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Markus Wolf
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Markus Wolf

Markus Wolf (born January 19, 1923, in Hechingen) is a former head of HVA (foreign intelligence service) East German intelligence.

He is the son of the writer and physician Friedrich Wolf and brother of film director Konrad Wolf. His father was a member of the Communist Party of Germany, and after Adolf Hitler gained power, they emigrated via France to Moscow.

During his exile, he first went to the German Karl-Liebknecht-Schule and later to a Russian school. Afterwards, he entered the Moskow Institute of Airplane-Engineering, which was evacuated to Alma Ata after Germany's attack on the Soviet Union. There he was told to join the Komintern, where he among others was prepared for conspirative work behind the enemy's lines.

After the end of the war, he was sent to Berlin with the group around Walther Ulbricht to work as a journalist for a radio station in the Soviet Zone of occupation. He was among those journalists who observed the entire Nuremberg Trials against the main Nazi leaders.

In 1953, at the age of 30, he was among the founding members of the foreign intelligence service within the ministry of state security Stasi. As intelligence chief, Wolf achieved great success in penetrating the government, political and business circles of West Germany with spies. The most influential case was that of GŁnter Guillaume that led to the fall of chancellor Willy Brandt. He retired in 1986 in order to continue the work of his late brother Konrad about them growing up in Moscow in the 1930s. The book Troika came out on the same day in East and West Germany. For the people in the East he was a symbol of the ongoing changes, because he supported the Glasnost and Perestroika policies of Mikhail Gorbachev.

In 1997 he was convicted of unlawful detention, coercion, and bodily harm, and was given a suspended sentence of two years imprisonment.


Wolf, Markus; Memoirs of a Spymaster; Pimilco; ISBN 0-7126-6655-9; (paperback 1997)