Born Sept. 22 (Oct. 4), 1895, in Baku; died Nov. 7, 1944, in Tokyo. Soviet intelligence officer, journalist. Hero of the Soviet Union (awarded posthumously on Nov. 5, 1964). Member of the CPSU (1925).
Sorge was the son of a petroleum technician and the grand-nephew of F. Sorge, student and disciple of K. Marx and F. Engels. In the early 20th century his family returned to Germany from Russia. In 1914 he was drafted into the German army and fought in World War I. Sorge was wounded in 1916; in the hospital he became friends with a number of left socialists. From 1917 to 1919 he was a member of the Independent Social Democratic Party, and in 1919 he joined the Communist Party of Germany. Sorge served as a propagandist in Wuppertal and Frankfurt am Main and edited a party news-paper in Solingen. In 1924 he came to the USSR and worked in Soviet institutions. During the 1930’s and 1940’s he was located in Germany, Japan, and other countries. Because of his outstanding personal qualities and through great labor, he obtained over a long period of time very valuable information for the USSR. He was one of the first to communicate relatively precise information on the number of German divisions concentrated on the borders of the USSR in the summer of 1941, the date of the enemy invasion, and the general idea of the plan for military actions of the German fascist forces. In October 1941 he was arrested by the Japanese police and in September 1943 was sentenced to death. One year later he was hanged. He was buried in Tokyo.