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Victim of kidnapping or an unfortunate defector? The strange case of Otto John

Fenemore, Mark (2019) Victim of kidnapping or an unfortunate defector? The strange case of Otto John. Cold War History. pp. 1-18. ISSN 1468-2745

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Abstract

Dr Otto John was a controversial choice as head of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, West Germany’s domestic counter-espionage agency. After attending a commemoration of the victims of the resistance plot against Hitler, on 20 July 1954, John disappeared from West Berlin in the company of his friend Dr Wolfgang Wohlgemuth. This article explores available evidence from Central Intelligence Agency and Stasi files to assess whether John was abducted or went freely as a would-be defector. An examination of his mental state is crucial in determining this.

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