There was obviously a good amount of rhyme and reason to the Nazi Abwehr's technical jargon. Each codename had its own justification, and worked fairly well on a metaphorical level. From calling forgers “cobblers” (due to the amount of overlap between shoemaking tools and forging tools) to referring to covert agents using portable transmitters as “pianists” or “musicians,” the Abwehr parlance maintained a very strong figurative connection between the codename and the actuality.
So it follows that the group of communist spies operating in occupied Europe during World War II was dubbed “The Red Orchestra” by German spy hunters – after all, what better image to evoke a group of trained professionals (many of whom were “pianists”) sending out clandestine messages to Moscow from the heart of Nazi Europe?
[...] Whatever the inference about Trepper's conduct as a prisoner is, it is generally also accepted that by the time of his arrest, the network that Trepper had built was virtually worthless, and had been formally beaten. Of course not every Comintern agent or source was picked up but the Gestapo had destroyed any Soviet means of relaying the information back to Moscow. Trepper escaped the clutches of the Gestapo a few months after his arrest and radio playback game with Moscow, and hid among several homes of contacts and acquaintances until the liberation But what exactly had he done during the war? [...]
[...] With Trepper's superiors acting in such a manner, the German circuit completely destroyed and the Brussels network crumbling under Abwehr and Gestapo pressure, Trepper withdrew into the French network. This was nerve center” 166) of the Red Orchestra, and Trepper was on the defensive, trying to minimize the damage that could be done by several agents from the Belgian network that had turned either under the appalling torture of the Gestapo or simply because they had been caught and saw no other way out. [...]
[...] And indeed, one may gain a good understanding of the network and the politics at play underneath and around it by first understanding this man at its helm. But first: why Trepper? The choice seems counter-intuitive at first glance: to spearhead the primarily GRU-helmed Soviet intelligence network in Western Europe, a Polish Jew with his primary experience in small underground groups. However, photos of Trepper through his early years are strung together by the stark determination on his face in settings much befitting a young communist as the leader of miners during a strike in the Galician town of Dombrova, as a subversive member of the Jewish Communist underground in Palestine. [...]
[...] Berzin made a grand impression upon Trepper, and according to Trepper it was Berzin with whom he first outlined the idea of the network that would become the Red Orchestra. After Trepper had worked for Berzin for a short while, the latter confided in him that the Soviet Intelligence Center “needed [Trepper]” 87) as an agent in West Germany. Trepper agreed, and with this agreement came his conditions and his ideas about how one must run a covert operation in a foreign, capitalist state. [...]
[...] Schulze-Boysen's group was the most valuable source of information available to Trepper and to Moscow all told, Schulze-Boysen and his agents had access to classified information from the Luftwaffe, the Messerschmitt factories, the Funkabwehr, the project to parachute saboteurs into Soviet territory and sectors of industrial and commercial development that related directly to the Nazi Wehrmacht and its ability to sustain the constant Blitzkrieg of Hitler's European land war. The information provided to the Soviets by Schulze-Boysen, Arvid Harnack and their contacts was perhaps the most valuable of all tragic because it was lost the most frivolously 4). [...]
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