German spy who defected to Soviet bloc dies at 73
A senior German counter-intelligence official, Hansjoachim Tiedge, whose 1985 defection to the Soviet bloc rocked the West, has died at 73 at his home near Moscow, his German publisher said Tuesday, DPA reported.
Tiedge revealed to his East German communist debriefers how their western counterparts had spotted Soviet spies during the Cold War. Germany was the main front in a covert struggle between the two blocs until the collapse of communism in 1989.
Eulenspiegel Verlag, a publishing house in Berlin, quoted Tiedge's family saying he died on April 6. No cause was given.
Until his defection, Tiedge was in charge of the department fighting East German infiltration at West Germany's counter-intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. His loss was a huge blow to the West.
His former employer said it could not confirm his death and had not obtained any new information about him for several years.
Tiedge, who was never caught by the West, said in his autobiography that he decided to change sides in 1985 because of personal problems. He caught a train to East Germany and reporting to its spy agency. He was given a new home near East Berlin.
Just before East Germany merged with the West in 1990, the KGB Russian intelligence service whisked him to a new refuge in Moscow.
In his 1998 autobiography he said he had been unhappy because of an alcohol addiction, indebtedness and the expectation that his employer was about to move him to a less attractive position.
His defection prompted the resignation of the head of the German agency, Heribert Hellenbroich.