World War II

The Soviet Spy Rings in Europe:

The Rote Kapelle, the Lucy Ring, & the Rote Drei

R - Z

Rado, Sandor [Alexander]. Codename Dora. London: Abelard, 1977.

Clark comment: This is the autobiography of the GRU chief in Switzerland from 1940 to 1943. For Constantinides, this account is "full of holes and marked by its propagandistic qualities." Aldrich, I&NS 6.1/212/fn. 3, says that Rado's version of events "omits many matters of interest and is propagandistic, reflecting not only the officially approved nature of the work but Rado's own firm convictions as a staunch Communist."

Read, Anthony, and David Fisher. Operation Lucy. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1981. Operation Lucy: Most Secret Spy Ring of the Second World War. New York: Coward, McCann & Gheoghegan, 1981.

Rocca and Dziak note that this book "[s]ustains the dubious thesis that the Roessler ... material was fed to the Soviets ... at the direct insistence and oversight of Churchill.... [It] asserts that Foote and 'Sissy' (Rachel Dubendorfer) were British-controlled agents. No footnotes or source citations."

Romerstein, Herbert. "Aspects of World War II History Revealed through 'ISCOT' Radio Intercepts." Journal of Intelligence History 5, no. 1 (Summer 2005). []

From Abstract: The author "sheds light on information provided by British intercepts of messages from the headquarters of the Communist International (Comintern) in Moscow to communist groups operating behind German lines during the last three years of World War II. These were particularly important for events in Yugoslavia, but also in Austria and Poland."

Tarrant, V.E. The Red Orchestra: Soviet Spy Network Inside Nazi Germany. London: Arms & Armour Press, 1995. New York: Wiley, 1996.

According to Surveillant 4.3, this study of the Soviet spy network "gives equal weight to all three apparats -- the Grand Chef's Western circuit in France, Belgium, and Holland; the Berlin network[;] and Die Rote Drei in Switzerland. Many of the myths perpetuated by earlier accounts are destroyed." For Aldrich, I&NS 11.3, Tarrant has identified and even resolved "some of the contradictions, deceptions and significant omissions abounding in the ... memoir literature" on the subject. However, he engages in hyperbole in his overly positive assessment of the value of the Red Orchestra.

McGinnis, Cryptolog, Summer 1996, notes that this is an "old subject" but "with much new material"; the book is "[w]orth reading even if you are familiar with the operation." Kruh, Cryptologia 21.2, finds that Tarrant "gives a fresh perspective to military intelligence in World War II," while Friedman, Parameters, Summer 1997, comments that "The Red Orchestra could serve as a comprehensive textbook of clandestine intelligence operations for anyone seeking to improve his or her knowledge in this area."

Thomas, Louis. "Alexander Rado." Studies in Intelligence 12, no. 3 (Summer 1968): 41-61.

Alexander (Sandor) Rado headed the Soviet Union's Swiss-based "Rote Drei" net during World War II. At the time this article was written, he was playing "a leading role in Soviet Bloc mapping programs," particularly "collecting geographic intelligence on the West" from his base in Budapest. Rado's intelligence-related activities "lasted nearly 50 years and may earn him a place in the pantheon of major intelligence figures of the times." (Footnote omitted)

Tittenhofer, Mark A. "The Rote Drei: Getting Behind the 'Lucy' Myth." Studies in Intelligence 13, no. 3 (Summer 1969): 51-90.

"Our best estimate of the life-span of the Rote Drei operation ... is 33 months, from August 1941 to May 1944." The author draws his analysis from 437 messages between Switzerland and the Center in Moscow, with some reference to classified files. He finds that Lucy (Rudolf Roessler) was not a master spy, but rather simply a cut-out for his sources. Before his death, Roessler revealed the identities of some of his sources to a trusted friend. The author continues the story of Lucy and his souces into the postwar years.

Andrew K. Megaris, "More on 'Lucy,'" Studies in Intelligence 16, no. 2 (Spring 1972): 109-111, calls this article "an admirable contribution to the literature of an important case." At the same time, however, Megaris takes issue with the article's main arguments, and suggests as a counterhypothesis that Lucy really was a myth, "a creation by Swiss intelligence to enable it to pass intelligence to the allies without compromising Swiss neutrality." Mark A. Tittenhofer, "More Yet on 'Lucy,'" Studies in Intelligence 16, no. 3 (Fall 1972): 87-88, responds to Megaris' comments. He sees post-war Soviet disclosures about the Lucy operation as "disinformation."

Trepper, Leopold. The Great Game: Memoirs of the Spy Hitler Couldn't Silence. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1977. The Great Game: The Story of the Red Orchestra. London: Michael Joseph, 1977.

Pforzheimer identifies Trepper as the founder of the Rote Kapelle and a GRU illegal in Belgium and France. He spent 1945-1954 in Lubyanka Prison. His "revelations, particularly as to his own role, may be highly selective." Constantinides also suggests that Trepper's "account is a case of partial or selective presentation." Nevertheless, his stories of the intelligence coups of his networks, the errors of Moscow, and first-hand portraits of important figures in Soviet military intelligence are interesting and important.

Clark comment: Despite the trepidations expressed about Trepper's "selective memory," these memoirs by an old communist late in life are worth reading by anyone interested in Moscow's use of non-Russian true-believers in its wideranging espionage activities. As ill treated as they were by their political masters, these indviduals formed the core of the Soviet international networks between the wars. In retrospect, they served Moscow well. Many died still believing that Stalin was an aberration, not the logical extension of what Lenin started.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Counterintelligence Staff. The Rote Kapelle: The CIA's History of Soviet Intelligence and Espionage Networks in Western Europe, 1936-1945. Washington, DC: University Publications of America, Inc., 1979.

Also listed as Paul Kesaris, ed., The Rote Kapelle: The CIA's History of Scouting Intelligence (Lanham, MD: University Publications of America, 1979); and The Rote Kapelle: The CIA's History of Soviet Intelligence and Espionage Networks in Western Europe, 1936-1945 (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1979).

Pforzheimer says this is "perhaps the most authoritative work on the Rote Kapelle (including the Rote Drei based in Switzerland)." It is "not easy reading." The fact that it is "essentially a staff study ... does not dilute its importance for specialists in ... Soviet intelligence."

To Constantinides, the book "will be the measure of other works on the subject until new information is discovered.... [I]t readily recognizes and admits gaps in its knowledge and takes care to distinguish fact from speculation." Aldrich, I&NS 11.3, notes that the CIA study is both "useful and accurate," but it is also "a dry handbook of tradecraft written for practitioners of counter-intelligence, rather than a rounded historical study."

Werner, Ruth. Sonjas Rapport. Berlin: Verlag Neues Leben, 1977. Sonya's Report: The Fascinating Autobiography of One of Russia's Most Remarkable Secret Agents. London: Chatto & Windrus, 1991.

Surveillant 2.1 identifies Sonya's Report as the autobiography of a "Soviet agent and associate/lover of Richard Sorge." It is the "professional memoir of a Communist intelligence agent.... Her greatest coup: the passing of British A-bomb secrets from Klaus Fuchs to Stalin."

Ruth Werner (born Ursula Ruth Kuczynski in Berlin in 1907) died in Berlin on 7 July 2000 at the age of 93. Her obituary, "Ruth Werner," Times (London), 10 Jul. 2000, 27, termed her "[o]ne of the most effective agents for the Soviet Union in the early, tension-filled years of the Cold War." Werner's skills as a Soviet agent are illustrated by the continuation of her work dispatching Klaus Fuchs' take to Moscow for two years after her cover had been blown to British security. After fleeing the United Kingdom in 1949, she became "a key member" of the bureaucracy of the East German Communist Party, "in which she served for several decades."

See David Binder, "Ruth Werner, Colorful and Daring Soviet Spy, Dies at 93," New York Times, 23 Jul. 2000, 27; "Cold War Spy Ruth Werner," Washington Post, 9 Jul. 2000, C6; "Ruth Werner, Soviet Spy, Died on July 7th, Aged 93," The Economist, 13 Jul. 2000, 26; and Michael Hartland, "Sonia, The Spy Who Haunted Britain," Sunday Times, 15 Jul. 2000, 1, 3.

For more on Werner's life in the world of Communist espionage, read Benjamin B. Fischer, "Farewell to Sonia, the Spy Who Haunted Britain," International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence 15, no. 1 (Spring 2002): 61-76. Fischer notes that, strictly speaking, Werner "was not ... a spy. As a GRU ... agent and illegal who served as liaison between the Moscow Center and the real spies, she was rather a spy-handler." As SONIA of the Venona transcripts, she handled both Klaus Fuchs and Melita Norwood, work that "put[s] her in the superstar category" in espionage history.

Return to Russia WWII Table of Contents

Return to Soviet Spies - By Name

Return to WWII Germany Table of Contents