Gerhard Eisler

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Gerhard Eisler or Gerhart Eisler (alias Hans Berger) was the brother of Ruth Fischer,[1] was a prominent member of the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) during the Weimar Republic, and chief Comintern agent in the United States from 1933 until 1936, and again from 1941 until 1947. He is brother was Hanns Eisler[2] and was once married to KGB agent and later defector, Hede Massing. With the creation of the East German communist puppet regime, Eisler became Minister of Propaganda.

Eisler served as a Comintern agent in China in the 1920s until 1933.

From 1933 to 1936, he supervised the development of the tactics for penetrating the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).

Former editor of the Communist party Daily Worker newspaper and later defector Louis Budenz describes Eisler as one who "ordered party leaders about with a sharpness and even brutality of manner that suited well the Gauleiter of a ruthless dictatorship. Budenz quotes Eisler outlining Soviet Far Eastern policy at a CPUSA Politburo meeting saying in 1936, "This USA-USSR collaboration, we understand, comrades, would eventually make the Pacific a Soviet lake. That would give the Soviet fatherland the power to defend itself against American imperialism, after having won the original aid of the United States against Japanese imperialism." Shortly thereafter Eisler traveled to the Spanish Civil War zone. Eisler reentered the United States illegally in 1941.

In the November 1942 issue of The Communist Eisler wrote an article demanding all-out American action for the Second Front and belaboring Americans for permitting "prejudice" to blind them to the virtues of Soviet Russia.

During his exile, he was a liaison between the Communist International and the Communist Parties in China and the United States.

Although accused of espionage after World War II, he was never charged with violating U.S. laws apart from misrepresenting his Communist Party affiliation on his emigration application. Newsweek (February 23, 1948) described him as the "Number One Red Agent" in the U.S.

In a dramatic escape in 1950, Eisler secretly boarded a Polish freighter bound for London and was discovered by the crew after the ship was at sea. Once in England, authorities allowed him to leave for the German Democratic Republic, where Eisler became chief of East German radio and a leading propaganda voice for the Communist government.

After his death, several schools and streets in the GDR were named in his honor.


  1. Of All the Virtues . . ., Time magazine, September 27, 1948.
  2. Hanns Eisler, FBI file.
  • State Department passport brief, A115–A116
  • Investigation of Un-American Propaganda Activities in the United States, hearings of 6 February 1947, U.S. Congress, House of Representatives, Committee on Un-American Activities, 80th Cong., 1st sess., 14–19.