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West Germany’s History Riddled With Espionage With PM-Germany-Spies, Bjt

August 24, 1985

BONN, West Germany (AP) _ The defection of one of Bonn’s top spy fighters to communist East Germany is the latest in a string of espionage incidents that has plagued West Germany since the 1950s.

In July 1954, Otto John, chief of West Germany’s counter-espionage or Constitutional Protection office, drove into East Berlin with his girlfriend and was declared a political refugee by communist East Germany.

John resurfaced in West Germany in December 1955, and claimed that he had escaped from communist agents who had abducted him.

West German officials didn’t believe John. In December 1956, he was convicted on a count of espionage and sentenced to four years in prison. He was released early in 1958 and since then, has lost court appeals to clear his name.

In October 1960, Rosalie Kunze, a secretary in the Defense Ministry, was charged with heading a group of communist agents in West Germany. She was convicted in 1961 and sentenced to four years imprisonment.

In 1961, a 10-year veteran of counter-intelligence work against the Soviets, Heinz Felfe, was convicted on a charge of being a double agent. He was sentenced to 14 years imprisonment by a Karlsruhe court in 1963.

From 1962 to 1979 there were at least seven cases of espionage involving clerical workers in government ministries and in West Germany’s NATO offices.

With the exception of one woman sent back to East Germany without standing trial, all the secretaries were convicted and given prison sentences of between four and five years.

Four other people implicated in a 1979 spying case involving NATO secrets escaped to East Germany before authorities could arrest them. They were later presented on East German television by authorities, who commended them for their efforts.

Until Friday, when East Germany announced that counter-spy Hans Joachim Tiedge had crossed the border and requested asylum, the most noteworthy espionage case was the 1974 unmasking of Guenter Guillaume, an aide of then Chancellor Willy Brandt.

The revelation of the spy activities of Guillaume and his wife forced Brandt’s resignation. The couple was convicted of espionage and sentenced to prison. They were handed over to the East Germans in a 1981 spy swap.

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