The Sutterlin Episode

Key Players

Leonore Heinz
She worked as a secretary in the Foreign Office of the West German Government in Bonn. She had access to top secret documents and photographs.

Heinz Sutterlin
He was a trained Russian agent who was sent to Bonn with the specific assignment of recruiting a 'mole' from within the West German Foreign Office.

An agent for the KGB working undercover in West Germany.

Their Story

The story begins in 1959, when Heinz set out to woo Leonore. Initially he called at her flat on the pretext of looking for someone else. Leonore was charmed by his manners and flattered by the attention he gave her. Over the following few months, Heinz gave her gifts and took her out to concerts and restaurants. They married in December 1960.

A little while later Heinz asked Leonore to bring home some papers from the Foreign Office. She was surprised and shocked but did as he asked as she was afraid he might leave her if she didn't. For the following five years Leonore would bring home documents each lunchtime and Heinz would photograph them while she cooked lunch. Each afternoon she returned the documents and Heinz passed the photographs onto his contact - Runge. He in turn passed then on to the Russian Government. Many of the photographs showed top secret documents and so the Russians knew in advance the plans of the West German government.

However, in 1967, Runge defected to the West and surrendered his list of agents to the CIA - Central Intelligence Agency of the American government. Heinz and Leonore were arrested in West Germany and put on trial as spies.

During the course of the trail it inevitably emerged that Heinz had trained as a spy and that Runge had ordered him to marry a secretary from the West German Foreign Ministry with a view to obtaining state secrets. Leonore was distraught to discover this and realised that her marriage was probably part of a KGB plot. Rather than face up to this fact she hanged herself in her cell.