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Wolfgang Vogel, East German spy swapper, dies at 82

Discussion in 'WWII Obituaries' started by higge, Aug 24, 2008.

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  1. lance shippey

    lance shippey Member

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    Slight Correction "The Same Sky"
    will air on "More 4" rather than "All 4" channel
    which is part of Channel 4 network and available
    on Freeview and Freesat in Great Britain.
    Lance Shippey
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Hello Lance,

    I hope you are watching this thread every now and then.

    Just like the Germans in WW2 took the food from their occupied lands, I have learnt/read that the USSR simply took a big percentage of the eastern bloc produced food items like wheat, vegetables,fruit etc just to cope as the USSR method to produce these things was truly unproductive. And then again, a lot of this was sold to capitalistic lands for money and modern vehicles say tractors, lorries etc. Have you any view on that? Thanx!
     
  3. lance shippey

    lance shippey Member

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    Dear Kai-Petri. Great hearing from you. Yes I am still involving myself in
    the tread, and have been doing research in the involvement of V.W. and
    Henschel in the production of the V1's at the "Bundesregierungs" Bunker
    and elsewhere.

    With regard to your question about harvests and modern vehicles.
    There were gross inefficiencies in the Stalinistic agricultural system, which
    was adopted by Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Gorbachev. Precios metals
    mined in Siberia were used to pay for grain imports. Meat was scarce
    Real numbers were treated as a state secret. I remember on may visits
    to the USSR, covering 10 of the 15 states, food in state run Intourist
    hotels tended to be regional. Chicken Kiev usually the best it would get.
    Moving further east, Samarkand had lamb, and much rice. also melon.
    Many Americans would become sick having eaten this. The Soviet line
    was "Their stomachs are not used to this" It was possibly due to very high
    content of fat in the lamb. It was always better to include Armenian red
    wine, and Georgian brandy to help digestion. I remember Aeroflot medium
    haul and long haul flights would serve chicken from a very large metal
    tray, with cucumber, and a tomato if you smiled at the stewardess.
    dessert was usually a piece of dry cake, or chocolate, if you were lucky.

    With reference to tractors and lorries. This is interesting, and not what you
    may think. In 1975, the USSR was one of the Worlds largest tractor producers.
    550,000 tractors (Double that of the USA). The Soviet tractor was not as
    powerful as the American tractor. 4/5 of all Soviet tractors, were produced
    in 9 plants. In the late 1960's production of 30% to 40% of tractors was
    brought to a halt because of a lack of parts. At the end of 1980 2.87 million
    tractors were delivered.
    A CIA document released and de classified gives some interesting figures.
    6% to 7% of tractor production were exported, because of domestic need.
    3/4 of the exported tractors were sold to Eastern Europe and Cuba. Most
    of these were the "Track laying" type (rather than having four wheels)
    Only Bulgaria, Poland, and Romania produced track laying models, outside
    the USSR. India also bought some of the exported tractors. 2000 were sold
    to France, Canada, U.K. and the USA. The Soviet tractor was 2/3 of the cost
    of a tractor in the U.K. 4/5 of the cost of an American tractor. The Soviets
    established a Canadian / Soviet formed a joint stock company.
    The USSR showed little interest in purchasing western made tractors, apart
    from testing some of them. Soviet tractors had good as, or better fuel
    consumption than American tractors.
    Lorries were imported from the West.( Volvo and MAN). From the East, LIAZ
    from Czechoslovakia, Csepel from Hungary and IFA from GDR.
    Buses from Karosa Czechoslovakia , and Ikarus from Hungary.

    Lance.
     
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  4. lance shippey

    lance shippey Member

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    Cold War Bunker, and its Brutal History.

    Before the Regierungs Bunker was built, 5 tunnels were used during WW2 for
    not only building the mobile launch vehicles, but also the electrical systems for
    the V2. but 3 of the 5 tunnels were used for production of the V1. These were
    tunnels 3,4,and 5 known as the Herrenberg tunnels between Dernau and
    Ahrweiler. The vineyards above the tunnels were rich in Barite, (Barium Sulphate)
    and deposits of lead ore .Barite or Baryte can be used to shield and block X-Ray,
    and Gamma Ray emissions. From August 21st 1944, until December 13th. 1944,
    approximately 1500 people from 8 nations were forced to labour in the tunnels.
    On August 4th. 1944, 168 Dutchmen were deported from Amersfoort police station
    in the Netherlands to work in Rebstock Stephan, producing the VI under specialists
    from Volkswagen. a further 199 prisoners would arrive on August 18th.
    A satelite camp of Buchenwald was built to house prisoners possibly Jewish, from
    the Hungarian / Romanian border area and spoke Romanian. Reports on the dates
    of arrival, and how many of the forced labours and p.o.w's differ, depending on the
    information given. The V2 launch vehicles, and electrical systems were produced
    in Rebstock Gollnow.
    The V2 production facilities was relocated to Artern, Thuringen. (East Germany)
    from December 14th 1944.to continue producing electrical systems.
    4000 V2 were launched, 1135 hit Great Britain. 1664 hit Belgium of which 1610
    hit Antwerp. A total of 2800 were killed by the V2.
    The Construction Director of the V2 was Walter Dornberger, He worked
    with Wernher von Braun, the scientist who developed Nazi Germany's
    rocket technology, including the V2.
    On 3rd. April 1945, Dornberger ordered his staff of 450 from Peenemunde,
    to the Lower Alp near Oberammergau. His staff and Wernher Von Braun
    spent the last month of the war at Oberjoch, near Hundelang. On May 2nd.
    1945, Dornberger surrendered to troops of the U.S. 44th. Infantry division.
    Werrnher Von Braun is pictured with him, sporting a broken arm, after
    being involved in an automobile accident.
    Dornberger had been involved in the Nazi rocket programme since 1937.
    After his surrender he was sent to Latimer House on 5th August 1945 for
    one night, before being transferred to Trent Park. Latimer House, near
    Amersham, and Trent Park near Cockfosters were used for interrogation
    and used "Bugged" cells to gain information. (Survivors of German
    battleship "Scharnhorst") were sent to Latimer House in January 1944
    for interrogation, and gleaned important information from a couple of
    survivors / p.o.w.'s about the Tirpitz, on which they had also served.
    It was revealed by Dornberger, that the Russians had attempted to make a
    secret deal, and double the offer the Americans had made for him to work
    for them. On 9th. January 1946 Dornberger was transferred to Island Farm
    Special camp (Bridgend, Glamorgan, South Wales), from Camp 1.
    He was the most hated prisoner at Island Farm, often confined to
    barracks. Many fellow prisoners would turn their back on him. When
    exercising , he would be escorted by three soldiers for his own protection.
    On 9th July 1947 he was transferred to the London cage before leaving
    for the USA, to join Wernher Von Braun and work for the Americans.
    Dornberger worked for Bell Aircraft in 1950, and in 1954, published his
    V2 wartime memoirs. He retired in 1965. and lived in Mexico for some
    time. He died at the age of 84, on 27th June 1980. in Sasbach, (Black
    Forest }.

    Lance Shippey
     
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  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Thanx Lance again.

    I have always wondered and never found any good explanation. If Hitler looked for a perfect vengeance weapon why not use a nerve gas with V2? A-bomb and other ideas were too weird to perfect. Do you have any ideas? Cheers Kph
     
  6. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Sorry that was not really about DDR.

    However I wondered about the black market. As a kid you do not think about that. We Finns during tourist travels got Champagne and vodka or Money for jeans or other clothes in the USSR. Any experience in DDR?

    My mother met in Helsinki a DDR officer and they wrote to each other for a couple of years. I have a feeling he was getting info from Finland as my father was an officer in the Finnish army. Who knows...
     
  7. lance shippey

    lance shippey Member

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    Hi Kai -Petri.
    Great hearing from you. Re. Chemical warfare in WW2.
    Dr. Gerhard Schrader was chemist at I.G. Farben. In 1936 he developed
    a chemical called "Tabun" for use against aphids. He unintentionally found
    that it had effected some of his staff for up to tree weeks. 12,000 tons of
    Tabun was filled into grenades and bombs. There were 300 Industrial
    accidents. 1938 saw Sarin being developed, and Soman in 1944.
    Information was not fully known by the Allies until 1945. 70,000 tons of
    Sarin had been produced.
    Hilter had gone blind at Werwick, Belgium, 4 weeks before the WW1
    armistice He was sent to Pasewalk, Pomerania, where he eventually
    recovered his sight. He had been gassed with English Yellow Cross
    mustard gas put into a grenade. Although Boremann, Goebbels, and
    Ley, wanted Hitler to use chemical warfare, Hilter was against it, due
    to his own experience, but more especially because of the retaliation
    by the allies. There was also another problem. The Luftwaffe did not
    have enough bombers toward the end of WW2 to drop the chemical
    filled bombs.
    I never knew my paternal grandfather because of he being infected by
    mustard gas in Northern France during WW1. It took him several years
    to die after the war had ended. The British authorities had refused to
    to pay him a disability pension. My grandmother had campaigned against
    the Governments stance, There was a tribunal, which decided that my
    Grandfather was fit to work. My Grandmother stood, and looked the men
    in the eyes, asking, "Please tell me how you expect a dead man to work"?
    "My Husband died a week ago".

    Lance.
     
  8. lance shippey

    lance shippey Member

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    Hi again Kai-Petri,
    Re. Black Market in the DDR and USSR.
    The Black Market was slightly different in each of the countries.
    Jeans were in the "Top Ten" of must haves by Russians and East Germans.
    Although bot countries could produce them, Denim (originally from Nimes
    in France) was not always available, and more importantly, the "Cut" was
    always difficult for the communists to copy. This changed in the DDR, when
    Vietnamese guest workers came to East Germany, and started an underground
    Industry, somehow tolerated by the SED, to make and sell jeans for their own
    profit. The Vietnamese suffered from racism, but less than guest workers from
    the African Continent. The East Germans were exporting clothing to Western
    Germany, such as Shirts. which used "Perlon", although sold cheaper than
    West German, or American shirts in the West, the East German product lacked
    something in appeal. When going to the DDR, I would take in Scotch Whisky.
    When sending "Care Packages" to friends in the DDR, I would include, Instant
    Coffee, Cadbury's chocolate, and Mars bars, Tooth paste from Colgate, and
    Swatch Watches I had usually bought on board flights with Western Airlines,
    and contained the Airline Logo.

    In the USSR. The many times I had to visit the USSR, I would take Nylons,
    Marlboro cigarettes as "Gifts" these were normally given to guides, whom
    worked for Intourist. (Part of the KGB) They were not allowed to accept cash,
    as a tip. but did accept the nylons. Some of them would accept Marlboro
    cigarettes, which the less "Hard Liners" would use to pay for services, such
    as Hydrofoil tickets, and keep the money given to them for cash payment of
    the tickets by their Communist Master. In Hotels, waiters would try and sell
    tourists Jars of Caviar, which they had possibly "Lifted" from the kitchen.
    I occasionally bought Caviar, but never sure it had not been "Doctored".
    Selling Jeans was always a little risky, plus, what would you spend the money
    on.? To take out more Rubles than brought in to the USSR was a problem.
    On one occasion, checked baggage arriving from New York, to St. Petersburg
    via Paris was delayed by a day, due to a "So-Called" missed connection in
    Paris. Once the baggage arrived it was not released, and delivered to the hotel.
    The owner was advised by Air France that she must go to the airport {LED}
    personally to collect the suitcases. The return taxi fare alone exceeded $100.
    The owner was taken to one side, and told to open the suitcase. She had
    made a declaration to customs when the case failed to arrive the night before,
    stating that the contents were "Personal Effects". When opening the case in
    front of the Soviet customs officer, it was revealed that the contents were
    items of "Designer Clothing"
    The lady owners defence was , "They are not mine, They were my neighbour's
    She always wanted to visit Russia, but died recently, so I thought I would bring
    her clothes to Russia, as next best thing ".
    She was allowed to import the contents on the understanding that they be
    presented to Russian customs on her departure from Moscow back to New York.

    Buying Vodka on the black market was always a little risky, as you never knew
    if Vodka was really the contents of the bottle. Kremlin Sekt, or sparkling wine
    was usually safe, but an acquired taste. I would usually buy drink from the
    duty free Berioska shops in the Intourist hotels. Payment had to be made in hard
    currency US$, GB£, Dmk.. I was told that the shops were operated by the Irish,
    as the foreign hard currency would be used for aviation fuel, supplied to Aeroflot
    at Shannon airport for Aeroflot long haul flights requiring re-fuelling. at Shannon.
    There was a Russian village built at Shannon airport to accommodate Aeroflot
    crews.
    Interflug, DDR's airline would carry a suitcase of thousands of $US for payment
    of aviation fuel of some long haul flights. There was a problem for Interflug, when
    re-fuelling at Gander {Canada}. If the East German passengers asked for political
    asylum whilst the flight was re-fuelling at Gander, the Canadian authorities would
    usually be helpful. Gander was used to refuel flights to Cuba..

    Finnair had a DC8 combi aircraft {58 seats] plus cargo in the late 1960's which flew
    Helsinki / Copenhagen / Amsterdam / New York. |I used to pick up the flight in
    Amsterdam. The crews would stay at the Biltmore hotel in New York. and gave
    5 star service. Seeing a Finnair aircraft at Moscow, or Leningrad airport leaving
    for Helsinki, with my bottom on it, made life worth living again.

    Lance

    S
     
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  9. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Thanx again Lance!

    Btw did you ever eat the best there was in the restaurant? If you did what was it? I was in Bratislava Slovakia doing Interrail as a student in 1989. We found a nice restaurant and as there was a long queue we knew the Food must be good. With One German mark the bouncer let us straight in. As Food cost NeXT to nothing we bought the most expensive thing In the menu. They kept on bringing Food for an hour and the local couple had dry looking beef NeXT to us. However the local beer was excellent too. Funny moment Poor students eat like Kings for a couple of Marks. Naturally we gave the bouncer more marks when we left so he would remember us...
     
  10. lance shippey

    lance shippey Member

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    Hi Kai-Petri,
    I remember the hotel was booked through a friend at Finnair in Manchester, England in the early
    1970's The Biltmore was chosen because Finnair crews used it, and AY got a great rate, which
    they past on to me. The Finnair crew had recommended a diner, across the street from the hotel
    where they usually ate. I went there with a friend, and the Finnair crew. I remember it well, as we
    ordered steak, which was good, however I had a drink which I thought was a type of Cola. In fact
    it was Iced tea, The first time, (and the last) I had ever tasted Iced tea. The Brits did not drink cold
    tea. and really still don't. The Swiss love it, and of course the Americans.
    I was sorry to see that the Biltmore was pulled down in the 80's. Many famous people had stayed
    there. and the rooms were comfortable. We had breakfast there was good, but I don't recall having
    dinner there. We had only two nights in New York. My best stay in New York was a little later than
    the Biltmore weekend, at the Plaza on Central Park, when I went to see a performance of American
    singer (Actor) John Davidson. and dinner in a small room where he gave his performance. at the
    Plaza.
    Bratislava is somewhere I normally stop briefly for lunch. It is still very inexpensive. I remember
    using a small bistro near the Slovakian State Museum, and overlooking the river Danube. Slovakia
    is not my favourite city, possibly because it seems always to have rained. I much prefer the Czech
    Republic, especially Olomouc, which has great restaurants, and makes a great lunch stop when
    driving from Prague to Krakow in Poland.
    I was interested in your mom writing to a DDR Officer for a couple of years. What language did they
    correspond in ? German, Finnish, or English ? For the East German Officer being in Helsinki, would
    have put him in the "Person of Interest" category.
    With regard to the Germans and a Nuclear weapon. They would have needed a further two years, at
    wars end, to have a usable nuclear bomb. (Info given by Werner Heisenberg whilst being interrogated
    by the British at the end of the war)

    Lance
     
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  11. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Cheers Lance,

    My mother wrote in English. I also recall the DDR officer took my mother and mother's friend to another restaurant straight away as soon as Russian Officers came to the bar and called them the "Money men". I guess he was afraid the Russians would have more Money to offer better drinks etc.

    By the way I read a book on Heisenberg and he had miscalculated the Uranium or Plutonium needed greatly. However when he heard about theJapanese A-bombs he seems to have understood the mechanism instantly and how wrong he had been.
     
  12. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The book of Heisenberg is by Paul Lawrence Rose. " Heisenberg and the Nazi atomic bomb project". I did not know he went to see Niels Bohr to get his project on the right tracks who naturally did not give help. Interesting details.
     
  13. lance shippey

    lance shippey Member

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    Hi Kai-Petri.
    Thanks for your Mom's story. This has brought up a lot of information I was not
    aware of.:
    There were strong sympathies for the East Germans among the Finnish public.
    The DDR operated a cultural centre in the former building of Tyovanen
    Saatopankki (STS) Finnish Workers Savings Bank in Helsinki - Hakaniemi. from
    1960 to 1989.. After the USSR, the DDR was the most important Socialist land
    for Finland.
    Finland recognised the DDR as a Country in 1972. From 1973 Diplomatic relations
    started, with the existence of a DDR Embassy in Helsinki.
    Finland's secret service "SUPO" monitored communists and home Russians. It was
    suspected that 18 (possibly 20) persons (some Finns) have been in contact with the
    Stasi in the DDR. Seppo Tiitinen, head of the SAPO had a list, which Wikileaks wanted
    to release, but did not. containing the names of the spies. The last resident of the Stasi
    in Helsinki is said to have been Col Ingolf Freyer, a DDR diplomat with a fake name.
    The Stasi and the KGB had close contact to each other. We know this for sure. Putin,
    put great value on the collaboration between the two secret police during his time in
    Dresden. also the discovery of his Stasi identity card, at his office in Angelika Strasse.
    The Soviet Union had 216 Finnish agents. which included 88 recruited agents, 73 trusted
    collaborators,, and 15 case operators. East German, and Soviet Intelligence collaborated
    so closely that the Stasi sent the KGB gathered on Finland the same day it was received.
    The Stasi is said to have sent 1400 pieces of information to the KGB during 1970 and 1980.
    most concerrning policies and military matters. There was reference made to the" Rosenholz
    Material "containing data on spies for the Stasi.
    Finnish President Kekkonen visited the DDR in 1977. Erich Honecker visited Finland in 1984.
    There were good relations and visits between the two countries until the fall of the wall.
    The DDR wanted to promote tourism. This would no doubt been Finns to visit the DDR,
    rather than the "Poor Volk" of the DDR spend their vacation in Finland.
    Many Finnish spies were trained by the CIA. and gave excellent intell. to the CIA and MI6.

    In regard to your Mom. Perhaps the East German knew one of the Russians ? and did not
    want to be approached by them in the restaurant. The fact that you father was in the Finnish
    Military would also be of interest. It is also unusual that the East German spoke English, unless
    he was part of an East German organisation such as the Embassy, Trade delegation, or Secret
    Service. (Stasi). I found that most East Germans had some knowledge of Russian, learned at
    school, but very very little or no English. They were told that German was a "Welt Sprache" or
    World Language.. Films shown in both West and East Germany were dubbed if the original
    language was English. I remember being asked on numerous occasions if I am Dutch, as
    the East Germans would illegally watch Dutchman Rudi Carrell on West German television
    and thought that I spoke German similar to the accent he had. Wolfgang Vogel spoke very
    little English, and used Helga, his second wife as translator. West German chancellor Helmut
    Kohl, i believe, did not have a large knowledge of English. Helmut Schmidt and Willy Brandt
    spoke excellent English. I am not sure how much Angela Merkel speaks, but certainly understands.
    She uses German when having to speak with Putin, as her Russian was described as" Schoolgirl
    Russian".

    Lance

    P.S. Sorry for the lack of umlauts in the few Finnish words, I have a qwerty keyboard.
     
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  14. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Cheers again Lance,

    thanx for the discussions and info as well.

    Did you know that President Kekkonen as a 17-year old boy was during civil war 1918 leader of a shooting squad as communist spies were caught and after a short military court hearing lost their lives. One must though remember that killing civilians and soldiers was equally harsh on both sides. During WW2 Kekkonen wrote anti-communistic texts in Finnish papers which is weird to see that he was after the war "the golden boy" for the USSR. Because of the good relations with the USSR he was the president from 1955-1981.There is talk that as it did not seem so straightforward that Kekkonen would win the presidency early 1960´s the USSR sent a letter requiring negotiations, and Kekkonen went to Moscow and returned with all is good again-news. His popularity was massive after that and some say the USSR did it on purpose to make him the president for sure. In 1981 he had advanced Alzheimer and was released from his presidential work and he died in 1986.

    I do not remember if I told this DDR joke. The so-called "One Ulb". As soon as the DDR radio announced that " Ulbricht spricht..." people closed the radio at the moment of Ulb...So the time period to close the radio was "One Ulb"....

    Greetings KPH
     
  15. lance shippey

    lance shippey Member

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    "Letters without Signature" New Information.
    Austin Harrison, sometimes described as "Mysterious" gave me cause to do some more
    research on the man. With the kind help of the producer of the film made for the BBC, I
    now have very interesting information concerning Mr Harrison. Wikipedia has an inclusion
    for Austin Harrison, He died in 1928, and refers to Austin Frederic Harrison. There is no
    inclusion for a subsequent Austin Harrison." Letters without Signature" Austin Harrison is
    sparse but the consultant on the film confirms that it was Rene Austin Harrison aka "Tim"
    the son of Austin Frederic Harrison, that was the man associated with "Letters without
    Signature". Rene was name after his uncle Rene, who fell during WW1.
    Rene Austin Harrison {Tim} was 12 years old when his father died. He studied at Harrow
    School, and spoke several languages, spending two years in Germany. He Volunteered for
    the British army in 1939, and served in Military Intelligence. After WW2, he worked with
    the Reuters news agency as editor specialising in German politics until 1949. He moved to
    the BBC, and was BBC correspondent and representative at the Berlin office until 1955.
    Upon returning to London, became Head of German East Zone Programme, and presented
    "Letters without Signatures" every Friday 1955 - 1975..
    He married Beatrice Margaret Harrison in 1957. She died in Nov. 2015 aged 95. Tim died
    in April 1981, aged 64. having given almost a third of his life to "Letters without Signatures".

    Some further information regarding Rene (Tim). He was probably not in danger of direct
    retaliation by the Stasi, following the establishment of a GDR embassy in London. He was
    kept under close surveillance whenever he entered the GDR (Usually to attend the Leipzig
    Fair),

    During the early years of the Cold war, the GDR attempted to "Jam" the BBC German
    Service's frequency, and listeners complained that some of the broadcasts were occasionally
    almost inaudible due to whistling sounds, and general noise on the same frequency , however
    jamming is a very costly process, meaning that even the Soviet Union (which had gone to
    huge lengths to jam BBC transmissions in Russian) eventually had to give it up. It seems that
    the GDR gave up sooner,-.possibly due to a combination of cost cutting measures, and
    relaxation of tensions with Western states.

    The decision to stop broadcasting "Letters without Signatures" in 1975, was due to a combination
    of different factors. This was the U.K. acknowledgement of the existence of the GDR. Also the
    opening of a British embassy in East Berlin. There was also the younger population of the GDR
    were less interested in communicating with the BBC, and more interested in music requests.
    It could have been because the Stasi had become more efficient at intercepting letters with
    International content, that not enough were getting through. Documents at the BBC archives
    show that the Head of the German service (Richard O'Rorke) suggests that the programme
    had to cease due to the low volume of letters. If there had been political benefits continuing
    the programme, we can be fairly sure that the Foreign Office would have insisted on this. The
    fact they didn't suggests that the cessation was politically opportune to UK foreign policy
    interests.

    I am indebted to the producer of State of Gracie Films Ltd. for the kindness shown, and time
    given, in answering some my questions in regard to the excellent documentary they produced.

    Lance Shippey
     
  16. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Cheers Lance,

    interesting that versus the document film the info you received is almost the opposite.Did they try to make the program in the document more interesting? I mean the film claims that it was listened by many people in the DDR, and the show got letters after it was closed that why did it not continue. During the best period they received ca 5000 letters per week.Stasi also listened to it as they tried to get info of the senders of the letters as they did in some cases. Too many details who they were even if they did not give their names. It also was a big problem for Stasi as they had to make so many people follow the show and try to catch the people who sent letters. Harrison et co also had the show on Friday evening so the letters were directed to the new address given on the show and the post office could not get the letters as they were closed on saturdays and on Monday the letters already had moved ahead and could not be caught. They gave hundreds of fake addresses where to send the letters. The document also claims that Stasi was ready to arrest Harrison in the late 1950´s but he did not come to the Leipzig fair then as he usually did every year. Later on they did not try because they came to the conclusion it would have been politically catastrophic to the outer world as they tried to show DDR was a polite and hard working country, not a dictatorship. Also the bulding of the Berlin wall was an obstacle to create more political problems by arresting a British radio program presenter who was well known..
    I got the feeling that as the political pressures were lowering the show was cancelled, as in the first place it was paid by the British Foreign ministry not the BBC.
    In a way I have a feeling that even if the eastern bloc people were living a poor life they considered through propaganda they had it better than in the west. As through the years information was more available the people in the east were more aware what truly happened in the west. And this lead to the destruction of the eastern bloc and the USSR.

    I recall how the Estonian people were wondering, as they could see the Finnish television programs how we had so much meat in shops in advertisements, and the communistic party claimed it was all propaganda.. The meat was not real. Those were the days....

    Also in Estonia almost all who had enough age remember the date ca 26th July 1986. Everybody was home watching the Finnish television. Why? because Emmanuelle pt 1 was shown on the Finnish tv. The streets were empty of people...... ;)
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2020
  17. lance shippey

    lance shippey Member

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    Dear Kai-Petri.
    Your comments regarding the DDR not arresting Mr Harrison whilst visiting
    whilst his visits to Leipzig is valid.

    It appears also interesting to learn that music became interesting as a tool
    for the CIA and MI6. The SED were concerned about young people becoming
    recalcitrant due to rock music. They were of the mind that the "Forbidden Sound"
    seduces people to excesses, and serves as an instrument for psychological
    warfare. It was known by the West, that rock music had a profound effect on
    East Germans for decades. In 1969 thousands of East Germans reacted to a
    false rumour that the "Rolling Stones" would be performing on the roof of a
    West German newspaper building next to the wall. The SED had for decades,
    tried to keep out the sounds of Bill Haley, Elvis, and the Rolling Stones, describing
    Rock and Roll as "Decadent, negative, counter propaganda, and a weapon of
    NATO policy". Eventually the SED admitted that it was futile to try and prevent
    the music, and started to distribute limited numbers of albums by Springsteen,
    The Beatles, and Michael Jackson, through the DDR's Amiga label (bringing
    profits to the regimes bank balance). July 1988 The DDR would allow Springsteen
    to perform in East Germany. 160,000 bought tickets, however a further 100,000
    stormed the gates. The concert was labelled a concert for Nicaragua by the
    DDR youth organisation "FDJ" This annoyed Springsteen so much that he made
    a speech in German, saying
    "I am not here for or against any government, I've come to play rock and roll for
    you, in the hope that one day all the barriers will be torn down.".
    Some later said that it was a message they had been waiting their whole lives
    for. Many East Germans understood how to read between the lines, which was
    rammed home with his rendition of Dylan's "Chimes of Freedom.
    DDR Ice Skater Katarina Witt had hosted a concert featuring Canadian, Bryan
    Adams, and British Big Country on June 19th 1988.in East Germany.

    Lance Shippey
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Cheers Lance,

    The interetesting thing about Germans is that they kept good records of everyone they were truly inteterested. Have you tried to find out who and how much they recorded of your stay in the DDR? Videos, hotel visits, details if did they search after you. I would be interested if I were you. I have become interested if they followed my moves when 12-year old youngster. Videos, short films, discussions etc the data would also give you the names and addresses who followed you.
     
  19. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    The DDR ADDRESS WAS for my mother

    Bodo Bergman, Magdeburg c. 1 DDR.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
  20. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Interestingly enough the SUPO worked postwar to catch the nazis. Many Finnish volunteers for German Army/waffen-ss had only Children in the 1960"s. The USSR influence worked until the late 80's. That is when you have a 1000 kms border with the USSR.
     

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