East German Spy Chief Retired Due To Spine Disease, Report Says
Feb. 15, 1987
HAMBURG, West Germany (AP) _ A newspaper said Sunday that East Germany's spy chief retired because of a disabling spine disease and was not forced out because of politics.
The spy chief, Markus Wolf, 64, had held the post since 1958. His retirement ''at his own wish'' was announced Feb. 5 without details.
Some officials thought he might have fallen out of favor, but Bild, the Hamburg-based newspaper, said Sunday that Wolf has a disease that hardens the spine and causes a severe stoop.
''For the last three months he could only work part time, and has been under a doctor's constant care,'' Bild said. ''He has severe pain.''
Bild, which has good sources in West German security circles, did not attribute its information. Its report is to appear in Monday's editions, but advance excerpts were sent to news organizations on Sunday.
West German intelligence experts estimate that Wolf oversaw 2,000 Communist agents in West Germany and West Berlin over the course of his career.