Roessler, Rudolf

(1897–1958)
   One of the more quixotic spies of the 20th century, Rudolf Roessler was a conservative German émigré who served Moscow under the code name “Lucy.” Roessler served as a soldier in World War I. A devout Catholic and anti-Nazi, he immigrated to Switzerland in the early 1930s and started a small publishing firm. Roessler was a friend of Stephan George and Thomas Mann, two great German writers also living abroad. Beginning in 1936 his publishing house, Vita Nova Verlag, began to publish anti-Hitler literature. Through his ventures, he made contact with military officers and dissident anti-Nazi politicians inside Germany who opposed Adolf Hitler’s plans for European domination. Roessler first developed a contact with a Swiss reserve military intelligence officer who had contacts with British intelligence. Later he approached Sandor Rado, the GRU rezident in Switzerland, through a cut-out, Rachel Deubendorfer. Roessler was able to produce critically important information on the German order of battle, military plans, and strategy. Roessler dealt with Rado carefully, and he was successful in preventing Rado from taking over the Lucy Ring.
   By 1942 German counterintelligence identified the GRU clandestine radio station and demanded that the Swiss police shut it down. In 1943 Swiss intelligence finally broke up Roessler’s ring; he was arrested but was acquitted in a trial that took place after the collapse of the Nazi regime. In Moscow, the Lucy material was compared with Ultra information provided by John Carincross. GRU analysts obviously saw the comparison and may have drawn the conclusion that the Western allies were trying to manipulate Soviet military intelligence.

Historical dictionary of Russian and Soviet Intelligence. . 2014.

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