Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Ohio University ~ CIA Files Relating to SS Officer & KGB Spy Heinz Felfe

CIA Files Relating to Heinz Felfe, 
SS Officer And KGB Spy
Norman J. W. Goda

Ohio University

Heinz Felfe was an officer in Hitler’s SS who after World War II became a KGB penetration agent, infiltrating West German intelligence for an entire decade. He was arrested by the West German authorities in 1961 and tried in 1963 whereupon the broad outlines of his case became public knowledge. Years after his 1969 release to East Germany (in exchange for three West German spies) Felfe also wrote memoirs and in the 1980s, CIA officers involved with the case granted interviews to author Mary Ellen Reese.

In accordance with the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act the CIA has released significant formerly classified material on Felfe, including a massive “Name File” consisting of 1,900 pages; a CIA Damage Assessment of the Felfe case completed in 1963; and a 1969 study of Felfe as an example of a successful KGB penetration agent. 

These files represent the first release of official documents concerning the Felfe case, forty-five years after his arrest.

The materials are of great historical significance and add detail to the Felfe case in the following ways:
• They show in more detail than ever before how Soviet and Western intelligence alike used former Nazi SS officers during the Cold War years.


Heinz Felfe, Im Dienst des Gegners: 10 Jahre Moskaus Mann im BND (Hamburg: Rasch & Röhring, 1986); Mary
Ellen Reese, General Reinhard Gehlen: The CIA Connection (Fairfax, VA: George Mason University Press, 1990), pp.

Name File Felfe, Heinz, 4 vols., National Archives and Records Administration [NARA], Record Group [RG] 263
(Records of the Central Intelligence Agency), 

CIA Name Files, Second Release, Boxes 22-23; 
“Felfe, Heinz: Damage Assessment, NARA, RG 263, 
CIA Subject Files, Second Release, Box 1; 
“KGB Exploitation of Heinz Felfe:
Successful KGB Penetration of a Western Intelligence Service,” March 1969, NARA, RG 263, CIA Subject Files,
Second Release, Box 1.

• They show the operational details of a Soviet penetration of Western intelligence
agencies through former officers of Hitler’s SS.
• They demonstrate difficulties between US and West German intelligence concerning issues of control and security during the Cold War

Heinz Felfe was born in Dresden in 1918. He joined the Hitler Youth in 1931 before the Nazis came to power, he joined the SS in 1936 at age 17, and he became a commissioned SS officer in 1943. During the war Felfe did criminal police work in eastern Germany and in 1943 he joined the SS Foreign Intelligence branch, the SD (Sicherheitsdienst), stationed first in Switzerland and toward the end of the war in the Netherlands. 

His superiors stated that he had fine capabilities (he was fluent in English) and a strong work ethic. And there was, said one SS report, “no doubt concerning his political reliability.”

On the other hand Felfe had egoistic tendencies, often stating that he was destined for greater responsibilities.3 After the war in July 1945 he straightforwardly told his British captors in the Netherlands that he had been “an ardent Nazi.”4
Recruitment into the KGB:

From 1947 to 1950 Felfe worked for British intelligence, reporting on communist party activities in the Cologne area. The British dropped Felfe on the well-founded suspicion that he was also working for the Soviets. Later statements to the CIA by Soviet defectors and by Felfe’s own colleagues suggested that the Soviets after the war systematically

Beurteilung über den SS-Unterstürmführer Heinz Felfe, 3 November 1943, NARA, RG 242, Microfilm Publication

A3343 SSO (Records of the Berlin Document center, SS Officer Files,) Roll 201, Frame 257-58.

Tactical Interrogation Report, July 14, 1946, NARA, RG 226, Entry 190, Box 36, Folder XX8560-8577.

3 hired former SS officers for intelligence purposes, using their criminal records against them for continued leverage. The 1969 CIA report posited that:

The spotting of people like Heinz Felfe by the Soviet Union was not accidental, but the result of a well-targeted, well-developed recruitment campaign directed against former police and intelligence officers of the Nazi Reich. The thesis was simple.… Some of these people might be susceptible to a Soviet approach because of their general sympathies. Others, such as former Elite Guard (SS) and Security Service (SD) members, many of whom were now war criminals able to make their way only by hiding a past which had once put them among the elite, would be vulnerable to blackmail.

Felfe and other former SS colleagues from Dresden seem to have been easy recruits thanks partly to their bitterness toward the Allies for the firebombing of that city in February 1945. One of Felfe’s Dresden colleagues from the SD, Hans Clemens, began working for the Soviets in 1949. Felfe had given Clemens reports from the West while still working for the British, but seems not to have become a full blown Soviet agent until September 1951 when he received the code-name “Paul.”

In November the same year, Felfe secured a job in the Counter-Intelligence section of the Gehlen Organization – the West German Intelligence agency under the command of former Hitler general Reinhard Gehlen, originally sponsored by the US Army and then by the CIA. Felfe quickly moved up the ladder in the Gehlen Organization, taking charge of counter-intelligence against the Soviets in 1955. Thus the head of the West German office charged with countering Soviet espionage in West Germany was himself a Soviet agent. Felfe’s superiors in the Gehlen Organization, many of whom had also worked for Nazi criminal organizations such as the Gestapo and Secret Field Police, were themselves Soviet agents, thus making it easier for Felfe to advance in the organization...

Complete file with 17 pdf sites & copies of original documents is here: 

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