presents a detailed summary of:
SEVENTEEN MOMENTS OF SPRING
by Julian Semyonov
1. It is 12 February 1945. Standartenfuhrer von Stirlitz, an operative in the SD, the Nazi political intelligence agency, is at a private home on the shore of a lake which he uses for secret rendezvous. He is waiting for an informer to arrive. He hears a nightingale sing and feels sorry for the bird, because he knows that it will freeze to death.
Stirlitz is really a Soviet agent, Colonel Maksim Maksimovich Isaev, who has infiltrated the SD.
Before the Soviets broke through into Cracow in January 1945, the Gestapo had mined the town, intending to destroy it. However, for some reason, the town survived intact. Kaltenbrunner, the Chief of the Reich Security Services, confronts Kruger, Chief of the Gestapo Eastern Department, who had been responsible for destroying Cracow. Kruger bravely accepts full responsibility for the failure, but says he kept Stirlitz--who was in Cracow at the time--fully informed of the details of the operation. After Kruger leaves, Kaltenbrunner orders a review of all the files on Stirlitz.
Stirlitz's informant, Klaus, an agent-provocateur, shows up at the lake-side house and plays a tape of a conversation he had with Pastor Fritz Schlag, a pacifist clergyman the Nazis are trying to entrap. On the tape, Klaus is playing the part of a Communist to whom the Pastor agrees to give refuge. The Pastor also promises help others in the anti-Nazi underground.
The Gestapo has asked to borrow Klaus for a week. Two Russians "pianists" (radio operators) had been caught redhanded in Cologne transmitting a radio message. So far the Russians have said nothing, and the Gestapo hopes Klaus can help. Stirlitz says that Klaus deserves a vacation first. He has Klaus write a note to the effect that he's exhuasted and at the end of his rope and needs a break. Stirlitz then gives Klaus some money and tells him to go to the casinos in Innsbruck.
Klaus and Stirlitz stand together on the edge of the lake. As the Allied bombers fly overhead, Stirlitz shoots Klaus in the temple. The body falls into the water, and Stirlitz tosses the gun in afterward, making it look like suicide.
Kaltenbrenner asks Gestapo Chief Heinrich Müller to discreetly look into Stirlitz for the following reasons: (1) Stirlitz was partly responsible for the failure of the Cracow operation; (2) Stirlitz had been investigating the disappearance of a V2 rocket, but never found it; (3) Stirlitz is in charge of a number of questions relating to the development of the atomic weapon, but has not yet recorded any successes in this area; (4) Stirlitz has not been able to track down a roving Bolshevik transmitter which remains active in Berlin; and (5) while everyone else has criticisms to make about the German war effort and military leaders, only Stirlitz never makes any negative comments.
Stirlitz Joke #1:Stirlitz went into Müller's empty office. He walked up to the safe and pulled on the handle. It wouldn't open. After making sure that he was alone, he took out his gun and blasted away. Still, the safe wouldn't open. Next, he put a hand grenade under the safe and removed the pin. After the smoke cleared, Stirlitz once again tried to open the safe. Again, however, he was unsuccessful. "Hmmm..." the experienced intelligence officer at last concluded, "must be locked."
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2. In a meeting in his secret bunker, Hitler rules out a political settlement of the war. The military leaders, however, are more inclinded toward negotiations.
At his home in Babelsburg, not far from Potsdam, Stirlitz tunes into a Moscow radio station, playing old Russian songs. Then the announcer reads a long list of frequencies on which the station can be heard. It is really a coded message for Stirlitz. He uses his copy of Montaigne to decode the message which says that SS and SD officers have been appearing in Stockholm and Switzerland trying to make contact with Allied intelligence agents, particularly members of the staff of Allen Dulles. Stirlitz is ordered to find out if these SS and SD people are acting on orders from Berlin and if so, whose orders in particular.
Goering returns from a trip to the front and reports to Hitler that things there are in complete chaos. "The eyes of the soldiers are quite dazed, and I saw drunken officers. The Bolshevik offensive is striking fear into the army." Hitler angrily refutes him and orders him to never visit the front again.
Later that day, SS chief Himmler comes to visit Goering. Himmler says that Hitler's lost his guts, is incapable of taking decisions and must be replaced. Himmler suggests that Goering become President with Himmler as Chancellor. Goering says, "That's impossible." And fearing that there's a tape recorder in Himmler's brief case, Goering continues in a whisper, "One man will have to be both President and Chancellor."
3. To help himself think, Stirlitz drove around at dangerously high speeds in his Horch automobile. According to Stirliz, flirting with danger facilitated clear thinking.
Be like Stirlitz.
Drive a Horch
Or at least visit the
Stirlitz then drops in on his radio operators, Erwin and Kathe. Kathe is pregnant and Stirlitz is a little worried because, as a gynecologist told him, during labor women cry out in their native tongue, which in Kathe's case is her Ryazan dialect of Russian. Stirlitz suggests evacuating them to Sweden, but they refuse, saying they don't want to leave him alone.
Stirlitz and Erwin then drive out to the woods around Rahnsdorf and set up the radio. They transmit a message back to Moscow, in which Stirlitz says that, with Moscow's permission, he will approach Himmler with some of the information Moscow has given him. Then Himmler, Stirlitz supposes, will put the suspects under observation.
When Moscow receives this message, they immediately give the order that in the next scheduled secret broadcast to Erwin, Stirlitz must be told not to undertake his plan. Moscow knows something about Himmler that Stirlitz doesn't.
Himmler had risen to an almost unassailable position of power, mainly by compiling compromising material on the other Nazi leaders--Hess masturbating, Goebbels dallying with skinny ballerinas of unpure blood, rumors that Bormann was homosexual.
Learn about Stirlitz's boss:
Then read his
Affidavit to the Nuremburg
War Crimes Commission
The idea of a negotiated peace with the western Allies was first suggested to Himmler in 1942 by Walter Schellenberg, his deputy for the political intelligence department. The Nazis were so powerful, they could dictate peace terms, Schellenberg said. After all, Bismark always sought out peace when he was at the peak of his glory. Himmler responded that as long as Hitler relied on that idiot Ribbentrop for advice on foreign policy, peace was out of the question.
Then in January 1945--on Bormann's suggestion--Hitler named Himmler commander and chief of the Eastern Front, the so-called Army Group Vistula. Himmler, of course, is dismayed and decides he must start fighting for himself--arrange a peace with the West and then joint action against the Bolsheviks. He had reason to believe that the commmander-in-chief of the troops in Italy, Field Marshal Kesselring, would not object to negotiations with the West. Italy bordered Switzerland, and Switzerland was where you could find Allen Dulles, head of American security.
After dropping off Erwin, Stirlitz is driving home. He is stopped by two motorcycle guards who are searching the area for the rogue radio transmitter. This type of patrol might be able to catch a babe in the woods, but not an experienced operative such as Stirlitz. He offers to let the guards search his car, but they let him pass. Stirlitz thinks it will also be a good idea for him to check out what Albert Speer, Germany's chief industrialist, is up to.
4. Stirlitz always liked to help people who had been arrested on insufficient evidence or on unimportant matters. He would "recruit" then as informers for his SD work and get them released from concentration camps after only a short stay. So it was with Paster Schlag, who not only condemned Nazis, but was also willing to help the underground.
Stirlitz never tried to guess how events would develop in the future. . . . He often recalled that Pushkin, on being asked what was going to happen to the heroine of "Evgeny Onegin" at the time when the work was coming out in installments, had replied in an irritated tone: "Ask Tatyana, I don't know."
Müller calls Obersturmbannfuhrer Eismann to his office and says he's been ordered on a wild goose chase, that is, the investigation of Stirlitz. Müller admires Stirlitz, who's always calm and does his work without getting hysterical or overzealous. Eismann says he's known Stirlitz for eight years--they were in Smolensk together--and he can vouch for Stirlitz's loyalty. Müller tells Eismann to draw up a favorable report on Stirlitz and to particularly praise his work with Paster Schlag.
Müller then orders another staffer, Obersturmbannfuhrer Holthoff, to look over Stirlitz's work concerning the retaliation weapon--that is, atomic weapon--and the physicist Runge and to let Müller know if anything looks fishy.
Himmler sends Obergruppenfuhrer Karl Wolff, a trusted SS veteran, an a secret mission to Switzerland, to establish contact with Allen Dulles. Himmler and Schellenberg then meet to concoct ways of protecting themselves if this treachery is found out. Firstly, they can blame Kesselring, who, technically, is Wolff's superior. Also, they plan to send some of their own men to tail Wolff, so they can claim they claim that they themselves were working to expose the traitor. For this job, Schellenberg plans to use Stirlitz and the Pastor.
5. The next morning, Stirlitz drives to Erwin and Kathe's to learn Moscow's response to his message. But during the night, Allied bombers hit their neighborhood, and Erwin and Kathe's house has been reduced to rubble. No one there knows if they survived. Stirlitz helps a woman with a baby pull a pram through the rubble.
Kathe, who received two head wounds, is in the hospital giving birth to a boy. And, sure enough, during labor she screams out in Russian. The doctor tells the midwife to call the Gestapo.
Stirlitz composes a note to Himmler, telling him about his "suspicions" that someone is trying to arrange contact with the Allies, a crime which is punishable by death.
6. Stirlitz is in the reception area, waiting for his appointment with Himmler. Schellenberg enters and says he has to talk with Stirlitz right away. Schellenberg tells the secretary to reschedule Stirlitz's appointment for later in the day, and Schellengerg and Stirlitz then retire to Schellenberg's office.
Listen to the dulcet tones of
From the soundtrack of
"17 Moments of Spring"
Kathe feeds her healthy newborn son in the hospital. A man claiming to be from the insurance company comes to visit her. He tells her that Erwin died in the bombing and asks some insurance-related questions, including the names and addresses of any relatives. She gives the name of Erwin's uncle, Franz Paakenen, living in Stockholm. The man then hands Kathe a photograph of some suitcases found in the neighborhood's rubble and asks if any of them are hers. One of the cases in the photograph is obviously the one in which Erwin kept his wireless radio. Kathe, of course, says she recognizes none of the cases. When he leaves, the man, who is actually a Gestapo agent, immediately sends the photograph to be tested for Kathe's fingerprints. The Gestapo has already tested the wireless radio and found three sets of fingerprints on it.
While Allied bombs rain down outside, Eismann sits in his office and tries to puzzle out why Stirlitz has fallen into disrepute. He reviews the file on this peacenik pastor Schlage, who had been denouced by two of his parishoners for making pacifist sermons. The intelligence authorities found him interesting because in 1933 he had taken two trips abroad--to Great Britain and to Switzerland--to take part in pacifist conferences. He also met ex-Chancellor Bruning, who had since emigrated and was now living in Switzerland.
Eismann decides to listen to a recording of Stirlitz's interrogation of the Pastor, which took place on 29 September 1944. On the recording, Stirlitz tries to convince the Pastor of the correctness of National Socialism, but the Pastor isn't buying it. The Pastor opposes the violence of the regime, but he himself would never use violence to oppose it (bombs, assassination, etc.) because that would make him as bad as the Nazi. Stirlitz asks, as a hypothetical, what the Pastor would do if the anti-Nazi underground asked him to act as a go-between, taking a letter to, say, Britain, Russia, Sweden, or Switzerland. The Pastor says he would undertake such a mission as long as it leads to good and involves only upright means.
7. Schellenberg tells Stirlitz about his plans for Stirlitz and the Pastor concerning Wolff. Stirlitz feels the violent urge to immediately burn his memo to Himmler which is in his briefcase. Stirlitz knows that he barely avoided disaster.
Later, Bormann receives an anonymous letter from someone in the SD who says he has information on traitors who are trying to make contact with the West. If Bormann is interested, he is instructed to go to the front of the Neues Tor hotel next to the Natural History Museum tomorrow at 1 PM.
Eismann listens to more of the tape of the Pastor and Stirlitz. Stirlitz tells the Pastor that he will release him from prison if the Pastor agrees that, whenever Stirlitz may want it, he will talk to scientists, party workers, journalists, etc., and report to Stirlitz on the degree of good or evil he finds in them. The Pastor is suspicious that it is a provocation.
Hitler sends an order for Kruger in Prague, directing him to destroy all transport, communications, industrial enterprises, etc., in the face of the enemy advance. Kaltenbrunner tells Müller to make sure that Kruger doesn't screw up like he did last time.
8. It was Stirlitz who sent the anonymous note to Bormann. Before leaving for the rendezvous, Stirlitz has his secretary send a note to Klaus arranging a meeting at the Natural History Museum, which is right next to the Neues Tor Hotel. This gives Stirlitz an excuse to be there and also provides him with an alibi for Klaus's death, which nobody knows about yet.
Be like Stirlitz.
Do your spying at the:
Berlin Museum of
As Stirlitz drives to the hotel, he notices someone following him. He speeds up and loses the pursuer.
Stirlitz goes into the Natural History museum and pretends to study the exhibits, while really looking out the window at the front of the Neues Tor Hotel. The museum is empty except for a female teacher giving a tour to some school children. Bormann does not show up. He wanted to be there, but got trapped attending an interminable speech by Hitler.
Stirlitz reports to Schellenberg that he was followed, either by criminals or Müller's men. Schellenberg phones Müller who confirms that his agents were following Stirlitz, but says it was an accident...they were looking for some South American who drives a Horch. But that is a lie. Müller is keeping Stirlitz under surveillance. Even the school teacher in the museum was a spy working for Müller.
9. Wolff's agents in Switzerland manage to make contact with Dulles's agents. Wolff himself is invited for a second meeting. The subject of the meeting is the interest both sides have in preventing establishment of a Communist state in northern Italy.
With no way of contacting Moscow, Stirlitz has to puzzle out a way to contact Soviet citizens in Switzerland. He goes to visit Professor Pleischner former Vice-Chancellor of Kiel University. Pleischner spent some time in detention in Dachau for his anti-Fascist sentiments. Upon his release, a broken man, his brother got him a post working in the Ancient Greece section of the Pergamon Museum. Pleischner is stunned when Stirlitz tells him he's really working for Soviet intelligence. Stirlitz proves it with a letter Pleischner's brother wrote to Stirlitz before his death. Pleischner promises to aid Stirlitz if needed. But, Pleischner adds, if he is caught and tortured, he will reveal everything.
10. Late at night, Stirlitz visits Pastor Shlag. Although the Pastor denies it, Stirlitz says he knows that the Pastor was giving refuge to a Communist (Klaus). He then surprises the Pastor with the information that Klaus was really a Nazi agent. Stirlitz tells the Pastor he's got an assignment for him, whether he likes it or not. The Pastor is to go to Switzerland and establish contacts with respected church leaders and other pacifists there. The Pastor should tell them that while there are Nazis willing to discuss peace, Himmler's representatives are provocateurs and not to be trusted. The Pastor's sister will be arrested as soon as he enters Switzerland, but Stirlitz promises that she will be safe.
Stirlitz, you're like a werewolf. How can I believe what you say when you have so many different faces?
The "insurance agent" returns to visit Kathe in the hospital. By this time, Kathe has guessed that he really works for the Gestapo. He suggests that she call her uncle in Stockholm for assistance. He also says the insurance company can start to pay out some benefits, but he needs the names of two people who can vouch for her. She mentions Fritz Nusch, a retired general in Rahnsdorf whose radio Erwin used to fix, and a Frau Eichelbrenner in Potsdam. The insurance agent also says that Kathe's landlord has identified some suitcases as hers. He will bring them tomorrow so she can open them. As he leaves, the agent tells the nurse to call him immediately in case Kathe calls anyone or has any visitors.
Stirlitz is greatly shaken when he sees Erwin's wireless case being carried down a corridor and into the office of Sturmbannfuhrer Rolff. With no time to think and relying totally on instinct, Stirlitz calmly strides into Rolff's office and casually asks about the case. Rolff tells Stirlitz about Kathe and says they haven't quite decided on how to proceed with her. Stirlitz advises that they bring her in for questioning tomorrow and that Rolff not inform their superiors just yet, because the bosses often just muck things up when they get involved. Stirlitz starts to leave, but then, as if suddenly remembering, he says what he really came for was to borrow some of Rolff's Swedish sleeping pills. People always remember only the end of the conversation, Stirlitz thinks; and if anyone asks why Stirlitz came, Rolff will say it was for sleeping pills.
Stirlitz Joke #2:Stirlitz went into Müller's office and said, "Herr Müller, how would you like to work as an agent for Soviet Intelligence? The pay is good." Müller, shocked, gives an angry rebuff, then eyes Stirlitz suspiciously. Stirlitz starts to leave, but then stops and asks, "Gruppenfuhrer, do you have any aspirin?" Stirlitz knew that people always remember only the end of a conversation.
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Stirlitz goes to Schellenberg's office and complains. It was Stirlitz who's been looking for the underground transmitter for eight months, and now it lands up on Rolff's desk even though, as Stirlitz says, "Rolff understands as much about wireless messages as I do about lesbianism!" Stirlitz demands the right to do the first interrogation of Kathe, and Schellenberg agrees.
Stirlitz shows up at the hospital and, talking Nazi tough, gruffly tells Kathe that her subversive underground activities have been uncovered and she is to accompany him to headquarters for interrogation. Kathe is thrilled to see Stirlitz, but, naturally, masks this joy. As they walk through the hospital corridor, Stirlitz is able to whisper instructions to Kathe. She is to say that she was just the radio-operator and that only Erwin knew the codes. He also shows her the photo of some advisor from the Foreign Ministry who died last week; Kathe is to identify this advisor as her contact.
Some hours later, Müller is furious when he learns that Kathe has disappeared from the hosptial. Then Schellenberg phones and tells Müller that Stirlitz has "turned" Kathe--she now agrees to work for the Nazis.
Müller listens to the tape of Stilitz's interrogation of Kathe. Müller is impressed with Stirlitz's masterful combination of threats and reassurances which apparently convinced Kathe to betray the Soviets. On the tape, Kathe makes only one condition--that she never wind up in the hands of the Soviets, who will surely execute her as a traitor.
Later, while there is an air raid and everyone else is down in the shelters, Stirlitz sneaks into the security office telephone exchange. Using one of the hotlines, he calls Bormann. Disguising his voice, Stirlitz arranges to meet Bormann in front of the Neues Tor hotel later that night.
11. Bormann's car pulls up in front of the hotel. Stirlitz, wearing glasses, a false moustache, and a hat pulled down over his eyes, gets into the back with Bormann. Bormann orders his chauffeur to drive around and rolls up the partition between the front and back seats so that he and Stirlitz can confer in private.
The next day, Himmler reviews the telephone logs and is furious when he sees that someone called Bormann's bunker on the hotline. They take fingerprints off the telephone that was used and discover that the same fingerprints were on Kathe's wireless set. Himmler and Müller decide to secretly gather fingerprints from all the SD staff. They also haul in Bormann's driver, who is forced to admit that Bormann met with a stranger the night before. The chauffeur is shown hundreds of photos, including Stirlitz's, but is unable to identify any of them. Himmler wants the chauffeur killed, but doesn't want to say so explicitly, so he leaves it up to Müller to decide. Müller knows that Himmler is merely setting him up as a scapegoat if needed, so he decides to let the chauffeur live.
Himmler knows that Bormann's archives are to be evacuated soon. He orders his agent Sturmbannfuhrer Otto Skorzeny to steal those archives.
The Most Dangerous Man
SS Special Mission
Read about his daring
Liberation of Mussolini
from Gran Sasso
Stirlitz takes a train to the Swiss border to arrange the details for the Pastor's crossing. Besides Stirlitz, there are only two other passengers on the train--a Swedish professor and a general returning to the Italian front after a convalescence. The general strikes up a conversation with Stirlitz, openly ridicules Hitler and acknowledges that Germany's defeat is certain.
At the border station, Stirlitz gets out. He stays on the platform and watches as the train pulls out again, carrying the general and the Swedish professor. Actually, the Swedish professor is really Pleishner, on his way to Berne carrying a secret report for Moscow from Stirlitz, including an urgent request for a new contact.
Back in Berlin, a convoy of 26 trucks begins its evacuation of Bormann's archive. Skorzeny's men, in civilian clothes, block the road with a truck. But instead of stopping, the convoy opens fire on Skorzeny's truck. The lead truck in the convoy smashes into Skorzeny's truck and shoves it off the road and into a ditch. A chase and gun fight ensue. Half of the convoy escapes, but, after a pitched battle, Skorzeny's men manage to seize the other 13 trucks. The sacks and zinc cases from the trucks are driven to the aerodrome, and the drivers who took them there are then killed to ensure secrecy.
Schellenberg has an informant in Dulles's household who reports that Dulles had a meeting with a priest. During the conversation, Dulles says the world will curse Hitler, not for the ovens of Maidanek and Auschwitz, but for spurring the unprecedented development of Soviet Russia with his invasion.
At the border, Stirlitz easily arranges things for the Pastor's crossing. When the lieutenant at the border crossing receives a coded message, he is to leave a car with the keys in it at the train station and some Swiss skis at a predesignated spot.
Pleischner, in Berne, is giddy with his new-found freedom. In a restaurant, he has a fit of hysterics and shouts out repeatedly, "Hitler's a scoundrel! A cad! A vulture! A vampire!".
Pleischner then goes to the address of the secret apartment as he was instructed to do by Stirlitz. He knocks on the door and gives the password. Then, without waiting for the counter-sign, he enters and hands over Stirliltz's secret coded report. Unfortunately, the tall man he handed the report to was not Moscow's agent (who's been exposed and arrested), but a Nazi agent.
12. Kathe and her son, whom she named Vladimir, are moved to a Gestapo apartment. She has two minders, a talkative young woman named Barbara and a shell-shocked demobililzed soldier, Helmuth.
Himmler had hoped to find among Bormann's archive information on how Party funds had been transferred to foreign banks; but no luck. However, he did find Stirlitz's report to Bormann. It was unsigned, so Himmler didn't know who wrote it; but it proved that treachery was afoot in the SD. Himmler gives the paper to Schellenberg and tells him to investigate.
Back in Berne, the tall man gently pumps Pleischner for information. Pleischner tells him where he's staying, that he came from Berlin and that he has to signal his safe arrival by sending a postcard back to Berlin with a particular stamp on it--the conquest of Mont Blanc. Pleischner hasn't been able to find the stamp, so the tall man obligingly says he'll find it. The tall man also convinces Pleischner to leave his false Swedish passport with him for a day. When Pleischer leaves, the Nazis keep him under surveillance.
When Stirlitz returns home late at night, he finds Holthoff there, sitting in the darkness. He's switched off the electricity, so the hidden listening devices won't work. Holthoff says that in reviewing Stirlitz's file he has come to realize that, wittingly or unwittingly, Stirlitz has been working to undermind the German effort to develop atomic weapons. Stirlitz had the physicist Runge shipped off to a concentration camp based on the analysis of his work made by only ten other physicists, all of whom, while loyal to Hitler, stood to gain from Runge's fall. Why had Stirlitz not consulted with 100s of physicists, as had Holthoff? And, as it turns out, Runge's line of research had been correct after all. So, basically, Stirlitz delayed progress on atomic weapons. Holthoff suggests that he, Stirlitz, and Runge all escape to the West...Stirlitz is the best man to organize it. Once again relying on his keen instincts, Stirlitz clubs Holthoff over the head with a bottle of cognac, knocking him out cold.
Stirlitz Joke #3:Stirlitz and Kathe are walking through the park. A gunshot rings out. Kathe falls. Blood flows. Stirlitz, relying on his keen instincts, immediately gets suspicious.
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Müller was in his office. He had just been informed about the secret message Pleischner delivered to the conspirators' apartment in Berne. It appears to be in the same code used by that pianist (radio operator) Kathe. He decides that more direct means are to be applied against her. He doesn't believe that she knows nothing about the code. He's also thinking about Stirlitz. It was Müller who sent Holthoff to see Stirlitz with that bit of play-acting and provocation. If Stirlitz reports on Holthoff, then Müller will know that Stirlitz is loyal. If not, they he will know that Stirlitz is a traitor.
Stirlitz bursts into Müller's office, dragging the beaten and bloodied Holthoff. Stirlitz denounces Holthoff as either insane or a traitor. The dazed Holthoff asks for some water, and Stirlitz gives him a glass. Stirlitz writes a short report on the matter, then dashes off to see the Pastor and work on his plot to disrupt Himmler's peace feelers.
Müller no longer suspects Stirlitz, but sends the waterglass to be tested just so he can complete his file of SD personnel fingerprints. Later that night, Müller is awaken with shocking news: Stirlitz's fingerprints match those on the hotline telephone and on Kathe's wireless set.
In Switzerland, Wolff meets with Dulles. As a sign of good faith, Wolff says he can prevent the destruction of all the architectural wonders and works of art as the Fuhrer has ordered. Wolff produces a list of paintings by Titian, Botticelli, El Greco, and others which he has in safekeeping and says he can hand over. Dulles wants to know what they're worth. When Wolff says over a hundred million dollars, Dulles agrees to continue negotiations. They start to work out the membership of the future German cabinet. Wolff would be given the Ministry of Interior, but no portfolio is set aside for Himmler. Wolff does not include this latter piece of information in his report back to Himmler.
13. Sterlitz is in his Horch with the Pastor, speeding toward the border. They listen to Edith Piaf on the radio. Sterlitz predicts immortality for the chanteuse. They arrive at the border, and in the light of the full moon, Sterlitz watches as the Pastor skis off into the woods on the other side of the border. Stirlitz hasn't slept for 48 hours. He naps for 20 minutes then speeds back to Berlin, hoping to somehow rescue Kathe.
Be like Stirlitz.
Enjoy the music of:
Meanwhile, back in Berlin, Müller's men are combing the city in a search for Stirlitz, but he seems to have vanished into thin air. Nor can they find the Pastor's sister, Frau Anna and her children. At 8 o'clock in the morning, Rolff arrives at Kathe's apartment. The baby is crying, wanting to be fed. Even Helmuth says the baby should be fed right away, but Rolff orders that the baby be ignored until he talks with Kathe. Rolff demands to know the name of Kathe's local intelligence chief. Kathe says she doesn't know it. Rolff says she's lying. He opens the window, letting in a frosty blast of air. Rolff then takes the baby, strips him naked, and threatens that, unless Kathe tells him what he wants to know, he will put the infant Vladimir on the window sill in the freezing air for three or four minutes, certainly killing the baby. The baby wails. Kathe howls like a helpless animal.
In Switzerland, Pastor Shlag establishes contact with church people, warning them that Wolff's negotiations are not sincere and saying he wants to help the Allies get in touch with those who helped him leave Germany and who genuinely want to talk peace.
General Airey from England and General Lemnitzer from America, disguised as Irish businessmen, cross into Switzerland and meet with Dulles to work out a joint Anglo-American position in the negotiations with Wolff, which have been dubbed Operation Crossword. They no longer talk of the Anglo-Soviet-American allies, but only of the Anglo-American allies.
Kaltenbrunner receives a message from Kruger saying that he is getting ready to destroy Prague as ordered. To help him in this matter he has recruited a Colonel Berg from military intelligence as well as a Russian named Grishanchikov, whom Stirlitz has recommended highly. Kaltenbrunner forwards the information to Müller.
Müller passes word to Berne that Pleischner is to be arrested. Completely unaware of the danger he is in, Pleischner is happily enjoying his freedom. He is early for his appointment at the secret apartment, so he stops in a cafe for ice cream. The tall, blue-eyed man enters the cafe along with an olive-skinned man. They don't notice Pleischner, who recognizes the olive-skinned man as a fanatic Gestapo agent who yelled at him during one of his yearly interviews, demanding unquestioningly obedience to the Fuhrer. The tall man and the olive-skinned fellow leave. Shaken, Pleischner goes outside. The tall man, already back in the secret apartment, waves down to Pleischner, beckoning him to come up. It is only then that Pleischner notices what he forgot to look for two days agao: a flower pot in the apartment window...the alarm signal, the signal that the secret apartment has been compromised; apparently the Russian agent managed to put it up before his capture. Pleischner realizes that he is being followed. He steps into the entrance of the apartment building complex and decides he will escape through the courtyard; but the door leading into the courtyard is locked.
Before going to the Reich Security Office, Stirlitz sits on a bench in the open air to collect his thought. He closes his eyes and fondly remembers his wife, Sashenka, and his son, Sasha, whom he hasn't seen in years.
Stirlitz Joke #4:A flower pot fell off the window sill of the secret apartment and smashed Stirlitz on the head. This was the signal that his wife had just given birth to a son. Stirlitz shed a single manly tear. He hadn't been home for seven years.
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14. Müller is taken aback when he is informed that Stirlitz has arrived at the Reich Security Office and is calmly strolling down the corridors, greeting everyone casually. Müller takes Stirlitz down to a cell in the basement and asks him about his role in the affair with the physicist Runge.
Meanwhile, Rolff is giving Kathe one last chance to confess before he puts baby Vladimir out into the freezing cold. Kathe doesn't talk. Rolff rips the blanket off the baby and opens the window. Two gunshots ring out--Helmuth has killed Rolff and Barbara.
Back at the Reich Security Office, Müller seems satisfied with the explanation about Runge, but asks about Stirlitz's fingerprints on the hotline phone. Stirlitz admits that he called Bormann, but says he can't reveal the nature of their conversation unless Bormann himself is present. Müller then confronts Stirlitz with the fingerprints from Kathe and Erwin's radio set. Stirlitz is stumped at finding an excuse. Müller then shows Stirlitz the secret coded message they got from Pleischner in Berne. Without saying anything, Stirlitz knows that things look bad for him.
In Berne, Pleischner, unable to escape into the courtyard, rushes up the stairs of the apartment building, ringing doorbells, hoping to find refuge somewhere. No one opens their door for him. He finally reaches the top floor, with the two agents who were following him climbing up toward him. The tall man opens the door of the secret apartment and beckons to Pleischner. With nowhere else to go, Pleischner leaps out the window and plunges to his death.
15. Müller is summoned to the apartment where Rolff's and Barbara's bodies have been found. A neighbor reports seeing Helmuth, Kathe, and the baby leave and get on a bus heading west. Müller orders his men to check all along the bus route as well as stake out Stirlitz's apartment and the train stations.
In his cell, Sterlitz remembers that he was near Erwin and Kathe's bombed-out house after the air raid and that he helped a woman with a pram. He can claim that it was when he was helping people in the rubble that his fingerprints got on the radio case. He tells a guard to call Müller immediately.
Helmuth knocks on the door of an infants' home. The woman at the door says the children are being fed and he'll have to return in a half hour. Kathe is hiding in the cellar of a nearby destroyed building.
Müller learns that Helmuth's wife left him two months ago and that his four-month-old daughter is in an infants's home. Müller and some detectives set off for the home.
Helmuth, a peasant by birth, was a happy and patriotic German soldier at the beginning of the war. But that changed in Russian. He and other soldiers were ordered to kill Russian hostages, including women and children. After that, Helmuth became remorseful and morose. Then his wife, tired of married life, ran off with someone else and, like a common tart, dropped their baby off at the infants' home.
Helmuth returns to the infants' home and says he's being sent back to the front soon and wants to take his daughter, Ursula, for a stroll through the garden before then. The matron hands over the baby. Helmuth takes his daughter over to Kathe in the cellar. He says he'll wait on the street for the bus and hurry back to get Kathe and the babies when he sees it coming. But before the bus comes, Helmuth sees two black Gestapo cars speeding toward him. His first impulse is to run to Kathe, but he knows this will just attract attention and lead the Gestapo straight to Kathe and his daughter. He reasons, however, that if he shoots, Kathe will know what happened and will take care of his daughter for him, saving her from evil Gestapo guys like Rolff. So Helmuth steps into the street and fires his pistol at the Gestapo cars. He is cut down by machine gun fire, but not before he kills one of the detectives.
One of the men searching through the documents captured from Bormann's archive tells Schellenberg that he's found something interesting. It says that on Day-X Kaltenbrunner, Pohl, and Schellenberg are to be isolated, an euphemism for 'killed'. Müller's name was originally on the list, but crossed out. The document also lists other lower-ranking SS and SD officers who are to be eliminated, including Stirlitz. It was only because of an oversight on the part of Bormann's staff that Stirlitz's name remained on the list, but Schellenberg didn't know this; and this saved Stirlitz from being "isolated" by Schellenberg.
In his cell, Stirlitz tells Müller that he no doubt touched Kathe's case when moving about in the rubble of her neighborhood. Müller is dubious, but says he'll check it out.
When Kathe heard the shooting on the street, she looked out the cellar entrance and saw Helmuth writhing on the ground. She found a manhole coverin the cellar and climbed down through it with the two sleeping babies. She stood there, perched precariously on the ladder above the rushing sewer water and clutching the children, as two detectives searched the cellar above her.
16. Müller checks with policemen who were on duty near Kathe's house on the day of the bombing and confirms Stirlitz's alibi. Stirlitz is released. Müller then asks him where Pastor Shlag is. Stirlitz, not answering directly, says he knows that Müller was ordered to try and implicate Stirlitz in some scheme and also arrested Bormann's chauffeur on orders from above. Stirlitz says he has to go meet Bormann at the museum again. Müller tells him to take along a tape recorder. Müller reminds Stirlitz that Bormann controls vast amounts of wealth hidden in foreign banks. Money that could be used to secure a comfortable retirement for Müller and Stirlitz, and which will fund the return of National Socialism in approximately 1965.
Stirlitz Joke #5:On May Day, Stirlitz put on his Red Army cap, grabbed a red banner and marched up and down the corridors of the Reich Security Office singing the Internationale and other revolutionary songs. Never before had Stirlitz been so close to failure.
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In Berne, the Pastor meets with an Italian on Dulles's staff. The Italian says the Allies won't talk with the Pastor unless they know exactly for whom he is speaking and what their political platform is. The Pastor assures the Italian that they're not Communists, but more than this he does not reveal. But the Italian senses that the Pastor knows something of Dulles's negotiations with Wolff.
After the detectives left the cellar, Kathe dragged herself out of the manhole and, carrying the two babies, made her way out onto the street and onto a bus, where she promptly fell asleep. Sometime later, she is awakened by the bus driver and a policeman, who tell her there's an air raid. They lead Kathe down into an air raid shelter. A woman gives her clean diapers for the babies. Kathe feeds the children, then, when the air raid ends, leaves them in the care of a young woman for a moment as goes out to look for a phone. A police officer tells her he can use the phone in his office. She dials Stirlitz's number. She does not notice that her picture and description are on the police officer's desk; nor does the police officer recognize her.
In Stirlitz's office, Stirlitz and Müller are listening to the recording of Stirlitz's conversation with Bormann. Bormann wants Stirlitz to get a recording of Wolff admitting that he is acting as Himmler's representative in the negotiations with the West. Bormann wants to compromise Himmler in Hitler's eyes, Dulles in Stalin's eyes, and Wolff in Himmler's.
Just then, the telephone rings. It's Kathe calling. In front of Müller, Stirlitz pretends that it's Bormann calling to summon him to another meeting. Kathe tells Stirlitz where she is and asks him to come get her.
17. Stirlitz drives out to pick up Kathe. Stirlitz knows that he doesn't have much time because he knows his phone calls are recorded and Müller will soon learn that it was a woman who called, not Bormann. Stirlitz drives out to Schellenberg's house and tells him that Müller knows about Wolff's mission in Switzerland. Stirlitz volunteers to go to Berne to personally take charge of the situtation, and Schellenberg agrees.
Soon, Stirlitz and Kathe are driving across the border into Switzerland. Kathe, thinking of Erwin, bursts into tears. Stirlitz advises that she must think only of the future now. Kathe wisely replies, "Without a past, there can't be any future."
Once in Berne, Stirlitz meets with Pastor Shlag and reviews his information on the Dulles-Wolff meetings. Stirlitz sends off a secret message to Moscow telling them that perhaps Dulles has not been keeping the U.S. government fully informed about his negotiations with the SS, telling them instead that he is talking to Hitler's "opponents". Either the West is playing a double-game, or Dulles is about to betray the interests of the United States. Stirlitz recommends that the Soviet Union let the West know that it knows about the secret negotiations.
Roosevelt has declared on several occasions that America's goal is Germany's unconditional surrender. However, Dulles has been talking of compromises, even of preserving intact certain Nazi institutions.
At a second meeting with the Pastor, Stirlitz says that the Pastor's sister and her children have been moved to safety. They are staying with a peasant family in the mountains, away from the Gestapo and all the bombings. Stirlitz produces a letter from the Pastor's sister and some photographs to prove it. The Pastor gives Stirlitz a transcript of negotitations between Dulles and Wolff which ex-Chancellor Brunning obtained. In the transcript, the discussion centers on working to get Kesselring to capitulate on the Western front and Vietinghoff to do the same in Italy.
Kathe and the babies get on a train for Paris.
In Moscow, Peoples Commissar for Foreign Affairs Molotov summons the British ambassador and hands him a stern note, saying that the Soviet Union is not at all pleased with the fact that the British and Americans are negotiating with the Nazis behind the USSR's back.
Bormann was actually happy when Stirlitz told him about Himmler's scheme to contact the West. He saw it as his chance to eliminate Himmler. He phoned Kaltenbrunner to have Wolff recalled to Berlin and arrested as soon as he got off the plane. Unfortunately for Bormann, Schellenberg got wind of this and showed up at the airport in his most impressive general's uniform. With Schellenberg there greeting Wolff, the Gestapo thugs did not dare to arrest him. Schellenberg wisked Wolff off to Himmler's where they get their alibi straight: Wolff had actually been sent to Berne to infiltrate and expose the rotten schemers like Pastor Shlag who were the real ones who wanted a deal with the West. They present this alibi to Hitler, who foolishly believes it.
Churchill lies to Stalin in an official response to Molotov's note. The British leader says that England and America were never trying to exclude the Soviet Union and that the negotiations with Wolff never concerned possible German capitulation. Stalin also writes a complaint to Roosevelt, in it, he notes one strange anomoly: The German are still fighting tooth-and-nail for every inch of land on the Eastern Front, but they surrender important towns on the Western Front without any resistance. To quote:
"The Germans are fighting desperately against the Russians for Zemlenice, an obscure station in Czechoslovakia, which they need just as much as a dead man needs a poultice, but they surrender without any resistance such important towns in the heart of Germany as Osnabruck, Mannheim, and Kassel. You will admit that this behavior on the part of the Germans is more than strange and unaccountable."
Schellenberg summons Stirlitz back to Berlin. Before he leaves Bern, Sterlitz meets with a new contact sent by Moscow. The contact says that Moscow, knowing the ticklish position he is in, does not insist that Stirlitz return to Berlin. But Stirlitz, knowing the potential might of the German army and German industry and aware of the West's double-dealing, feels that there may be terrible surprises to come; and so he decides to go back to Berlin. The contact also tells Stirlitz that he, Stirlitz, has been nominated as a Hero of the Soviet Union.
Driving back to Berlin, Stirlitz listens on the radio to German actress and singer Marika Rokk. She sings: "Seventeen moments of spring, will be captive in your heart....". Stirlitz stops his car and walks into the pine forest. He lingers there for a long time, relishing the feel of the earth.
Stirlitz Joke #6:In the Reich Security Office, Müller, Himmler, and Bormann are all standing in the cafeteria line, patiently waiting their turn. Stirlitz enters and passes everyone as he strides directly to the head of the queue. He is served immediately. Müller, Himmler and Bormann are baffled. What they didn't know is that a Hero of the Soviet Union has the right to receive service without having to stand in line.
Semyonov, Julian. Born 8 October 31 May 1931 in Moscow. His father was one of the "repressed". Julian Semyonov studied at the Oriental Institute of Moscow University, majoring in Persian History and Politics. After graduation, he worked as a researcher and lecturer. He began publishing fiction in 1958 and gave up the academic life to become a journalist and writer. His 1965 novel Petrovka 35 was an immediate success.
But Semyonov is mainly known for his "Stirlitz" series of novels. Otto von Stirlitz is the code name for Maksim Isaev, a Soviet intelligence agent who faithfully served the motherland in various posts from 1918 to 1967. He operated in Paris, Shanghai, and, most notably, in Nazi Germany during World War II where he infiltrated the SD (political security police) and practically single-handed exposed an attempt by Britain and the United States to conclude a separate peace with the Nazis and open a joint front against the Soviet Union. Stirlitz flirted with disaster in 1952 when, upon return to the Soviet Union, he was arrested by Beria's people. Only Stalin's timely death saved Stirlitz from execution.
Unlike the "James Bond" type of spy thriller, the Stirlitz books are based on actual events, thoroughly researched and full of historical document and fact. Semyonov flew all over the world to research his books, even meeting with famed Nazi Otto Skorzeny. Semyonov maintained close contact and was friendly with KGB agents. There are also rumors that Semyonov himself was a KGB colonel. But his close friends deny this.
The Stirlitz series appeared at a time when there was a conscious decision by the Soviet government--in light of the revealation of the Stalin-era abuses--to reabilitate the image of the intelligence worker in the eyes of the public. In this, the Stirlitz books were a hugh success.
Stirlitz was an ideal Soviet intelligence worker. Modest and businesslike; cultured and well-rounded. He could speak on philosophy, history and science with equal ease. He knew most every European language, with the exception of Irish and Albanian. Hard-headed and cold-blooded, but not cruel. He preferred to use intellectual methods rather than crude violence. In his entire career he killed only once. He was a moderate drinker; his main use for a bottle of cognac was as a weapon to club opponents over the head with. And he was virtuous; when invited to partake of some prostitutes, he declined saying, "I'd rather drink some coffee." His one indulgence was his speedy and fancy Horch automobile. And through all his international adventures, Stirlitz, a true Russian at heart, was pining for his homeland.
Stirlitz's status as folk hero is confirmed by the prevelance of Stirlitz jokes, which themselves constitute a whole sub-genre of Russian literature just begging for academic study.
The books in the Stirlitz series are: (1) No Password Needed; (2) Diamonds for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat; (3) Tenderness; (4) Spanish Variant; (5); Alternative; (6) Third Card; (7) Major Whirlwind; (8) Seventeen Moments of Spring; (9) The Order to Survive; (10) Expansion (Parts 1 - 3); (11) Despair; and (12) Bomb for the Chairman.
Even in post-Soviet society, Stirlitz is popular. Newspapers report that when the film version of Seventeen Moments of Spring is broadcast, there are noticably fewer people on the streets and the incidence of crime falls.
Semyonov was a prolific writer and, besides the Stirlitz books, his major works include: Petrovka, 38; Ogoreva, 6; Confrontation; Reporter (1987); Burning; International Knot; Irreconcilability; Press Center; TASS is Authorized to Announce; Auction; Versions; Death of Stolypin; Diplomatic Agent; Dunechka and Nikita; Face to Face; Scientific Commentary; He Killed Me Near Luang-Prabang; Crossings; Pseudonym; Peter's Death; and The Secret of Kutovsky Prospect.
He also produced many short stories such as: My Heart Is In The Hills; Leader; Grigorio, Friend of Ernesto; Rain in the Gutters; Still Not Autumn; Exile of the Poet; Myocardial Infarction; How This Was; Horses and People; My Guide; Night and Day; Farewell to a Beloved Woman; Skorzeny--Face to Face; Old Man in Madrid; and Old Man in Pamplona.
Besides his writing, Semyonov also found time to serve as President of the International Association of Crime Writers.
In 1990 Semyonov suffered a major heart attack and was clinically dead before surgeons were able to revive him. After that, however, he was severely debilitated, confinded to bed and unable to work. He died in 1993. He was married and had two daughters.