Presentation: ESPIONAGE – A WEAPON DURING THE COLD WAR
Speaker: WERNER JURETZKO was born into a well-respected merchant family in 1932. He grew up in a bilingual environment of the German and Polish languages, the youngest of seven children. His family lived in one of Europe’s pre-war political hotbeds—the long-disputed area of Upper Silesia where the first shots of World War II were fired. At the end of World War II, Werner was a combat-hardened 14-year-old fighting for his survival. He was forced by the Third Reich into the last-ditch defense lines. He became a Prisoner of War and was held captive for several months in the Soviet-Czech POW camp located in Tabor, Czechoslovakia. Atrocities committed by Soviet soldiers on members of his family created a resolve in Werner to revenge his family’s honor. In 1948, while serving his apprenticeship in West Germany as a tool & die maker, Werner was approached by the Organization Gehlen, which was the forerunner of the modern Amt fuer Verfassungsschutz (known in English as the Office for the Protection of the Constitution). Werner was asked to infiltrate the Communist Party in the State of Hessia. His exemplary service led to his recruitment by the G-2 Intelligence Service of the United States Army. During the heights of the Cold War, as a G-2 undercover political operative for the US Army intelligence, Werner conducted authorized undercover espionage missions behind the Iron Curtain. Werner was apprehended in action in 1955 by the Stasi (Ministry of State Security). He was tried by Communist authorities and subsequently sentenced to a 13-year prison term. He was released after 6 years of incarceration in Communist prisons, most of that time spent in solitary confinement. After being released in 1961, he decided to settle in the USA. Werner graduated from the Industrial Engineering College of Chicago in 1972. After a 25-year career with Signode Steel Company, he retired in 1989 at the position of Senior Manufacturing Engineer. During the 1970’s Werner served as a Director on the Executive Board of the German American National Congress (GANC—the largest organization of Americans of German descent). From 1972 to 1974, he served as President of the Chicago chapter of the GANC and as Editor of the organization’s monthly publication, Der Deutsch Amerikaner. Werner has authored numerous historical and politically oriented articles that have been published in many English, German and Polish publications. He is a member of AFIO, the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.