Title:                      Red Spy At Night

Author:                 Helga Pohl-Wannenmacher

Pohl-Wannenmacher, Helga (1977). Red Spy At Night: A True Story of Espionage And Seduction Behind The Iron Curtain. London: New English Library

LCCN:    78318350

UB271.R92 P64613


Date Posted:      March 27, 2015

Reviewed by George C. Constantinides[1]

The author, a German born in Poland, became a prisoner in Russia and ended up as a captain in the KGB. She defected to the West in West Berlin in 1956 with her son by a Soviet colonel. This purports to be her story, including some six years with the KGB. There are “Perils of Pauline”-Iike episodes and other features that give it an improbable tone and quality. She says she underwent imprisonment in the Soviet Union, near death from freezing, a marriage to a Soviet doctor who was a bigamist, another marriage to a Soviet colonel, and then recruitment into the KGB. Among her claims is that she was forced to undertake a mission to kill someone in Paris but warned the prospective KGB victim; for this she was not punished but protected. Important names, too, are dropped. She claims to have met Soviet leaders like Serov and Shvernik and the sons of Stalin and Beria. There are odd errors; she refers to the KGB by that name as of 1949 when it was so called only beginning in 1954; she speaks of the NWS when she seems to be referring to the NTS. And her description of CIA methods of operating sounds very implausible. No expert authority is known to have expressed any views of the book.

[1] Constantinides, George C. (1983). Intelligence and Espionage: An Analytical Bibliography. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, pp. 376-377


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