Wolf, Markus Johannes

Wolf, Markus Johannes

(mär`ko͝os yōhän`əs vôlf), 1923–2006, East German spymaster. A legendary cold-warcold war,
term used to describe the shifting struggle for power and prestige between the Western powers and the Communist bloc from the end of World War II until 1989. Of worldwide proportions, the conflict was tacit in the ideological differences between communism and
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 espionage chief, he was called "the man without a face" because until 1978 there was no known photograph of him. His Jewish family fled Nazi Germany (1933) and settled in Moscow, where he attended a Comintern School and made radio broadcasts. Returning after World War II to Soviet-occupied Germany, Wolf worked as a journalist and occasional diplomat. In 1953 he was appointed head of the foreign intelligence section of the ministry of state security—the infamous Stasi secret police. Wolf ran the Stasi skillfully for 34 years, overseeing a network of some 4,000 agents. His operatives infiltrated NATO, political groups, Western intelligence, and other organizations; "turned" West German officials and businessmen; used sex, money, and blackmail to ferret out information; and placed one of their own as West German chancellor Willy BrandtBrandt, Willy
, 1913–92, German political leader. His name originally was Karl Herbert Frahm. Active in his youth in the Social Democratic party, after Adolf Hitler came to power (1933) he fled to Norway and began a journalistic career, soon becoming a Norwegian citizen.
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's top aide, a plot that precipitated Brandt's downfall. In 1990, after East Germany's collapse, Wolf fled to the USSR, but he returned in a year and surrendered to German authorities. His prison sentence (1993) for treason was later overturned, and he lived quietly in Berlin until his death.

Bibliography

See his Man without a Face (1997); L. Colitt, Spymaster (1995).

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