Bodo Hechelhammer: “On His Majesty‘s Secret Service”: Heinz Felfe and his intelligence work for the British secret service against the German Communist Party (1947–50)

Abstract

In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2016. Berlin: Metropol Verlag, pp. 75–96.

This article deals with an episode in the life of Heinz Felfe which, until now, has been little known. It concerns the period before he became an employee of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) as a double agent working for the Soviet KGB. The member of the SS and divisional head of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), Felfe was recruited to work for the British secret service from 1947 until 1950, when the British lost confidence in him. His mission was to spy on communist activities in the British occupation zone. Heinz Felfe developed a ‘legend’ by joining the Communists at Bonn University and the German Communist Party (KPD), where he set up a Marxist Study Group. In this way, he then rose in the regional party, gaining access to the workings of the party in the regional Diet and, subsequently, in the Bundestag. His political contacts inside the KPD also allowed him to visit to the Soviet Zone of Occupation and, then, the GDR. His motivations for this role were financial and professional: he had little money and no career. At this time Heinz Felfe was a British spy who adopted a Communists ‘legend’ as camouflage. Only later was his life story exploited by Moscow as political propaganda.

Über den Autor

Bodo Hechelhammer, Dr. phil., geb. 1968 in Darmstadt. 1988 bis 1992 Studium des Bauingenieurwesens, 1992 bis 1997 Studium der Neueren und Mittelalterlichen Geschichte sowie Kunstgeschichte, 1997 bis 1999 Stipendiat des Graduiertenkollegs »Mittelalterliche und neuzeitliche Staatlichkeit« an der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen, 2000 Promotion und bis 2002 wiss. Mitarbeiter am Historischen Institut an der Technischen Universität Darmstadt. Seit 2002 hauptamtlicher Mitarbeiter des Bundesnachrichtendienstes (BND), seit 2010 Leiter der Forschungs- und Arbeitsgruppe »Geschichte des BND«. Veröffentlichungen u. a.: Geheimobjekt Pullach. Von der NS-Mustersiedlung zur Zentrale des BND, Berlin 2014; Hg.: Mitteilungen der Forschungs- und Arbeitsgruppe »Geschichte des BND«.