Born in 1963, the freelance researcher and author Stefan Appelius lives and works in Berlin. His specialist areas are history, political parties and politico-social movements. He is a professor of politics at the University of Oldenburg and a member of a research group at the Free University of Berlin focussing on the history of the East German state.
THE RAUE GROUP: A FAMILY OF COLD WAR SPIES
One of Germany’s biggest post-war spy cases
During the first years of the Cold War, in a divided Berlin before the Wall, Olga Raue, her husband and brother-in-law spied for the CIA, first in East Germany, later in the Soviet Union. Motivated by deep political convictions, Olga learned the so-called ‘tradecraft’ of spies, using dead drops in Moscow, becoming versed in cryptography and uncovering a Russian underground hydrogen bomb factory. After her betrayal by a close friend, she was detained in the Stasi’s infamous Hohenschönhausen prison in Berlin. Her fellow spies were also caught.
While she was in captivity, the Stasi attempted to turn Olga, requesting that she spy on the CIA for East German counterintelligence. But Olga refused to even countenance betraying the Americans. After six years in prison, the West German government bought her freedom; she finally left the GDR in 1977. For many years, she remained silent about her experiences. When the political science researcher Stefan Appelius was told by one of Olga’s fellow captives about the adventures of the “Raue Group”, he contacted Olga, who finally began to talk openly about her covert past. Appelius has since examined hundreds of pages of classified material, even managing to unmask the American CIA officers involved whose identities had remained unknown even to the Stasi.
The electrifying results of his research combine in this spellbinding book with its characters’ personal backgrounds, love stories, jealousy, political convictions, youthful idealism and exuberant zest for life to offer a multi-faceted panorama of a politically tense era.