The arrest was kept secret for a good five weeks, then the risk of something leaking became too great - and the federal prosecutor's office went public themselves. On December 13, 1961, the supreme prosecuting authority, which is responsible for treason, among other things, officially announced that a high-ranking agent in the East had been arrested on November 6.
"On Wednesday, the federal prosecutor announced the uncovering of a third case of espionage, which, according to foreign sources, is said to be taking place within the federal intelligence service," WELT reported: "It is about the arrest of the 43-year-old government councilor on probation Heinz Felfe on suspicion of treasonable activities for an eastern spy service.”
Unusually, on Monday, officers of the Munich criminal police had been granted access to the BND headquarters near Pullach in the foothills of the Alps, which was in itself inaccessible. At noon they struck Reinhard Gehlen's office building, the "Doktorhaus".
Who was Heinz Felfe? No ordinary double agent, anyway. Rather, he worked for seven different secret services over the course of his life. Felfe was clearly an expert and naturally free from any scruples.
Born in Dresden in 1918, he came from a lower-middle-class family – his father was a senior police officer and head of the vice department. As a teenager, Felfe belonged to various groups - from the Protestant youth to the boy scouts. But it was only when he joined the National Socialist Student Union in 1931, which was affiliated with the Hitler Youth in 1932, that he was apparently satisfied.
A former BND agent who knew Felfe said about him: "He had a career fetish." After elementary school, he successfully applied for police service and then joined the SS at the age of 17; He became a member of the NSDAP in 1936, at the age of 18 – as early as possible. At the beginning of October 1938, after the Munich Agreement, he took part in the occupation of the Sudetenland.
He really wanted to study law so that he could have a career in the Nazi authorities and, since he didn't have a high school diploma, was hoping for a special arrangement. But at the end of August 1939 he was drafted into an engineer battalion. His deployment close to the front lasted only a few days, because Felfe, who was always physically ill, contracted an infection and was actually decommissioned as "garrison-ready".
From 1940 he worked for the security service of the SS, the SD - the first secret service for which he worked. He did the (emergency) high school diploma and allegedly completed a law degree in just five semesters, passed the Notexamen and then the inspector’s course. At the age of 24, he had his sights firmly set on a career in the Reich Security Main Office. Uses in Berlin and in the Netherlands followed. But the defeat of the Third Reich was unstoppable. Felfe crossed over to a West Frisian island and only surrendered to Canadian soldiers there on May 31, 1945.
As a prisoner of war he worked for the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS): his second secret service. From 1947 to 1950 he lived on the earnings as an informant. Above all, he spied on the Moscow-controlled KPD in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. He also passed on his findings to an "information center" in Düsseldorf, the pre-organization of the later State Office for the Protection of the Constitution - Felfe's beginning as a double agent.
However, because he was not employed by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution due to negative information from the SIS, Felfe turned to the KGB, mediated by a war comrade, and committed himself as an agent on September 2, 1950. The third secret service he worked for. According to the BND employee and secret service historian Bruno Hechelhammer, who wrote a biography about Felfe, he did not trust the young Federal Republic, but believed in the superiority of the Soviet system. That's why he chose the supposedly stronger side.
A short time later, the Gehlen organization, the forerunner of the BND, recruited Felfe - its fourth secret service. Inwardly, however, he remained loyal to the KGB, although he was also paid by the CIA: the fifth secret service to employ him. Felfe was now passing on Soviet information – some genuine, some false. Of course, in 1956 he was accepted into the Federal Intelligence Service without any problems (Secret Service No. 6) and rose to the rank of government councillor.
Ironically, Felfe worked in the Soviet counter-espionage department, which he also headed from 1958. Moscow's mole turned out to be accurate and effective; the damage to the BND was enormous. "I wanted to look like a top in the eyes of the Soviets," was Felfe's motto. Despite some clues, no one came to him for years. Felfe proudly celebrated his tenth anniversary of service with both the KGB (secretly, of course) and the BND.
However, the master spy was unpopular with his colleagues. He was seen as arrogant and lacking in empathy. Felfe behaved submissively towards superiors; so if it worked for him, he could be charming to co-workers. He was always focused, goal-oriented and effective. Until Heinz Felfe was busted on November 6, 1961.
He was sentenced to 14 years in prison, but the Soviet side did everything they could to replace their top spy as soon as possible. About halfway through his sentence, the time had come: Felfe was allowed to leave prison and the Federal Republic in February 1969; In return, 21 actual or (mostly) alleged BND spies in GDR prison were released.
A new life awaited Felfe in the GDR: he received a professorship in criminalistics at the Humboldt University in East Berlin, as well as a house and a car. He was allowed to travel to socialist countries abroad. In his new life he continued to pursue his passion, spying: as an IM he worked for the Stasi – the seventh secret service he worked for.
That wasn't enough for him: in 1986 he published his memoirs "On the Service of the Opponent" with a West German publisher. At the press conference in East Berlin, he proudly showed his long-expired West German passport. This surprised the West German press and angered East Germany.
For despite his loyalty to the KGB, Felfe did not stand behind the communist system. The consistent pattern in Felfe's life was also evident here: Personal success was more important to him than anything else. His ego and his career came first.
After German reunification, Felfe continued to live in Berlin-Weißensee. He had finally served his sentence for espionage; no other criminal offenses could be proven against him. A few weeks after his 90th birthday, on which even Putin's secret service publicly congratulated him in 2008, Heinz Felfe died. He had worked partly consecutively, partly in parallel for seven different secret services: the SD, the SIS, the KGB, the CIA and the Org., the BND and finally the Stasi. That should be a record.
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