Willi Münzenberg
Willi Münzenberg was a communist political activist. Münzenberg was the first head of the Young Communist International
Young Communist International
The Young Communist International was the parallel international youth organization affiliated with the Communist International .-International socialist youth organization before World War I:...

 in 1919-20 and established the famine-relief and propaganda
Propaganda is a form of communication that is aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position so as to benefit oneself or one's group....

 organization Workers International Relief in 1921. He was a leading propagandist for the Communist Party of Germany
Communist Party of Germany
The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

 (KPD) during the Weimar Era
Weimar Republic
The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

, but later grew disenchanted with Communism due to Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

's Great Purge
Great Purge
The Great Purge was a series of campaigns of political repression and persecution in the Soviet Union orchestrated by Joseph Stalin from 1936 to 1938...

 of the 1930s. Condemned by Stalin to be purged and arrested for treason, Münzenberg left the KPD and in Paris became a leader of the German emigre anti-fascism and anti-Stalinist community until forced to flee the Nazi advance into France in 1940. Arrested and imprisoned by the Daladier government in France, he escaped prison camp only to be found dead a few months later in a forest near the commune
Commune may refer to:In society:* Commune, a human community in which resources are shared* Commune , a township or municipality* One of the Communes of France* An Italian Comune...

 of Saint-Marcellin
Saint-Marcellin, Isère
Saint-Marcellin is a commune in the Isère department in south-eastern France.-References:*...

, France.

Early years

Willi Münzenberg was born 14 August 1889 in Erfurt
Erfurt is the capital city of Thuringia and the main city nearest to the geographical centre of Germany, located 100 km SW of Leipzig, 150 km N of Nuremberg and 180 km SE of Hannover. Erfurt Airport can be reached by plane via Munich. It lies in the southern part of the Thuringian...

, Thuringia
The Free State of Thuringia is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country.It has an area of and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany's sixteen states....

 the son of a tavern keeper, Münzenberg grew up in poverty. As a young man, he became involved with trade unions and in the Social Democratic Party of Germany
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

 (SPD). Following the SPD split in 1914 between the moderate majority (known as the Majority SPD, MSPD
Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

) and the radical minority (known as the Independent SPD
Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany
The Independent Social Democratic Party of Germany was a short-lived political party in Germany during the Second Reich and the Weimar Republic. The organization was established in 1917 as the result of a split of left wing members of the Social Democratic Party of Germany...

, USPD) over the issue of the First World War, Münzenberg sided with the Independent faction.

During World War I, Münzenberg often visited Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Lenin
Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

 at his home in Zurich
Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zurich. It is located in central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zurich...

, Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

 . In 1918, Münzenberg was a founding member of the KPD.

Münzenberg was also the head of the Young Communist International
Young Communist International
The Young Communist International was the parallel international youth organization affiliated with the Communist International .-International socialist youth organization before World War I:...

 and was the delegate of the YCI to the 2nd World Congress of the Communist International in 1920.

Political career

In 1924, Münzenberg was elected to the Reichstag, and served as a member until the banning of the KPD in 1933. Münzenberg was one of the few KPD leaders of working-class origin, a fact that was a source of immense pride for Münzenberg.

During the Weimar period, Münzenberg earned the reputation of a brilliant propagandist. His first major success was an effort to raise money and food for the victims of the Russian famine of 1921
Russian famine of 1921
The Russian famine of 1921, also known as Povolzhye famine, which began in the early spring of that year, and lasted through 1922, was a severe famine that occurred in Bolshevik Russia...

. Through his famous Berlin organization, Internationale Arbeiter-Hilfe (International Workers’ Aid or IAH, also known as Worker's International Relief or WIR), based in Berlin, Münzenberg was reputed to have sent millions of dollars’ worth of aid to the Soviet Union during the famine. In 1924 he launched Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung
Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung or AIZ was a weekly German illustrated magazine published between 1924 and 1938 in Berlin and later in Prague...

, which became the most widely-read socialist pictorial newspaper in Germany. In addition, Münzenberg worked closely with the Comintern
The Communist International, abbreviated as Comintern, also known as the Third International, was an international communist organization initiated in Moscow during March 1919...

 and the Soviet secret police (known as the Cheka
Cheka was the first of a succession of Soviet state security organizations. It was created by a decree issued on December 20, 1917, by Vladimir Lenin and subsequently led by aristocrat-turned-communist Felix Dzerzhinsky...

 between 1917–22 and as the OGPU 1922–34) to advance the communist cause internationally.

In order to broaden the Comintern's influence, Münzenberg created numerous front organization
Front organization
A front organization is any entity set up by and controlled by another organization, such as intelligence agencies, organized crime groups, banned organizations, religious or political groups, advocacy groups, or corporations...

s he termed "Innocents' Clubs". These front groups, such the Friends of Soviet Russia
Friends of Soviet Russia
The Friends of Soviet Russia was formally established in the United States on August 9, 1921 as an offshoot of the American Labor Alliance for Trade Relations with Soviet Russia...

, the World League Against Imperialism, and the International Worker's Relief Fund, were superficially devoted to an undeniably benign cause such as famine relief, anti-imperialism, or peace, though in fact Münzenberg created them to enlist the support of liberals and moderate socialists in defending the Bolshevik revolution. As he told a fellow Comintern member, "These people have the belief they are actually doing this themselves. This belief must be preserved at any price." The front organizations in turn helped funded the acquisition of the "Münzenberg Trust", a collection of small newspapers, publishing houses, movie houses, and theatres in locations around the world. Münzenberg, referred to by some as the Red Millionaire, used the businesses to pay for a limousine and an elegantly furnished apartment for himself.

Münzenberg instructed his assistant, fellow Comintern agent Otto Katz, to travel to the United States to garner support for various pro-Soviet and anti-Nazi causes as part of the Comintern Seventh World Congress' proclamation of a "Peoples' Front Against Fascism", aka the Popular Front
Popular front
A popular front is a broad coalition of different political groupings, often made up of leftists and centrists. Being very broad, they can sometimes include centrist and liberal forces as well as socialist and communist groups...

. Katz made his way to Hollywood, and in July 1936 he formed the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League for the Defense of American Democracy with Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker
Dorothy Parker was an American poet, short story writer, critic and satirist, best known for her wit, wisecracks, and eye for 20th century urban foibles....

. Many artists and writers in the U.S. flocked to join the Popular Front, the Anti-Nazi League, and related groups such as the League of American Writers
League of American Writers
The League of American Writers was an association of American novelists, playwrights, poets, journalists, and literary critics launched by the Communist Party USA in 1935...

, while movie stars such as Paul Muni
Paul Muni
Paul Muni was an Austrian-Hungarian-born American stage and film actor...

, Melvin Douglas, and James Cagney
James Cagney
James Francis Cagney, Jr. was an American actor, first on stage, then in film, where he had his greatest impact. Although he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of performances, he is best remembered for playing "tough guys." In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth...

 all agreed to sponsor the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League.

After directing the Comintern's handling of the Sacco and Vanzetti
Sacco and Vanzetti
Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were anarchists who were convicted of murdering two men during a 1920 armed robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts, United States...

 case in 1925, Münzenberg took charge of the League Against Imperialism
League against Imperialism
The League against Imperialism was founded in the Egmont Palace in Brussels, Belgium, on February 10, 1927, in presence of 175 delegates, among which 107 came from 37 countries under colonial rule. The Congress aimed at creating a "mass anti-imperialist movement" at a world scale, and was...

, created in Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 in 1927. He then achieved his greatest success with a "Counter-trial" he organized in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, in which he blamed the Reichstag fire
Reichstag fire
The Reichstag fire was an arson attack on the Reichstag building in Berlin on 27 February 1933. The event is seen as pivotal in the establishment of Nazi Germany....

 on the Nazis. During the Counter-trial, Münzenberg and his staff manufactured most of the evidence that he claimed proved that the Nazis had set the Reichstag on fire. In 1933 and in 1934, the "Münzenberg Trust" published two best-selling books, The Brown Book of the Reichstag Fire and Hitler Terror and its sequel, the Second Brown Book of the Reichstag Fire. The two Brown Books were widely accepted as fact by historians until 1960 when the journalist Fritz Tobias exposed numerous inaccuracies and false information in the Brown Books. As an example, Tobias revealed that the “secret tunnels’ that supposedly allowed the Nazis to enter and leave the Reichstag unseen were in fact tunnels for water piping. In yet another twist, more recent work by historians such as Alexander Bahar, Wilfried Kugel and Walter Hofer, after investigation of the Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 archives (which of course were not available to Münzenberg), reveals a wealth of evidence that a Nazi commando group led by Hans Georg Gewehr set the fire using self-lighting incendiaries and that van der Lubbe was brought to the scene later.
Münzenberg lived intermittently in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 from 1933 to 1940. During this time he took on a common-law wife, Babette Gross, a party member who had separated from her husband shortly after her marriage. It has been suggested that during his years in exile, Münzenberg may have had some role in recruiting Kim Philby
Kim Philby
Harold Adrian Russell "Kim" Philby was a high-ranking member of British intelligence who worked as a spy for and later defected to the Soviet Union...

 to work for the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, but there is no clear evidence for this. The argument for this theory is that Philby was recruited to work for Soviet intelligence through one of the "Münzenberg Trust"'s front organizations, the World Society for the Relief of the Victims of German Fascism based in Paris.

In 1934 Münzenberg's influence reached the antipodes when his Comintern machine sent Egon Kisch to the All-Australian Conference of the Movement Against War and Fascism
Movement Against War and Fascism
The Movement Against War and Fascism was a Communist front organisation founded in Australia in 1933. MAWF organised political ralies, meetings and issues to promote the cause of Communism, recruit members, supporters and activists and promote wider community support.The MAWF was instigated by...

 (an Australian Communist Party Front organization). What could have been a low key visit from an unknown Czech writer quickly polarized Australian society when the Conservative Lyons
Joseph Lyons
Joseph Aloysius Lyons, CH was an Australian politician. He was Labor Premier of Tasmania from 1923 to 1928 and a Minister in the James Scullin government from 1929 until his resignation from the Labor Party in March 1931...

 government declared Kisch as "undesirable as an inhabitant of, or visitor to, the Commonwealth" and attempted to exclude Kisch from Australia. Unable to produce any legal proof that Kisch was a communist, the government case collapsed and Kisch became a popular speaker disseminating Münzenberg's Comintern message. However attempts to foster a United Front against fascism in Australia eventually came to nothing.

Later life and death

Until 1936, Münzenberg remained loyal to Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

 and to the aims of Soviet foreign policy. He was well aware of the enormity of Stalin's crimes: he had personally witnessed the use of slave labour in the construction of the Moscow Canal
Moscow Canal
The Moscow Canal , named the Moscow-Volga Canal until the year 1947, is a canal that connects the Moskva River with the main transportation artery of European Russia, the Volga River. It is located in Moscow itself and in the Moscow Oblast...

, during which about 22,000 prisoners died, and had witnessed
of the betrayal of the German communist party to serve the ends of Soviet foreign policy. Yet he had never broken with Stalin.

In late 1936, fellow KPD exile Walter Ulbricht
Walter Ulbricht
Walter Ulbricht was a German communist politician. As First Secretary of the Socialist Unity Party from 1950 to 1971 , he played a leading role in the creation of the Weimar-era Communist Party of Germany and later in the early development and...

, who had parted ways with Münzenberg over the latter's refusal to carry out Stalin's directive to purge the KPD, urged him to take up an offer by Bulgarian Communist party leader Georgi Dimitrov
Georgi Dimitrov
Georgi Dimitrov Mikhaylov , also known as Georgi Mikhaylovich Dimitrov , was a Bulgarian Communist politician...

, then residing in Moscow, to return there and assume other missions on behalf of the Comintern. Münzenberg refused, stating that he could not go to the Soviet Union unless he had assurances that he could leave Moscow when he was ready. He was also concerned that controls on his movements while in Moscow and the inevitable delays in getting permission to visit others would greatly impede his work, and he may also have suspected that he would be implicated and liquidated in the same Stalinist purges his disinformation organizations had previously sought to obscure through propaganda statements. Ulbricht appears to have been well aware of Münzenberg's probable fate if he returned to Moscow, since he had been communicating to Moscow reports on Münzenberg 'deviance' from Stalinist orthodoxy (One of Ulbrecht's coworkers allegedly stated to a party cell that "Wenn Münzenberg gefahren wäre, wäre er schon erschossen” ("if Münzenberg had gone (to Moscow) he would have already been shot by now.") In Paris, Ulbricht revealed to Otto Klepper, the German jurist and former Prussian minister of finance that "Wir schicken ihn nur nach Moskau, damit er erledigt wird” ("We're sending him to Moscow, so it's settled.") Shortly after urging Münzenberg to visit Moscow, Ulbricht traveled to Republican Spain, where his work consisted of identifying 'disloyal' German communists (or anyone not totally loyal to Stalin) who were fighting on the Republican side in Spain; these men were either returned to the Soviet Union to face a tribunal or were executed on the spot. From Spain Ulbricht went directly to Paris, where - over protest from some Committee members - he began purging the Popular Front Committee (PFC) of individuals 'disloyal' to Stalin. In less than two years "virtually all the writers who had been willing to work closely with the Comintern and their publisher Willi Münzenberg would be driven out or murdered by the NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....


Münzenberg was becoming increasingly marginalized by the actions of his Stalinist opponents, and in an October 1937 letter to Dimitrov, he threatened to reveal every detail of his secret work for the Comintern to the public in order to show that he was being falsely accused. In the KPD, which was rapidly being reorganized to conform to Stalinist doctrine, Münzenberg was officially condemned as a traitor who had deviated from Marxism-Leninism. Münzenberg responded by resisting any attempt to expel him from the communist movement, and his protests and arguments grew in acrimony and intensity. In late 1938 the chairman of the KPD Wilhelm Pieck
Wilhelm Pieck
Friedrich Wilhelm Reinhold Pieck was a German politician and a Communist. In 1949, he became the first President of the German Democratic Republic, an office abolished upon his death. He was succeeded by Walter Ulbricht, who served as Chairman of the Council of States.-Biography:Pieck was born to...

 concluded during a meeting of party leadership "Hauptgefahr jetzt nicht Trotzkismus, sondern Münzenberg” (The present danger is not Trotskyism, but Münzenberg.)" Unknown to Münzenberg or the leaders of the KPD, Münzenberg's fate had already been determined in 1937 by Stalin. In that year Dimitrov had noted in his diary of a private conversation with Stalin regarding Münzenberg, in which Stalin had exclaimed that "Münzenberg is a Trotskyist. If he comes (to Moscow), we will arrest him. Give some thought on how to best to lure him here."

Having been expelled from the German communist party (KPD) on trumped-up charges, Münzenberg finally moved into open opposition to Stalin. A final article on the disgraced propagandist in the Comintern journal Die Internationale warned "Unser fester Wille, die Einheit unter den Antifaschistischen herzustellen, unser Gefühl der Verantwortlichkeit vor dem deutschen Volk macht es uns daher zur Pflicht, vor Münzenberg zu warnen. Er ist ein Feind! (Our unshaking determination to unify anti-Fascists, our sense of duty before the German people obliges us to warn them about Münzenberg. He is an enemy!"

Back in Paris, Münzenberg became a genuine leader of German emigre anti-fascism, and a confirmed anti-Stalinist. His new journal, Die Zukunft
Die Zukunft
Die Zukunft was a German social-democratic weekly founded and edited by Maximilian Harden. It published allegations of homosexuality of Philip, Prince of Eulenburg, leading to the Harden–Eulenburg Affair in Wilhelmine Germany.Die Zukunft was also the name of an exile German language paper, both...

, was the intellectual forerunner of Encounter and other Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 publications. Münzenberg continued to work on behalf of anti-fascist causes throughout Western Europe, where he played a role in organizing the recruitment and acquisition of Soviet arms for the International Brigades
International Brigades
The International Brigades were military units made up of volunteers from different countries, who traveled to Spain to defend the Second Spanish Republic in the Spanish Civil War between 1936 and 1939....

 to fight for the Republican side in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...


But his time was running out. His closest professional associates in the party, Karl Radek
Karl Radek
Karl Bernhardovic Radek was a socialist active in the Polish and German movements before World War I and an international Communist leader after the Russian Revolution....

, Heinz Neumann, and countless others were arrested and either shot or worked to death in Soviet labor camps. Margarete Buber-Neumann
Margarete Buber-Neumann
Margarete Buber-Neumann , was a leading member of the Communist Party of Germany during the years of the Weimar Republic. She survived imprisonment during World War II in both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany...

, Heinz Neumann's wife and the sister of his common-law wife Babette Gross, was arrested and imprisoned in Karaganda. The NKVD eventually arranged for her to be handed over to Hitler in 1940, inadvertently saving her life. After spending the war in the relative safety of Ravensbruck concentration camp
Ravensbrück concentration camp
Ravensbrück was a notorious women's concentration camp during World War II, located in northern Germany, 90 km north of Berlin at a site near the village of Ravensbrück ....

, Buber-Neumann fled at the end of the war, reaching safety with Anglo-American forces just ahead of the advancing Soviet troops.

In June 1940, Münzenberg fled from Paris, where he had been making anti-Nazi broadcasts, in order to escape the advance of German forces. While in the south of France, he was imprisoned by the Daladier government at Camp Militaire de Chambaran, an internment camp located in the great Forêt des Chambarans (Chambaran Forest) near the commune of Roybon
Roybon is a commune in the Isère department in south-eastern France, population 1,231 in 1999....

 in southeastern France. It was there that another camp inmate unknown to Münzenberg or his colleagues, (most likely, a German communist émigré named Heinz Hirth), befriended Münzenberg, and proposed that the two of them escape in the chaos of the Armistice.Willi Münzenberg, Un Homme Contre: Actes, Colloque International, La Bibliothèque Méjanes, Institut de l'image, Aix-en-Provence (March 1992), pp. 179-181 Some sources believe this unknown communist was actually an agent of Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Beria
Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria was a Georgian Soviet politician and state security administrator, chief of the Soviet security and secret police apparatus under Joseph Stalin during World War II, and Deputy Premier in the postwar years ....

's NKVD. Münzenberg agreed, and he, the stranger, and several of Münzenberg's colleagues (including Valentin Hartig, a former SPD official, and Hans Siemsen, Münzenberg's Brown Books collaborator) fled southward, in the direction of the Swiss border. Münzenberg disappeared a few days later; it was the last anyone saw of him alive.

On October 17, 1940, in the Bois de Caugnet between Saint-Antoine-l'Abbaye
Saint-Antoine-l'Abbaye, also Saint-Antoine-en-Viennois, is a commune in the Isère department in south-eastern France.Formerly known as La-Motte-Saint-Didier, it was renamed after becoming the home of the relics of Saint Anthony the Great in the 11th century, and shortly afterwards of the original...

 and Montagne
Montagne, Isère
Montagne is a commune in the Isère department in south-eastern France.-See also:*Communes of the Isère department...

, near Saint Marcellin, French hunters discovered Münzenberg's partially decomposed corpse at the foot of an oak tree. The initial newspaper report stated that the cause of death was strangulation caused by a 'knotted cord', though other sources state that the cause of death was a garrote
A garrote or garrote vil is a handheld weapon, most often referring to a ligature of chain, rope, scarf, wire or fishing line used to strangle someone....

 (a weapon usually formed from a knotted rope or cord). The body was found resting upright on the knees, with a knotted cord draped over the skull. The knotted cord had apparently snapped soon after the body had been suspended from an overhead branch. The police investigation of the circumstances of his death, including the brief coroner's report, did not interrogate Münzenberg's fellow camp inmates, and cause of death was listed officially as suicide. However, several eyewitnesses at the prison camp, including Valentin Hartig and Hans Siemsen, reported that Münzenberg remained in high spirits both during his days at Chambaran and in the first days of his flight to freedom, whereupon they lost sight of their comrade. This tends to support the conclusion that Münzenberg was intentionally killed, either by Soviet NKVD agents or by party members acting on Stalin's orders.

Following the end of World War II, members of Münzenberg's circle that had survived both Stalin's purges and the war were closely tracked by the Abteilung Personalpolitik of the Socialistische Einheitspartei Deutschland (SED), the predecessor to the Stasi
The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security The Ministry for State Security (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit (MfS), commonly known as the Stasi (abbreviation , literally State Security), was the official state security service of East Germany. The MfS was headquartered...

, the state security service of the German Democratic Republic(GDR). Among the most notable of these was the return to Paris of Münzenberg's former companion, Babette Gross, who since 1940 had been living in Mexico with the former Prussian finance minister Otto Klepper, and who married him after returning to Paris in 1947. SED agents reported that Gross was "spreading rumors" that Münzenberg had been murdered by Soviet state security agents.

Another theory is that Münzenberg was killed by German agents working for the Gestapo, who had apparently infiltrated his organization in 1939. One of the more interesting documents in the BStU (Bundesbeauftragte für die Stasi-Unterlagen, or East German Stasi state security files) is a letter referring to information obtained from the prewar Deutschen Institut für Militärgeschichte files in Potsdam. The letter was authored by the head of Haupabteilung I, Generalmajor Kleinjung, to Erich Mielke, who at the time was the Minister of State Security. Kleinjung informed him on 10 June 1969 that there was proof that a secret agent of the Gestapo with the code name ”V 49” had infiltrated into Münzenberg’s group in 1939. The identity of agent "V 49" remains unknown.

Further reading

  • Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story of its Foreign Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1990.
  • Babette Gross, Willi Münzenberg: A Political Biography. Translated by Marian Jackson. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1974.
  • Arthur Koestler, The Invisible Writing. The Second Volume of an Autobiography: 1932-40. (1954) London: Vintage, 2005; pp. 250–259, 381-386.
  • Martin Mauthner, German Writers in French Exile, 1933-1940, London: Vallentine and Mitchell, 2007.
  • Sean McMeekin, The Red Millionaire: A Political Biography of Willi Münzenberg, Moscow's Secret Propaganda Tsar in the West, 1917-1940. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.
  • Henri Mora, Les vérités qui dérangent parcourent des chemins difficiles, 29 September 2008
  • Stephen Koch, Double Lives: Stalin, Willi Munzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals. New York: Free Press, 1994.
  • Fredrik Petersson, "In Control of Solidarity? Willi Münzenberg, the Workers’ International Relief and League against Imperialism, 1921-1935," Comintern Working Paper 8, Åbo Akademy University, 2007.
  • Fritz Tobias, The Reichstag Fire. Arnold J. Pomerans, trans. New York: Putnam, 1963.
  • Boris Volodarsky, The Orlov KGB File: The Most Successful Espionage Deception of All Time. New York: Enigma Books, 2009.

External links

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