Tag Archives: femalespy

Agnes Smedley

Agnes Smedley

Agnes Smedley - spymuseum.com

Born in Missouri in 1892, oldest of five children, father was a laborer and mother ran a boardinghouse. Moved to Colorado in 1902 and attended school.

Dropped out of grade school and didn’t attend high school but enrolled in the Normal School in Tempe, Arizona. Married Ernest George Brundin, August 23, 1912 but divorced soon thereafter. Moved to New York City and attended lectures at New York University. Became involved in an Indian revolutionary movement (financed by Germany, then an enemy of Britain). Joined Friends of Freedom for India and assisted the group with hiding secret documents and information.

Moved to California in 1915, studying at the University of California. Arrested along with Salindranath Ghose, considered a political agitator. Was indicted for fraud (but not prosecuted). Moved to New York City but soon migrated to Berlin. Was aligned with Viren Chattopadhyaya who was also considered a Communist agitator. The two lived together for eight years.

Visited Moscow in 1921 for a meeting of Indian revolutionaries. After various illnesses began teaching English at the University of Berlin. Founded a birth control clinic in Berlin before moving to Denmark. Wrote a book called “Daughter of the Earth” in 1927 continued her writings as a correspondent for the Frankfurther Zeiting. Was sent by Moscow to China in 1928, settling in Shanghai where she became an outspoken advocate of sexual freedom and women’s’ issues as well as pushing other leftist issues.

Agnes Smedley - spymuseum.comServed as an agent for the Comintern and the GRV. Worked with Richard Sorge for a period of time and was believed to have been his lover. Has a vast network of useful contacts and introduced many of them to Sorge to use in his spy ring including Ozaki Hozumi and Ruth Kuczynski. Also introduced Sorge to radio operator Max Klaussen. Continued on as a war correspondent, chronicling activities in the Chinese revolution and served for a time in 1937 in the Eighth Route Army in the field.

During World War II served as an adviser to Joseph Stillwell, the U.S. General and Military adviser to Chinese strongman Chiang Kai-Sheck, a noted anti-Communist. Persuaded Stillwell to arm Chinese Communist, convincing him that it was the lesser of two evils to help them fight against Japan.

Returned to the United States where she wrote and lectured about China and the Chinese people. Authored a book, “Battle Hymn of China,” detailing her war experiences. Fell under FBI surveillance. Was labeled a Soviet agent after statements by Sorge were released which identified her as a Communist collaborator and a chief figure in his ability to conduct his operations. Was defended by several high ranking Washington politicians.

Threatened to sue U.S. General Douglas MacArthur libel for releasing Sorge’s statements. MacArthur’s chief intelligence officer Major General Charles Willoughby dared her to sue, claiming he had more than enough information to prove the allegations correct and threatened to publicly expose her. Smedley moved to England and was due to be called by the U.S. House Un American Activities committee.

Died of acute circulatory failure on 6th May 5, 1950 in a London nursing home and was buried in China.

Read More »

Christine Granville

Christine Granville

Christine Granville - spymuseum.comBorn Krystyna Skarbek in Warsaw, Poland in 1915 , the daughter of Count Jerzy Skarbek, a Polish aristocrat and the granddaughter of a wealthy Jewish banker in the Goldfeder family. Was educated in a convent in Warsaw and at age 17 was crowned Miss Poland after winning a beauty contest.

Was married briefly but divorced her husband soon thereafter. Remarried in , this time to Georg Gizycki, a writer who was twice her age. After they were married, they were living in Africa, where he was working on a book, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland in 1939. The couple immediately traveled to Britain and she volunteered to work with British intelligence services (her husband joined the Free Polish Services and was later killed in combat).

Krystyna was brought into the Special Operations Executive branch of British intelligence, recruited because of her intellect and her fluency in several different languages. Was given the name Christine Granville by SOE and used it for the rest of her life. She was to work with resistance group in fighting the Nazi invasion and received special training in espionage.

Was assigned to Budapest where she worked under the cover of being a journalist. Her real purpose was to aid Polish refugees to escape across the border. An excellent skier, she skied several times across the Tatra Mountains into Poland to retrieve escaped Polish prisoners of war and bring them out of the country. She would go on to establish several escape routes, bringing Polish refugees back into England.

Was sent to parachute training in Cairo, Egypt and would use this training for numerous jumps into Nazi-occupied France. Was also assigned to gather information on German troop readiness in Poland as well as information on German armaments, including a new antitank gun. She traveled several times between England and Poland delivering this information. On her trip into Poland, she was stopped by German soldiers. She reportedly pulled the pins out of two live grenades and told the soldiers that if the they attempted to take her into custody, she would drop the grenades, killing all of them. The soldiers allowed her to retreat to safety.

Was stopped on another trip at the border but dumped incriminating evidence into a river beforehand. Unfortunately, she was still in possession of a large sum of money which she could not explain. Brazenly, she told the guards to either take the money and let her and her comrades or to turn everything over to their superiors (who would keep the money). The guards kept the money and let them escape. On another occasion, when stopped by border guards, she convinced them that she and her companions were simple farm peasants on their way to have a picnic. On yet another occasion where she and her companions were arrested by Hungarian police, she bluffed her way out of trouble, convincing them that she was related to Admiral Horthy, Regent of Hungary. She was soon thereafter released and made her way back to England with photos showing German troop buildup.

Was parachuted into southern France in 1944 and was used as a courier, using the name Pauline (and sometimes Jacqueline) Armand, delivering messages and materials that could not be transmitted via radio or telegraph to Cairo.

Granville was often used to spread propaganda, insisting that England would not abandon Poland in its fight against Nazi Germany and convincing Italian troops to desert their German allies. She worked for a period of time under Colonel Francois Cammaerts, head of the 10,000 troop maquis in Rhone Valley. When he and two allies were captured in Digne and imprisoned as spies, Granville reported met with the Nazi commandant and convinced him that if he did not release the three men immediately, he would be shot by the approaching Allied forces (A more likely scenario is that she claimed to be the niece of British General Montgomery, and threatened two local Digne liaisons. They demanded that she write out a statement clearing them of collaborating with the Nazi and also demanding monetary payment, both of which were accommodated).

Christine Granville - spymuseum.comAs soon as the war ended, Granville was released from her intelligence duties and was forced to find any work she could. She worked for a time as switchboard operator at the India Hotel in London, then as a saleswoman at Harrod’s department store and later an attendant at the Paddington hotel.

In 1951 she took a job as a stewardess on the ocean liner, Winchester Castle which sailed between England, Australia and South Africa. Her superior on the liner was a steward named Dennis Muldowney. Muldowney who suffered from schizophrenia became obsessed with Granville and declared his love for her. After she rebuffed his advance several times, Granville quit her job and moved to London. Muldowney followed her there, quitting his job and taking a position with the Reform Club in Winchester. Again professing his love for her, Muldowney was told by Granville in no uncertain terms that she wanted him to leave her alone. After this final rejection, Muldowney, began stalking her. On June 15, 1952, Muldowney spotted her walking down there stairs in her hotel and rushing to her, stabbed her to death. Muldowney was sentenced to death for the murder and was hanged in September 1952 at Pentonville Prison.

Granville was buried with the French Croix de Guerre, a medal from Poland, the George Medal for Special Services, the Order of the British Empire and the badge of the French Resistence.

Christine Granville – The Real Life Bond Girl! – Strange as it Seems



Read More »

Ethel Rosenberg

Ethel Rosenberg

Ethel Rosenberg - spymuseum.comEthel Rosenberg was married to Julius Rosenberg.

Ethel Rosenberg’s brother David Greenglass was involved in the research taking place in Los Alamos, New Mexico on the atomic bomb. Code-named “the Manhattan Project”, the work involved many of the most respected scientific minds in the world. One of the people involved was Klaus Fuchs, a brilliant physicist from sent over from England.

Julius Rosenberg had begun working as an organizer and recruiter of spies and sought help from Greenglass. He convinced David’s wife, Ruth Greenglass to visit him in New Mexico and obtain classified secrets about the atomic bomb from her husband, explaining that the information would be passed on to the Soviet Union so that the United States ally would be in a position to better defend itself against Nazi Germany. Ruth returned from her visit with names of scientists involved in the Manhattan Project, locations of test sites and descriptions of different experiments being conducted. She passed this information to the Rosenbergs.

In January 1945, while on leave from New Mexico, Greenglass met with Julius and Ethel. He had been a member of the Communist Party for several years already, persuaded to join by his sister Ethel. Emphasizing the importance of his contributions, Julius took a box of Jell-O and tore it in half marking each half in a particular manner. He gave one half to David Greenglass and told him that a new Soviet contact would be arranged for him, recognizable because the contact would possess the other half of the box.

In June 1945, David was approached by Harry Gold, a Soviet agent who was also gathering information at the time from Klaus Fuchs. Gold showed Greenglass the other half of the Jell-O box as his identification. Greenglass gave Gold the documents that he had procured and Gold, in exchange, gave Greenglass $500.00.

In September 1945, Greenglass traveled to New York and met with the Rosenbergs. Here, he gave a detailed description of the Uranium bomb dropped on Hiroshima and the Plutonium bomb dropped on Nagasaki. In 1945, Julius Rosenberg was dismissed from his position at the U.S. Signal Corps, based in large part, because his loud, pro-Soviet stance had placed him under suspicion of being a Communist.

On February 3, 1950, Klaus Fuchs was arrested and charged with stealing secrets from the Los Alamos research center. Fuchs confessed, identifying Harry Gold as his Soviet contact. Julius warned the Greenglasses that Gold might implicate David and that David should make plans to flee the country. As Julius predicted, Gold was arrested in May 1950 and ultimately would name Greenglass as another source of information.

Although he was provided with an escape plan developed by the Soviets that would take him to Moscow by way of Mexico, David decided not to leave the United States. Subsequently, he was arrested on June 15, 1950. He quickly informed the FBI about the Julius Rosenberg and the spy ring that Julius was involved in. In spite of his preparations for the inevitability of arrest (Julius had obtained passport photos and applications for his family), Julius and Ethel did not flee in time (as had other Soviet spies, including Morris and Leona Cohen) and he was arrested on July 17, 1950. Ethel was subsequently arrested on August 11, 1950 and both were charged with espionage, as was Greenglass. Greenglass pled guilty while the Rosenbergs pled not guilty. Also arrested was Morton Sobell, another spy involved.

Ethel Rosenberg - spymuseum.com

The Rosenbergs were tried in March of 1951 represented in the U.S. District Federal Court by the noted attorney Emanuel Bloch. Julius took the stand but denied involvement with anything actionable, repeatedly invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Ethel did much the same. The jury found Ethel, Julius and Sobell guilty of espionage. Sobell was sentenced to 30 years in prison and Greenglass 15, but the judge harshly sentenced both of the Rosenbergs to death, a sentence aggressively sought by the Justice Department. The judge in the case, Irving Kaufman, reasoned that by passing the secrets to the Soviets, they had allowed the Soviet Union to begin building an atomic weapon years faster than it other would have, setting in motion a series of events that would ultimately lead to the Korean War.
The death sentences provoked world-wide criticism and charges of anti-Semitism, despite the fact that Judge Kaufman as well as two of the prosecutors was Jewish. It was believed that Ethel, whose role was much more limited than Julius’ was sentenced to death in order to compel Julius to make a full confession, yet none would be forthcoming. More than 15 appeals to the United States Supreme Court and to President Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower were denied and the execution date was set for June 19, 1953.

Julius Rosenberg was executed in the electric chair at the Ossining Prison in upstate New York as was Ethel minutes later. Both maintained their innocence until the end.

Spies in America: The Ethel Rosenberg Story

Read More »

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker - spymuseum.comBorn in 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Became a very popular performer in musical revues on Broadway in 1924. Moved to Paris, France in 1925 to appear in the musical revue La Revue Negre. Became a citizen of France in 1937.

Very well known for her energetic dancing and scantily clad risqué musical performances. Was one of the most well-known stars in all of Europe, Volunteered for the French Red Cross at the outbreak of the war between France and Germany in 1940. Was recruited by French Chief of Counterespionage Jacques Abtey to serve as a secret informer.

After the fall of France, Baker served as a member of the French Resistance. Relayed information to the French Resistance (as well as to British and U.S. agents) that she gleaned from conversations she overheard between German officers attending her performances. Also exposed French officials working for the Germans. Also smuggled secret documents written in invisible ink on her musical sheets. Was rewarded for her actions by the French government when she was awarded the Croix de Guerre and the Medal of Resistance in 1945 and was acknowledged by U.S. General George S. Patton for her valiant efforts.

Died in Paris in 1975.

Read More »

Judith Coplon

Judith Coplon

Judith Coplon - spymuseum.comBorn in Brooklyn, New York in 1922. Daughter of a prominent to manufacturer.

Graduated Cum Laude from Barnhard College in 1943, having focused on Russian History and Culture. Employed by the United States Department of Justice, first in New York and later in Washington D.C. after being promoted to the foreign agents registration division. Had access to FBI documents with lists of foreign diplomats and suspected foreign spies.Was highly praised for her analysis on Soviet political and cultural issues. Received promotions.

Began supplying information to the Soviets sometime between 1945 and 1947. Was assigned a special Soviet contact, an Intelligence Officer named Valentin Gubitchev. Gubitchev was a former member of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations. At the time he began meeting with Coplon, he was an employee for the United Nations.

In 1948, an unidentified informant passed information along to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation J. Edgar Hoover, reporting that a woman, formerly employed in the New York branch but then working at the Washington offices of the Department of Justices was passing secrets that were making their way to the Russian Embassy in New York.

Was placed under intense surveillance. FBI agents placed taps on her telephone line, monitored her mail and followed her as she traveled. Neighbors claimed that Coplon was quiet and did not entertain male guest in her apartment. Surveillance, however, indicated that she engaged in sexual affairs with several men, presumably for the purpose of obtaining classified information.

Often traveled to New York City on the weekends, often asking to leave from work early on Fridays. Took classified documents home with her and retyped them. Gave the retyped documents to Gubitchev when she visited him in New York.

Requested a special document containing a list of suspected Soviet spies. Director Hoover personally delivered a fake version of the document to Coplon’s supervisor, who immediately provided it to her. Coplon, upon receiving the document requested the rest of the day off and then traveled to New York for the weekend (followed by FBI agents – January 14, 1949).

Was trailed by FBI agents around Manhattan until she finally met with Gubitchen in a restaurant. After exchanging documents, the couple left and boarded a subway train. As the doors to the train were closing, Gubitchev bolted from the train and evaded the trailing FBI agents.

Judith Coplon - spymuseum.comHaving been observed passing documents, Coplon was transferred to another division of the Department of Justice, in order to keep her away from sensitive documents. Coplon continued to seek access to such documents, volunteering to aid her replacement in getting up to speed.

Requested additional classified information that her supervisor had recently obtained (fake information received from Hoover). Her supervisor left the information in Coplon’s view and left the room. Coplon left the room and caught a train to New York (March 6, 1949).

After meeting Gubitchev, Coplon and her Soviet handler were confronted by FBI agents. After trying to flee, both were apprehended and arrested. Coplon had numerous top-secret documents on her person, including the one provided by Hoover. Coplon was charged with treason and espionage and Gubitchev was charged with espionage.

Coplon faced two trials, one in Washington and one in New York. She was convicted in both. Gubitchev was convicted and deported. Coplon convictions were overturned, as an Appeals Court ruled that the FBI had illegally recorded conversations between Coplon and her attorney and further that the FBI had arrested her without an arrest warrant.

Coplon married one of her attorneys and moved to New York where she settled down as a housewife.



Judith Coplon Found Guilty


Read More »

Marthe Richard

Marthe Richard

Marthe Richer - spymuseum.comBorn Marthe Betenfeld in Blamont, France on August 15, 1889, the daughter of a brewer.

An excellent student, she excelled at languages, eventually learning to speak English, Spanish and German in addition to her native French. She was also adventurous, excelling as an aviator, almost unheard of for a woman at that time.

Married Henri Richer, a pilot serving in World War I, in 1914. Was approached by French counter-intelligence at about this time and was recruited for service based on her language skills as well as her daring personality. After her husband was killed in battle, Marthe distracted herself from her grief by traveling to Spain to undertake intelligence duties Richard as an adaptation of her late husband’s name). Became a familiar face within the social elite of German society within Spain and was introduced to the acting chief of the Abwehr. He suggested to Richer that she should work as an agent of the Abwehr, returning to France and spying on behalf of the Germans. Richer told him that she would only consider doing so if the offer was extended by the head of the Abwehr in France himself. So eager were the Germans that they agreed and the offer was so extended. Fortuitously, the Abwehr chief in France, Baron Hans Kron. Kron, who was also the German naval attache in Madrid, fell in love with Richer and they became lovers soon thereafter.

Richer was shipped off to France to gain information on armaments production. She was provided with a new kind of security device, an invisible ink that was contained within a capsule the size of a grain of rice. Upon arrival, she disclosed the invisible ink to her French superiors and informed them that she was involved with Kron. She was given doctored information about armaments production and was sent back to Spain.

In Spain, she re-established her relationship with her lover. She also learned that he had been involved with Mata Hari, the notorious spy who was staying at the same hotel as Richer. Threatening to break off her relationship with Kron, Richer was able to draw the lovestruck attache even deeper into her web, thus gaining access to even more secret information, which she passed back to the French, including revelations about submarine development.

Richer was sent across the globe on missions but eventually grew tired of the deception and the pressure. Eventually she decided to return home to France but first confessed her duplicity to Baron Kron. After retiring from active service, Richer was generally ignored by the French government, based in part from unfavorable attention to her long-running relationship with the German attache. Eventually, however, her services were recognized and she was awarded the Legion of Honor medal in 1933.

Took part in the French resistence during World War II and died in 1982.

Read More »

Mata Hari

Mata Hari

Mata Hari - spymuseum.comBorn Margaret Gertrude Zelle on August 7, 1876 in Leeuwarden, Holland.

Father Adam Zelle, a Dutch hatter and his Javanese wife Antje van der Meulen. The family was very wealthy and well to do and raised her in a very happy home with a comfortable lifestyle. After her mother’s death in 1890, she was sent by her father to live in a convent. Briefly attending a teaching school but was expelled after allegedly having sex with the school’s headmaster.

In 1894, answered a “lonely hearts club” advertisement placed by John Rudolph MacLeod, a Dutch colonial officer in the Dutch East Indies, who was 20 years her senior.

The couple married in 1895 and moved to Java where they lived until 1901. The couple’s early years were anything but ideal as she engaged in scandalous affairs and he often slept with other women in their house while she was in the next room.

The couple had a son named Norman in January 1896, but the child died, believed to have been poisoned by a former house servant with a vendetta against John. They also had another child, a daughter named Jeanne. At this time, it is rumored, the couple engaged in a blackmail scheme by which Margaret would entice a wealthy landowner into her bed, whereupon John would storm angrily into the room, threatening the man with scandal and then blackmailing him for a lucrative sum (some of the details were reveal during the couple’s divorce proceedings). Despite their money schemes, the marriage was filled with quarrels and John physically abused her. The couple divorced sometime between 1902 and 1904.

Mata Hari - spymuseum.com

With custody of her daughter, Margaret struggled financially, especially after her husband stopped ceased sending support payments. What money she did have she used on dancing lessons, learning the Oriental dances she had seen in Java. After sending her daughter to live with relatives, she embarked upon her new career, performing the mysterious dances of the god Siva. Her early efforts were unsuccessful, as she was unable to secure bookings and was alleged to have worked as a prostitute for a period of time.

When World War I broke out, Mata Hari had decided to engage in another exciting profession – espionage. Having already engaged in numerous affairs with numerous wealthy men and counted many of the most important people in the military and intelligence community as her paramours.

The Chief of the Berlin Police Department, Traugott von Jagow was one of them and he suggested to her that she include pillow talk in her meeting with her important clients, obtaining secrets as well as money from them. She was given the German code number H.21, which would prove significant years later.

Traveled throughout Europe, attending embassy functions and social occasions meetings military and political contacts. Having seduced the men, she would pry information about troops and weaponry as well as political alliances and military tactics. She reported this information back to Jagow and was positioning herself neatly when the War began.

Having been granted German citizenship, she was ordered to make her way into France where she began passing secrets to the Germans. Although French agents kept her under surveillance, they were unable to collect sufficient evidence against her to arrest her. Much of her information, at this point, was vital, helping to prepare the Germans develop their strategy to overpower the French troops.

Mata Hari - spymuseum.comFrench counterintelligence officers finally grew wise to her and she was confronted by Captain Georges Ladoux. Ladoux informed her that he was going to have her deported back to Holland, whereupon she shocked him by proposing to spy on behalf of France and against Germany. Bragging that she had access to high level German intelligence, she offered that she could make it available to France. In so offering this aid, she destroyed her original alibi that she was not involved in espionage nor privy to any intelligence. Ladoux, pretended to take her up on her offer and sent her off to Brussels with the names of six French agent with whom she could make contact. Almost immediately thereafter, Ladoux received information from the British that one of the six agents had been arrested by the Germans, thus convincing him that she was a considerable security risk and ordered her arrested immediately.

German intelligence had come to find that Mata Hari had been identified and therefore compromised. She was therefore of little use to them. After offering her services to other Foreign nations, she boldly demanded from Jagow that she be paid in full for her espionage activities. Jagow ordered her to return to France where she would be paid. French authorities arrested her on February 13, 1917 and took her to the Fauborg Saint-Denis prison.

Mata Hari was tried for espionage in July 1917, represented by one of the top attorneys in France. Although much of the evidence against her was weak, French authorities were able to show that the payment she returned to France to collect was designated for German agent H.21. The “H” signified that she was an agent for Germany before World War I started. She argued that the payment was for her sexual services and not for espionage. The jury was unmoved, quickly returning a guilty verdict and sentencing her to death. On October 15, 1917 a calm Mata Hari faced a firing squad and was executed.

Execution of Mata Hari - spymuseum.comHistorians believe that Mata Hari, despite her notoriety and name recognition was a rather incompetent and ineffective spy, caught up in the excitement of her own fascination. Most believe, as did much of the intelligence community of her time, that she was in way over her head and did not realize the ramifications of her duplicitous activities, naively believing that she could charm her way out of any situation. In later years, however, Mata Hari has gained many supporters. In 1932, the French government admitted that the evidence and therefore the case against her was negligible at best while the German government labeled her contributions to its war efforts as insubstantial.


Mata Hari – The Spy


Read More »

Ruth Kuczynski

Ruth Kuczynski

Ruth Kuczynski - spymuseum.comBorn in Berlin, Germany in 1907, the daughter of German-Jewish professor and Soviet spy Rene Kuczynski. Brother Jurgen and sister Bridgitte also became Soviet spies.

Became a Communist in 1924 when she became a member of the Communist Youth Movement. Became the head of the German Communist Party’s Propaganda Section.
tes with her father and brother who were engaged in espionage activities for the GRU. Returned to Germany in 1929 and married Rudolph Hamburger, a friend from her childhood.

In 1930, was instructed by Soviet Intelligence to move to Shanghai, China. Her husband, also a Soviet spy was already in Shanghai, under the guise of an architect. Ruth was more important to the GRU than her husband as she operated a major spy ring in China.

Became close friends with Agnes Smedley, an American journalist who would ultimately introduce Kuczynski to Soviet agent Richard Sorge. Ruth began an affair with Sorge, often allowing him to use her apartment as a meeting place. Established a cover as a journalist writing for pro-Communist newspapers.

Was ordered back to Moscow for advanced training in 1933. Returned to China six months later, under a new cover as a bookseller. Her actual task was to develop a strong relationship between the GRU and Chines Communists in Manchuria who were fighting against the Japanese.

Worked with a GRU agent whom she knew only as Ernst. Rumored to have engaged in an affair with him and gave birth to a daughter in 1935, believed to be Ernst’s child.

Sent to Peking (now Beijing) in 1935. Chinese intelligence, with the help of Morris “Two Gun” Cohen, did a sweep of suspected spies, arresting Sorge’s replacement. Ruth and her husband escaped with her two daughters. They returned to London and visited her parents (her father was now teaching economics at the London School of Economics).

Was joined in England by Olga “Ollo” Muth, her former nanny from Germany. Muth became a nanny for Ruth’s newborn daughter Nina. Muth, at this point, was unaware of the couple’s espionage activities. Accompanied her husband to Poland where Rudolph would serve as Senior GRU officer.


Was ordered back to Moscow for further training in June 1937. Was also awarded the Order of the Red Banner by the Soviet Union for her espionage activities and then order to Switzerland in 1938 to establish a new spy ring. Stopped first in England to meet with prospective agents, one of whom was Alexander Foote. Foote was further assessed by Brigitte Kuczynski. Foote joined her in Montreuz, Switzerland in 1938 to serve as a radio operator. Moving in with her.

Began operating under the code-name “Sonia.” Merged her burgeoning network with the Lucy spy ring operated by Alexander Rado. Welcomed a new member into her spy ring named Leon Beurton. Began a relationship with Beurton immediately, ending the one with Foote.

Began denouncing the Soviet Union and the principles of Communism after Russia signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1939. Was actually acting on orders from the GRU in order to develop a guise for a deep cover operation planned for her. The GRU wanted to her to live as a British citizen, and thus requested that she marry Foote. Instead she married Beurton in February 1940 (she divorced Hamburger in late 1939). Obtained a British passport soon thereafter and prepared to move to England.

Did not plan to take Ollo with them to England. Ollo, distraught over the prospect of being separated from the children and angry at Sonia and Beurton, informed British authorities of their espionage activities but no one took much note of her claims and failed to follow up on them.

Ruth Kuczynski - spymuseum.comMoved to Liverpool, England in February 1941 and then to Oxford and prepared for her new espionage activities. Was joined by Beurton in the summer of 1942 but he was soon drafted into the British Army. Was assigned to oversee the activities of Klaus Fuchs, the atomic bomb researcher who had provided so much information during his work on the Manhattan project. Fuchs had originally been recruited into the Communist party by Brigitte Kuczynski. Her father had provided aid to her at several points during her activities, as had her brother, who would eventually be made a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and in a great position to pass information to her.

Was placed under suspicion when he contacts with Fuchs came to light after his arrest. Was also linked to Sir Roger Hollis, former head of MI5, with whom Sonia had become acquainted in Switzerland and China. Speculation held that Sonia had actually recruited Hollis into Soviet control but he vehemently denied even knowing her. Was questioned along with her husband by British agents in 1947 regarding their alleged involvement in espionage activities. Both refused to answer any questions and no further investigation was evident.

Fled to East Germany with her children in 1950 and was joined by Beurton in one year later. Received her second Order of the Red Banner award in 1969 as well as the Order of Karl Marx in 1984. Wrote several books including her autobiography in 1977. Considered by many to be the greatest female spy ever.


Read More »

Violette Szabo

Violette Szabo

Born in Paris in 1922 to a British taxi fleet owner and French mother, Violette Bushell was raised in Britain and married at a young age, but lost her husband when he was killed fighting against the Germans, leavings behind a young daughter.

Violette, a skilled shot with a rifle who could speak French fluently, was recruited into the SOE by Selwyn Jepson. A Raven-haired beauty, Szabo was considered a great candidate to work with the French underground. Her superiors, however, were greatly concerned with her urgent desire to put herself in danger, possibly a psychological reaction to her husband’s death. They worried that she risked her life with a suicidal passion but they assigned her nonetheless.

Violette Szabo - spymuseum.comSzabo flew through her training with merit and was placed with a former Havas news correspondent named Phillippe Liewer. She was dropped by parachute into France and was assigned to determine how many resistance forces were in place. She established communications between underground leaders and British intelligence forces. Making back to England, she was arrested twice by French gendarmes but was able to talk her way out of trouble and made her was to safety.

Upon reaching England, Szabo immediately sought another assignment, and although reluctant, her handlers sent her back into France. She passed along vital information to the French underground but was interrupted in one meeting when a German patrol discovered their meeting in a farmhouse. As one of the French resistance leaders fled, Szabo provided cover for him, shooting several German soldiers with a Sten gun. Eventually her gun ran out and she was taken into custody.

Violette was taken to the Gestapo headquarters where she was raped repeated and tortured. Despite the cruelty she refused to provide any information and was subsequently sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. Upon reaching the camp she was subjected to more brutal torture but again refused to talk to her captors, thus establishing her reputation for courage and bravery. After growing frustrated with her refusals, the Gestapo executed Violette in April 1945. In January 1947, she was posthumously awarded the George Cross by the British government acknowledging her valor.


True stories Violette Szabo


Read More »