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Spymaster's widow loses pension battle

The Local · 15 Aug 2011, 16:45

Published: 15 Aug 2011 16:45 GMT+02:00

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A state court in Berlin ruled that she was not entitled to payments for former "fighters against fascism" in the Nazi period because of Wolf's later involvement in spying on youths in communist East Germany.

The judges upheld a lower court's ruling.

Dubbed "The Man Without a Face" because Western intelligence services long lacked even a photograph of him, Wolf directed one of the world's most formidable espionage networks for nearly three decades.

He died in 2006 at the age of 83 but his widow Andrea refused to accept that he had been stripped of his "honorary pension" three years earlier.

In the treaty sealing German reunification in 1990, former resistance fighters against the Nazis were granted the right to an East German pension as well as their standard state retirement stipend.

Wolf was included on the list of beneficiaries until 2003, when federal authorities won an appeal to deny him the payments. The former spy fought in vain against the ruling until 2005.

The court said Monday that with his work for East Germany's dreaded Stasi secret police, Wolf "violated the basic principles of humanity and the rule of law".

In particular, the judges cited the targeting of politically suspect young East Germans for intensive observation as a practice that disqualified him for the so called heroes' pension.

Story continues below…

A legend in his own lifetime, Wolf successfully ran more than 4,000 spies across the Iron Curtain during his tenure at the Stasi's foreign intelligence division from 1958 to 1987, infiltrating countless "moles" deep into the West German government administration.

One of them, Günter Guillaume, caused the downfall of West German Chancellor Willy Brandt in 1974.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

17:55 August 15, 2011 by wenddiver
A fitting judgement for him and the rest of th STASI, would be to build a prison from the ruble of the Berlin Wall and imprision them in it forever. Luckily this monster is gone.
18:32 August 15, 2011 by AbhilashD
@ wenddriver -

He did a job. People do jobs to earn their bread and butter. Sometime into their secret service, espionage becomes a game to them, nothing else. He was a legendary spymaster, the likes of whom will probably never be seen again. He did his service to his government, and he deserves his pension.
19:47 August 15, 2011 by AirForceGuy
Sorry, no honor, no honorary pension....

And AbhilashD, Adolph Hitler also did 'service to his government'....
22:26 August 15, 2011 by AbhilashD
Hitler was himself the government. Wolf was just doing a job. He was a great spymaster, probably the greatest. He deserves his pension for the unrelenting labour he put in for his country.
00:17 August 16, 2011 by wood artist

I seriously doubt Hitler, had he lived, would have been granted his pension due to his service in WWI. Things he did later outweighed any obligation the state would have had to him. The same can be said for Wolf, who, to use your words, was almost "himself the government." He knew things and spied on everyone, enemies and friends alike.

There is a story that J Edgar Hoover could never be fired from his job at the American FBI because he knew things about everyone, including presidents. He didn't limit his spying either. The same is true of Wolf.

01:04 August 16, 2011 by Herr Müller
If the west felt this about "The Wolf " at reunification then the western government should have expelled him from Deutschland in 88'! The Western Government didn't do so! So they are obligated! The burden of reunification!

04:19 August 16, 2011 by catjones
Of all the injustices the guy was involved in, being denied a pension is not one of them.
13:44 August 16, 2011 by Klaipeda
I read Wolf's autobiography. He was interesting and like most German's led an interesting life. He moved to the Soviet Union and worked for Soviet victory during WW II. His brother fought in the Red Army. The same army that gang raped two million German women and murdered many of them in the most horrific means possible in front of their families. And then the family members were often murdered. You've all seen the holocaust movies, you should read what was done to these women.

Germany is the only country I know of that honors and gives money to people that murdered their own countrymen. Maybe Germany should erect some statues to Stalin?

In the Ukraine and other parts of eastern Europe they have a different attitude. Ukraininan nationalists honor Ukrainians that fought with the German Wehrmacht against he Red Army and two years ago the Ukrainian gov't announced it wants to bring criminal charges against the perpetrators of the Holomodor. For those of you that have not heard of the Holomodor, it was the deliberate murder of millions of Ukrainians thru starvation. The Ukrainian gov't announced the names the names of the accused and they are all Jewish.


Hitler was not the only the only person responsible for war crimes. Stalin, Churchill, FDR and Truman all had blood on their hands. A lot of it.

The Germans do everything to dishonor their people and everything to honor the murderers of Germans. Gradually things are coming out. Much has already been revealed in history books, but the mainstream media has not caught up with the uncomfortable facts that show what criminals the allied leaders were.

No one is innocent in war and that includes the glorified allies. With Germany's former enemies, one by one becoming bankrupt and powerless, hopefully a more balanced and objective view of 20th century history will be put forward. Ernst Nolte, David Irving and others are working hard towards that end.

By 1955 Germany had surpassed Great Britain in the size of its economy. After last week, Britain looks more like a third world nation than a great empire. In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed. Its now a shell of its former self. Since 2008 the USA has taken a significant hit and been knocked down several pegs. Will it continue to decline? It will not be the only superpower in a few years from now. Germany on the other hand, is doing well. This could help bring out a more balanced view of history.
19:09 August 16, 2011 by Englishted

If your idea of balanced is blaming the Russian 's revenge on Germany after attacking them without warning and killing whole villages ,as well as denial of the holocaust supported by these "historians" .

Then I will with the glorified allies stay unbalanced in the true meaning of the word.
09:47 August 18, 2011 by moistvelvet
Why should she get HIS pension anyway, did she earn it?
16:35 August 18, 2011 by Klaipeda

This article from an Israeli writer is my reply to you:

22:30 August 18, 2011 by Whipmanager
I cannot see anyone who would say that the loser gets a pension. Wolf was a loser. He might have been a great spymaster, but for the losers. He has no right to take any money from the country that beat him. His wife alligned herself with him and enjoyed great personal power from his position. She may be as guilty as he, in that respect adn certainly not worthy of any money.
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