Last spymaster of East German foreign intelligence dies at 92

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Berlin, Jan. 29 (BNA): The last head of East Germany's foreign spying agency is dead, his daughter confirmed to dpa on Friday. Werner Großmann was 92.

 

Großmann had insisted on the righteousness of the work of the communist East German dictatorship right up until the collapse of that country's government in 1989, when multiple communist regimes fell apart in Eastern Europe. He called his agents operating in the West "scouts of freedom."

 

Großmann was arrested on October 3, 1990, the day of German unification, but only spent one day in jail. Courts ruled that efforts to prosecute East German spies would be unconstitutional. An effort to have him tried for treason was ruled out of order in 1995, dpa reports.

 

After the collapse of East Germany and creation of a whole Germany, his public appearances usually drew protests in the country, mostly because he was so unapologetic.

 

"We didn't carry out coups, murders or abductions like other secret services," he said during a meeting with former East German agents in 2007. At another occasion, he said his organization always followed the law and that human rights violations were not the norm, though he did allow that there might have been individual exceptions.