The Tragic Life of the German Version of “Mrs. & Mrs. Smith”

  Born in 1927, GDR intelligence officer. In 1956, he and his wife entered the Federal Republic of Germany and lurked. In 1957, he joined the German Social Democratic Party. In 1968, he was elected to the city council of Frankfurt on behalf of the party. In 1970, he served as the personal adviser of Federal German Chancellor Brandt. In 1974, he was arrested by the Federal German anti-espionage agency. He was exchanged back to the GDR in 1981, and died of kidney cancer in 1995.
  Guette Guillaume knew that day would come.
  In the early morning of April 24, 1972, several policemen rang the doorbell of his mansion. After opening the door, he made no resistance and announced calmly: “I am a citizen of the German Democratic Republic (hereinafter referred to as East Germany), captain of the German People’s Army. I hope you (the police) will respect my honor as an officer.”
  He whispered a few words to his son and boarded the police car with a normal demeanor. At this time, Guillaume’s public identity was the personal adviser of Chancellor Willy Brandt of the Federal Republic of Germany (hereinafter referred to as West Germany), in charge of secrets. With his arrest, one of the most dramatic “hidden” dramas in the Cold War came to an end.
  Fifty years later, the cartoon “Spy X Family” based on the Cold War intelligence war was released in Japan, and part of the plot was obviously based on the Guillaume case. Although this history has been made into a comedy “spy family drama”, the real Guillaume family is a Cold War tragedy.

Coat of arms of the East German Ministry of State Security.
The selected “latent couple”

  On May 8, 1945, 18-year-old Guillaume heard news of the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany in a prisoner of war camp. He breathed a long sigh of relief.
  Guillaume is a native of “Old Berlin”. His father was a disgruntled pianist who made a living by scoring films and theaters. Guillaume followed his father to the film studio since he was a child. After graduating from junior high school, he became a photography apprentice with the ideal of becoming a photographer.
  But the good times did not last long. In 1944, Guillaume, who was underage, was forcibly drafted into the army by the Nazis, entered the air defense force, and was almost killed in the Allied bombing. Fortunately, he was captured by the British on the eve of the Nazi surrender and survived.
  When he walked out of the prisoner of war camp, Guillaume still planned to return to Berlin as a photographer, but after the war Berlin had already changed beyond recognition. At this time, Germany was occupied by Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1949, the Cold War intensified, the occupied areas of Britain, France and the United States merged to form West Germany, the Soviet Union established East Germany in the Soviet-occupied areas tit for tat, and Berlin was divided into two. Tens of millions of Germans who survived World War II were forcibly separated.
  Guillaume eventually chose to settle in East Germany. In 1950, he became the editor of the People’s and Knowledge Publishing House, responsible for primary school textbooks and pedagogical journals. This year, he met Crystal Boom, who worked in an anti-war organization, and the two quickly fell in love.
  Crystal was ill-fated. As the illegitimate daughter of a farmer, he was abandoned by his biological father after birth, and his mother married Boom, a Dutch tobacco engineer working in Germany. After the outbreak of World War II, her stepfather Boom was arrested by the Gestapo and tortured in prison. He died in 1944, leaving her and her mother to depend on each other. Guillaume’s sudden appearance brought a long-lost sense of security to Crystal. The two got married after dating for a year.
  However, the Guillaumes’ little days did not last a few days. As one of the few East German cultural institutions that can openly operate in West Germany, the People and Knowledge Press is often regarded as the “reserve” of the intelligence officers of the East German Ministry of State Security (referred to as the Stasi). In 1952, the Guillaumes were noticed by the Stasi director of foreign intelligence, Marcus Wolfe, who was recruiting agents.
  Wolf is good at concealing his identity. Western agents have never taken a clear picture of him for decades, only knowing his code name “Misha”. Wolff was nicknamed “The Hidden Face”. He studied the Guillaumes carefully: both were loyal to East Germany and politically reliable. Crystal’s mother, who has Dutch nationality, can move freely in West Germany and allow the couple to enter West Germany in the name of family reunification. This avoids severe scrutiny for entry as a “refugee”. Most importantly: the Guillaumes are deeply connected and natural working partners. This helped the duo lurking in West Germany for a long time.
  Wolfe decided to focus on training the Guillaumes. The couple were sent to the Soviet Union in Kyiv for KGB training. In 1956, Guillaume and his wife entered West Berlin with 10,000 West German marks for their activities, successfully bypassing the scrutiny of West German intelligence agencies, and arrived in Frankfurt to meet his mother-in-law who settled in the city.
  The most legendary espionage war of the Cold War began.

Above left: Markus Wolf, speaking, who was in charge of foreign intelligence for the East German Ministry of State Security for 34 years. Above right: The headquarters of the East German Ministry of State Security in Berlin, now the Stasi Memorial. Below: The Guillaumes living in West Germany.
The “good old man” in the Prime Minister’s Office

  In the summer of 1956, a new printing shop opened next to the Frankfurt Cathedral. The owner is a diligent young couple, and the male owner also works as a photographer in addition to printing photos. He is Guillaume, code-named “Hanson”; Mistress Crystal, code-named “Heinz”. They are busy with business during the day and with intelligence at night.
  Before heading to West Germany, Stasi gave them the following instructions: “Be a citizen of West Germany, find an apartment, find a job, and settle down as soon as possible.” Wolff wrote in his memoirs that he gave the Guillaumes the first The task was not to infiltrate, but to pass on intelligence provided by the insiders of the West German Social Democratic Party (hereinafter referred to as the Social Democratic Party). Of course, it would be even better if they could break into the SPD.
  Contrary to Wolfe’s expectations, the Guillaumes quickly overdid the task.
  Less than a year after arriving in Frankfurt, the Guillaumes joined the Social Democrats. Guillaume worked for a newspaper run by the Social Democrats, while Crystal was in charge of refugee affairs. Later, she became chief of staff for the Hessian state secretary Bickelbach, with access to briefings sent by NATO to West German officials. Soon, these briefings appeared under Guillaume’s tiny camera lens. Every weekend, the Guillaumes would hide intelligence films in hollow cigars and give them to contacts who came to his store.

  On weekdays, the Guillaumes are model members of the Social Democratic Party. Colleagues recall that Guillaume has strong organizational skills and is grounded in his work. That earned him the love of voters and the respect of his party colleagues in worker-majority Frankfurt. In 1964, he was elected as the head of the Social Democratic Party in Frankfurt, and in 1968 he was elected as a city councillor on behalf of the party, becoming a new star in the party.
  In 1969, Guillaume joined SPD chairman Willy Brandt’s campaign at the recommendation of a senior SPD official, the future West German Defense Minister Gilg Leiber, and won Brandt’s election with his hard-working spirit. appreciate. On October 21, 1969, Brandt was elected Chancellor of the West German government. Guillaume naturally entered the prime minister’s office to work.
  Wolff later recalled that when Brandt was mayor of West Berlin, he took a hard line against the Eastern camp. After becoming chancellor, he began to implement the “Oriental Policy” to promote the improvement of relations between West Germany and East Germany. “We want to find out whether he is our enemy or our partner.” And Guillaume successfully entered the Prime Minister’s Office to “work”, which made Wolf very excited: “We easily placed a spy next to the Prime Minister of the number one enemy.” He later admitted in an interview: “We have never had a spy before. Infiltrating the West German Chancellor’s Office through the plan, I think it is too unrealistic.”
  Brandt’s impression of Guillaume is “a good old man with no opinion, and he can’t have a deep political exchange with him”. He therefore took no precautions against Guillaume. When Brandt went out to campaign, he often took Guillaume by his side, and the two private rooms on the special train were only separated by a wall. According to the memories of fellow travelers, Guillaume was always smiling and never angry when he was working. At the same time, he who often spoke for Brandt in front of the media was also called “Brandt’s Shadow” by the West German media, and Brandt jokingly called him “Berlin Meatballs”, who was a little fat.
  Within a year, Guillaume was promoted to Brandt’s chief assistant. In May 1970, when the SPD held its national congress, Guillaume was temporarily in charge of the connection between the Chancellor’s Office and the West German Federal Intelligence Service, and had access to all state secrets. The secrets of West Germany were continuously sent to Wolf’s desk, which made the “Hidden Face” ecstatic.
  What Wolfe didn’t expect, however, was that Guillaume’s “good days” were numbered.
on the brink of arrest

  In the movie “Mrs. and Mrs. Smith”, the daily life of the spy couple as the protagonists is free and colorful, which is enviable. But for the Guillaumes, lurking in West Germany was a 24-hour tightrope walk. If the two are not careful, they will become prisoners.
  According to the declassified documents, not long after Guillaume sneaked into West Germany, the West German Federal Intelligence Service learned of the existence of an East German spy code-named “G” (the initials of Guillaume’s surname), and intercepted East Germany and East Germany for many years. “G” contact code. However, due to the lack of other clues, the Federal Intelligence Service has never been able to determine the true identity of G. Guillaume escaped.
  After entering the political arena of West Germany, Guillaume from East Germany has been subject to strict scrutiny by the Social Democrats of West Germany and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, and has repeatedly passed the border. After breaking into the top ranks of the Social Democratic Party, he became the “top secret” of the Stasi, and only a few senior Stasi leaders, including Wolf, knew his true identity. Despite the success of Guillaume’s latent work, this stressful “two-sided life” eventually led to the collapse of his family.
  In 1957, the birth of their son Pierre brought a lot of comfort to the Guillaumes who had just begun to lurk. But as Pierre grew up, trouble followed. In order to conceal his identity, Guillaume often deliberately displayed a right-wing attitude of “anti-East Germany” in his work. He debated the Young Socialists in the newspapers and encouraged his son to do military service in West Germany. However, the “post-50s” Pierre, who was influenced by the left-wing anti-war ideology in school, regarded his father as a “bourgeois politician” and often argued with Guillaume at the dinner table. Guillaume struggled with the task and could not reveal to his son the fact that he was working for a socialist country. The father and son fell into a cold war.
  At the same time, the Guillaume couple’s relationship also appeared cracks. Since Guillaume worked for Brandt, the couple have been together less and less. As time went on, Guillaume’s temper became more and more irritable, and his attitude towards his family became more and more cold. Crystal, who was extremely disappointed with her husband, was also unwilling to continue this hopeless relationship. According to Pierre, in the years before Guillaume’s arrest, although the couple still maintained the appearance of affection in public, the marriage had already existed in name only, and the latent mission had become the last link to maintain the relationship between the two.
  However, the FIA ​​did not give Guillaume time to breathe. In late 1972, an East German intelligence network within the West German trade unions was broken down. By analyzing the seized documents, the Federal Intelligence Service confirmed that there are “inner ghosts” at the top of the Prime Minister’s Office. Then West Germany confirmed in the intercepted East German secret cable that Guillaume was in secret contact with East Germany. In May 1973, the Federal Intelligence Service reported to the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution that Guillaume was probably the “big fish” lurking in Bonn by East Germany.
  Surprisingly, Brandt, who is the party, has been kept in the dark. On March 1, 1974, just over a month before Guillaume’s arrest, Brandt learned that Guillaume might be an East German spy. After the Cold War, Wolff mocked the “sluggishness” of West German counterintelligence in an interview. But some people say that this is a conspiracy of Brandt’s political opponents to end Brandt’s prime minister’s career prematurely, so as to prevent him from continuing to promote “reconciliation between the two Germanys”.

Brandt (second from right on crutches) and his family play in the park with Guillaume (first from right).

  Whatever the truth, Guillaume’s sudden arrest did lead to Brandt’s resignation 10 days later. A few months later, Guillaume and his wife were sentenced to 13 and 8 years in prison, respectively. During the interrogation, the couple did not disclose the information of their relationship breakdown, so as not to be broken by each other. In 1981, East and West Germany exchanged spies, and the two returned to East Germany successively with their son.
  The Guillaumes became East Germany’s national heroes, but flowers and honor failed to restore their family. The Guillaumes announced their divorce a few months after returning home. Pierre has also been unable to forgive his father’s lies over the years. Unaccustomed to the collective life in East Germany, he applied to return to West Germany in 1988. In this regard, Guillaume said angrily: “I would rather let him go to prison than let him go to West Germany!” But he ultimately failed to stop his son. After returning to West Germany, Pierre changed his mother’s surname “Boom”, hoping to get rid of his father’s shadow completely.
  Guillaume has always emphasized that he is an “agent fighting for peace”, saying that the information he passed “prevented strategic misjudgment between the two Germanys and a possible military conflict”. Guillaume also once said: “The most honorable thing in my life is to work for Comrade Wolff and Chancellor Brandt.” Some historians believe that while working for Brandt, Guillaume gradually gradually I have sincere respect for the boss who fought against the Nazis all his life.
  On April 10, 1995, Guillaume died of kidney cancer. At the funeral, Pierre and Crystal were not seen. The only person who came to give him a ride was Wolf, the boss who took him on the road of being a secret agent. The “invisible man” who had terrorized Western intelligence agencies for 34 years was just an ordinary retiree at this time. Looking at the coffin where Guillaume was slowly buried, Wolff, who was full of emotion, put a red rose into the tomb according to the rules of the Stasi.
  Character brief introduction
  Günter Guillaume, born in 1927, is an intelligence officer of the GDR. In 1956, he and his wife entered the Federal Republic of Germany and lurked. In 1957, he joined the German Social Democratic Party. In 1968, he was elected to the city council of Frankfurt on behalf of the party. In 1970, he served as the personal adviser of Federal German Chancellor Brandt. In 1974, he was arrested by the Federal German anti-espionage agency. He was exchanged back to the GDR in 1981, and died of kidney cancer in 1995.

Share