Lucy Ring

   One of the most productive Soviet spy rings in World War II operated under the code name “Lucy” from neutral Switzerland. Lucy was Rudolf Roessler, a German émigré publisher and fanatical anti-Nazi. In 1939–1940, Roessler developed important contacts with conservative anti-Nazi German officers and anti-Nazi politicians such as Abwehr deputy chief Hans Oster and former mayor of Leipzig Karl Goerdeler. These men, known in some literature as the “Black Orchestra,” provided Roessler with information about German military plans.
   After the war began, Roessler contacted Sandor Rado, the GRU rezident in Switzerland, through Rachel Deubendorfer, a GRU illegal, and provided Russian military intelligence with information from his contacts. Roessler’s initial contacts developed sources among the senior general staff and Abwehr officers who had access to Adolf Hitler’s circle. Rado’s information was initially not believed in Moscow because he had no control of his sources. In fact, Rado was never able to identify Roessler’s motivation or his sources inside Germany. Some of Rado’s information may also have come from British intelligence (SIS), which was feeding diluted Ultra intelligence through their agent in the Lucy Ring, Alexander Foote. Order of battle information from the Lucy Ring was critical in the Soviet victory in the Battle of Kursk in the summer of 1943. Swiss counterintelligence under pressure from Berlin broke up the Lucy Ring in 1943. Roessler was arrested, Rado went underground, and Foote fled to France, where he joined the resistance. While the Lucy apparatus was never under the direct control of Leopold Trepper of the Red Orchestra, it worked in concert with it. Most historians link the two organizations in analyzing Soviet intelligence activities during World War II.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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