GDR Secret Diplomat & Spy Herrmann v. Berg

Hermann Günter von Berg (* March 29, 1933, in Mupperg; † March 21, 2019, was a secret diplomat of the GDR from 1962 to 1972 and at the same time an agent of the GDR State Security. GDR Diplomat Secret Spy

Von Berg joined the FDJ in 1946 and the SED in 1950 and was the first secretary of the FDJ district leadership and a member of the SED Eisenach district leadership. From 1954, he studied economics, history, and philosophy at the Karl Marx University in Leipzig and was deputy head of the university’s All-German Student Council and a staff member of the FDJ Central Council’s International Relations Department. From 1959 he was a lecturer at the Fachschule für Außenwirtschaft in Potsdam.

Von Berg conducted secret negotiations with the federal government, the SPD, and the West Berlin Senate in preparation for the 1963/1964 passport agreement, the 1970 meetings of Willy Brandt and Willi Stoph in Erfurt and Kassel, and for the 1972 Basic Treaty between the GDR and the FRG.

From 1962 he was head of the International Relations Department in the Press Office of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers. He conducted secret negotiations with representatives of the federal government, the SPD, and the West Berlin Senate, among others, in preparation for the 1963-64 passport agreement, the meetings between Willi Stoph and Willy Brandt in Erfurt and Kassel in 1970 and the 1972 German-German Basic Treaty. In 1973, he was awarded the Fatherland Order of Merit in Silver.  According to the Stasi, Berg is said to have discussed with Egon Bahr the possibility of financial influence on CDU/CSU deputies by state security in the run-up to the vote of no confidence against Willy Brandt in 1972. According to Spiegel, the only evidence until 2013 was that the Stasi had bribed the CDU/CSU MP Julius Steiner with DM 50,000 in order to bring down the CDU/CSU vote of no confidence. The same is reported by Daniela Münkel of the Stasi Records Authority. GDR Diplomat Secret Spy

GDR Diplomat Secret Spy
GDR passport Hermann von Berg. Source: BStU, MfS, GH 25/87, Bd. 6

From 1966 he was an aspirant at the Institute for Social Sciences at the Central Committee of the SED, and after receiving his doctorate, from 1970 he was a lecturer and in 1972 a professor at the Economics Section of the Humboldt University in Berlin. After submitting an article critical of the leadership of the SED and the national question to Der Spiegel magazine, which was published as the “Manifesto of the League of Democratic Communists of Germany,” he was remanded in custody in 1978 and subjected to three months of interrogation by the Ministry of State Security. Further critical statements led to increasing obstructions to his ability to work and publish in the GDR.

After illegally handing over two book manuscripts with radical criticism of Marxism and the GDR’s economic system to a Cologne publishing house in 1985 and applying to leave the country, von Berg was again interrogated by the MfS and threatened with imprisonment, first granted leave of absence from Humboldt University and then dismissed, and after the intervention of West German politicians and the mediation of the lawyer Wolfgang Vogel, expelled to the Federal Republic in 1986.

From 1987 to 1990 he taught at the University of Würzburg, then again at Humboldt University Berlin until 1992. GDR Diplomat Secret Spy

Stasi-Agent GDR Diplomat Secret Spy

Von Berg was considered a top agent (code name “Günther”) in the Main Intelligence Directorate (HV A) of the Ministry of State Security.[9] He was often personally guided by Erich Mielke (Stasi minister) or Markus Wolf (head of HV A).[10] The minutes of his talks with Western partners contained in his reports for HV A were “meticulous.”.

Many of von Bergs’ reports about his activities as a secret diplomat 1962-1972 and simultaneous agent of the HV A have been preserved in large parts by a coincidence. After his arrest in 1978, the MfS’s Hauptabteilung II (counterintelligence) conducted a far-reaching investigation into the “von Berg” case. Large parts of von Berg’s reports on his work for the HV A were also included in the investigation files. These investigation files, a convolute of 12 volumes, survived the fall of communism in 1989/1990, as the Main Department II was occupied in time by the civil movement, and the handling of the files was subsequently monitored.

In contrast to the domestic departments, the Stasi’s foreign department, HV A, was given permission to “self-dissolve” without any outside control in 1990 for reasons that remain unexplained to this day. This led to the gigantic destruction of files, which was complete except for a few (albeit momentous) blunders and to which the original files on the activities of agent “Günther” also fell victim. GDR Diplomat Secret Spy


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