West German Spy
(1886 - 1957)
The son of a wealthy landowner in Saxony, Hermann Kastner attended the
University of Leipsig where he obtained a law degree. He became a professor
of law and throughout the Nazi era in Germany he became celebrated as a
defender of anti-Nazis who were brought to trial. Before the end of the war
Kastner was arrested by the Gestapo but he managed to survive until freed by
Following the occupation of Saxony by Russia, Kastner worked in the
Ministry of Justice in East Berlin and joined the economics commission in
1948. He had by then long given up on Communism and had been in contact with
West German spy chief Reinhard Gehlen agreeing to spy for the West. He rose
rapidly in the Communist Party hierarchy until he was appointed deputy Prime
Minister under the all-powerful and ruthless Walter Ulbricht, first
secretary of the Communist Party of East Germany.
Kastner attended all secret sessions of the Party held by Ulbricht and
was able to take home a complete set of the minutes of these meetings, which
he copied before secretly returning the cabinet documents. These secrets
were easily delivered to the Gehlen organization in West Berlin by Mrs.
Kastner who simply drove through several Communist checkpoints on her
special pass as the wife of an important Communist leader, ostensibly to
shop in the better stores of West Berlin. From 1949 to 1953, Kastner was
able to keep Gehlen and the West German Government (the Federal Republic of
Germany) completely informed of all Communist intelligence activities.
Suspicion was cast on Kastner by East German agents after they
discovered serious information leaks regarding cabinet meetings but the
Russian high command in East Germany ignored the accusations leveled against
Kastner whom they considered a dedicated Communist and proficient statesman.
Then a double agent working in West Berlin defected to the East and Gehlen
immediately warned Kastner that this spy would soon expose him as a Western
Kastner and his wife hastily packed their bags (Mrs. Kastner taking
jewels with her) and were smuggled by Gehlen's agents to Bonn. Hermann
Kastner resumed his law practice and also taught legal classes. He died of a
heart attack in 1957.
[ALSO SEE: Reinhard Gehlen; Gestapo ]
[EXTERNAL LINK Regarding Hermann Kastner:
Communist ^^; Reinhard Gehlen ^^; Gestapo ^^; "Helwig" ^^; Hermann
Kastner ^^; Walter Ulbricht ^^; University of Leipsig ^^; Soviet Ministry of
Justice ^^ ]