Markus Wolf died on 9 November 2006 at the age of 83. See Adam Bernstein, "Markus Wolf, 83, East German Espionage Chief: Spymaster Riddled the West with Agents," Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2006, B6.
2. Post-Unification Trials
Colitt, Leslie. Spy Master: The Real-Life Karla, His Moles, and the East German Secret Police. New York: Addison-Wesley, 1995.
Clark comment: This book chronicles the exploits of Markus Wolf, head of the Main Intelligence Administration (HVA) of the East German Ministry of State Security (HfS/Stasi). It is perhaps indicative of something in our end-of-the-century culture that the master (arguably) of the spy masters of most of the last half century has to be compared to a fictional character.
Chambers calls Spy Master a "useful biography of Wolf" that "brings some useful information on East and West German intelligence operations and cases. A bit amorphous in places. Colitt seems to have fallen for Wolf's legendary charm." Click for Chambers' full review.
According to Mapother, WIR 15.1, "this book is illuminating when it talks about the former GDR but no better than popular reporting when it turns to the Federal Republic.... Espionage junkies will discover ... many lively summaries of Wolf's best cases." The author's explanation of the Günter Guillaume affair and its impact on the political fortunes of Willy Brandt "introduces dubious speculation." Overall, however, Colitt "has presented Wolf's achievement well."
Surveillant 4.3 finds particularly interesting "Wolf's descriptions of how he recruited, trained and introduced long-term sleeper agents into the stream of East German refugees fleeing to the West, and his careful infiltration of the western power structure ... which eventually caused the downfall of the Willy Brandt government." It is bothersome to Unsinger, IJI&C 10.1, that the author failed to pay much attention to "two very crucial areas where the HVA had considerable influence -- the support of terrorists and technology transfer." He concludes that this is an interesting book, but much of its information "can be found elsewhere."
Der Spiegel. "Spying Comes In from the Cold War." World Press Review 39, no. 3 (March 1992): 7-12.
Includes sidebars from Le Figero, "A Spymaster [Markus Wolf] Speaks," p. 9; and the Jerusalem Post (Sarah Honig), "Some Desperate, Dangerous Men ['Why yesterday's moles fear tomorrow']," p. 11.
De Villemarest, Pierre. Le Coup d'Etat de Markus Wolf: La guerre secrete des deux Allemagnes. Paris: Stock, 1991.
Fischer, Benjamin B. "Markus Wolf and the CIA Mole." Center for the Study of Intelligence Bulletin 10 (Winter 2000): 8-9.
Fischer tells the story of the work of the CIA's penetration agent in East German intelligence (then called the Institute for Economic Research) from 1950 to 1953. When Gotthold Krauss finally defected to the West, he brought with him "a treasure trove of counterintelligence information."
Müller-Enbergs, Helmut. Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit, Teil 2: Anleittungen für die Aebeit mit Argenten, Kundschaftern und Spion in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland. Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag, 1998.
According to Childs, I&NS 16.3, this work "deals with the work of the HV A, the GDR's external intelligence service, for most of its existence under the leadership of General Markus Wolf." It is "[b]ased on the Stasi archives as well as a mass of published materials."
Norton-Taylor, Richard. "Spy Chief Dismisses Importance of Britons in Stasi Files." The Guardian, 22 Sep. 1999. [http://www.newsunlimited.co.uk]
In a radio interview with the BBC on 21 September 1999, East Germany's former spymaster Marcus Wolf "said that British students and academics recently named as having allegedly worked for the Stasi ... could not have played an important intelligence role, because he had never heard of them."
Wolf, Markus, with Anne McElvoy. Man Without a Face: The Autobiography of Communism's Greatest Spymaster. New York: Times Books, 1997. Toronto: Random House, 1997.
Click for reviews.
These materials are arranged chronologically.
Benjamin, Daniel. "A Spymaster Returns Home." Time, 7 Oct. 1991, 35.
Tagliabue, John. "Ex-Spy for East Berlin Ends Exile from Germany." New York Times, 18 Oct. 1991, A4.
Waldrop, Teresa, and Karen Breslau. "The Secrets of a Spymaster." Newsweek, 18 Nov. 1991, 42.
Jones, Tamara, and Tyler Marshall. "Former Cold War Spymaster on Trial." Los Angeles Times, 4 May 1993, A9.
Cowell, Alan. "German Ruling Absolves Spies of Former East." New York Times, 24 May 1995, A1.
The German Federal Constitutional Court has thrown out the conviction of former East German spymaster Markus Wolf on espionage and bribery charges. The court ruled that East German intelligence officers who conducted their activities only from GDR soil could not be prosecuted for those activities elsewhere.
Kempe, Frederick. "Now a Free Agent, Master Soviet Spy Tells Rich Tales." Wall Street Journal, 25 May 1995, A1.
Profile of East German spymaster Markus Wolf. On 23 May 1995, the German high court ruled that East German spies cannot be prosecuted for conducting Cold War espionage against the West.
Gedye, Robin. "Spymaster Wins Appeal against Treason Sentence." Telegraph (London), 19 Oct. 1995. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
On 18 October 1995, the German federal appeals court "overturned the conviction of Markus Wolf ... on treason and bribery charges and ordered a retrial.... The court based its decision on a Constitutional Court ruling in May which decreed that East German spies could not be convicted on charges connected with work they carried out while on Soviet bloc territory."
Campbell, Kenneth J. "Markus Wolf: One of History's Most Effective Intelligence Chiefs." American Intelligence Journal 29, no. 1 (2011): 148-157.
"This article seeks to explain why Marcus Wolf was such a successful espionage chief.... The first part ... is a review of Wolf's background. The second part considers his achievements."
Cowell, Alan. "East Germany's Spy Chief on Trial in the West Again." New York Times, 8 Jan. 1997, A6.
New trial for Marcus Wolf, this time on charges of kidnapping while serving in the East German intelligence service. See also William Drozdiak, "E. German Spy Chief Wolf Goes on Trial Again in Berlin," Washington Post, 8 Jan. 1997, A20.
McElvoy, Anne. "The Wolf Holds His Foes at Bay Again." Telegraph (London), 12 Jan. 1997. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
McElvoy worked with Wolf on his memoirs, Man Without a Face (1997). Here, she gives her impressions of him: "Wolf has phenomenal powers of concentration and recall. He can still remember elaborate spiders' webs of the intelligence connections which he spun across the West. He radiates an air of self-confidence, verging on self-love."
Gimson, Andrew. "Spymaster Wolf Walks Free after Kidnappings." Telegraph (London), 28 May 1997. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
On 27 May 1997, "Marcus Wolf ... was given a two-year suspended jail sentence ... for his part in three kidnappings carried out by his agents" during the Cold War.
See also, Alan Cowell, "East German Ex-Spymaster Found Guilty, But Goes Free," New York Times, 28 May 1997, A8; William Drozdiak, "E. German Spy Master Convicted in Kidnappings, Received Suspended Sentence," Washington Post, 28 Jan. 1997; and Erik Kirschbaum, "Spy Chief Guilty on Cold War Charges," Washington Times, 28 May 1997, A9.
Gimson, Andrew. "Spymaster Jailed for Refusing to Name Agent." Telegraph (London), 17 Jan. 1998. [http://www.telegraph.co.uk]
Marcus Wolf "faces the prospect of six months' detention for declining to tell a court in Frankfurt the real name of an agent, 'Julius,'" who is mentioned in his memoirs.
Return to East Germany Table of Contents