Rado, Sandor

(1899–1981)
   Born Alexander Radolfi into a wealthy Hungarian Jewish family, Rado joined the Hungarian Communist Party in 1921 in time to take part in a bloody and unsuccessful insurrection. Living as an émigré, he joined Soviet intelligence in the early 1930s and was sent to Berlin to report on the Nazi movement. By 1933, with the Nazi victory, he was a wanted man again and was sent to Paris by the GRU to create an illegal rezidentura. Rado operated a left-wing publishing house and book service as a cover, which employed six other GRU illegals.
   Following the purge of GRU officers and illegals, Rado was sent to Switzerland by military intelligence as the illegal rezident to develop German sources. He was a successful spy chief, developing contacts with access to priceless information. He used a number of illegals, including Ruth Werner, Rachel Duebendorfer, and Alexander Foote. His most important contact came through Duebendorfer: Rudolf Roessler, the most productive source for the Rado organization, provided thousands of accurate reports of German forces on the Eastern Front. Rado also passed on—apparently without knowing it—information from London that was fed to Alexander Foote. This information, reportedly drawn from Ultra reporting, complemented raw information from Roessler’s sources inside Germany. Rado, whose code name “Dora” was a simple anagram of his name, had an impressive record. Between August 1941 and May 1944, he sent more than 5,500 messages to Moscow, an average of five messages a day. Among his most important sources of intelligence on German order of battle and strategy was Hans Oster, for many years deputy chief of the Abwehr.
   In 1944 the Swiss police cracked down on Rado and his crew. Rado went into hiding first in Switzerland and then in France. He tried very hard to avoid being repatriated to Moscow, fearing that he would be blamed for the organization’s collapse. He served a short sentence in Moscow and then returned to Budapest, where he began a new career as a cartographer. He published several books and became a noted expert in his new career.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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