He was attached to the Foreign InteIligence Section of the MVD,
then headed by Major-General Alexander S. Panyushkin, former
Soviet Ambassador to the United States.
Rastvorov, who would have cut a dashing figure in the striped
pants of just about any diplomatic service, enjoyed the free and
easy life in Tokyo to the hilt. He moved with graceful aplomb in
social and diplomatic circles and cultivated many acquaintances in
the American colony in Tokyo. He even ate and drank at Ameri-
can Army officers' clubs, as has been later disclosed by "informed
Whether he did so in the performance of his diplomatic func-
tions, in fulfillment of his undercover duties, or out of a develop-
ing weakness for the American way of life, is a moot question only
Rastvorov himself could answer.
Anyway, it seems he had already been softened up sufficiently
to the lures of the "free world" even before the Red rug was pulled
out from under his feet.
On or about January 24, 1954, Rastvorov received personally
delivered orders to return home. He was in a panic, and probably
had every reason to be scared. So, instead of obeying orders, he got
on the phone and called some of his American friends for advice.
The friends happened to be c.1.A. agents. They told him to take
it easy and drop around for a chat somewhere in a cozy place.
That was the last anybody not connected with the C.I.A. saw or
heard of Yuri Rastvorov, until he was dramatically "sUFfaced" in
Washington some eight months later. As far as his office, his land-
lord, and his personal friends were concerned, Yuri on January
24, 1954, simply vanished into thin air. (Actually, he did vanish
into the air - by means of a U.S. Army plane that took him to
Rastvorov's disappearance without explanation or trace caused
a considerable stir in Japan. Rumors were current that he had been
kidnaped, assassinated, "liquidated" by his own people, or that he
had committed suicide.
Even the Japanese police were baffled.
"I don't understand it," a prominent police official said at the
time. "Normally, whenever something happens to a prominent for-
eigner in this country, a hundred informers come rushing here to
tell us all about it. In this case, we haven't had a single call."
The first official word in the matter came from the Soviet mission
in Tokyo which announced on January 29 that Rastvorov had dis-
appeared after a "nervous breakdown." However, they quickly
changed their story after the Associated Press on February 1 dis-
closed that Rastvorov had been granted asylum by American au-
thorities. Now, the Soviet mission said the missing diplomat had
been "kidnaped" by American "espionage agents."
From that day on, the Russians frantically, but in vain, attempted
to find out what had happened to Rastvorov. On two occasions,
at least, the Soviet Embassy in Washington approached the State
Department with formal requests for information. State, of course
didn't have the faintest idea where in God's wide world that man
Rastvorov could be.
What soon became a common assumption, was that Rastvorov
had someh9w been spirited out of Japan by western Intelligence
agents. For, he had not left the country on any commercial ship or
airline. The only question still very much in doubt, at the time,
was whether he had been kidnaped, as the Russians said, or he had
departed from Japan voluntarily via the Intelligence underground
"railroad. "
The Japanese press and public were in quite a stew about the
missing Soviet diplomat. This aspect of the case has been treated
with remarkable discretion by the American prt!ss. Foreign news-
papers, however, have not been quite so discreet about it. The
French newspaper France-Soir, for instance, in a dispatch from its
Tokyo correspondent, dated February 8, 1954, reported:
"The mysterious affair of the Soviet diplomat and spy Rastvorov,
who disappeared from Tokyo, may well cause a crisis in Japanese-
American relations ...
"As far as the Japanese police are concerned, Rastvorov has
been kidnaped - or has allowed himself to be kidnaped - by the
American Intelligence service, which operates in Jflpan entirely on
its own, without even bothering to inform the Embassy of what it
does. This free-wheeling enterprise, on Japanese soil, by it foreign
Intelligence service, annoys the Japanese enormously.
"This is the fourth spy case in which the Russians and the Amer-
icans have been slugging it out in this country, since Japan again
has become independent. The Japanese press complains indignant-
ly that America's 'specialized services' still are operating here 'as
in conquered territory.' Several members of the National Assembly
have filed questions on this subject with the office of the Speaker.
"The Japanese, in effect, are saying: 'After all, we can take care
of counter-espionage ourselves. We're as good at it as anybody
else.' "
It was not until many months later that the second act of the
Rastvorov drama was to go on the stage. The scene, this time, was
In the first week of August 1954, Soviet Ambassador Georgi
N. Zaroubin once again called on Robert Murphy, Deputy Under
Secretary of State, to remind him of the two written, and many more
oral requests for information about Rastvorov. Murphy promised
Zaroubin to give him an answer the following week.
Now the State Department's psychological warfare division
swung into high gear. The "answer" Murphy was going to give the
Soviet Ambassador was to be a first-rate propaganda stunt. It
didn't come off quite as planned, but it was a pretty good show,
On the evening of August 12, Ambassador Zaroubin was noti-
fied by the State Department that Mr. Murphy would see him at
5 P.M. the following day; the Russian envoy agreed. The follow-
ing morning the State Department called Zaroubin again to request
that the appointment be put off until 5:30 P.M. It also said that,
instead of Murphy, Under Secretary of State General WaIter Be-
dell Smith would receive him.
Perhaps this was the unintentional tip-off to Zaroubin that some-
thing was amiss. For Bedell Smith, besides having been ambassa-
dor to Moscow from 1956 to 1959, had been more recently direc-
tor of the C.I.A. (October 1950-January 1953). When Allen W.
Dulles took over under President Eisenhower, Bedell Smith became
Under Secretary of State.
Whether it was that the appointment had been changed from a
Deputy to the Under Secretary; that the latter had been for years
in charge of Intelligence; or just because the meeting had been
postponed half an hour (apparently to permit last-minute arrange-
ments to be completed) - whatever it was, Zaroubin smelled a rat.
He begged off, saying he had suddenly become "indisposed."
And thereby, the State Department's dream of a smash-hit fell to
the ground, flatter than a pancake.
This is what the cloak-and-dagger boys from Madison Avenue
had rigged up: When he arrived at the State Department, Zaroubin
was to have been taken to a large conference room on the fifth
floor. First, there would be the usual give-and-take between the
Ambassador and the Under Secretary. Then, after Zaroubin had
asked the main question on the agenda: "Where is Rastvorov?", a
door would be flung open and Bedell Smith would exclaim, "There
he is!" as the renegade diplomat marched in, flaunting a defiant
declaration in the face of the Ambassador. And, of course, the
world press would be standing by. to carry this U.S. propaganda
triumph to the far corners of the earth.
When Zaroubin excused himself, the State Department attempt_
ed to save at least some of the show by requesting the Soviet Em-
bassy to send another representative. The answer was that none
were available.
This "refusal" to keep a date with an Under Secretary was brand-
ed by Henry Suydam, State Department press officer, as "most
unusual in normal diplomatic intercourse," and represented an "in-
sult" to this country.
Maybe so - but what would you call the thing the Intelligence
boys were trying to do to the Ambassador of the Soviet Union?
Instead of the crushing face-to-face encounter between the two
Russians, the State Department now showed off its prize catch to
the press and at the same time distributed "Rastvorov's own story"
to the assembled reporters.
It was a manifestly ghost-written statement. And again the C.I.A.
script writers and advertising geniuses gave a pretty good account
of themselves, even though the result was not quite as mawkish as
in the K.hokhlov case.
What actually was a perfectly straight case of desertion, for per-
fectly plausible if slightly sordid reasons, again was perverted into
a great phony drama of the mind and soul.
It began, appropriately, with a religious touch.
"When I was a baby," Rastvorov narrated, "my mother had me
baptized. But she was so afraid of what the Communists would do
to her for this that she had me baptized secretly. She did not even
tell my father."
After this pious overture, the man who had been since boyhood
not only a convinced Communist but a confidant and henchma? of
the vicious police despot Beria tore into the evils of CommunIsm.
He laid it on pretty thick: .
"When I was a child, my grandfather - my father's father -
owned a small farm near Ore I. He had two horses and a cow. Since
he had no one to help him work the farm, he once hired a man to
help him get the crops in during the harvest. For this the Commu-
nists called him a kulak - a rich peasant - and took away every-
thing he had and made it impossible for him to earn a living any
other way.
"My mother sent my grandfather bread secretly from time to
time without letting even my father find out about it. But my father
did not dare do anything to help. He stopped seeing his father. He
was afraid that if he did the Communists would punish him. My
grandfather starved to death in 1930.
"My father had a brother who was an army doctor. He was
taken prisoner by the Germans in the second world war. When he
was freed, the Communists sent him - like thousands of others -
to a 'quarantine' camp to check on his reliability. He was kept there
for three years. When he was release?, I was afraid to see him or
have anything to do with him, in spite of the fact !hat I .was ~ x
tremely fond of him. I was afraid I would be pUnIshed If I dId,
maybe dismissed from government service, because he was under
suspicion and always would be for having been in contact - as a
prisoner - with the outside world.
"This is what life is like under Communism. These are the sorts
of things Communism does to people.
"I tried hard all my life to believe in this system but I could not.
From the time I began to understand life a little, the things I saw
made me feel more and more doubt and bitterness and hatred.
"Finally all this - especially after I saw with my own eyes how
people live their own lives and how they get along with each other
in free countries - made me decide to leave forever a fatherland
which the Communists had turned into a concentration camp.
"I hope I can make a new life in this country, a normal life like
the lives of other people. I hope I can become an American like
other Americans."
So much for Mr. Rastvorov, ex-Beria agent and spy.
. Is it really necessary, I wonder, to dress up every cold war vic-
tory in this kind of hypocritical and hifalutin verbiage, which the
cynical bon vivant Rastvorov probably would have been the first
to laugh at?
Do those selected Madison Avenue types who officiate as State
Department and c.1.A. officials really think they can fool anybody
with this sort of pap - except maybe the executive board of The
Daughters of the American Revolution?
Rastvorov didn't become a lover of democracy, freedom, and
human decency overnight. He bolted, because he was afraid for his
li!e. and because he had ~ e n promised a rich reward out of the
bdbon-dollar slush fund which Congress has set up precisely for the
purpose of enticing defectors from the Soviet camp. He just plainly
sold out to the highest bidder, as Intelligence boys usually do.
And, the State Department hardly did the free world a service
by rigging up this kind of deal as a great Conversion based on
. moral principles and brought about by an honest soul writhing in
torment. i
"I wanted to live like a decent human being," Rastvorov also
said. Sure, he wanted to live in the land of milk and honey.
"I wanted to be treated decently and I wanted to be able to treat
other people decently." He should have thought of that before he
joined up with the Beria gang (nobody compels you, even in the
Soviet Union, to become a member of the secret police ).
Why was Rastvorov "surfaced" at that particular moment - al-
most seven months after he had defected? Evidently, for the pur-
pose of offsetting in some measure the disastrous effects of the
Otto John affair.
"Because he appeared so soon (two days) after the Communists
in East Berlin had produced Dr; Otto John," The New York Her-
ald Tribune reported on August 14, 1954, "reporters eyed him
carefully." They also questioned him, or tried to.
"He was cagey in his replies ... " the story went on. "Things were
'difficult to say'; it was 'hard to tell you exactly'; he 'knew nothing'
about that; it would 'take a lot of time' to explain the MVD organiza-
tion; it was 'difficult to tell you exactly why I chose the Intelligence
branch'''; etc., etc.
At one time during the interview, Mr. Suydam, pressed by re-
porters to say why the United States had waited so long to produce
Rastvorov, delivered himself of this priceless bit of ponderous gob-
bledygook: "Questions that relate to national Intelligence and na-
tional security sometimes run to secrecy."
One thing is ce.rtain about the Rastvorov case. It was a juicy deal
for both sides. It paid off handsomely for the turncoat, who now
leads a plush life in this country under an assumed name and a
tailor-made new identity.
It also brought in rich dividends for the c.1.A. Not only did it
provide fresh insight into the workings of Soviet Intelligence, but
it also led Japanese police (with the aid of some gentle prodding
from the U.S.) to break up what has been officially described as a
"mammoth Soviet spy ring" in that country.
One of the principal figures in that ring was Nobunori Higurashi,
a high-ranking diplomat in charge of Soviet affairs in the European
and American bureau of the Japanese Foreign Office. One of his
main tasks had been to produce a monthly "Soviet report."
Higurashi resigned from the Foreign Office in March, two months
after Rastvorov's disappearance. On August 14, 1954 - the day
the Russian renegade was "surfaced" in Washington - Higurashi
was arrested.
After two weeks of thorough grilling, the prisoner broke down.
He had just undergone another two and a half hours of relentless
questioning since 10 A.M. that morning. He had had enough.
At 12:30 A.M., Higurashi was shown a transcript of his testi-
mony amounting to a full confession that he had passed on secret
government information to Rastvorov. He signed the paper, rose
from the chair, removed his glasses, climbed atop a desk and hurled
himself through the window. That, at any rate, was the official ver-
sion. (People have been known before to fall from the windows of
the Public Prosecutor's office in Tokyo.) He was dead within 25
Also arrested were two other Foreign Ministry officials, Hiroshi
Shoji and Shigeru Takamore. What became of them has not been
made public. Anyway, their fate is not likely to disturb the sound
sleep of the Happy Turncoat in the Land of Plenty, any more than
did the death plunge of his former contact Higurashi.
One day in 1948, a Soviet Army captain by name of Nikita Vladi-
mirovich Khorumzhii, 31, crossed the demarcation line between
the eastern and western sectors of Berlin and gave himself up to
U.S. authorities. He brought along with him his German wife Eliz-
abeth, whom he had met and married while he was stationed with
the Soviet occupation forces in East Germany.
Like all deserters from the Soviet Army, especially those of of-
ficer's rank, Khorumzhii was received with open arms in the West.
He was granted the political asylum he had requested and was
speedily removed from the precarious haven of West Berlin to more
complete safety in West Germany.
He was sent to Frankfurt-on-Main where for some time an or-
ganization of White Russian emigres, known as theNatsionalno Tru-
dovoi Soyuz (N.T.S.) or National Labor Alliance, had been func-
tioning under American auspices, with headquarters conveniently
near those of military Intelligence.
N.T.S. is not the only association of anti-Communist Russians
in Germany. As a matter of fact there are quite a few others (for
instance, the Ukrainian Socialist Party, with headquarters in Mu-
It may not even be the biggest, but without question it is the
most tightly knit, aggressive and secretive of these refugee groups.
Its members, who also call themselves "National Solidarists," lean
towards authoritarian (the Communists would say, "Fascist") ideas.
A good many of them had served with General Vlassov's forces,
a Nazi army auxiliary, in World War II.
Harry Schwartz of The New York Times editorial staff, a
well-known expert on Russian affairs, had this to say about the
N.T.S. (in an article published in the NYT on April 24, 1954):
"Its activities have made it friends and enemies. The former
term it the most important and effective anti-Communist emigre
organization now at work; its enemies deride it as a semi-Fascist,
totalitarian group addicted to empty boasts that greatly exaggerate
the scope and importance of its anti-Communist activity ...
"The N.T.S. seeks to defeat communism by using against the
present Kremlin rulers the revolutionary weapons of which Lenin
. was a master. It emphasizes the need for an organization of trained
and fanatical revolutionaries ready to accept orders unquestion-
ingly and to take whatever risks are needed in subversive work
against the Soviet regime ...
"The secret side (of N.T.S.) is said to consist of the smuggling
of agents into Soviet-occupied territory and the Soviet Union itself,
the distribution of leaflets among Soviet occupation troops and the
organization and maintenance of underground subversive cells
among Soviet troops in Eastern Europe and even, it is said, among
Soviet citizens in Russia ...
"Some emigres question whether it does not appear that the
United States Government has made a policy decision to support
the N.T.S. as its 'chosen instrument' in underground war against
the Kremlin ... "
In Frankfurt, then, Khorumzhii joined the ranks of N.T.S. and
before long was given a very important job: liaison with the C.I.A.
(this is certain) and, presumably, also with the Gehlen apparatus.
As a Russian among Russians, Khorumzhil could easily have kept
his identity and his name. The then president of N.T.S., Vladimir
Poremsky/ made no secret of his Slav name; neither did Vice-
President Georgi Sergeyevich Okolovich.
In die case of Khorumzhii, however, it was decided, for the
sake of convenience, that he should become a German. Since he
spoke the tongue of the host country fluently, the change of per-
sonality came easy. Thus Nikita Vladimirovich Khorumzhii, some
time after he had defected to the West, became plain Georg MUlIer
of Frankfurt, where there live perhaps a hundred people of that
On September 1, 1953, Khorumzhii was arrested on a warrant
issued by the Office of the U. S. High Commissioner for Germany.
He was charged with espionage, but no details were given.
Although U. S. authorities in Frankfurt clamped a blackout on
the case, they could not prevent the tabloid Abendpost of Frank-
furt from tracking down important elements of the mystery-shroud-
ed affair. Abendpost, after conducting what is called a "far-reach-
ing investigation," charged Khorumzhii had been a secret Soviet
agent responsible for the disappearance of ~ ' m a n y enthusiastic young
people who had sworn to fight against the Soviets." These. the
paper indicated, were refugees from behind the Iron Curtain. who
had passed through a U.S.-sponsored "research center". at Frank-
furt, i.e. the N.T.S. office where MUlier worked. and who had sub-
sequently been betrayed to the Soviet secret police.
The Frankfurt paper, naturally, did not mention any names, but
a search of my files has turned up the following: In the spring
and summer of 1953, a little band of dare-devil young Russians
was dropped by parachute over Soviet territory for the evident
purpose of carrying out underground espionage and sabotage mis-
sions. The group consisted (possibly among others) of Nikolai I.
Yakuta, 31; Mikhail P. Kudryavtsev, 31; Aleksander G. Novikov.
32; and Konstantin I. Khmelnitzky, 28.
All were picked up by the Soviet secret police shortly after their
arrival by this unconventional means of transportation. That is, only
the first of the group to descend on Russian soil, Khmelnitzky, was
actually arrested - three days after his landing on April 29, 1953.
The others, according to the official Soviet story, surrendered vol-
untarily - apparently because their "cover" had been "blowIi" as
a result of Khmelnitzky's capture.
The Soviets kept this story a dark secret for almost four years
- and for a good reason. To have made it public at the time it
had happened would have meant giving away the fact that they
had planted a counter-spy at N.T.S. headquarters in Frankfurt.
When the Kremlin finally decided, early in February 1957, to
lift the veil of secrecy and to do so in the grand manner - at an
elaborate press conference in Moscow to which some 200 Russian
and foreign newspaper reporters had been invited - the show was
manifestly timed to offset the effects of the Boris Morros-Jack So-
ble case, just then breaking in New York. It was, as one State De-
partment official put it, "a normal reaction to the fact that some of.
their spies were indicted in New York."
It was, indeed, quite normal from the Intelligence viewpoint to
postpone disclosure of the case of the captured parachute spies
until the time was ripe for a major propaganda coup. The dramatic
stage setting, with kleig lights flashing and television cameras trained
on the four men arrayed on a dais before the assembled world
press, was an obvious answer to the similarly elaborate show then
getting under way in the U.S.
But if the State Department spokesman intended to convey the
impression (as he probably did) that the Russians had made up the
case of Khmelnitzky and comrades out of whole cloth, this is mis-
leading. For the circumstances clearly indicate that the basic facts
were true.
The New York Times, in a long dispatch from Moscow, dated
February 7, 1957, gave the following details about this press con-
ference, which was held by Leonid F. llyichev, then chief of the
Foreign Ministry'S press department:
"The men (Khmelnitzky, Yakuta, Kudryavtsev and Novikov)
appeared on a platform with Mr. I1yichev ... On a long table just
below the stage on which they sat were displayed tools of the spy
trade that they said had been given to them before they were sent
to the Soviet Union. The display included radio transmitters, guns,
identification papers, money, code books and what were said
be poison ampules. . . to
"The basic elements in the accounts of the four men were .
il All SUD..
ar. were traitors to the Soviet Union who worked
for the Germans 10 World War II. All stayed in Germany afte th
war. All said they had been recruited for United States Intellig: e
. b"'R' nee
service .y emigre The four said they had been trained
at a United States Intelligence school near Munich West G
* ' *
many. .
"They how to use the tools of their new trade, they said';
under Umted States instructors known as 'Captain Holiday' 'M .
J' P , ' aJor
1m epper and 'Volodya.' They told of having been flown in Unit-
ed from West Germany to Greece and thence to the
Soviet Umon. They said they had a number of tasks: to recruit
.agents among discontented elements, to capture Soviet iden-
tIfication papers, to report on industrial and military establishments
"Except for Mr. Khmelnitzky, who was captured, the others
themselves up when they decided they could not work against their
A!l said they had not been tortured by Soviet authori-
tIes. They said they were now working at various jobs and living
'peacefully.' "
To this account, an AP dispatch from Moscow, on the same date
added a few more interesting details: '
"Reading from .prepared .stat:ments under the glaring TV lights,
four told stones of falling mto the spy business through U.S.
mducements that included drinking, gambling, swearing and visits
to houses of prostitution ... "
About two months after this press conference in Moscow the
East German Communists held a very similar one in Berlin,
has been reported in the American press, but was covered in
det.all by the East Berlin newspapers. This time, the number of
tramed seals on display had increased to nine, including, besides
This may be a reference either to Gehlen Headquarters at Pullach or to a
spy school at Starnberg, which had previously been described in an AP dis-
patch. Mosc?w, dated 14, 1955, "where (agents) learned
sharpshooting, radIO communications, writing with invisible ink forging of
documents and parachute jumping." ,
the four Russians previously exhibited in Moscow, five more: J. P.
Te1e"gin, B. S. Salossky, M. Kolossov, S. S. Rudakov, and W. M.
According to a detailed account published in National-Zeitung
(East Berlin) on April 3, 1957, the latter group had been trained
at Hof, Goslar and Tann (West Germany) for the purpose of stir-
ring up the East German population against Soviet forces stationed '-.
in the DDR. "Dressed in the uniforms of Soviet soldiers and of-
ficers, these agents were instructed to penetrate the territory of the
DDR and there to commit murders, armed robberies and rapes .. ."
Krawez-Sorokin stated, according to the same source, that he,
too, had been dropped by parachute over Soviet territory, after two
years' training at an American spy school in West Germany. Al-
though he had been captured by the Soviet police within two months
after his clandestine arrival, Krawez-Sorokin was reported as say-
ing he had remained in touch with the U.S. Intelligence Service
by shortwave radio, feeding them false information and obtaining
instructions. that led to the arrest of other U.S. agents operating in
the Soviet Union.
About the same time that these Russians, or at any rate
the Khmelnitzky group, were captured (the spring and summer of
1953), a rash of similar spy stories cropped up in the press of Po-
land and Czechoslovakia; among other satellite countries.
Taken all together, these reports added up to the inescapable
conclusion that a major underground warfare operation against the
Soviet orbit had been "blown." It is in the nature of things that this
could have happened only through a leak at the very center of op-
The presumption is therefore strong that there was a direct cause-
effect relationship between these mishaps and the arrest of Khor-
umzhii early in September, 1953. All circumstances suggest that
the ill-fated parachute operation had been launched from N.T.S.
headquarters in Frankfurt, where at the time "Georg MUller" was
in charge of dirty tricks.
From a dispatch from Frankfurt, dateo October 23, 1953, the
New York Daily News wrote of Khorumzhii as a c.1.A. operative.
"U. S. Central Intelligence Agency officials were reported ques-
tioning one of their own employees around the clock today in an
effort to learn how much he told the Russians about their cloak-
and-dagger activities ... "
The Daily News went on to make these telltale points:
"Khorumzhii is in CIA custody in jail only a few blocks from
the U.S.-sponsored r e s ~ a r c h office where he had worked as a top
official. I
"Intelligence officers blamed the State Department court system
for the 'Iea)c' which led the Frankfurt newspaper Abendpost to
track down the story . . .
"The U.S. High Commission announced that Khorumzhii was
being held in 'Special investigative custody' and refused to give fur-
ther information. It was learned, however, that the CIA is making
an all-out effort to ascertain how much Khorumzhii knew and how
much he told the Soviets ...
"A top American official said yesterday that Khorumzhii was
arrested on a warrant dated September 1 charging him with espio-
nage. He was arraigned later before Judge DeWitt White of Mor-
gantown, West Virginia, who placed the alleged spy's name on the
record. White quickly dropped the charge, but the damage was
"It was through that leak that the story got out," a security of-
ficer said. "This wasn't the first spy we've uncovered."
The final chapter of the Khorumzhii story was written on Janu-
ary 23, 1954. On that day, the man who called himself Georg
MUlier faced a U.S. District Court at Frankfurt, Judge DeWitt White
According to German press reports, American prosecutor Thom-
as Lancian described the defendant as "the most dangerous spy
who has ever been brought before an American court" in Germany.
Khorumzhii, testifying in his defense, bitterly assailed the C.I.A.,
which had "blackmailed" him, he said. When he refused to work
as a spy for the U.S., Khorumzhii declared, all offers of help had
been withdrawn. In this predicament, he had become a double
agent, in order to earn a living yet at the same time to spare his
kin in Russia whom the Soviet secret service had threatened to ar-
Judge White, conceding indirectly that Khorumzhii might have
acted under the pressure of compelling circumstances, found, nev-
ertheless, that the gravity of his crimes was such as to preclude
attenuating circumstances from even being considered. He sen-
tenced Khorumzhii to fourteen years, and his wife Elizabeth, as
an accessory, to two years.
The severity of this sentence provided another indication that
Khorumzhii was, indeed, the man who had "blown" the great para-
chute operation organized by C.LA. and N.T.S.

The plump, middle-aged woman in the light tailored suit seemed
to on the point of fainting. From her half-closed eyes tears were
ftowlOg .freely. One c.ould see her teeth grit between the full lips,
dra.wn 10 an expressIOn of severe mental pain. She pressed one
whIte-gloved hand to her heart, while the other clutched a huge
black handbag, as big as a dispatch-case.
The two men escorting her to the airport and thence to the wait-
in.g plan.e didn't exactly look reassuring. They were big and brawny,
wIth gnm, determined. faces. Their short-necked heads, squarely
planted on gave them an unmistakable Slavic ap-
pearance, which the stolid expression of their faces underlined.
They were walking right and left of the woman, clutching her
arms with strong fingers. At times, you couldn't tell for sure wheth-
er they were supporting or carrying her.
All around the trio, an angry, riotous crowd of demonstrators
surged and yelled in a dozen different languages, most of them
East European. "She's being kidnaped!" someone in the crowd
shouted in English. "Yes, yes, they're taking her against her will,"
a woman's voice chimed in. "I just heard her whisper in Russian:
'Save me, save me, I don't want to go.' "
The scene was Sydney, Australia. The date, Monday, April 19,
For days, all Australia had been in a boil over the most sensa-
tional espionage affair in the country's history. One day in the first
week of April, Vladimir Mikhailovich Petrov, since February 1951
Third Secretary and Counselor of the Soviet Embassy at the na-
tional capital of Canberra, had walked out of this job and asked
for political asylum in Australia. More important still, he had turned
over to the Australian authorities hundreds of documents revealing
in detail the workings of a vast Soviet espionage network in that
"I no longer believe in the communism of the Soviet leadership,"
Petrov had declared in defecting. "I no longer believe in commu-
nism, since I have seen the Australian way of living."
On April 13, Prime Minister Robert Gordon Menzies announced
the defection in the House of Representatives. He stated that Pet-
rov had been a colonel (actually, a lieutenant-colonel) in the MVD
and had been in full charge of Intelligence and fifth column activ-
ities in Australia.
With a frankness most unusual in such cases, Menzies added
that Petrov, when he turned over his stack of documents, had re-
ceived from the Australian Government a "large sum of money"
to compensate him for his "losses." The Prime Minister further
announced that a Royal Commission would be set up to investigate
espionage activities in Australia.
On April 19, Menzies issued another statement, this one in ref-
erence to the mob scene at Sydney Airport. In it, he declared that
the Government had "no evidence" that the woman in the case,
35-year-old Yevdokiya Petrov, wife of the defector, was not leav-
ing the country by her own volition. He added, however, that Ma-
dame Petr?v, on her arrival at Darwin (Northern Territory). froJn
where she mtended to fly to Europe, would be given another chan
to ask for asylum in Australia. ce
Mme. Petrov, .who had been escorted to the airport
by two Soviet Embassy officials, had boarded the British airline
that was to talee her first to Darwin and thence out of the count r
. When the party first arrived at Sydney Airport, Mme.
tned to smile at the photographers who had shown up in force, since
the story that she was going home had been broadcast all over Syd-
ney by. the press and radio. Later, however, she had covered her
face with her hands and seemed to sag against her companions
She appeared to be in a state of daze when the two Embassy
cret service) men, braving a veritable gauntlet of jeers, blows and
hands tearing at their clothes, finally managed to shove their way
through the tumultuous crowd and put her aboard the plane, which
left Sydney twenty-three minutes late.
Mme .. Petrov was she stepped out of the plane
Darwm the followmg day, still flanked by the two Soviet cour-
Iers. As the three disembarked at Darwin Airport, they
were met by R. E. Leydm, an official of the administration of the
Northern who was accompanied by an armed police
guard. A bnef scuffle developed between the protesting couriers
and the police who had orders to take Mme. Petrov to the airport
for a private talk with Mr. Leydin. It ended with the police
the two Russians while they were being relieved of .32 cal-
Iber revolvers concealed in their shoulder holsters. Now it was the
turn of the Russians to complain that Mme. Petrov was being "kid-
. At the airport office, Mr. Leydin had a long talk with the Rus-
sian woman. Fifteen minutes before the plane was due to leave
for Europe, he arranged a telephone call to her husband. Every-
body present - policemen, Intelligence officers the two Russians
- listened intently as Mme. Petrov spoke to husband in Rus-
Finally, she said: "No, no! Good-by!," hung up the receiver and
return.ed to the waiting airplane, still accompanied by her surly
guardIan angels.
Minutes before the plane was due to leave, the woman asked
whether she could see Mr. Leydin again. 'Disregarding the protests
of her chief escort, F. V. Kislytsin, who exclaimed "This is a com-
edy - She's had enough talks'" Mme. Petrov then went back to
the office with Leydin. This time their conversation was brief and
when it ended, they both got into a police car which drove straight
to Government House. The die was cast: Yevdokiya Petrov was
staying in Australia .
The two dramatic scenes at Sydney and Darwin - and there was
real human drama in them, in stark contrast with so many false
shows cunningly staged by the wizards of the Intelligence business
_ received world-wide press coverage. In particular, the pictures
of Mme. Petrov being escorted to the plane by the two beefy secret
service men went the rounds of newspapers and magazines in every
country this side of the Iron Curtain.
The hearts of all sensitive and, in particular, all naive people
went out to the brave, forlorn woman who, to all appearances, was
about to become the vic'tim of brutal kidnapers.
Yet, in all this splurge of sympathy, two very important points
were generally overlooked:
I-That Yevdokiya Petrov had been a secret service agent and
a captain in the MV D in her own right; and
2-That she had been working alongside of her husband as a
code clerk in the Soviet Embassy.
This means that in a case of this kind, she was almost as im-
portant as her husband himself. She was by no means just an inno-
cent bystander, a harmless victim involved merely because she
happened to be the wife of an important defector. No - she knew
as many secrets as her husband - perhaps even more - in her
own line of duty. It was imperative, therefore, both for the Soviet
Intelligence to get her out of the country and for the Aus-
tralian to keep her there.
As the circumstances clearly enough indicate, she was under
tremendous pressure from both sides. This dual pressure, added
to the natural strain put on a woman who has to choose between
her husband and her country, brought her to the brink of a nervous
breakdown. Her tears, her drawn face, her gestures of despair may
well have been due to this turmoil in her breast, rather than to the
fear of being kidnaped.
Indeed, there is every reason to believe that she did not origin-
ally see eye to eye with her husband in the matter. Prime Minister
Menzies' cautious hint that she was leaving of her own volition' th
fact that she did not struggle and resist when she was being e
the plane at Sydney (in which case she would certainly have be on
by the pOJi,ce if. not by the and. above all, her
tltude at the Dal)VIn AIrport office, all Indicate that she meant to
leave her husband and return home.
What per change her mind at the very last minute, as she
already sat In the Europe-bound plane, ready to go, remains of
course a For, at. that very moment she was no longer under
any outSIde pressure. Old something snap inside her at that mo-
ment - or: did just make use of a woman's time-
honored pnvdege of changIng her mind at the last minute?
The question why Vladimir Petrov had changed sides was not
much of a mystery from the start. Evidently the "large sum of
mon.ey" the admittedly had paid him had played a
lead.Ing role In hIS defection. Additional light was thrown on his
when the Royal Commission appointed on April 30 to in-
vestigate espionage in .Australia opened its hearings on May 17,
1954. At the first seSSIOn, Mr. W. J. V. Windeyer, chief counsel
to the pointed out that Petrov had initiated his con-
tacts wIth Australian security officers as early as February, 1954'
that he was a "Be ria man," who feared for his life if he returned
to Moscow; that Petrov hadn't produced much in his espionage
and had found it hard to enlist Australians of good potential
In hIS network; that he had tried to work especially on newspaper
rr,ten; and that leakages of secret information by Government offi-
cIals had taken place.
Soviet Ambassador Nicolai Generalov added one little item to
this selected list of Petrov motives, before packing up and going
home: that the former Third Secretary had embezzled money from
Petrov, of course, denied this, telling the Royal Com-
mISSIOn In June that on the day hel sought asylum he had returned
to the embassy $15.75 in petty cash, plus one unused air ticket
from Sydney to Canberra. Accusing a defector of embezzlement
(and all other conceivable crimes) is, of course, standard practice
?mong gov.ernments. The denial of this charge by the opposite side
IS automatIc. So, as a rule, nobody on the outside can say who's
telling the truth. .
The Petrov case also came to occupy a large place in Australian
politics in the following months and years. It further envenomed the
already tense relationship between Menzies' ruling Liberal Party
and the Labor opposition headed by former Prime Minister Dr.
H. V. Evatt. A number of Evatt's associates allegedly had been
implicated in the Soviet Embassy's espionage activities.
Like Rastvorov's defection, Petrov's was to have other and far-
reaching consequences, as it exposed and paralyzed the Soviet es-
pionage apparatus in Australia (the final report of the Royal Com-
mission on this subject was made public in mid-September 1955).
And, it caused a severance in diplomatic relations between Mos-
cow and Canberra. But perhaps its most intriguing effect was to
bring about the final solution of the long-standing "Mystery of the
Missing Diplomats," i.e. the Burgess-Maclean case.
Until then, it had not even been firmly established that the two
British runaways were in Moscow, though they were generally sup-
posed to be. Nor could one be quite certain that they had been
Soviet agents of long stariding. Vladimir Petrov, after his own de-
fection, proved both these points in two front-page articles in the
London Sunday paper The People of September 18 and 25, 1955.
He also threw new light on the no less puzzling vanishing act per-
formed two years later by Mrs. Melinda Maclean, to which refer-
ence has already been made.
"Beware of the devilry of secret service intrigues; don't ever drink
from the poisoned cup of counter-intelligence, for that poison is
lethal . "
This mystic warning was conveyed in a letter addressed on
March 30, 1953, by Lieutenant-Colonel Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz,
the then head of Military Intelligence in the fledgling West Ger-
man military establishment (the "Blank office"), to the then head
of the political Intelligenc;e service (,'Office of the Protection for the
Constitution"), Dr. Otto John.
Although it was a pertinent warning, and a timely one, it pro-
duced no effect, because its recipient was already committed to
the rotten game of Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence - to the
point of no return.
The story of Otto John is so full of shocks and surprises, of
complexities and inconsistencies, of duplicity and betrayal, of in-
trigue and corruption, of hidden significance and willful distor-
tion, that it could well be cited as the classic demonstration of the
old and true adage: Fact is stranger than fiction!
Indeed, no fiction writer in his right mind would dare concoct
a story like the sequence of events in Otto John's life and career;
nor could he produce from his imagination a cast of characters like
those that have actually figured in the Otto John drama. If he did,
he would be booed out of the profession. Every editor in the land
would turn down his product with the terse comment that things
like that just don't happen.
Yet the life of this man, who was to become the central figure
in an incredible entanglement, began in very ordinary, almost hum-
drum surroundings.
Ouo John comes of solid German middle-class stock. He was
born on March 19, 1909, in the small university town of Marburg,
Hesse. His father was a minor civil servant who worked in the
State's surveying office. Shortly after Otto's birth, the parents moved
to the even smaller town of Treysa, also in Hesse, where -a second
son, Hans, was born a year later.
The two boys attended elementary and secondary school at
Treysa together, prior to entering the Realgymnasium (high school)
at Wiesbaden in 1922. Although they were very different in char-
acter - Hans was a bright, brilliant extrovert, while Otto at an
early age displayed that streak of brooding romanticism that was to
become one of his distinctive traits - the two John brothers were
extremely fond of each other. They were inseparable companions
in school as at play, and this rather unusual fraternal relationship
was to playa determining role in OUo John's future career.
Still another friendship he developed in those early years was to
haunt Otto John later at the most critical stage of his life. He be-
came very attached to one of his classmates, a boy of half-Jewish
stock named Wolfgang Hofer.
Otto John was a student of mediocre achievements. He was good
at music and art, while most of his other marks
were Just "satIsfactory."
graduating from the Wiesbaden high school in 1929, Jobn
first, at Frankfurt and then at Marburg, where he re-
ceived doctor.St degree in 1935. He had originally set his sights
on a foreign career - that was one of the reasons why he
had added French and Spanish to his required course
of law and political science - but gave up the idea after Hitl s
had come to power in 1933. er
For ?tto John, who has been a life-long conservative, and even
a royalIst at - this cannot be over-emphasized - had no
use for the NaZIS, any more than did his brother Hans. Although
they could not but know that they were hamstringing their future
both brothers refused to enter the Nazi Party. '
After his at Marburg, Otto moved to Berlin,
where Ha?s stilI. was attendmg the university. In 1937, the older
John obtamed hiS first - and only - job as assistant legal counsel
the German airlines. There, at the office, he came
contact With two more personalities that were to exert a decisive
mfluence on his life and career.
was Klaus Bonhoeffer, his boss, also a conservative and anti-
NaZI at heart, who, with his brother Dietrich, a Lutheran minis-
ter, later to playa leading part in the great conspiracy to over-
throw Hitler, known throughout Germany as the "20th of J I "
(1944). uy
The was Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, a grandson
of the Kaiser, who was stealthily working for a restoration of the
- with on the throne! Louis Ferdinand, who had
returned from hiS much-publicized job in a Ford plant in the
UOlted States, was at the time also"working" for Lufthansa.
Needless to say, he didn't have to really work for a living, for the'
of Hohenzoller:t still owned vast estates in East Prussia
SlIesJa and elsewhere. '
. In contrast with so manY'other Hohenzollern scions, Louis Fer-
dmand was a pleasant, companionable, even charming personality
Otto. John, a at heart (he used to be, as a boy, a
admirer of .the Kaiser) and a bit of a snob, too, naturally gravitated
towards thiS royal spellbinder.
A close personal friendship developed between the two men.
Before very long, Otto and "Lulu" (as the prince had been nick-
named by his intimates) had become "DuzbrUder," ("thou-broth-
ers") that is, they were addressing each other by the familiar "thoU,"
which, in Germany ,is a much more distinctive mark of intimacy
than is the use of first names in America.
Louis Ferdinand, who today heads the House of Hohenzollem,
not only saw a great deal of Otto John in Berlin, but he also in-
vited his friend to visit with him one or the other of the family
estates in East Germany. They both were excellent horsemen and
could often be seen together, in 1937-39, riding about the Silesian
plains, two young men with a goal and a purpose.
The prince and his wife Kyra, a former Russian Grand-Duchess,
were also connected with the group of mostly conservative and
monarchist conspirators who banded together in the ill-fated ad-
venture of the 20th of July. In fact, one of the secret designs be-
hind this plot was to put the House of Hohenzollem back on the
throne. There was not a whiff of Communism about this affair.
Lufthansa, with its many foreign runs, was a convenient
"cover" for these plotters. Klaus Bonhoeffer, who was a top execu-
tive in the company, made frequent use of this opportunity to es-
tablish foreign contacts, both prior to and during the war. He as-
signed Otto John to several courier runs, especially to London and
Paris (before war broke out), and to Madrid, Lisbon, Stockholm,
later Bern.
Thus Otto John, at the age of about thirty, was for the first time
drawn into the enclosing circle of Intelligence.
From that time also dates still another of John's peculiar friend-
ships, one that was to prove the most fateful of them all - with
Dr. Wolfgang Wohlgemuth, an up-and-coming young physician who
worked at the famous Charite Hospital in Berlin. Wohlgemuth (the
name, incidentally, translates as "In High Spirits") was even then
known as a Salonbolschewist (salon bolshevik), or high-class fellow-
traveler of Communism. That was no mean feat under the Nazi
dictatorship - unless, of course, one assumes that he was, at that
time already, a double agent.
There were no links between Wohlgemuth and his likes and the
royalist anti-Nazi clique, other than Otto John. The prototype of
a split personality (a "faustian" the Germans like to call him), John
by inclination or chance drifted into association with these "sub-
versive" elements on both right and left, the emphasis being very
distinctly on the right, however. .
Somehow or other, John managed to get himself deferred from
military service on the ground that his job was "essential" to the
airline (it wasn't).'This is one more of a hundred different elements
in the John story that later was to bring him into deadly conflict
with the Gehleh apparatus. For, the Germans - especially those in
high places - have been wont to look down their noses at
wh? have .never done a stint of soldiering in their life. They
stIll do - 10 partIcular, of course, the military men who dominate
the Gehlen outfit.
Not onli through the choice of Hitler's opponents did Luft-
hansa become a focus of Intelligence activities. The various secret
services then operating in Germany also infiltrated the huge and
prosperous company from all sides. In the end, it was shot through
with spies, stool-pigeons, and double agents, a veritable hotbed of
domestic and international intrigue.
Admiral Canaris, head of the Abwehr, who also had his "V-
men" strategically placed in Lufthansa, was not at first an out-
right enemy of Hitler's. As the war picture darkened in 1942-43,
however, he threw in his lot with the conservative anti-Nazis who
under the leadership of Karl Goerdeler, staged the July 20th coup:
Thus Otto John eventually drifted from the rather amateurish In-
telligence activities of the Bonhoeffer group into the thoroughly
professional enterprises of the A bwehr. He became Ii Canaris agent.
At this point, Otto John, who by then had become a versatile
man-of-the-world, fluent in several languages, developed into a sort
of all-around liaison agent between various political groups and
Intelligence agencies working towards the downfall of Hitler. Serv-
ing now as a contact man, now as a courier, he linked together
the Abwehr, the Intelligence division in the Army High Command
(Gehlen!), and the various conspiratorial groups from such Con-
servatives as Count Klaus von Stauffenberg (the bomb thrower on
July 20, 1944) and Goerdeler to Social-Democrats like Wilhelm
Leuschner and Julius Leber.
He also was one of the chief links between all these various
factions - loosely lumped together as the German Resistance -
and the outside world. At an early stage in his Intelligence career,
probably in 1941, Otto John, on one of his routine ftights to Ma-
drid had established contacts with the British Embassy - or, to
put it more plainly, with British Intelligence in that city. These con-
tacts, again, were to have a decisive influence on the course of fu-
ture events.
John's somewhat mysterious movements during and after .the
crisis of July 20, 1944, have best been explained in a long artIcle
by James J>. O'Donnell in The Saurday Evening Post of January
15, 1955. Generally speaking this piece, "The of the Amaz-
ing Turncoat" (Otto John), is one of the best-mformed have
appeared in the English language It has .one major flaw,
though. Mr. O'Donnell, like the Amencan press 10 general, co?-
sistently (and, perhaps, purposely) the key factor 10
the Otto John drama: his deep-rooted conflIct wIth General Gehlen.
What Mr. O'Donnell has to say about John's role in 1944, how-
ever, is well worth quoting: . .
"In the year 1944, in the months and
preceding the twentieth of July, Otto John s 10
was quite specific. He was to hold the fort 10 Madnd for su-
perior, Col. Georg Hansen - Hansen had succeeded as
chief of the Abwehr - and Hansen was to be the chIef nego-
tiator with the Allies, specifically with General at
SHAEF, after the success of the revolt. At almost the last mlOute,
however, there was some change in plan. John was called back to
Berlin, arriving at Tempelhof Airdrome on July 19th.
"On the 20th of July itself, John spent the day at Army Head-
quarters in the Bendlerstrasse. He was there his. friend, Col.
Klaus von Stauffenberg, flew in from East PrussIa wIth the news
that the bomb had gone off and Hitler could be assumed dead.
He seems to have aided Stauffenberg and the other officers who
resolutely tried to push the revolt plans through and seize control
of the state, through long late afternoon hours the of
the conspiracy and the lives of the conspirators hung the
balance. John did not leave the Bendlerstrasse untIl 9:30 m the
evening, when the pro-Nazi officers were regaining the .upper
and summary executions of the conspirators were taklOg place m
the courtyard. . .
"It is at this point that one comes to most senous dIspute
the nature of the role played by Otto John in the July 20th rebellion.
Precisely be.cause he did escape, the only rebel to leave the Bend-
lerstrasse ahve, and arrive unscathed in a foreign country, support-
ers ?f the double-agent theory concentrate on this decisive moment
of his career. Some hint that he had links to the Gestapo as well as to
20th of July group; others that he was a Soviet agent even at
thiS early date, carrying water on both shoulders.
. "The Nazi link can be rejected out of hand. First, it seems
highly unlikely, frdm what is known of his whole previous career.
Secondly, would have to assume the most cold-blooded be-
trayal. of his brother. * Thirdly, both in 1945 and again in 1954
Amencan Intelligence grilled two high aides of Walter
berg, the S. S. sl.euth who investigated the whole July 20th inci-
dent. for NazIs. They testified that the Gestapo did penetrate,
partially, mto.the July 20th circle, but not through Otto John. Final-
ly, on the plam common sense level, if Otto John had been playing

game for the Nazis, why would he have had to flee Ber-
This last remark, by the way, is not quite as convincing as it
could have later been a Nazi "plant" in
Bntam, his espionage mission being disguised as headlong flight
from the Gestapo. I am not suggesting that this was the case - on
the I feel, as Mr. O'Donnell does, that the theory of John
havmg been a double agent with a Gestapo role is absurd - but
merely want to point out that pre-arranged "flights" from arrest to
enemy c.amp are standard Intelligence technique.
The .Sovlet-agent version," Mr. O'Donnell goes on to say, "is
at first Sight mor.e plausible, but it, too, breaks down under analysis.
John did go over to the Soviets in 1954, the assumption
IS made that he could have been working for them in 1944 or earlier.
Perhaps he contacts with them in Sweden or in Spain. Or in
Portugal. Stramed attempts have been made to link him with the
Kapelle, a communist radio-espionage group active in Berlin
m the years 1941-42. He did know the fellow-traveling Baron von
Han J h h
th N ;'h'aj among .t !' 20th-of-JulyplottNs caught and executed bv
a e r :ZIS. e oss of hIS beloved brother in this terrible mann!'r furthC'r
I g: Ii. ated Otto S hatred of the Nazis and made it easier for Allied
n e to use hIm as an instrument of political and psychological war-
are agamst the Germans.
und zu Putlitz., perhaps as early as 1937, and certainly later. But
here again common sense asks a simple little question. If Otto
John were a Soviet agent from away back, why the elaborate cir-
cus of his melodramatic flight across the sector boundaries of Ber-
lin on July 20, 1954?
"The real difficulty in explaining the last ten years of Otto John's
life, however, does begin right here on the 20th of July, 1944, for
in a certain sense the clock inside him stopped ticking. Although
he has turbulent events still in front of him, he goes through them
like a sleepwalker. And later, when he recounts them, as he very
often did, there is the clearest of evidence of a man who has lost
contact with reality. John, a born raconteur anyway, has several
versions of his dramatic escape. Sometimes he left on the very night
of the twentieth. Sometimes he tells of how he hid out in Berlin
for one, two or three days. Sometimes the flight is direct; some-
times it sets down in several cities. He always keeps in the touch
about how he evaded the Gestapo dragnet at Templehof Airdrome
by signing himself in on the crew manifest. At times John seems
to vary the story to keep from boring himself or old listeners."
Here, Mr. O'Donnell is absolutely right. And his account deftly
touches on the core of the mystery surrounding Otto John's per-
sonality. For, all the evidence points to the fact that John, as a re-
sult of the turmoil of July 20, 1944, lost his mental balance,
which he never regained. Not that he went insane - but ever since,
he has been affected by loss of memory, self-delusion and apparent-
ly spells of outright hallucination. Just as he had varied the story of
his 1944 flight from Berlin from one listener to the next, he subse-
quently varied his account of why he turned up in East Berlin, ten
years later, what happened to him there, and why he eventually
returned to West Germany.
Actually, John left Berlin for Madrid on the 24th of July, 1944,
on a regular daytime flight. In the Spanish capital, he promptly got
in touch with his friends in British Intelligence, who helped him
0Elsewhere in his Saturday Evening Post artic\!', Mr. O'Donnell describes
Baron 'Wolfgang von und zu Putlitz as a "creepy pal" of John'S, who has
in his day worked for (1) the Nazi Foreign Office, until (2) he defected
to the British in 1938; (3) the American OWl and ass during the war;
(4) the British Military Govermhent in North Germany after the war; and
(5) the Communist regime in East Berlin since 1950.
" .
quickly to get out of a country whose government was a scarcely
concealed aUy of Nazi Germany. Disguised as a Spaniard, his blond
hair dyed dark, John was smuggled into Portugal via the under-
ground "railway." Two German Abwehr officers were also in on
this game: Major G9ttfried Paul, who was attached to the German
Embassy in Madrid, but who secretly worked with British Intelli-
gence: Fritz who operated in a similar dual
capacity ID Lisbon. Paul, It may be added parenthetically, stayed
in Spain after the war. Franco's police picked him up, early in
August 1954, after John's sensational flight to East Berlin, on a
charge of having been a "paid agent of Otto John's."
In Portugal, John ran into trouble again. According to O'Don-
nell, the pseudo-Spaniard got involved in a brawl between some
real Spanish caballeros and some Portuguese peasants over the fa-
vor of a local belle, at a village fiesta. Anyway, fact is that John
was arrested by the Portuguese police and put into prison; that the
Germans, after he had been identified, demanded his extradition' ,
and that he came pretty close to being shipped home. In this dire
predicament, Major Cramer and British Intelligence came to his
rescue. Somehow he got out of jail, was promptly whisked off
to Gibraltar, and from there flew to London. By that time, it was
November 1944.
John later asserted that he had been received with open arms
in Britain and had been taken soon to a country-house hideaway
for a secret conference with Prime Minister Churchill, but O'Don-
nell disputes this version.
"British spokesmen today deny this whole account," he writes.
"They report that when John landed in England, under the name
Oskar Juergens, by a typical wartime foul-up he was mistaken for
a high Nazi deserting the sinking ship. He was interned, first at
Cockfosters in Northeast London; then removed to house arrest in
Knightsbridge. Grilled extensively by the Oxford don, John Wheel-
er-Bennett, the Bishop of Chichester and others who knew, vaguely,
about the ramifications of the 20th of July, John was cleared as a
genuine anti-Nazi."
The next few years probably were the most critical in Otto John's
Unlike many other German refugees in England, he found it
difficult to draw the line between activities that were aimed merely
at the overthrow of the hated Nazi regime and complete subservi-
ence to the Allies' war aims. He accepted the slogans of uncondi-
tional surrender, collective guilt and German partition that were
anathema to many of his fellow exiles. He did research for the
B.B.C.'s propaganda broadcasts to Germany and made his knowl-
, edge and skilIs available for psychological warfare against his na-
tive country.
In London, John made stilI another acquaintance that was to
have a profound effect on his further conduct and his future. He
met, and closely worked with the famous Daily Express reporter
Sefton Delmer, who during the war supervised much of Britain's
psychological warfare propaganda. An enduring friendship devel-
oped between the two men, who continued to see a great deal of
each other even after the war (sec also below).
"This is one of my birds," Delmer, who went by the nom de
guerre of "Mr. Tom," has been reported by the German press to
have said of John, after the latter had joined his staff in November
1944. Other "birds" in his cage included the afore-mentioned Bar-
on von Putlitz, Karl von Schnitzler, Eberhard Koebel and Dr. Ho-
nigmann - all of whom are now in East Germany. It has also been
reported in the German papers that Wilhelm Zaisser, alias Gen-
eral Gomez belonged to this group for a while.
After the end of the war, Ouo John did not, like the majority
. of his fellow exiles in Britain, return to Germany immediately. He
stayed in Britain, interrogating German prisoners of war at the
"London Cage" and preparing legal documents for the Nuremberg
trials. When these got under way in 1946, John went along, in Brit-
ish uniform, with the prosecuting staff. In some cases which he
helped to handle, he let the bitter memories of July 20, 1944, and
his ingrained hatred of the Nazis get the better of his good judg-
ment. A good many Germans who had never sympathized with
the Hitler regime resented the way he helped prosecute the Nur-
emberg defendants. The former Nazis and professional military
men called him a traitor and vowed vengeance. The case of Field
Marshal von Manstein clinched it; John's enemies in and out of
office swore never to forgive or forget what he had done to this
"war hero."
It has been said of OUo John that when he first set foot on Ger-
man soil again, in 1946, he described himself as "the broom that's
going to sweep the Nazi pigsty." Whether or not he ever made
such a remark, John in the following years became a primary tar-
for the resentment against all those who were help-
109 the occupymg powers in the hard years following the collapse
of the Third Reich.
I have 'already pointed out in a preceding chapter, lies
the prIncipal root of the profound antagonism that was to develop
later between dtto John and his opposite number in Intelligence
- General Gehlen.. .
From 1946 to 1949, Otto John continued to Jive in London
!hough he frequently traveled to Germany. He had made his hom;
In a suburb with a comparatively large percentage of
German res!dents, and therefore locally known as "Little Ger-
many:" While he continued to work for British Intelligence, he also
practiced law, having joined the well-known law office of Holland
and Company, in Lincoln's Inn.
Be.fore he left England for good, in the fall of 1949, Otto John
mamed. To the unconcealed surprise of his friends and acquaint-
ances, the woman he wed at Hampstead Town Hall in November
1949, was not the pretty yOUJ1g fellow refugee he had often dated
working at Sefton Delmer's office (she was a secretary there),
Gisela Mann. Instead, the bride turned out to be - Gisela's moth-
er, Frau Lucy Marleen-Mankiewicz.
It probably was, to some extent, a marriage of convenience. Frau
had connections in high places at Bonn, in-
cluding close fflends of President Theodor Heuss. And Otto John,
at that very moment, was casting about for a job with the new Ger-
man Government that had been formed in September.
Shortly after the wedding, John took his new bride, and step-
to what he still considered his "home town," Wiesbaden.
HIS had died there in 1946, but other relatives (in particu-
lar, hiS father .and married sister) and old friends were still living
there. In was In Wlesbaden, too, that John in 1947 had celebrated
a.happy with his classmate Wolfgang Hofer, who had pre-
Viously emigrated to the United States and now was back in the
uniform of a U: s. Army captain (in the Counter-Intelligence Corp,
or C.LC.). Neither one could suspect, at the time, that their re-
newed acquaintance should bring tragedy for them both a few
years later.
At the time that Otto John made his home in Germany again the
Bonn Government was laying the groundwork for rebuilding its
Auswartiges Amt (Foreign Ministry). John, having applied for a
job with the new agency, was turned down by the man Chancellor
Adenauer had appointed as its chief of personnel, Dr. Wilhelm
Haas. The latter, an old-time career diplomat, felt the newly ar-
rived re-emigrant from Britain could not be considered national zu-
verliissig (a reliable patriot).
Then, in the fall of 1950, the Office for the Defense of the Con-
stitution was being organized. A group of former Resistance men,
with considerable influence in Bonn, in particular Minister Jakob
Kaiser, advanced Dr. John's candidacy for the top post in the new
On a matter of such importance, the Bonn Government, under
the Occupation Statute then in force, was required to consult with
the Allied High Commissioners. The British representative on the
High Commission, Sir Ivane Kirkpatrick, who had known John in
London during the war, warmly lecommended him for the job.
The American and French representatives did not at first agree,
but later they withdrew their objections.
Towards the end of 1950, John, the new president of the Bund-
esamt fiir Verfassungsschutz (BFY), moved into the unpretentious
office building at Ludwigstrasse 2, in Cologne, where this first all-
German Intelligence agency of the postwar period had set up its
The stage now was set for one of the fiercest contests for power,
as well as one of the most bizarre incidents, in the history of mod-
ern Intelligence.

In the fantastic welter of guesswork, speculation, misinterpreta-
tion and deliberate, officially inspired deception that followed upon
Otto John's disappearance behind the Iron Curtain, on July 20,
1954, the real reason underlying his desperate action was hardly
ever so much as hinted at in the world press.
To be sure, there have been a number of concurrent motives
that combined to bring about this extraordinary situation - but the
principal, determining factor was John's fear of himself falling a
victim to the merciless jungle warfare of secret services.
At the bottom of his defection there lay the bitter rivalry that
had developed over the years between the three Intelligence serv-
ices operating under the jurisdiction of the BOlin Government, to
(1) The Gehlen Apparatus, already described in Chapter 18;
(2) The Office for the Defense of the Constitution (BFV); and
(3) The "Information Division" of the so-called AmI Blank, i.e.,
the embryonic Defense Ministry then being organized.
. The head of this last-named outfit was Lieutenant-Colonel
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinz, whose cryptic warning to John, in 1955,
has already been quoted in the preceding chapter.
Who is this F. W. Heinz?
In 1919, when he was 20 years old, the young officer, like so
many of his fellow-soldiers of the lost World War I, enlisted in the
ranks of the so-called Ehrhardt-Brigade, a right-wing terrorist or-
ganization. He took an active part in the 1920 Kapp-Putsch, which
was aimed at the overthrow of the young Weimer Republic. From
1923 on, he belonged to a group of nationalistic authors on or
close to the lunatic fringe, which also included Ernst JUnger, Franz
Schauwecker, Ernst von Salomon, etc. In 1926, Heinz became
editor of the nationalist weekly Stalllhelm, organ of the "Steel Hel-
met" association of war veterans.
He was for several years an active member of the Nazi Party.
Although he claims to have been expelled from it after a 1928-29
attempt to eliminate Hitler from the leadership, Heinz suffered no
untoward consequences after the Nazi seizure of power. At any
rate, he was appointed, in 1936, to a post as department head in
the foreign section of the Abwehr. In this capacity, he was closely
associated for several years with Admiral Wilhelm Canaris and Gen-
eral Hans Oster, the two top chiefs of the Abwehr, both of whom
eventually turned against Hitler and paid for it with their lives.
Heinz, too, was arrested after the failure of the 20th of July plot,
but he survived the big purge that followed. He stayed in Berlin
through its siege and capture by the Red Army. In spite of his rec-
ord asa militant rightist and Nazi, he not only remained a free
man, but was even appointed mayor of the small town of Pieskow,
in the Soviet zone of occupation, a: post he held from June 1, 1945,
through March 31, 1946.
From this remarkable accomplishment, which he has never been
able to explain satisfactorily, it may be inferred that Heinz was al-
ready "persona grata" with the Soviets - in other words, that he
had been a double agent during the war.
With such doubtful qualifications, Heinz, after the establishment
of the Federal Rep,ublic in September 1949, was appointed to the
staff of Chancellor Adenauer's first military adviser, Count Schwer-
in. I
Later, when the BFV was being organized, Heinz (sponsored
by the French High Commissioner) applied for the top post, which
instead went to Otto John. Ever since, there has been a smoulder-
ing feud between the two former Abwehr officers. The two men,
incidentally, saw each other again'in Wiesbaden (where Heinz still
lives) after John's return to that city in 1949.
Rather than take a back bench in John's office of the BFV, Heinz
eagerly seized the opportunity offered him then to become head of
the embryonic Defense Department, which on December 1, 1950,
was put in the charge of Christian trade union leader Theodor
Blank (hence it was called the "Blank Office"). In the following
years, Heinz developed and expanded his "Information Division"
into a full-dress Intelligence service of his own, which could not,
however, compare in size and scope, with those operated by Gehlen
and John.
From the start of the three-cornered fight between Gehlen, John
and Heinz, the Soviet Intelligence Service and its East German
satellite, the SSD, made repeated attempts to draw one or the other
of these rival West German Intelligence chiefs over to their side.
As far as is known, they never tackled Gehlen, who is of course
a poor prospect for conversion to the Communist cause. But they
did contrive to get hold of both John and Heinz, at any rate for a
while, in 1954.
In the case of Heinz, the first known attempt to draw him over
to the Soviet side was made in June 1952. At that time, an agent
of the SSD called on a former secretary of Heinz, who lived in
Berlin at a place not far away from the Soviet sector, and attempt-
ed to persuade the woman to get in touch with her former boss and
ask him to visit her at her apartment. This would presumably
have made abduction possible, if persuasion failed. The woman,
however, informed the West Berlin representative of John, who
took no action in the case but merely gave instructions that any

further such attempt by the Soviets should be again reported to
him. He did not inform either Heinz or Blankof matter.
A second, far more serious attempt to lure Hemz eastward was
made on October 31, 1953. On that date an East German
one Alfred Friedrich, called at Heinz' office, Bahnhofstrasse 6 10
Wiesbaden (it was camouflaged as the Michael-Verlag, a pubhsh-
ing house), and bluntly asked him to to .East Germany. By
way of reward, the visitor promised Hemz a. Job as head of the
German section of the Soviet Intelligence Service and also a.
inent political position "side by side with Marshal Friedrich
Paulus" (who had been taken prisoner at .Stahngrad later head-
ed a German officers' union in league With the R:usslans).
However, Heinz, who somehow had gotten wmd. of the forth-
coming visit, had already alerted the ":iesbade? W?? at the
end of the interview dramatically burst mto the pubhsher s office,
arresting Friedrich. .
The possibility exists - as always in Intelligence - that thiS en-
tire incident was a staged show. For at that time, Heinz had
retired from active service with the Blank Office. had ostensibly
resigned, but had in fact been suspended, effective October 1,
1953. His final discharge took place on March 31, 1?54.. .
His dismissal was directly due to a volumi?ous which hiS
rival John had painstakingly compiled 10 the years
1951-53. Among other charges, Heinz was ?n
main counts: that he had been a terrorist and active .Nazi (v:
Heinz had never denied); that he had been a
official in 1945-46 (he had his office as Mayor of Pleskow to
spy on the Russians, Heinz declared in rebuttal); and that he had
had traitorous dealings with a Dutchman named J an Eland.
Here we come to one of the most sordid and mysterlous.mterludes
in an affair rich in such episodes. Eland, a double or triple
lived in Berlin at the war's end. For services, real alleged, w.hlch
he had rendered to the Dutch underground NaZI re-
gime, he was made a colonel in the Netherlands
ice, at a salary of $1,250 a month. the g.ay hfe 10 Berhn
and West German cities, without ever domg a stmt of real
Eland had to shop around for an easy and steady source of mter-
esting information. That's when he went into business with Heinz,
with whom he already had dealings while the latter was still Mayor
of Pieskow (the spy reports Heinz wrote at the time were channeled
through Eland).
So this pair of double-dealing agents set up a private Intelligence
serv,ice of their own, after Heinz, in 1946, had taken up residence
in West Germany and before he became a trusted official in the
Bonn Government four years later.
Otto John was also well acquainted with Eland, having dined
in London with him a number of times in the early postwar years.
When John returned to Wiesbaden late in 1949, he had several
meetings with both Heinz and Eland. At some of these rendezvous
a fourth and no less intriguing person was present, a Dutchwoman
named Else who worked as secretary for Eland. She was the widow
of a Lufthansa captain killed in the war, who had been a close
friend of John's.
John had no qualms about befriending the widow of his old pal,
nor about doing it at a time when, in London, he was squiring
Gisela Mann around and contemplating marriage to the latter's
mother. He saw Else frequently during his trips to Nuremberg in
the years 1946-49 and apparently he did propose to her. And he
continued to see her, after he had come back to Wiesbaden, a mar-
ried man.
After John had become director of the BFV, with resulting dam-
age to his formerly friendly relations with Heinz, a crisis also de-
veloped in the latter's relationship with the Dutchman. Apparently
Heinz, who was also about to become an important official at Bonn,
thought he could no longer afford to patronize a shady character
like Eland.
Stripped of his best source of information, the Dutchman before
long found himself also cut off from homeland subsidies. In this
dire predicament, Eland set about blackmailing Heinz who had
little choice but to pay up, since by that time he had become chief
of the "Information Division." But after a while Heinz got tired of
it, and in October 1951 he had Eland arrested.
On June 19, 1952, Eland went on trial before a Wiesbaden court,
on charges of blackmail and moral depravity. He was convicted,
but got off with a fairly lenient sentence - nine months in prison.
And since he had already spent that much time in the hoosegow,
pending investigation, he was immediately set free. It has been al-
leged (though hardly proven) that John had something to do with
the lenient treatment that was meted out to Eland.
o In any event, fact is that Eland, after his release, met twice
with Otto John personally, once in Cologne and once in Wiesbad-
en. On the second occasion, John, according to Der Spiegel of No-
vember 18, 1953, handed the Dutchman 100 marks and put him
on a train to Switzerland. On November 3, 1953, Eland died in a
Zurich hotel, while writing his memoirs for a Swiss publisher. In
his book, it was reported by Der Spiegel, several prominent Ger-
man Intelligence operators were going to "playa role."
At the time of Eland's sudden death, it was reported in the press
that he had succumbed to an overdose of sleeping tablets. How-
ever, on July 26, 1954 - note the date! - the Frankfurter Rund-
schau, one of West Germany's major newspapers, reported that
the case had been reopened by the Swiss criminal police, on sus-
picion that Eland had been murdered! Nothing more has been heard
of this investigation, though. Chances are that it was quietly buried
again, for a case like that would have been too hot to handle even
for the Swiss authorities ...
In any event, Eland's connections with Heinz figured promi-
nently in the dossier John had compiled about his rival. John also
obtained further incriminating material from Eland's lawyer at
the Wiesbaden trial, Helmut Kelch, who in his turn was sued by
Heinz as an "accessory to blackmail."
When his case against Heinz was complete, John turned the dos-
sier over to Adenauer's State Secretary Hans Globke, one of the
most influential men in the Bonn Government, then as now. Globke
called the material to the personal attention of the Chancellor,
who immediately instructed Blank to discharge Heinz from his of-
While the downfall of Colonel Heinz had been primarily of Otto
John's making, Gen,eral Gehlen had a hand in it, too. On this score,
the newspaper Neue Pre sse of Frankfurt, on August 11, 1954, gave
the following details:
"The former head of the 'Abwehr' in the Blank Office, Lieuten-
ant-Colonel Heinz (retired), whose conflict with Dr. John is a mat-
ter of public record, declared in Frankfurt yesterday that he had
long cautioned against John, though he had never suspected him
of being a Soviet agent.
"Heinz corrected a remark made by Mr. Sefton Delmer of the
Daily Express to the effect that he (Heinz) had warned John against
General Gehlen. H;inz, who now lives at Hahn (near Wiesbaden),
stated that he had reproached John, in a letter written in October,
1953, for intrigying with General Gehlen against himself (Heinz)
"At the time, Heinz added, he had told intimates that John was
not going to benefit from his (Heinz') downfall. For, eventually
John would be dealt with in the same manner by his former ally,
General Gehlen, who, as Mr. Delmer had pointed out correctly,
aspired to sole control of Intelligence affairs . .. (my italics, J.J.) "
Heinz' prediction that John himself was going to be treated by
the third man in the triangle, the way John had treated a weaker
rival, came true to the hilt, though perhaps in much shorter time than
Heinz had anticipated.
Indeed, one week before John crossed over into East Berlin,
General Gehlen saw to it that a fat dossier marked "This Is Otto
John" was placed on the desk of Chancellor Adenauer by the eager-
beaver bureaucrat, Dr. Globke.
"This material was of such a nature," the Rhein-Zeitung of Au-
gust 6, 1954, reported, "that the Chancellor is said to have de-
clared, just before he left for his vacation, 'I never want to see that
fellow (John) again.' John heard about this remark, it is said in
Bonn, and he took Adenauer at his word. He vanished into the
East zone 'and was seen no more."
Exactly what charges against John were contained in the Gehlen
report is not known and perhaps never will be. However, from
various hints that appeared in German papers favorable to Gehlen,
after John's flight, one may infer that the allegations included:
(1) The oft-repeated charge that John had been a Soviet agent
of long standing. For instance, the Ruhr-Nachrichten of July29,
1954, claimed, in an "exclusive" article on the John case that the
The text of this letter was partially published in Der Spiegel on Novem-
ber 18, 1953. In it, Heinz referred to his previous letter to John, dated
March 30, 1953, repeating his warning about the "poisoned cup of coun
ter.intelligence," quoted above.
latter in 1942 had turned over to British diplomat Guy Burgess "a
detailed tactical map of German air defenses"; that he had made
contact, in Stockholm in 1943, with "the Soviet spymaster Sver-
10k"; that he had worked with "General Gomez" (Zaisser) in Lon-
don; that he had maintained contact with the Soviet spy ring Rote
Kopel/e,' and that he had been in touch with the Swiss double agent
In the same vein, Der Spiegel of August 4, 1954, reported on
the basis of information allegedly supplied by the Portuguese In-
telligence service that John had been in touch with a British and
Soviet double agent by name of Eddie Chapman, operating out of
Tangier.... .
That the Soviet secret service tried to contact John, after he had
become head of the BFV, and that on at least one occasion it at-
temped to induce him to switch sides, appears to be well estab-
lished. Minister of Interior Gerhard Schroder, at a Bonn press con-
ference, on July 26, 1954, confirmed officially what had been
rumored before: that Baron von Putlitz in March of that year had
approached John, in Cologne, for the purpose of persuading him
to go over to the East German side. According to Schroder, John
rejected the offer (that was of course before he learned about the
Gehlen report), but failed to inform his superiors of the incident,
as he should have done. John, however, did record the matter in
his files with the entry: "Rejected treason proposal today."
(2) That John was an inveterate drunkard. O'Donnell, in his
Saturday Evening Post article, gives this allegation a heavy play.
John, in his story, is constantly "plastered," "well-oiled," a "lush"
indulging in "drinking bouts," "falling off the wagon," etc., etc.
This is pure Gehlen stuff. Otto John may have been a pretty
heavy drinker, but wasn't as bad as all that.
(3) That John was inclined to homosexuality.
On this score, the Ruhr-Nachrichten reported that John in 1938
was to have been indicted in. Berlin for homosexual offenses but
that the charge was withdrawn at the insistence of Count Helldorf,
Berlin Police Commissioner (who later was disgraced on the same
charge, as well as for "treason"). The paper added: "British Intel-
ligence had learned about this inclination but to this day nobody
knows for sure whether it used this knowledge to press John into
its service."
Actually, the charges of homosexuality have never been even
remotely proven in John's case. On the contrary, the record shows
that he was quite a ladies' man. Nevertheless, it appean certain
that this allegation did it, as far as Adenauer, a strict moralist, was
concerned. That wais the main reason why the old man vowed never
again to set eyes on Otto John.
Thus it was that in the middle of July 1954, John knew the jig
was up. He was a marked man, a man at bay. The best he could
hope for was a dishonorable discharge, leaving him no prospect of
getting another job in West Germany.
The supreme irony of the situation is that while the Gehlen report
was being prepared, indeed while the finishing touches were being
put to it, Otto John (in May-June 1954) was in Washington, being
briefed on how to fight Communism by F.B.I. Chief Edgar Hoo-
ver and C.LA. Chief Allen W. Dulles in person. He was also being
lavishly entertained by his hosts and was sent on a month"'long tour
of the United States, all at the expense of the American taxpayer!
And, at the very moment Messrs. Hoover and Dulles were shak-
ing Otto John's hand with ostentatious cordiality, their best friend
in Germany, General Gehlen, was busy sharpening the knife to cut
John's throat with. Again, this is Intelligence ...
From the happy, carefree days of his American jaunt, then,
Otto John was plunged, almost without transition, into the agony
of learning about the Gehlen report. To make things worse, he was
just then compelled to absent himself from Cologne (leaving the
field to his enemy), for he had accepted an invitation to attend me-
morial services in Berlin for the victims of the blood purge of July
20th, 1944.
John was in a state of evident depression when he left Bonn in
a charter plane that was also carrying several other high Govern-
ment officials to Berlin. One can imagine what memories beset him
as the plane landed at Tempelhof, ten years after the execution of
his brother and his own precipitate flight into exile.
In Berlin, where he arrived several days before the memorial
date, Otto John saw many of his old cronies again. One of the first
to meet him was Wolfgang Hofer. And now another amazing thing
happened: Hofer had been assigned by his outfit, the C.I.C., to spy
on John and report back. But over the dinner table - he dined
twice with Otto and Lucy John in those days - H(ifer instead con-
fided to his old friend that he, John, was being watched by the
C.I.C. and that the Americans suspected him of having secret con-
tacts with the East. This was all the confirmation John needed.
Now he really knew that they were out to get him.
The following day, July 20th, they all attended the memorial
service. According to O'Donnell: "The somber ceremonies to the
memory of a dead brother added the Wagnerian touch and prob-
ably triggered the crack-up. He sobbed loudly at the religious cere-
monies; he denounced two other mourners as 'Gestapo agents'; he
even was rude to his old friend, Louis Ferdinand."
In the evening, Otto John said to his wife, "I'm. just going down
for a quick beer."
He never came back.
What happened then has long since been reconstructed almost
down to the last detail, largely at John's trial in November 1956.
John, that night, went to the West Berlin office of a friend, a
Dr. Wohlgemuth, who at the time was a practicing physician in
both sectors of the divided city (an ideal "cover" for Intelligence
activities). Evidently it was a date by prearrangement.
There was another man present: Max Wonsich, an agent of the
SSD. The conversation revolved mainly around the question, what
could be done to further the cause of German reunification. Then
Wohlgemuth or Wonsich, or both, suggested it might be a fine
thing if so prominent a figure in West German public life as John
was himself placed at the head of the unity drive sponsored by the
East German Government.
John was stilI wavering and apparently he sought assurances
that he would be free to go back to West Germany any time he
wanted to. This was agreed to, and Wonsich even volunteered to
On the night of July 19, another curious thing happened. John and his
wife were having dinner at the Ritz restaurant in Berlin with Prince Louis
Ferdinand. One of the party drew in the guestbook a crude picture of a
Charlie Chaplin type of man with a tall woman wearing an even hat
and holding a little dog on a leash. A lonely palm tree and a settmg sun
provided the backdrop.
The legend underneath the drawing read: UTIS geht die Sonne nicht
unter sun never sets on us). They all put their Signatures to it (Frau
John signing as "Lieschen").
stay in West Berlin as a "hostage", in order to guarantee
that John s movements would not be restricted.
As matter of fact, plan was for John and Wohlge-
muth to make a qUIck trip across the line, have another beer
or two m East Berlin, chat with a few officials there, and then re-
turn - the same night!
And,so the/three of them started out, Wonsich (whose offer to
as had been turned down with thanks by John) lead-
the way m his own car; John and Wohlgemuth fo))owing behind
m latter's The calmly crossed the Heidekrug
from West mto East Berltn, without being stopped or ques-
tIOned on either side.
And now we come to an almost ludicrous anti-climax. You'd think
the Eas.t German Communists would have either pounced on John
as a prize catch, or would have welcomed him with open arms as
a defect?r. As a matter of fact, they did neither of these things.
!ust any other group of Berliners crossing the line for a
VISIt to the other side, the party drove to a restaurant in East
Berltn, East German officials (alerted by a telephone caU
from Wonslch) were ready to receive them. There were hand-
shakes, a few more rounds of beer, a lot more talk about German
unity, and a bit of good advice from the East Germans to Otto
go back to ":'est .Germany, resign demonstratively and pro-
claIm your determmatlOn to fight for reunification to the last
And then the unbelievable happened: John, who was perfectly
free to .go same night, balked. He had had enough of the
palace Illtngues III Bonn, he intimated, and wasn't going back, ever.
He was to .stay right where he was, in East Germany,
and fight for reUll1ficatlOn and against Adenauer's policies.
The East Germans regretfully shrugged their shoulders. It would'
have been more effective the other way, they reasoned, but they
could use John as a defector, too, if he wanted it that way.
Dr. Wohlgemuth was aghast. He realized what it would do to his
flourishing West Berlin practice if it came out that he had "abduct-
ed" Otto Joh?. it woul? mean the end of the life of Riley
he had been Itvlllg III West Berltn bars and nightclubs, and it would
mean good-bye t'J the four or five girl friends he had left behind
on the other side.
That's why the good doctor late that night drove back to West
Berlin alone frantic and distraught, muttering about the capital
blunder he had committed. He quickly gathered up his essential
belongings, left a power of attorney for his lawyer, picked up his
night nurse and favorite mistress, Annemarie Wehres, and headed
back to East Berlin as fast as he could.
For by that time it was almost dawn, and the great scandal was
about to break in West Berlin: Otto John, Head of West Germany's
Secret Police, had'fled, or had been kidnaped, into the enemy camp!
Otto John a traitor!
As a matter of fact, John that night did betray two persons,
though he himself was probably not aware of it at all. One was his
old friend Wohlgemuth, whom he left in a he)) of a fix. The other
was his old friend Hofer.
No sooner had the news of John's disappearance been bruited
about that the e.l.e. picked up Hofer for questioning. A.fter two
days of grilling, the captain, on July 23rd, shot himself at his billet.
With the complete lack of candor that seems to be a "must" in
such cases, the Army, announcing Hofer's suicide a few days later,
blandly declared there was no connection with the John affair. At
first, Army spokesmen even denied that the two had
each other. Later, they admitted that much, but contlllued to dIS-
pute any link between the two cases. .
John himself set the record straight. In a statement Issued from
East Berlin on July 30, he said Hofer had told him he was "fed
up" with Intelligence work and wanted to quit. He had then asked
him (John) to help him (Hofer) get a job in industry or commerce.
"Hofer was destroyed by the e.l.C,'s abuse of him," John adde.d.
Fact is Hofer had showed himself more naive than is permis-
sible in Intelligence.
Few quit this game - alive.

In the world press, the story of John's puzzling night ride through
the Iron Curtain was blown up out of all proportion. They made
a great plot out of it - where there was none.
From the start, two theories of his disappearance held each other
in even balance: one was that he had been kidnaped, after
havmg been drugged or mesmerized at Wohlgemuth's apartment;
the other, that he had defected with treasonable intent.
Actually, as I have shown above, there was neither deliberate
premeditated flight, nor abduction by force or any other means:
The whole thing just happened, in a rather haphazard, makeshift
sort of way.
Of course John did not exactly stumble into it. He had given
thought to the idea of making a fresh start in East Germany, now
that he knew that his "usefulness had ended," as they would say in
Washington. He had discussed the project with Dr. Wohlgemuth,
perhaps even before that fateful evening get-together.
Yet, when he finally acted on what had been orginally a rather
hazy notion, he did so on an impulse, in a mood, on the spur of the
moment. There was nothing planned or premeditated about it. And
he had no intention whatever of committing treason, not in the
formal sense of the term, anyway.
When high-placed figures from the other side go over to the
West - take Gouzenko, Rastvorov, Petrov, Swiatlo - they in-
variably bring dispatch-cases full of priceless documents along with
them, for these defections just as invariably involve a juicy business
deal on a cash-and-carry basis.
By contrast, Otto John crossed the line empty-handed. This has
been established beyond doubt. Before he set out on his airplane
flight from Cologne to Berlin he haQ, as a routine precaution dic-
tated by his job, carefully removed all compromising papers from
his pockets. He had no documents, no records, no notes or any-
thing else of material value to Intelligence on his person when he
rode across the line in Dr. Wohlgemuth's car.
He did not carry a suitcase, a change of clothes, not even a
toothbrush with him, for he did not mean, and was not meant, to
stay in East Berlin that night. He had not said good-bye to his wife
- and she was more astonished than when he didn't
come back that night.
John was never arrested, or held in custody, in East Germany.
He was never interrogated - certainly not in the technical sense
of the term. He was questioned, of course, but it was all done in
the friendly spirit of people with mutual interests and working to-
wards the same goal: the reunification of Germany and the main-
tenance of peace.
He knew plenty of secrets, to be sure, even though he did not
carry a single one, on paper. They were locked in his brain, and
the SSD had a pretty good notion where to look for the key to that
safe. John was not tortured, nor was he "brainwashed" in the more
technical sense. Nevertheless, in the bland give-and-take of po-
lite, even casual conversation, and in earnest debate on the great
issues of the day, the SSD sleuths masquerading as political lead-
ers, economists, scholars, etc., did manage to worm quite a few se-
crets out of him. That much seems certain..
. Otto John had elected, of his own free will, to stay in Ber-
lin. He had, to put it bluntly, thrown himself on the hospitality of
the East German Government. The least he could do, to earn his
keep, was to tk to his hosts when they feIt in a conversational
mood. If any additional stimulants were needed, the SSD knew
where to look for them. A bottle of beer, wine or vodka was never
far out of reach when John and his hosts discussed reunification
peace and goodwill among nations. '
. Then, of course, there was John's deep-seated resentment against
unscrupulous rival, General Gehlen. The Communists, by that
tIme, knew more about Gehlen apparatus than Otto John
e.ver dId. All they had to do was to go fishing for a bit of confirma-
tIOn here, a fill-the-gap item there.
John .most certainly did not turn over to the SSD (as has been
alleged III some quarters) a list of Gehlen agents, for the very good
reason that he never possessed one. He did not betray a single one
of his own men, either.
However, . the mere fact .that he was there, in East Germany _
he made qUIte a few publIc appearances in the following weeks
and months, and he was often heard on the East German radio _
enabled the Reds to bring off a very neat trick of psychological
They spread through the grapevine a rumor that John had
wIllfully defected with the intent of exposing West German secrets;
that he had brought along with him a list of undercover agents as
long as your arm; and that he was talking a mile a minute about
where to find them.
. The rumor struck panic into the hearts of many Gehlen agents
hItherto ensconced in safe positions. They surrendered en masse
to the East German authorities, especially after SSD-head Woll-
weber, in the first days of August, had declared in a number of public
statem.ents that full amnesty would be granted to every "V-man"
his identity prior to his arrest. "Once they're caught,
It s too late, Wollweber added ominously.
This mass flight into voluntary surrender was powerfully aided .
br the fact that a goodly number of Gehlen men had already been
pIcked up by the SSD as a result of the Geyer defection, the Trush-
novitch-Glaeske kidnaping affair, and several similar cases. These
arrests naturally became known in the Gehlen network, no matter
how tightly "compartmentalized" the individual cells may have
been, for they were splashed all over the East German press in
such detail that there could be no mistake.
It all added up to almost irresistible compulsion: First, the foun-
dation of the Gehlen setup in the DDR is rocked, through events
unconnected with the John affair; then the spectacular defection
of West Germany's highest-placed Intelligence officer (General
Gehlen held no office at the time and he always remained in the
shadows, while John was out fronO, a man presumed to know every
secret in the land, and known to be hostile to the Gehlen organiza-
tion; next, the cunningly disseminated rumor that John was spill-
ing every secret he knew and handing the boys over en masse to
the SSD; and, lastly, the inducement of forgiveness being dangled
before the repentant offenders' eyes.
It was a psychological catastrophe for the Gehlen apparatus,
and those of its agents who did not give themselves up under the
pressure of such circumstances must be considered brave men in-
deed. There weren't too many of them. Hundreds did surrender,
hundreds more were caught, for every surrender as a rule provided
a fresh lead for the SSD sleuths.
Thus, the Gehlen apparatus was shattered (temporarily) as a
direct result of John's casual ride across the line, even though he
committed no overt act of treason, nor did anything specific be-
yond shooting off his mouth on the radio about the old Nazis "gain-
ing the upper hand" at Bonn and Adenauer's policies leading
straight to a revival of nazism and a new world war.
"I have followed the call of my conscience," he declared on one
of these occasions, trying to explain his move to the East.
What else could he say? Imagine the most notorious "traitor" of
our day sitting down before a microphone in East Berlin and broad-
casting: "Listen, folks. Do you really want to know the true reason
why I came here. I'll tell you: I just wanted to get away from it all."
That would have been the truth, the "startling" truth behind the
Otto John Mystery, but of course it couldn't be told. Truth, hon-
esty, candor - they have no place in the world of Intelligence.
What, then, did John tell his hosts, for the sake of conversation?
Well, one secret he apparently did let out of the bag (it wasn't
much of a secret, anyway) was that the European Defense Com-
munity Treaty then in the making (it was later torpedoed by the
French Parliament) contained a secret protocol. Schmidt-Wittmack,
who defected to the East a few weeks after John, could tell the
Reds a lot more tabout this matter than John knew about it. The
existence of this protocol had long since been accepted as a fact by
all persons in ~ h e know, though Adenauer kept denying it. But it
never mattered a damn, since EDC was still-born.
John also dropped a few hints about Gehlen men being slipped
into Paris, to spy on the French ally. This, too, wasn't much of a
secret. Gehlen has his eyes and ears everywhere, so why shouldn't
he have a few planted on the terrace of the Cafe de la Paix? The
Communists eagerly seized on these "disclosures," broadcasting
them to the world and of course especially to France. There were a
few more votes cast against EDC, at the final vote on August 30,
1954, than there otherwise would have been.
There you about have it - the full extent of John's "treason":
the EDC "secret" that didn't matter in the long run; a few nasty
cracks about Gehlen and his men snooping in Paris; plus a lot of
high-sounding propaganda blasts against Adenauer's policies,
which would have been perfectly all right if he had delivered them
in the West German press and radio, as the Social-Democrats, for
one, do all the time.
The Bonn Government, naturally, was in a dire mess about the
whole thing. It was getting plenty of dirty looks from its new-found
allies in the West. The British were aghast at the thought of John
blabbing to the Russians about his experience with the British In-
telligence service. The Americans were furious because of the dam-
age done to the Gehlen outfit, then still a U.S.-owned enterprise,
and also because of the ludicrous aspects of the John visit to Wash-
ington a few weeks earlier. French officials (who should have been
delighted) were angry because the Gehlen-in-Paris story upset the
EDC applecart a little more.
Moreover, the Adenauer Government was being severely har-
assed in its own Parliament, and hounded by the world press. There
was plenty of explaining to do. But, how on earth can you explain
the seemingly inexplicable, if there is one thing you cannot possibly
do: tell the truth?
It was a pretty kettle of fish, and the masterminds in Bonn made
the worst of it. They came up with a series of "explanations" so
obviously phony that they drew howls of derision even from the
West German papers of decidedly pro-Adenauer tendencies.
To make matters worse, the official "Bulletin," which is pub-
lished weekly in English by the Press and Information Service of
the Bonn Government, came out, on July 22, 1954, with a hymn
to Otto John and his Office, entitled "Never Again a Gestapo;' that
began with these words:
"Like every democratic State, the German Federal Republic has
the right and the duty to take measures in the defense of its consti-
tution and its democratic institutions. After the war, various re-
gional Offices for the Defense of the Constitution were set up with
the help of the occupation powers. The federal-level office was es-
tablished at Cologne in 1950; its head is Dr. Otto John."
Official publications are not, as a rule, pre-dated like commer-
cial magazines, so one cannot blame this bizarre mishap on tech-
nicalities. Actually, the issue of The Bulletin in which appeared
the first mention of Otto John was printed at about the time he
was on his way to the Communist camp.
The editors of The Bulletin, however, were not at fault. Evident-
ly they had been kept in the dark about the forthcoming disgrace
of the President of BFV. And, in the fantastic confusion and tur-
moil that followed upon this unique vanishing act, nobody had
thought of rushing a "stop-the-press" order to the official printer.
Besides, everybody who was anybody in Bonn was then on vaca-
tion, or about to leave town. The chief of the government himself,
Adenauer, calmly departed for his favorite retreat at BUhler Hone
in the Black Forest the very day the public learned for the first
time of John's defection.
To go back to the "Never Again a Gcstapo" piece in The Bulle-
tin, its second paragraph indulged in a delightful bit of involuntary
"It is the responsibility of this office to safeguard the Federal Re-
public's free institutions against treasonable and subversive activi-
ties. The geographical and political position of Western Germany
makes such precaution particularly necessary, since it might other-
wise become a seedbed for espionage."
The Bonn Government of course had from the start a pretty
good notion of the real reason behind John's disappearance. But it
not. so as hint at it without exposing the fantastic secret
service tnangle It had allowed to develop in a country that didn't
want a fot espionage."
all its resources of propaganda and
to disgUIse and distort the simple truth. Official statements
Issued 10 the first few days after John had disappeared all hinted
that he had beqn drugged, kidnaped, lured; that he had fallen for
a hoax or had stepped into a baited trap. The office of the
UDlted High Commissioner, on July 23, also issued a state-
ment saymg John had been "trapped or forced" to go East and
that he was bemg "held" in the Soviet sector.
Early in August, however, the Bonn Government changed its
tune. Adenauer on August 6 called Otto John a "deserter" and on
August 11 he was officially branded a "traitor." In between, Bonn
made the preposterous gesture of offering a reward of 500 000
marks (about $119,000) for information that would clear the
John mystery. Since there was no mystery, and the Government
even then had all the information it needed to "solve" the case, the
of course was never paid. It was just a propaganda stunt
mtended to confuse public opinion even more.
. So was the comedy of the Parliamentary Commission to Inves-
.the John Case that was set up in the fall. With Adenauer's
Chnstlan Democrati.c Union in full control of the Bundestag, it was
a conclUSion that the Commission would not discover
anythmg to the Government. As a matter of fact, it never
anythmg worthwhile, although it was still sitting by the
time the runaway Intelligence chief returned, a year later.
In t.he meantime, John was getting slightly bored in his new sur-
- and who could blame him? After he had delivered
hiS e.xpected quota of propaganda broadcasts, including some pretty
fanciful ones, he had little else to do but sit around and listen to
the endless and tedious cliches and slogans that make up the intel-
lectual fare of people living under Communism
A visit he paid to the aging Field Marshal Paulus at Dres-
den, on 12, did not come off as planned either. John has
never hit. It off well with the military, and Paulus apparently
him off with the scarcely concealed suggestion that he did
not Wish to have dealings with "traitors."
Eventually, John dropped out of sight altogether and became
to an practical purposes The Forgotten Man. And this may very
well have been the determining reason why he came back. For, an
egocentric person like John just can't let the world forget him as
long as he thinks he can do something about it.
There were others, though. For one thing, he didn't get along
too well with his new East German bosses. He never had been,
and never intended to become, a Communist or fellow-traveler. It
did not take him too long to see through the threadbare pretenses
of what they call political life in East Germany.
He also missed the good life in West Germany; and last, not least,
he missed Lucy, for he entertained a genuine affection for his wife.
Soon after his flight, he had written her several tender letters which
of course were intercepted by the police. In one, dated July 23, he
said he had been forced to take this step, but would explain every-
thing to her later. This has been interpreted in some quarters as
meaning to convey that he had been kidnaped while he actually
meant something quite different, to wit: forced to leave by the
Gehlen intrigue.
In a second letter, dated July 24, he told his wife: "I read today
what the Western press has been writing about me. These accounts
leave out everything that's really important. Those people don't
understand me, or they don't want to. I am very sad that I have
caused you so much worry. I always think of you with love and ad-
A few weeks later, Frau John and her daughter gave up their
home in Cologne, where they had been under constant police sur-
veillance, and returned to London.
About the middle of 1955, if not earlier, John began sounding
out Bonn, through various channels, about what would happen to
him if he returned. He not only wanted assurances that he would
not be put in prison, but also the promise of a new job.
He was encouraged no doubt by the fact that the Federal Prose-
cutor at Karlsruhe, in a provisional report on the results of a crim-
inal investigation of the John case, expressed the view (so entirely
at variance with everything previously put out by official channels)
that his crossing into East Berlin had not been prepared before-
hand and that John had meant to return the same night.
On August 24, 1955, Der Spiegel reported that John, through
the intermediary of Communist newspaperman W. K. Gerst in
Bonn, had put out a feeler to the West German Government as
to whether or not he would be allowed to return for the purpose
of acting as middleman between Bonn and the East German regime.
"Although Johrt pointed out that he had not committed any crim-
inal action in East Germany," the magazine added, "Gerst was
told the if he returned, in any case would first be taken
into custody."
Then John's loyal friend, Prince Louis Ferdinand (who had of
course also been questioned by police about the case) pulled a few
strings with a view to bringing his pal back from the East.
The Prince was well acquainted with a Danish newspaperman
stationed in Berlin, Henrik Bonde-Henriksen, correspondent of
Denmark's leading newspaper Berlingske Tidende. As a prominent
representative of the Fourth Estate, from a neutral country, Bonde-
Henriksen was able to operate more freely on both sides of the
demarcation line than any German or other foreign correspondent.
After lunching with Otto John at the East German press club on
Friedrichstrasse, Berlin, Bonde-Henriksen OIll' day in the late fall
of 1955 traveled to Bonn, where he called on State Secretary Dr.
Strauss at the Federal Ministry of Justice. The Danish newsman
later reported:
"I asked him what would happen if Dr. John reappeared in West
Germ,any. Well aware that I often saw John, Dr. Strauss said:
" 'Tell him that he can return without risk. He will probably not
be arrested, but, naturally, we :,hall have questions to ask.'
"I passed the message on to Dr. John."
One of Otto John's fellow-conspirators in the July 20th, 1944
plot against Hitler, Fabian von Schlabrendorff, now a lawyer at
Wiesbaden, also had a hand in the sub rosa negotiations between
John and the West German Government, as did several other per-
Finally, when John's former boss, Interior Minister Dr. Gerhard
Schroder (chief architect of the legend that John had been drugged
and kidnaped), early in December 1955 repeated to the parlia-
mentary committee still investigating the case his conviction that
the former chief of the BFV had not gone to East Germany with
"treasonable intent," John apparently concluded that this official
pronouncement made it safe enough for him to return.
According to an account published in The New York Times, on
24, 1955, i.e. after John had returned and been ar-
rested: "Several hours before Dr. John's return, Herr Schroeder un-
dertook to defend John's record and character before the Bundes-
tag committee concerned with the case. Herr Schroeder told the
committee he was convinced that Dr. John had not gone to East
Germany with treasonable intent and that he had m.ade. valuable
contributions to West Germany's security before hIs dIsappear-
After this regular whitewash, in which Schroeder's State Secre-
tary Ritter von Lex also took part, one can only conclude that
who had neve; bet!n lured or trapped into going East, was
indeed tricked into going West, seventeen months later. .
Anyhow, on December 12, John into .automoblle of
Bonde-Henrikson and drove with him, wIthout mCldent, through
the main thoroughfare linking the two sectors, the Brandenburg
Gate. The prodigal son had come back.
Bonde-Henriksen later made a big cloak-and-dagger
out of the way hI( had "spirited John away" East but
it was no such thing. It was of course a first-rate Journahstlc
but it was no great exploit. For the East Germans had known
a long time that their unbidden guest was getting impatient to leave,
and they had decided not to put any in way. In
they seemed to be rather glad to get rid of hIm. (WIlly John, Otto s
70-year-old father, told the Press on December
1955 that his son had obtained a promIse from East German au
thori;ies when he defected that he could return to the .West when-
ever he liked. Strange as it may seem, the CommuOlst rulers of
East Germany simply honored that pledge.) ., .
There was no great surprise at John's return, eIther 10
Germany, or in Washington. A good many people had been 10 on
the secret that he was coming home.
On December 14, New York Times correspondent M. S: Hand-
ler cabled his paper from Bonn as follows: "Many reporters 10 Bonn
believe that some West German officials were 'in the there
is no visible proof of this, unless one faIrly mtld
titude of the Government toward Dr. John smce hIS return as eVI-
dence of previous knowledge.
"This mild attitude may have no particular significance in view
of the Government's persistent contention in the past that Dr. John
could not have betrayed West Germany because he had no secrets
to betray. This p,rsistently held line would make it difficult for the
Government to reverse itself suddenly and demand Dr. John's pros-
ecution on charges of treason."
That was during the brief interval of freedom John was allowed
to enjoy between his return and his formal arrest on treason charges
on December 23, 1955. Indeed, the Government did reverse itself.
Who gave the order for this flagrant double-cross may never be
known, but the responsibility in any event rests with Adenauer him-
However, one cannot feel too sympathetic towards John, for in
the meantime he himself had done a shabby and despicable thing.
Eagerly picking up the cue handed him by his former boss Schroder,
he now put the whole blame for what he had done on his old pal
Dr. Wohlgemuth.
Bonde-Henrikson, in a detailed account of how he brought John
back (cf. The New York Times, December 15,1955) quoted the
latter as telling him:
"Could any of my friends believe that I had passed the sector
line voluntarily? Around 8 P.M. (on July 20, 1954), I visited Dr.
~ o l f g a n g Wohlgemuth at his Uhlandstrasse clinic. He had prom-
Ised to obtain a pension for a widow of one of the executed men
who had resisted the Nazis. During the war Wohlgemuth had
helped my brother, who was later executed.
"I had tea with 'Wowo,' as we called him. Later we were to go
to another apartment he had in West Berlin. On the way he was
to contact a person who should help this widow.
"What happened after that time I don't know. I woke up two
days later in Karlshorst (Soviet military headquarters in East Ber-
lin - J.J.). There was a woman doctor at my bed. And there were
Soviet Intelligence agents arourid. I was given an injection and later
another one. My head was not clear. I think there is a Mexican
plant poison ... "
John repeated this pack of lies several times later, to anyone who
cared to listen. He stuck to it, too, during his long-delayed trial be-
fore the Federal Supreme Court at Karlsruhe which began in mid-
November 1956 and ended a month later.
He led off his defense by insisting that Wohlgemuth had drugged
and kidnaped him during a visit to the physician's apartment, and
that when he regained consciousness he was forced to "cooperate"
with the Communists. He could have done nothing else, he con-
tended, in the "hopeless" situation he was in; resistance would
have led to torture and something he had managed to avoid - the
revelation of "real secrets."
The Court did not believe one word of this and it was dead right.
Such things do happen, in fact they happen all the time, especially
in Berlin. But they just didn't happen to Otto John, who, quite to
the contrary, had been treated with great consideration in East Ber-
lin, where he had formally requested and received, on August 4,
1954, political asylum.
One curious and unexpected thing did happen in the course of
the month-long, rather dreary, trial at Karlsruhe. On November 28,
1956, John's former rival, Friedrich W. Heinz popped up - as
witness for the defense. Heinz, it must be interpolated here,. had
had a similar adventure in the meantime, or so he said. According
to his testimony at the trial, he, too, had been abducted into the
eastern zone, on December 16, 1954, while riding in the car of a
former associate in Intelligence. He woke up to face a stem Rus-
sian general who first tried to get him to cooperate and, when he
refused, threatened: "Then we shall have to treat you as an enemy."
At this point, he related, he agreed to "cooperate," all the while
thinking of suicide and escape - as John must have done, Heinz
said. In the end he related, in great detail, how he had finally es-
caped through a window and got back to the western sector after
having been held for 27 days.
The five judges listened in stony silence to this cock-and-bull
story. When he had finished his tale, the witness was not cross-
examined by either the prosecution or the counsel for the defense
- a most unusual thing. Heinz' testimony didn't help John one bit.
On December 22, 1956, the court found John guilty of treason-
able conspiracy and willful publication of false information injuri-
ous to the security of West Germany and sentenced him to four
years at hard labor, plus payment of costs expected to exceed 100,-
000 marks ($23,800).
It was a harsh sentence, for the prosecution itself had recom-
mended only two years. And the Court apparently did not take
into consideration at all the fact that John had received assurances
of leniency on which he had relied.
It is also of interest to note that the Court dismissed the charges
of treason, substituting instead the lesser one of "acts of a treason-
able nature." f
Specifically, the Court found the defendant gUilty of having dis-
closed "false i9formation that, if true, would have constituted state
secrets" on three counts: (1) that the E.D.C. treaty contained a
secret protocol; (2) that the Gehlen organization was intensifying
its activities in France; (3) that Chancellor Adenauer had ordered
him (John) to investigate one of his own Cabinet Ministers (Jakob
Kaiser). John was also convicted of having revealed the names or
aliases of three members of his staff (people attached to his office
in Cologne, not agents in the field, it should be added).
One may well wonder whether these "offenses" justified so se-
vere a sentence, especially since the question whether the state-
ments made by John were true or false remains very much in
doubt, the verdict of the Court notwithstanding.
On balance, it would seem that Otto John is a man more sinned
against, than having sinned.
After another year and two months had passed, History added
one more footnote to the tang,led John affair: On the evening of
February 11, 1958, Dr. Wolfgang Wohlgemuth was arrested in
West Berlin. Police had found out that his girl friend, Annemarie,
had some time ago quietly moved back from the eastern to the
western sector of the city. They kept the woman's apartment under
constant surveillance, assuming that sooner or later the doctor
w o ~ l d pa! a call. He did and was nabbed. But the charge pending
agamst hIm was not that he had kidnaped Otto John. Rather, he
was accused of having been in the service of Soviet Intelligence.
However, John, from his prison, late in February sent a wire to
the public prosecutor reiterating his charges against Wohlgemuth.
On July 1, 1958, Dr. Wohlgemuth was released on bail of 30,000
marks by order of the Federal Supreme Court at Karlsruhe. And
on July 27, Otto John was released on parole after having served
only 19 months of his 4-year sentence. Was this act of clemency
due .to. new light that had been shed on the case by Wohlgemuth,
or dId It reflect second thoughts, in Bonn, on the justice of the stem
treatment that had been meted out to John?
In mid-December 1958, it was Wohlgemuth's tum to take his
seat in the dock at Karlsruhe. His trial, which like that of Otto
John was held partly in camera, shed little fresh light on this still
tangled affair. On December 19, Wohlgemuth was acquitted.
This, however, was not the end yet of the Otto John story. In
the early spring of 1962 it rebounded once more in. the n e w ~ whe.n
John instituted perjury proceedings against a preVIOusly
fied "star witness" for the prosecution, a man named Karl RIch-
ard Wittig. Testifying in camera, under the cover name of "In-
formant," Wittig, at Otto John's trial, had alleged that in Weimar
John had candidly admitted that he came to the eastern zone of
his own free will.
John's assertion that Wittig had perjured himself was based on
the latter's denial that he had ever been active in "Intelligence."
But John claimed to have proof of Wittig's previous connections
with secret service agents. At this writing this new case has not
yet been finally decided. It may well represent, as Die Zeit put it
on March 23, 1962, "The Last Chance of Otto John." If Wittig
is convicted of perjury, the road will be open for the eventual re-
habilitation of history's most controversial defector; if not, the Otto
John dossier may be closed for good.
Thus, more than eight years after John's bizarre nightly excur-
sion across the border line into East Berlin, his weird case still
comes under the heading of "Unfinished Business." But then,
many of IntelligenceZs most tantalizing tales never really go, be-
yond that stage ...