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Anonymous Secretary Stars as Spy : West German Film Tells How 'Love' Overcame Patriotism

December 13, 1987|TERRENCE PETTY | Associated Press

COLOGNE, West Germany — Fighting back tears, a woman who once worked in the office of the West German chancellor tells how she gave state secrets to East Germany out of love for a spy who seduced her.

"I wanted just one thing: security and a home for my child," says the 41-year-old woman, who had just separated from her husband when she was wooed by a man who later admitted to being an East German agent.

She tells her story in a West German government film that is being shown to government secretaries in an attempt to keep them from succumbing to the amorous advances of communist agents.

Communist spies have been operating in West Germany since its beginnings in 1949. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the West German government's domestic security agency in Cologne, says 43 suspected spies were arrested last year, 18 in 1985 and 29 in 1984. Most were spies for East Germany.

Moles and Citizens

The numbers include East German "moles" who were able to infiltrate government levels, and West Germans employed by the federal government.

Thousands of government secretaries live and work in Bonn, the federal capital, and it is fertile ground for communist agents with Romeo personalities. The city offers little excitement for singles and many of Bonn's unmarried people work for the government.

"Loneliness plays a large role in this problem," said Hans-Gert Lange, spokesman for the constitution protection office, which is in charge of domestic counter-espionage work.

About 30 West German secretaries or employees at similar levels of government have been convicted of espionage since 1950, Lange said.

Others have escaped, including Sonja Lueneburg and Ursula Richter. Both disappeared in 1985, just before it was discovered they were spies. Lueneburg was a key secretary at the Economics Ministry, Richter was a bookkeeper at a Bonn-based lobbying group for Soviet bloc refugees.

Sentenced to Prison

The most recent case was that of Margret Hoeke, a former secretary to five West German presidents. She was convicted in August of providing classified information to the Soviets and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

Like the woman in the government film, Hoeke turned to spying after falling in love with a communist agent.

The woman in the film was sentenced to four years and three months in prison in 1979, and is now trying to build a new life. The constitution protection office asked that her name not be used so that she has a better chance of doing so.

A Classic Example

The former government secretary offers a classic example of how communist agents sometimes operate to gain secret West German government information.

She met an East German man while on vacation with her daughter in Bulgaria in 1973. The woman says in the film that she was very lonely, and her daughter was extremely upset that her father was not with them.

"My daughter sat at the table and suddenly began to cry," the woman says. "She wailed and wailed, 'Mommy, why isn't Daddy here?' "

The next day a man at the beach introduced himself. The child immediately took to him, and the woman fell in love with him.

"And that's how my relationship with my control officer began," she recalls.

She married the man about a year later. He told her what his job was and persuaded her to collect documents for him from her office in Bonn. The man fled when she was arrested in 1977.

Lange said East German agents are assigned to learn all they can about West German government employees.

The film is being shown to government secretaries, virtually all of them women, with access to government secrets.

For years the office has been distributing posters alerting government employees to the possibility that flirtatious strangers could be spy recruiters.

"There is a code word which can open the door to treason: love," says one poster, showing a man caressing a woman in an idyllic meadow.

A blond woman smiles seductively in a photograph on another poster, whose caption reads: "The smile of espionage?" That poster has raised protests from some government workers who charge that it portrays women as cunning hunters of unsuspecting men.

In addition to the movie and the posters, the government has created a new security check form that asks for the personal histories of the employee and spouse. Should the employee be single, the form also asks for details about his or her lover.

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