Paul Massing was born in Grumbach, Germany on 30th August 1902. After going to school in Cologne he studied economics and social sciences at Frankfurt University. Massing graduated in 1926 and then moved to Paris where he carried out research into agricultural labourers in 19th century France.
Massing was a member of a Marxist study group. In January 1928 he met Julian Gumperz and his wife Hede Gumperz. She later recalled: "At the time I met him, he had just spent a year at the Sorbonne in Paris preparing for his Ph.D. and was about to finish.... Julian thought him a rare combination of peasant boy and intellectual and was so interested in him that he helped to tutor him in preparation for the orals before his doctor's examinations. These sessions were at our house and it was then that I got to know him better. I did not think him so exceedingly good looking at first. Neither did I think him so outstandingly brilliant as I had been led to expect. He had a quick wit and a great capacity for laughter - a loud and attractive sort of laughter. I liked his rakish way of wearing his little French cap, and the way he walked; the seriousness of his face with the high cheekbones that gave him a Slavic look, and that sudden change of expression to a boyish devilishness when he was amused or ironical."
It was not long before Hede had fallen in love with Massing: "My relationship with Paul grew like something so natural and so completely uncontrollable that it is almost impossible to recall how it started. Its beginning is clouded and veiled, as is, I suppose, the beginning of all great passions; something that should not be probed or searched for, but left complete and untouched as in sacred keeping. I remember our first walk, arm in arm, and how pleased he was that we were both tall and kept the same step; the warmth and happiness I felt when I looked up to his face.... When he spoke of his mother, the tenderness and warmth that came from him. The love he had for his schoolfriends. The strength and earthiness he conveyed. Yes, Paul was different, he was made of a different fiber. I was awed. He did not have a ready made answer to everything. He was not so sure that the world would be better with communism, though he was preoccupying himself with finding out about it. He was not sure of anything much. Nothing was cut and dried. One had to find out about things. He was bright, inquisitive, enterprising, and truly, honestly modest." (1)
Massing became a member of what became known as the Frankfurt School. Other members included Georg Lukács, Eric Fromm, Franz Neumann, Max Horkheimer, Theodor W. Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Otto Kirchheimer, Karl Korsch, Leo Löwenthal, Karl August Wittfogel and Friedrich Pollock. It has been argued by Axel Honneth that In the 1920s a number of intellectuals attempted to adapt Marxism to the the theoretical and political needs of the time. "Its work drew on economics, psychology and cultural theory, seeking to analyse from a historical perspective, how a rational organization of society might be achieved... The work of philosopher Walter Benjamin constitutes an analysis of the interrelation of power and the imagination; Franz Neumann and Otto Kirchheimer inquired into legal consensus culture and social control; while Erich Fromm conducted a psychoanalytic investigation of communicative needs and the potential for resistance." (2)
Hede Gumperz now left Julian Gumperz and went to live with Paul Massing who had found a job writing for the International Agrarian Problems, a scientific monthly that financed and edited by the Agrarian Institute in Moscow. In 1929 Massing went to work for the Agrarian Institute. Hede joined Massing in the Soviet Union in 1930. She taught advanced German in the foreign-language school in Moscow. She was shocked by the shortage of food in Russia. "It was the time of the collectivization, the first Five-Year Plan, the mass arrests of kulaks and great gnawing hunger; the general misery was obvious... I learned and relearned continuously, at school through pupils, and at home with the Russian family. Careful and cautious as they were, they could not help but betray the great secret that they had almost nothing to eat."
Paul Massing became disillusioned with life in the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin. Hede later wrote: "In 1930 and 1931 everybody was hungry, had no clothes, no decent beds, no decent linen... True, there were some exceptions - the GPU (today the MVD) and the foreigners. It was also about this time when children were called upon to spy on their parents; to report negativism, derogatory remarks, religious inclinations, or religious services attended; to tell whether their mother really had been sick or had really just washed her clothes, cleaned her miserable dwelling, or even relaxed, instead of attending those endless, ludicrous meetings." (3)
Paul and Hede became friends with Louis Fischer, the journalist who worked for The Nation. At the time he was still a strong supporter of Stalin and believed he was about to introduce democracy: "Though I violently dislike the raucous paeans of praise for Stalin which are repeated in this country with benumbing frequency and monotony. I must add mv voice to the chorus. Democratization is not a whim inspired by a moment or a bit of opportunism provoked by a temporary situation. Stalin apparently thought this out years ago. He has been preparing it ever since 1931. Forward-looking people abroad will hail the change toward democracy." (4)
In the spring of 1931 Paul and Hede Massing returned to Germany. He had been offered a contract to teach at the Marxistische Arbeiter Schule. "During the rear and a half that we had been away from Germany fascism had grown by leaps and bounds." Hede Massing recalled that the Völkischer Beobachter was displayed in every railway station and "people would pick them up and read them unashamedly". She noticed that there were continuous demonstations of the Nazi Party and the Hitler Youth.
Hede Massing was soon contacted by Ignaz Reiss, a senior figure in Comintern. Using the code name of Ludwig, he asked her to become a Soviet spy in the fight against Adolf Hitler. He told her: "Hede, times have changed; we will have to get busy. The first thing you must do is to drop out of the local party unit. And do not give them any explanation." At first she was reluctant: "It was the beginning of my work with Ludwig. There were still preliminaries, such as meeting him once a week to be retrained. All principal issues, tactics, behavior patterns were gone over. I used to come home and ask Paul what he thought about it, why there was nothing Ludwig would give me to do, just this endless, endless talk. He, too, wondered. Then followed a complete report on everybody I had known in the past and my new friends as well. This procedure is typical of the preliminary steps in the work of any new agent of the apparatus. Slowly, slowly, he had me set up the first mail drop, the first social contact, the first apartment for work, and finally he sent me on my first scouting trip." Massing had a great deal of respect for Reiss. "He was suave and gracious... I came to admire him immensely and to trust his judgments implicitly... I was always pleased to see him! His small, firm steps, the gesture of his hand greeting me, his smile, his bright blue eyes dancing when he thought I said something amusing." (5)
In 1932 Hede Massing was asked to meet a senior figure in the NKVD in Berlin. "He was a dark, unimpressive little man whom Ludwig (Ignaz Reiss) treated with great deference... I gathered that he was looking me over for some special assignment. Evidently I did not pass muster, since the matter was not mentioned again." Massing later discovered that the man was General Walter Krivitsky, head of all Soviet intelligence in Western Europe.
Adolf Hitler was made Chancellor of the Reich on 30th January, 1933. The new government immediately suppressed the German Communist Party (KPD): "The city of Berlin changed its face. Comrades stayed away from the streets and from each other... All leading party members that had not fled were arrested and beaten to pulp in Columbia House. The first and best-known of all the Nazi torture chambers, Columbia House has become history. It is described in all the accounts of the plights of millions of Nazi victims." (6)
Paul Massing decided to stay in Berlin: "Paul had organized a small group of professors and scientists in the anti-fascist fight. He hoped to organize, with their help, a student body opposing Hitler at the universities. He was convinced that one must stay and do what one could. All my arguments in which I pointed out that he had been making speeches against the Nazis on so many platforms, that he was too well known in spite of the assumed name he had spoken under, were to no avail."
Hede Massing reached Paris but soon afterwards she had a telegram from Louis Fischer telling her that Paul Massing had been arrested by the Gestapo. Hede, who was with Ignaz Reiss, decided to return to Nazi Germany. Paul was being held in Camp Oranienburg. Every day the prisoners were marched through the streets of Oranienburg. "He limped. He must have been crippled from the beatings. Nothing but his eyes and his nose were the same. His mouth was a line, thin and narrow, in his pitiful shorn head." (7)
Unable to help Paul, she was persuaded by the NKVD to join a spy network in the United States. She arrived in New York City in October 1933. She went to stay with Helen Black, the wife of Michael Gold, and the Soviet Photo Agency representative in America. Earl Browder visited Hede who told her "I want to make you feel at home here." Browder was disappointed when he discovered that Hede had not brought him money from the Soviet Union.
In December 1933, Paul Massing was released by the Nazi government. Hede returned to Europe and met him in Paris and they arrived in the United States in January 1934. Massing was the first person to be freed from a Nazi concentration camp to reach America and he was asked by John C. Farrar to write an account of his experiences. The couple took a cottage for the summer in Cos Cob, Connecticut. Massing's book, Fatherland was published the following year.
According to Allen Weinstein, the author of The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999), Paul Massing joined the same NKVD spy network as his wife, Hede Massing, that was run by Peter Gutzeit and Boris Bazarov and was involved in the recruitment of New Deal government officials such as Laurence Duggan and Noel Field. (8) Gutzeit, the Soviet Consulate in New York City, was to use Duggan to draw Field into the network. Gutzeit wrote on 3rd October, 1934, that Duggan "is interesting us because through him one will be able to find a way toward Noel Field... of the State Department's European Department with whom Duggan is friendly." (9)
Over the next few months NKVD agents worked to recruit Duggan. One report by Norman Borodin stated: "Our relations with Duggan continue being friendly. He would like very much to give us more urgent stuff, but asks us to recognize his more or less isolated position (in the State Department) with regard to the materials in which we are interested." (10) Duggan eventually passed very important documents to the Soviets. (11)
Bazarov now told Hede Massing to concentrate on Noel Field. Hede admitted that they used Paul's treatment by the Gestapo and his experiences of Nazi concentration camps to gain his Field's sympathy. "When finally, in the spring of 1935, I suggested to Noel in so many words that it was his duty to help us in the fight against fascism, and that he ought to provide 'our organization' with information and documents he could get hold of in his department, he balked... Once again we thrashed out the old problem of whether loyalty to humanity did not take precedence over any other kind of loyalty. Somehow I managed to convince him that it would be sufficient for him to give me verbal reports." (12)
By the summer of 1937, over forty intelligence agents serving abroad were summoned back to the Soviet Union. Walter Krivitsky realised that his life was in danger. Alexander Orlov, who was based in Spain, had a meeting with fellow NKVD officer, Theodore Maly, in Paris, who had just been recalled to the Soviet Union. He explained his concern as he had heard stories of other senior NKVD officers who had been recalled and then seemed to have disappeared. He feared being executed but after discussing the matter he decided to return and take up this offer of a post in the Foreign Department in Moscow. General Yan Berzin, Dmitri Bystrolyotov and Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, were also recalled. Maly, Antonov-Ovseenko and Berzen were all executed. (13)
Ignaz Reiss became concerned that he would also be eliminated. Richard Deacon, the author of A History of the Russian Secret Service (1972) has pointed out: "Ignace Reiss suddenly realised that before long he, too, might well be next on the list for liquidation. He had been loyal to the Soviet Union, he had carried out all tasks assigned to him with efficiency and devotion, but, though not a Trotskyite, he was the friend of Trotskyites and opposed to the anti-Trotsky campaign. One by one he saw his friends compromised on some trumped-up charge, arrested and then either executed or allowed to disappear for ever. When Reiss returned to Europe he must already have known that he had little choice in future: either he must defect to safety, or he must carry on working until he himself was liquidated." (14)
In July 1937 Ignaz Reiss received a letter from Abram Slutsky and was warned that if he did not go back to Moscow at once he would be "treated as a traitor and punished accordingly". It was therefore decided to defect. Reiss wrote a series of letters that he gave in to the Soviet Embassy in Paris explaining his decision to break with the Soviet Union because he no longer supported the views of Stalin's counter-revolution and wanted to return to the freedom and teachings of Lenin. "Up to this moment I marched alongside you. Now I will not take another step. Our paths diverge! He who now keeps quiet becomes Stalin's accomplice, betrays the working class, betrays socialism. I have been fighting for socialism since my twentieth year. Now on the threshold of my fortieth I do not want to live off the favours of a Yezhov. I have sixteen years of illegal work behind me. That is not little, but I have enough strength left to begin everything all over again to save socialism. ... No, I cannot stand it any longer. I take my freedom of action. I return to Lenin, to his doctrine, to his acts." These letters were addressed to Joseph Stalin and Abram Slutsky. (15) Reiss also sent a copy to Hede Massing.
Allen Weinstein, the author of The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) has pointed out that both Hede and Paul Massing had worked for Reiss and that he had "been informed about various American agents of the NKVD... Protecting Soviet agents in the U.S. government as well as in Europe, therefore, required killing Ignatz Reiss before he denounced figures such as Duggan and Field." (16)
Hede Massing informed Boris Bazarov that she was no longer willing to work for the NKVD. Bazarov arranged for Hede and Paul Massing to meet with his boss, Elizabeth Zarubina. Massing described her as having strange, beautiful eyes - large, and dark, heavy-browed, with long, curled eyelashes. They shone from a face of small, delicate features, dark skinned, and narrow of mouth. Her warm and engaging smile which she gave so sparingly, exposed large, beautiful teeth. The exquisite head belonged to a small, frail body. Her posture was poor, however, and she had large, painfully bad feet, and ugly hands. She was polite and completely self-assured. She had an authoritative air about her without being annoying or aggressive. Her English was flawless as was her German."
Zarubina explained to Massing that Reiss posed to the Soviet Union: "In case you have not been advised. Ludwig (Reiss) has betrayed us, he has gone over to the bourgeoisie, he is a Trotzkyite. You know that he was critical of the Soviet Union." Paul replied "He is not more critical than I am. He is no more a traitor than I am." Hede added: "He (Reiss) is not a traitor. He cannot be a traitor!" Zarubina responded by claiming that "Ludwig has joined the enemy, he ran away from us, he did not come home to discuss his doubts, to get contact again with the workers and the revolution. He left the service without permission. He is dangerous."
Massing, who heard about NKVD agents such as Theodore Maly, Yan Berzin, Dmitri Bystrolyotov and Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, being recalled and murdered commented: "You don't make it very inviting for comrades to go home to discuss their doubts, as you put it, at a time when all the old friends and fighters are liquidated as enemies of the people. Trotzkyites, and Gestapo agents." Paul added: "A man of Ludwig's status within the organization does not have a chance to be let go - if a small and comparatively unimportant functionary like Hede could not be released easily?"
Zarubina eventually told them "Nobody here has the authority to release you. Hede. You know that. That can only be done at home (Moscow). A comrade who has problems goes home and faces his superiors and discusses his problems. He does not run away, like Ludwig!" (17)
Elizabeth Zarubina called another meeting with Paul Massing. She told him that Ignaz Reiss had been assassinated on 4th September, 1937. (18) Paul said to Hede: "Do you realize that Ludwig's death means immediate danger for us?" However, amazingly, they both agreed to visit Moscow to discuss the purging of Soviet agents. She later recalled: "That we ventured on this trip in spite of the fact we had heard that during the first five months of 1937, 350,000 political arrests had been made by the GPU, was fantastic as I look back on it." (19)
Paul and Hede Massing sailed on the Kungsholm. "We had obtained a large and lovely stateroom. It was winter, and there were not many people on board. We decided to make the best of the situation and at least enjoy the trip on that beautiful ship. At the very first meal we spotted Helen (Elizabeth Zarubina). She had, of course, not told us that she would be on board with us. It was not a pleasant surprise. But there was little we could do except to maintain a relationship on good terms. It was a long trip that faced us and we would be together a long time." (20)
They arrived in Leningrad at the end of October, 1937. "Later that evening we walked through the streets of Leningrad. It was the end of October, 1937. Paul had not seen Russia since 1931, and I had been there last in 1933. Not a thing had changed. People looked sad, poorly dressed, impoverished, worried, miserable. Stores had poor goods, if any; streetcars were crowded, houses were dilapidated-slums on a large scale. The same potted palms that are to be seen in every Russian hotel; the same frightened, subservient waiters and chambermaids; the same smiling hotel director, who was, as always, an NKVD man." (21)
Paul and Hede Massing arrived in Moscow on 5th November, 1937. Two days later Elizabeth Zarubina introduced the couple to a man she called "Peter". He was in fact, Vassili Zarubin, her husband. "Helen (Zarubina) would sit quietly and simply elaborate once in a while upon a point that Paul or I had mentioned. She seemed matter of fact. Her relationship with Peter was businesslike, with a slight indication that he was a man of higher military rank than she. At some of my stories, especially my description of certain people, for example, when I dramatized Walter's drunken escapades or Bill's bureaucratic pettiness, Peter roared with laughter. He never restrained me in my critical attitude toward some of my Russian co-workers. He never seemed to think as highly as I did, however, of Fred or Ludwig. That did not deter me from speaking of Ludwig as I always had - with admiration and devotion. When it came to the issue of Ludwig, his whole attitude changed. He would be extremely eager to draw every possible bit of information from me." (22)
In January 1938 they were interrogated by Mikhail Shpiegelglass. "Peter (Vassilli Zarubin) brought a man with him one night whom we both liked very much. He seemed as European as Peter was Russian: cultured, civilized, pleasant. He spoke German almost fluently, with a slight eastern intonation that reminded me of Ludwig and Felik; and made me feel at home with him. They had come many hours later than they had announced themselves, and I accordingly was set to be as cross as possible... His manner had a way of putting one on the defensive. He shook hands heartily and said, 'I am Comrade Spiegelglass.' Somehow we knew that this was his real name, the significance of which we learned many years later when Krivitsky's book was published. This charming comrade was responsible for the murder of Ludwig! (Ignaz Reiss). In keeping with routine procedure, he must have earned a medal for it. Obviously, he had come into the last phase of our initial interrogation and wanted a few points elaborated upon. It was as though it was his job to pull in all the loose strings and weave them tightly, securely, together. After he had finished with us we were taken into the social and family life of the NKVD. Their purpose in doing this was to express their gratitude, their esteem and trust of us." (23)
Hede Massing asked Vassili Zarubin if they could have an exit visa so that they could leave the Soviet Union. He said that he did not have the authority to do that. A few days later he arranged a meeting with Nikolai Yezhov, the head of the NKVD. Zarubin warned her: "Hede, be careful when you talk to this man; don't tell him what you said to me, but tell him that you want to go out-and don't stress the point that you want to leave our service. He knows that. He is very important."
"The meeting took place in the Sloutski apartment, the same one where I had been at our first party. When we arrived, the important man was not yet there. There was an atmosphere of expectation. There was no vodka, as was usual before meetings. We sat and waited. There was not even flippant conversation. Finally he arrived. He, too, was in uniform. Though he had little glitter, still it was obvious that he was of a higher rank than my two companions. He was a man of about thirty-five, a Georgian, and fairly good looking in a foreign kind of way; to me, from the very first second, he was despicable. He took a seat on the other side of the room from me, crossed his legs, pulled out a heavy gold tabatiere, slowly tapped a cigarette on it - scrutinizing me throughout the process. Then he said in Russian what amounted to, Let her talk."
Zarubin told Hede Massing, "Tell your story, and I will interpret." Hede was so angry by Yezhov's attitude that she replied: "There is no story to tell. I'm tired of my story. I understood that I was brought here to ask this gentleman for my exit visa. All I am concerned with at this point is that my husband and I be able to leave for home. I've told my story time and again; I am sure that Mr. X can have access to it. So all I have to say now is - when am I going to leave?" Yezhov laughed out loud. "It infuriated me! I mimicked his laugh and said, 'It is not that funny, is it? I mean what I say!' He got up, said in Russian that the conference was ended, and without a word or a nod toward me, he left." (24)
Hede and Paul Massing appeared to have no chance now of getting an exit visa. Boris Bazarov, who was back in Moscow, was unable to help. Soon afterwards they met Noel Field who was also visiting the country. She decided to use this opportunity to get out of the Soviet Union. She telephoned Bazarov and told him: "When I had been connected and heard his answer at the other end of the wire, I said in a loud and clear voice, 'Boris, I have been asking you for our exit visas long enough! We have guests, Herta and Noel Field. I want them to be witness to my request. I am asking you for our exit visas for the last time... I should like to have our passports with the visas today. If we do not get them today, I shall have to make use of my rights as an American citizen. I will then go with my friends, the Fields, to the American Legation to ask for help.' I hung up. I was shaking."
Several hours later there was a knock on the door. It was Bazarov and in his hand he held a large envelope. "Here are your passports and the visas and a slip for Intourist, with which you can pick up your tickets tomorrow morning. We have made reservations for you on the evening train, via Leningrad." Hede Massing later recalled: "No further comment. He left. I held the envelope out to Paul. All strength had left me, I could not have opened it. It was true. It was really true. We could leave!" (25) Soon afterwards Bazarov was executed.
On their return to America, Hede and Paul Massing purchased Courtney Farm in Haycock Township in Bucks County and ran it as a paying guest farm. "I thought of it as a great priviledge; I developed a pride in our possessions, a knack for the paying-guest business. Our earnings were modest but sufficient to let me start collecting ironstone and old glass and some good pieces of furniture. Life was pleasant. We had a good library, music, evenings in front of the fireplace, discussions with people we liked (we did not take any others). (26)
In 1942 Paul Massing began working at the Institute of Social Research at Columbia University in New York City. In August he notified NKVD that his friend, Franz Neumann, had recently joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Massing reported to Moscow that Neumann had told him that he had produced a study of the Soviet economy for the OSS's Russian Department. (27) In April 1943, Elizabeth Zarubina, a Soviet spy in the United States, and the wife of Vassily Zarubin, met with Neumann: "(Zarubina) met for the first time with (Neumann) who promised to pass us all the data coming through his hands. According to (Neumann), he is getting many copies of reports from American ambassadors... and has access to materials referring to Germany."
Neumann promised to cooperate fully during his initial meeting with Zarubina, after becoming a naturalized American citizen later that year he appeared to become reluctant to pass secret information. One memorandum sent to Moscow in early January 1944 described a conversation between Neumann and his friends Paul and Hede Massing, in which they "directly asked him about the reasons for his ability to work" and tried to determine whether he had changed his mind. Neumann responded: "I did not change my mind. If there is something really important, I will inform you without hesitation." (28)
Paul Massing was interviewed by FBI agent, Robert J. Lamphere: "An economist at a social research institute, Paul was distinguished, erect and completely uncooperative. He believed that the FBI had kept him from becoming a citizen by giving derogatory information on him to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Actually, Paul was right about that, but when the interview was drawing to a close and he had told us nothing of value, this talk of citizenship made me a bit hot under the collar. Standing to leave, I said with some vehemence that becoming a citizen was a privilege, not a right, and that Paul had lived safe and secure in the United States during the war, whereas if he'd stayed in Germany the Nazis would long since have killed him." (29)
Paul Massing talked to Hede Massing about this experience: "Paul and I thought the problem out, slowly, carefully. We decided to tell our story. Two polite efficient men asked me for some specific information regarding Gerhart Eisler. They not only understood and respected my rights, but made it clear that my co-operation was purely voluntary. There was no coercion, no tricks; they had a job to do and they thought that I could be of help if I cared to. It was entirely up to me whether I did. They were intelligent, observant, well-informed - as I could judge by the questions asked - and pleasantly unemotional. They did not underestimate the individual under suspicion, on the contrary, they seemed to respect him and understand him in his own environment. This impressed me indeed. It was most unexpected. The two agents, to whom I spoke the first few times, were Lamphere and a kindly, graying, middle-aged man, whose name was Hugh Finzel." (30)
Hede Massing told Lamphere that she joined a spy network that included Vassili Zarubin, Boris Bazarov, Elizabeth Zarubina, Joszef Peter, Earl Browder and Noel Field. However, she decided not to tell the FBI about Laurence Duggan and Alger Hiss. "The two most important names I did not mention in my confidential sessions with the FBI were Larry Duggan and Alger Hiss.... I was absolutely convinced that Duggan had left the organization, if, indeed, he had ever belonged to it at all. Alger Hiss had not worked with me, the relationship was a fleeting one, important only in connection with Noel Field. But more than that, he, too, I was convinced, must have broken with whatever his organization might have been. I had watched his career with great interest." (31)
Hede Massing was now one of the main witnesses against Alger Hiss. She claimed that at a dinner party in 1935 Hiss told her that he was attempting to recruit Noel Field, then an employee of the State Department, to his spy network. Whittaker Chambers claims in Witness (1952) that this was vital information against Hiss: "At the second Hiss trial, Hede Massing testified how Noel Field arranged a supper at his house, where Alger Hiss and she could meet and discuss which of them was to enlist him. Noel Field went to Hede Massing. But the Hisses continued to see Noel Field socially until he left the State Department to accept a position with the League of Nations at Geneva, Switzerland-a post that served him as a 'cover' for his underground work until he found an even better one as dispenser of Unitarian relief abroad. (32)
Paul Massing disagreed with his wife testifying against former comrades and the couple parted. Massing taught political sociology at Rutgers University in New Jersey. His most important work Rehearsal for Destruction: A Study Of Political Anti-Semitism in Imperial Germany, was published in 1949.
Paul Massing died on 30th March, 1979.
There had been a great deal of talk about Paul Massing in our little circles around the institute. Karl August Wittfogel had mentioned him to me as being unusual in every way. He was considered a brilliant student, handsome, a great success with women. His background was different from most of the students who congregated at the institute. He had grown up in a small village which did not even have a railroad station and could hardly be found on the map. He had walked for miles in order to get to school. At the time I met him, he had just spent a year at the Sorbonne in Paris preparing for his Ph.D. and was about to finish. He was a leading member of the Marxist student group but refused to be a party member because he could not see himself toeing the party line. This was as early as 1928! He was voicing doubts in political discussions continuously, but was liked by the Communists in spite of it because he was so well read and was a good speaker. Julian thought him a rare combination of peasant boy and intellectual and was so interested in him that he helped to tutor him in preparation for the orals before his doctor's examinations. These sessions were at our house and it was then that I got to know him better.
I did not think him so exceedingly good looking at first. Neither did I think him so outstandingly brilliant as I had been led to expect. He had a quick wit and a great capacity for laughter - a loud and attractive sort of laughter. I liked his rakish way of wearing his little French cap, and the way he walked; the seriousness of his face with the high cheekbones that gave him a Slavic look, and that sudden change of expression to a boyish devilishness when he was amused or ironical.
He was completely aloof as far as I was concerned. He did not even pay the respect which I felt was due me as Julian's wife, or show any of the interest I was accustomed to receive from the others.
Whether this attitude of his made me notice him more or whether it was that Julian and I had grown apart during the separation of several months when he had been in Frankfurt and I alone in the States, is difficult for me to know today.
My relationship with Paul grew like something so natural and so completely uncontrollable that it is almost impossible to recall how it started. Its beginning is clouded and veiled, as is, I suppose, the beginning of all great passions; something that should not be probed or searched for, but left complete and untouched as in sacred keeping.
I remember our first walk, arm in arm, and how pleased he was that we were both tall and kept the same step; the warmth and happiness I felt when I looked up to his face.
I remember how he would make me take off my hat if he did not like it, or compliment me on a dress or suit he approved of, at once, just with such a gesture stepping into my life, indicating clearly his place in it.
The first hike to the Odenwald. The train trip, third class, standing up, close to him; his arm around me, strong and secure, to protect me from falling. His ordering food in the Wirtshaus, the special language he had when speaking to country people, how he fell into their dialect, the smile he evoked from such people. How he took my hand, walking into the dark green of the woods and singing German folksongs - at first the fresh and funny ones and then the sentimental, sweet, sad ones; "Hier in weiter, weiter Ferne wie's mich nach der Heimat zieht."
How he knew the names of trees and flowers, the song of the birds. All the things he knew! The life he had led! So very different from mine or Gerhart's or Julian's, so very different from anything I had known - and so very much better.
When he spoke of his mother, the tenderness and warmth that came from him. The love he had for his schoolfriends. The strength and earthiness he conveyed. Yes, Paul was different, he was made of a different fiber. I was awed. He did not have a ready made answer to everything. He was not so sure that the world would be better with communism, though he was preoccupying himself with finding out about it. He was not sure of anything much. Nothing was cut and dried. One had to find out about things. He was bright, inquisitive, enterprising, and truly, honestly modest.
How I fell in love with Paul! How helplessly, desperately I fell in love with him. It was as though I were caught by an undertow of emotions, overpowered, unable to rise - and giving myself up, resigned, and very, very happy.
I was too young to know what I did to Julian. I did not understand how badly I was hurting him. I did not un¬derstand what was happening at all. Had I not been happy with him just a few weeks ago? It all had paled in the upsurge of this irresistible feeling for Paul.
Julian knew what was happening. His generosity and kindness in this situation was unbelievable. We agreed to separate. I left for Berlin so that we might give ourselves a chance to think things out.
In Berlin I took a furnished room and tried to enter the Froebel School of Social Work. I was not admitted because I did not have enough credits. This was a disappointment, adding sorrow to my utter loneliness in Berlin. I did not know what to do with myself. I wrote long letters to Julian, getting longer ones in return, and I wrote long letters to Paul, who joined me after a few weeks. He had just gotten his Ph.D. and had come to Berlin to look for a job. He had been invited to become an assistant at the University in Frankfurt but had not accepted in spite of the fact that he would have worked in close co-operation with his favorite professor. Instead, he started writing for the International Agrarian Problems, a scientific monthly of some reputation. It was financed and edited by the Agrarian Institute in Moscow which was, during those years, an asset. Today, we would feel quite differently about it.
I tried unsuccessfully to get into a school and decided to go back to Vienna and make up the missing points that would enable me to enter Froebel. But that was not the only reason why I went to Vienna. My life was uprooted. I did not know where, to whom, to turn. To me, nothing mattered but my love for Paul. And so I hoped that intensive studying in Vienna, away from Julian as well as Paul, might enable me to find myself. It would be easier, I thought, to make a decision. Neither Paul nor Julian wanted to influence me in any way. I must make up my own mind. Not for a moment did I consider going to an analyst, which might have helped in such an involved situation. I had gotten my opinion of analysis straight from the Communist party. It was "No." Only a weakling needs the help of an analyst, they believed, and so I had to suffer and find my way through all this confusion alone. When I realized, after a short time, that I would achieve neither the missing credits for school nor a clarification of mind, I went back to Berlin, and to Paul.
Life with Paul was different from either of my other marriages. He was critical and demanding. He did not admire me as had Julian and Gerhart. He praised me seldom and such praise had to be well-earned.
It was the winter of 1928, Gerhart and Elli were in Berlin; Gerhart was involved in the first important factional fight within the Communist party and his attempt to fight beginning corruption in the Party was in the famous Wittdorf affair. It was then that Paul first met Gerhart. They became friends quickly, and it was partly through Gerhart's influence, as well as the exciting political situation in general, that Paul and I developed stronger interest in the Party.
After Paul had been with the International Agrarian Problems for about a year, he was invited to work in the German department of the International Agrarian Institute in Moscow. What a wonderful chance for a young German agrarian interested in Russia! Late in 1929, Paul went to Moscow and I stayed on in Berlin to await his decision as to whether I was to join him. His contract with the institute was for a year.
Paul wrote long and descriptive letters from Moscow. He seemed fascinated by almost everything he saw and was very pleased with his work at the institute. He wanted me to come for a visit just as soon as possible.
I had, meanwhile, started courses with the Alfred Adler group in Berlin. My favorite teacher in this group was Manes Sperber. I also liked Ruth Kunkel. Manes Sperber is today an outstanding French writer and his book, The Burned Bramble, dealing with the psychology and philosophical thought of the ex-Communist, which created a great sensation in Paris in 1949, is being published in this country.
I had moved into a small, scantily furnished room in Schoeneberg after Paul left. Probably out of mere loneliness, I had started to attend regularly party meetings in the vicinity. The party meetings in the local unit were much less interesting than had been my life close to the party leadership. I found the discussions in the units dull, the discipline ridiculous, the whole thing frankly boring. But I kept going because I had become accustomed to political discussions of some form or another. If it were not sitting in on discussions which Gerhart had had with his political friends, and if it were not attending lectures or meetings in the Kostufra, then it had to be the local unit of the Party in Schoeneberg. It had become a habit.
But I was quite relieved when one day my telephone rang. Ika Sorge, at the other end of the wire, said, "Hede, what are you up to?" This was to become his usual, unmistakable greeting to me. I was very glad to hear his voice. I had met him and his wife several years before at a Marxist student gathering in Thuringen, and we had kept friendly, if distant, relations. Dr. Sorge was, as far as I knew, working as a research assistant at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow, as was his wife, Christiane. They had belonged to the initial circle of students at the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt.
An economist at a social research institute, Paul was distinguished, erect and completely uncooperative. He believed that the FBI had kept him from becoming a citizen by giving derogatory information on him to the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Actually, Paul was right about that, but when the interview was drawing to a close and he had told us nothing of value, this talk of citizenship made me a bit hot under the collar. Standing to leave, I said with some vehemence that becoming a citizen was a privilege, not a right, and that Paul had lived safe and secure in the United States during the war, whereas if he'd stayed in Germany the Nazis would long since have killed him.
(1) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) pages 54 and 55
(2) Axel Honneth, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2000) page 292
(3) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 77
(4) Louis Fischer, The Nation (17th June 1936)
(5) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) pages 86-87 and 91
(6) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 96
(7) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 108
(8) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) page 35
(9) Peter Gutzeit, Soviet Consulate in New York City, memorandum to Moscow (3rd October, 1934)
(10) Norman Borodin, memorandum to Moscow (October, 1936)
(11) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) page 10
(12) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) pages 144-146
(13) Gary Kern, A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror (2004) pages 124-145
(14) Richard Deacon, A History of the Russian Secret Service (1972) page 295
(15) Ignaz Reiss, letter to Joseph Stalin (July, 1937)
(16) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) page 10-11
(17) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) pages 191-197
(18) Gary Kern, A Death in Washington: Walter G. Krivitsky and the Stalin Terror (2004) pages 127-130
(19) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 202
(20) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) pages 205-6
(21) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 208
(22) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 214
(23) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 218
(24) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) pages 229-230
(25) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) pages 234-235
(26) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 250
(27) Verona File 28734 page 28
(28) Allen Weinstein, The Hunted Wood: Soviet Espionage in America (1999) page 250
(29) Robert J. Lamphere, The FBI-KGB War (1986) page 50
(30) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 265
(31) Hede Massing, This Deception: KBG Targets America (1951) page 267
(32) Whittaker Chambers, Witness (1952) pages 381