On This Day — West German Spy Chief revealed to be an East German Spy (August 23 1985)

“Naturally I am a traitor, I cannot deny that.”

Hans Joachim Tiedge

August 23 2021 — Hans-Joachim Tiedge (June 24, 1937 in Berlin – April 6, 2011 near Moscow) was a head of West Germany’s counter-intelligence in the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) in Cologne. Tiedge defected to the East on August 19, 1985. The defection was made public by the East German authorities on August 23 1985. Follow us on Twitter; @INTEL_TODAY

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Hans Joachim Tiedge shocked the world in August 1985 when he fled West Germany for East Germany.

The West German Chancellor, Helmut Kohl, described the former spy chief’s defection as “catastrophic”.

East German authorities also revealed that in the past 18 months they had arrested nearly 170 West German agents in East Germany after acting on intelligence from Mr Tiedge.

“The idea of anyone defecting to the East was surprising enough, but since Mr. Tiedge was a member of the West German intelligence services it was also terrifying.

Mr. Tiedge held no love of Communism, instead he fled his home to get away from personal issues including the recent death of his wife and his own alcoholism.

[A newspaper insinuated that his wife’s death was somewhat suspicious, mentioning a previous history of domestic violence, but it goes no further than insinuation.]

Tiedge got himself cleaned up and was given a beautiful mansion in the East German countryside.

In 1990, Tiedge fled again in the hopes of avoiding prosecution by the new democratically elected and unified German government.

Looking further east, he ended up in the then-U.S.S.R. Ironically, the Soviet Union collapsed the year after Mr. Tiedge arrived.

Tiedge had been recruited by Markus Wolf. It is rather suspicious that he managed to keep such an important job despite serious debts, family issues and a drinking problem.

Herbert Hellenbroich, the head of West Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, resigned within weeks of the defection.

West German prosecutors issued an international arrest warrant for Tiedge in 1986, but Germany did not seek his extradition from Russia.

Eulenspiegel-Verlag published Tiedge’s memoirs in 1998. He lived the rest of his life in Moscow, where he died on April 6 2011.

Vor 20 Jahren: Die enttarnten Stasi-Spione


Hans Joachim Tiedge — Obit of the Day


On This Day — West German Spy Chief Defects to East (August 23 1985)

On This Day — West German Spy Chief Defects to East (August 23 1985) [2019]

35 Years Ago — West German Spy Chief Defects to East (August 23 1985)

On This Day — West German Spy Chief revealed to be an East German spy (August 23 1985)

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