Hede Massing

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Hede Massing

Hede Massing or Hedda Massing, née Hedwig Tune, later: Hede Eisler, later: Hede Gumperz, an Austrian-born Soviet intelligence operative who served in the United States in the 1930s. She was an actress and journalist.

After the Second World War, she wrote about Richard Sorge, who had recruited her to the GRU, for a German magazine[1] and called him a near perfect spy. Massing had first met Richard Sorge as a young communist in 1923. In her article she recalled a meeting they had in New York in 1935.

Hede Massing was married to Gerhart Eisler from 1920 to 1926. Eisler, a longtime member of the German Communist Party (KPD), in the 1930s was the Comintern representative in the United States.[2] Her second husband was the rich American communist journalist, publisher and sociologist Julian Gumperz. Her third husband was marxist sociologist and KPD cadre Paul Massing.

Hede and Paul Massing in the USA were members of an OGPU apparatus and functioned under the direction of Boris Bazarov, a Soviet illegal officer based in New York. Massing was assigned several duties, including that of a courier between the United States and Europe. However, her most important assignment was that of an agent recruiter, a task she apparently carried out with great skill. Massing was assigned targets for recruitment by her Soviet supervisor. She used appeals to ideology, especially preying on the strong anti-Nazi sentiments of New Deal liberals who dominated the Washington scene of the Roosevelt administration in the early 1930s. In 1935 Hede Massing at a Communist cell meeting in Field's home argued with Alger Hiss over whether Noel Field, a State Department communist, should work with her group or with The GRU. Laurence Duggan was among Hede Massing's recruits.

This article is part of the

Secret apparatus

Massing later said to had left the Soviet intelligence apparatus in 1938 after a period of disillusionment with her Russian handlers, but in fact both she and her husband continued to work for Soviet intelligence until Germany was defeated. Elizabeth Zarubina was their Soviet contact during the war. Hede Massing did admit to her work in Soviet espionage in 1947, when the police asked her questions about her first husband, Gerhart Eisler. She testified at the second trial of Alger Hiss. Covername "Redhead" occurred in Venona as an unidentified in a context that suggests that it was Hede Massing, and was identified as Massing in Robert L. Benson's The Venona Story, page 36.

Redhead group

The following member's are listed as members of the Redhead group[3] handled by Hede Massing in the Gorsky Memo.


  1. Hede Massing: Richard Sorge, der fast vollkommene Spion, Deutsche Rundschau, Vol. 79, No. 4, pp. 360-377. On Sorge see also: Herr Sorge saß mit am Tisch. Portrait eines Spions, Der Spiegel, Mittwoch (Wednesday), 13. Juni 1951, p. 34.
  2. Louis Budenz, Men Without Faces: The Communist Conspiracy in the USA, Harper and Brothers, New York, 1948, pp. ix, 4. pages 7, 15 (pdf)
  3. Gorsky Memo, (pp.77-78 pdf). Retrieved from wilsoncenter.org, March 19, 2010.

External links


Articles and Books by Hede Massing

  • Ich war Stalins Spionin in den USA. Teile I - VI. In: Die Zeit, 1.6.- 6.7.1950. (In German).
  • This Deception. Duell, Sloan & Pearce, New York 1951.
  • Richard Sorge: der fast vollkommene Spion. In: Deutsche Rundschau, Vol. 79, 1953, No. 4, pp. 360–377.
  • Die große Täuschung. Geschichte einer Sowjetagentin. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau, n.d. [1967] (In German).