Hilde Purwin (born Hildegard Burkhardt: 16 September 1919 – 29 March 2010) was a German journalist. She was exceptionally talented as a linguist and had an unusually powerful memory. She was recruited by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) in October 1939. She worked initially as a security services "mail clerk" but in July 1940 was transferred to Berlin where she became an Italian interpreter. In July 1942 she was sent to Rome where at various stages she worked, ostensibly, as a secretary and/or an interpreter. Between September 1943 and July 1944 she played a pivotal role in the so-called "Ciano operation". After the defeat of Nazi Germany the American intelligence services benefited from her wartime intelligence gathering. They also acquired valuable additional intelligence because she took extr

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  • Hilde Purwin (born Hildegard Burkhardt: 16 September 1919 – 29 March 2010) was a German journalist. She was exceptionally talented as a linguist and had an unusually powerful memory. She was recruited by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) in October 1939. She worked initially as a security services "mail clerk" but in July 1940 was transferred to Berlin where she became an Italian interpreter. In July 1942 she was sent to Rome where at various stages she worked, ostensibly, as a secretary and/or an interpreter. Between September 1943 and July 1944 she played a pivotal role in the so-called "Ciano operation". After the defeat of Nazi Germany the American intelligence services benefited from her wartime intelligence gathering. They also acquired valuable additional intelligence because she took extra carbon copies - unbeknownst to German intelligence - of more than 700 sheets that she had translated from Italian source documents into German during the final months of the war. She sorted and sequenced these, and buried them in a large carefully sealed tin under the strawberry patch beside the apple tree in the garden at the family home where her widowed mother still lived. In 1946 the United States military administration in Germany employed her as a simultaneous translator and recruited her for intelligence work. They gave her a new identity, knocking a year off her age. She became "Hilde Blum" born in 1920 and was mandated, under the code name "Gambit", to identify and unmask Soviet agents operating in Berlin. However, after a few years she decided that she did not wish to spend the rest of her life in espionage activities. She joined the Berlin Telegraf (newspaper), initially as a volunteer reporter, and quickly rose to become a distinguished political correspondent. She formed a particularly good working relationship with West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. He regularly picked her out for impromptu "interviews" in the lobby or restaurant at the Bundestag even though he liked to open their discussions with the insight, "I do know that you vote for the wrong side, Mrs. Purwin" ("Ich weiß ja, dat Se falsch wählen, Frau Purwin" - Hilde Purwin was an Social Democrat supporter and made no secret of the fact. Two marriages and time spent in the espionage community left Hilde Purwin with an unusually wide range of names by which she may be identified in sources. (en)
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  • Hildegard Gertrud Burkhardt (en)
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  • Hilde Purwin (born Hildegard Burkhardt: 16 September 1919 – 29 March 2010) was a German journalist. She was exceptionally talented as a linguist and had an unusually powerful memory. She was recruited by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) in October 1939. She worked initially as a security services "mail clerk" but in July 1940 was transferred to Berlin where she became an Italian interpreter. In July 1942 she was sent to Rome where at various stages she worked, ostensibly, as a secretary and/or an interpreter. Between September 1943 and July 1944 she played a pivotal role in the so-called "Ciano operation". After the defeat of Nazi Germany the American intelligence services benefited from her wartime intelligence gathering. They also acquired valuable additional intelligence because she took extr (en)
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  • Hilde Purwin (en)
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  • Hilde Purwin (en)
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