Vienna‘s Crimson Shadows

The Collier's European Team

Three writers collaborated on the accompanying article, David Perlman, Seymour Freidin and William Attwood.

On special assignment from Collier's, they are reporting developments both in western Europe and behind the Iron Curtain. Perlman, after graduating from Columbia University's journalism school, worked on newspapers in Bismarck, North Dakota, San Francisco, New York and Paris. An infantryman during the war, he rose from private to captain. Returning to journalism after the war, he covered the Paris Peace Conference and the United Nations.

Freidin, also a graduate of Columbia, joined Collier's Team after spending three years in eastern Europe and the Balkans as a correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune. Earlier, he was a war correspondent for the same newspaper and a member of its New York staff. He got the first non-Russian account of the fall of Berlin.

Attwood was born in Paris and educated at Princeton. After four years in the Army, he joined the Herald Tribune staff as a European


„The Third Man“ Story Is True


By Collier's EUROPEAN TEAM - Vienna June 10th, 1950

Austrian policemen found nine bodies floating in the "beautiful blue Danube" the first week we where in Vienna this spring. They weren't spring-wimmers sucked under by the swirling current. These bodies were corpses before they ever hit the water.

Two were recognized as Soviet agents. The others were too disfigured to be identified. All were victims of the stealthy undercover war that goes on day and night in this lovely Old World city deep in central Europe. This is a war between Russians and Americans, but it isn't the cold diplomatic skirmishing you read about in the papers. It's as hot as the bullets that drilled Benno Blum on April 2d as he grappled with U.S. Army counterintelligence agents in a dingy flat near the Westbahnstrasse.
Benno Blum, alias Nikolai Borrisov, Bulgarian smuggler and hijacker, chief of a Soviet kidnap gang, was as crooked and swarthy a villain as ever skulked through a cloak-and-dagger movie script. Only he wasn't making believe in front of a camera. Like the bodies in the Danube, he was a real-life casualty in the world's least-publicized war.
There have been other casualties: more than 1,800 men, women and children abducted by the Russians and never seen again. At least 380 U.S. intelligence agents—mostly Austrian citizens— killed or kidnaped since 1945. A score of unsolved murders. 
An untold number of American soldiers corrupted by rackets, girls, spies and the lure of easy money.
At first glance you'd never suspect what was going on behind Vienna's placid springtime facade. Driving into this divided city from the Soviet zonal border, the countryside is lush and peaceful, with scarcely a Russian soldier to mar the view. Here in Vienna, the people seem to have recovered their traditional gaiety and charm. At noon the terrace of the Cafe Mozart is thronged with young men in Lederhosen and pretty girls lolling in the sunshine and toying with their coffee mit Schlag. Week ends the Prater and the Vienna Woods are alive with carefree family parties. Evenings, in the Grinzing wine gardens, the soft summer air is filled with the songs that have made Vienna famous throughout the world.
Like all Austria, Vienna is split into separate chunks, each sector under the rule of one of the four occupying powers. And under the linden trees that shade the broad Ringstrasse, American, Russian, British and French uniforms mingle freely in the crowds. The American MP in front of the Bristol Hotel salutes smartly whenever a Soviet officer strolls by. You might think the four Allies were living and working here in cozy harmony and that the cold war was just somebody's nightmare.
But tour the side streets of the Soviet sector some midnight—as we did. Go into shabby cabarets like the Adlon, the Papageno and the Hungarian Zigeuner Keller near the Danube. Or have a drink at the bar of one of the plush joints, like the Moulin Rouge, where Ronny, the Communist bartender, makes a point of listening to GIs who want to tell him their troubles.
Here's where you'll see Europe's busiest underworld in operation. You'll find secret agents of almost every nation: Yugoslavs (who don't cooperate with anybody), Swiss (smooth, bland and wellinformed) , Hungarians (by the hundreds), French, Bulgars and Israelis. They'll be watching you and one another warily or holding whispered conversations in furtive groups. You'll spot young, pokerfaced American Counterintelligence Corps agents and you'll be sitting next to Benno Blum's playmates.
Remember The Third Man? Down in the smoky depths of the Casino Orientale, where they shot some of the picture's night-club scenes, the zither player likes to strum the Harry Lime theme. You'd think you were on a movie set. But the characters around the room are a grimmer gang than Harry Lime's. Penicillin isn't their racket. They're dealing in the secrets and dirty work of the cold war— in espionage, kidnaping and death.
"I thought I'd seen everything during the war," an American intelligence officer told us. "I was in Lisbon, Istanbul and Stockholm, the spy centers of Europe. But those three cities combined couldn't match the intrigue and the rough stuff that's going on in Vienna today." Take Benno Blum. The American CIC agents were supposed to bring him in alive. Shooting him down was a slip-up. For Benno had been around a long time and he might have told us plenty we didn't know about his Soviet bosses and the jobs they hired him to do. Blum's past is cloudy. A slippery but massive 220-pounder with a black-mustached upper lip and a perpetual leer, he was born in Bessaralaia and became a Bulgarian citizen. During the war he turned up in Germany as a black market operator and agent for a couple of puppet Balkan governments. In 1947 he shifted his activities to Austria, where he smuggled American cigarettes from Hungary into Vienna—cigarettes originally paid for in green dollars by Austrian black marketeers to Swiss and Belgian importers. A real international setup. Right up Benno's alley.
But Benno got ambitious. Instead of delivering the cigarettes to Austrian purchasers, he began hijacking shipments and selling them on his own. He'd tell the Austrians the stuff was confiscated by the Russians on the way across the Soviet zone to Vienna. Pretty soon Benno wasn't too popular in Austrian black market circles—but he made friends among the Russians.
One of these was Colonel Karandashov, the tall, slender, taciturn chief of the Soviet MGB, or State Security Office, for Vienna. About a year ago, Karandashov (who also uses the names Shidarov and Vasielovski) got in touch with Blum and proposed a deal. The Russians would guarantee protection for his cigarette racket within their part of Austria. In return, Benno and his gang were to go into the American zones of Vienna and Austria to kidnap and deliver alive at least one person wanted by the Soviets each month.
No one knows for sure how many innocent refugees and anti-Communist Austrians were grabbed by Blum's mob during the next nine months. Estimates range from 15 to 30.
But last January'10th, the gang muffed a job in Salzburg; the CiC arrested two men and announced that twelve other members of Benno's gang were already in their custody.
The Russians promptly clapped Blum into jail to prevent his falling into CIC hands. Eight of his confederates fled the country. But Benno didn't like confinement, even for his own protection. Within a month, he bribed his way out of the Soviet prison and made his way back to Vienna early in March.
With the police of five nations looking for him, he still managed to elude capture until April 2d. That night, French and American agents, acting on an anonymous tip, tracked him to the ground-floor apartment of a dilapidated tenement in the French sector. There, in the company of his shapely twenty-seven-year-old girl friend, Margarete Hochecker, he was visiting a Russian-born couple named Krause.
As American agents burst in the door, the room went dark, but Blum's silhouette was visible as he tried to flee out the window. Two CIC men closed in on him while another switched on the light. Blum whirled around, a knife in his hand. An American wrestled with him but dropped his gun. As Blum reached for it, the other agents pumped five bullets into his huge frame.
He died in an ambulance, still struggling savagely with his captors.
Next afternoon, diligent Austrian Communists pasted freshly printed posters on the walls and buildings of Vienna's Soviet sector. Their message was as subtle as a haymaker: "Murderers! Bandits! Informers! Are you out of work? Do you want employment? Just apply to—" and there followed the address of Vienna's CIC detachment with the name of the officer in charge.
Back at American headquarters, an intelligence officer studied one of the posters with obvious satisfaction. "It's a good sing hat they're upset," he told us. "Whenever they rant against us, it means they're taking CIC seriously. It means we've struck them where it hurts." Judging from the daily fulminations against American "spies" in the local Communist press, it looks as though the opposition is taking our team very seriously indeed— and with good reason. Both the Army's CIC and the steadily expanding Central Intelligence Agency have learned a lot about undercover warfare since our untrained agents first started tracking down Nazis in Europe six years ago. They have had to. For right now—in Vienna at least— they're up against some of the most skilled Soviet operators in the business.
Who are they? Thanks to the co-operation of American intelligence officers, we can reveal here for the first time the identities of the Soviet leaders in Austria who direct Communist espionage against the West—and report some of the operations they've masterminded.
At the top of the Soviet undercover team in Austria is Lieutenant General Mikhail Ilich Belkin, the husky, arrogant MGB chief whose office is in Russian occupation headquarters at Baden, about 20 miles from Vienna. A severe, exacting and ruthless officer, Belkin once showed an agent how to conduct a quick interrogation by kicking a prisoner in the kidney. As a rule, however, he steers clear of operational activities. He is the staff chief—the man who reports directly to the Ministry for State Security in Moscow.
Under Belkin is Colonel Petr Semeonovich Motinov, a tall, dark, irascible officer who organized Russia's wartime atomic spy ring in Canada. Motinov is the planning brains at Soviet intelligence headquarters. As (3-2 chief he is in charge of "positive" Russian intelligence.
In Vienna, there is the notorious Colonel Karandashov, who not only plans intelligence activities for the city, but also bosses the active agents. He was Benno Blum's chief. Karandashov's deputy is bald Major Nikolai Mokhov, a much-traveled man who is said to make frequent and unofficial trips to the American zone of Austria to contact Russian agents there.
Then there is Captain Nikolai Orlov, alias Yestripov. alias Petkov, a hard-drinking, jovial man with hard brown eyes, whose specialty is directing all Soviet abduction activities in Vienna.
And down in the town of Urfahr, where the Austrian occupation zones of Russia and America meet, the men to watch are Major Alexander Sivatchuk, director of the intelligence tentacles that stretch into the American zone, and Major Joseph Skotnikov, who lumbers around like a massive blond bear and for unknown reasons hides his real rank under the insigne of a captain.
You don't meet these ringmasters of Soviet espionage unless you're a prisoner facing the pitiless glare of the interrogation lights. Theirs is an anonymous existence. For them, exposure is perilous, capture a fate worse than death. The soviet system deals harshly with blunderers.
And why should any Russian intelligence officer betray his identity? On any street corner of downtown Vienna, the Soviets can buy the services of fear-ridden displaced persons. These stateless fugitives are numerous and they come cheap— the price of meals and a bed.
The Russians can walk into virtually any tenement in their sector here and get families to work for them. If a wife balks, they use the threat of reprisal on the husband. They've spent the last three years singling out people they intend to use. Painstakingly, they have noted the idiosyncrasies of their targets, down to food preferences and letter-writing styles.
No longer do the Russians send their own men in uniform to prowl the American zone of Austria, one of their prime intelligence objectives. They have used stooges since the amateurish mistake they made one autumn evening in the heart of medieval Salzburg, zonal headquarters for U.S. forces in Austria.
A Soviet repatriation team was in the city, ostensibly to attempt to influence refugees to return to Russia. U.S. agents got a tip that five officers of the team planned to kidnap a man whose importance both we and the Russians value highly. 
The man's identity is still "top secret".
Our military police and CIC agents in Salzburg were alerted. They tailed the five Russians, who left their billets with civilian overcoats thrown over their uniforms. Our agents had parked open trucks equipped with powerful searchlights on every street corner surrounding the prospective victim's house.
As the Russians emerged from the building with their struggling quarry, they were caught in cones of light that flashed down on them from the trucks. American MPs and agents closed in, expecting the would-be kidnapers to surrender quietly. Instead, the Russians released their captive and scattered, firing from the hip. Recovering from the first shock of surprise, CIC agents returned the fire. But orders were to take the Russians alive. Three of them were backed into corners and gave up when their ammunition was exhausted. Two others escaped. After interrogation, the captured officers were returned to the Soviet zone—and oblivion.
Why do the Russians emphasize abduction? Why will they often go to any length to kidnap certain ordinary persons who could do them no more good than any slave laborer? We put these questions to one of our ablest intelligence men, one who has studied the Russians and their methods at close range for many years.
"Americans think of intelligence in terms of information that could be useful in another war," he said carefully. "That's known in this business as 'positive' intelligence. 
We never think of the possibility of internal revolt.
"But the Soviets are more concerned with spying on their own people. They look for the 'enemy' trying to undermine Russian nationals and personnel by orienting them against Moscow. That enemy could be, for example, a bartender making antiSoviet remarks to an Austrian editor. They want anyone—and information on anyone—who came from behind the Iron Curtain and would talk against the Russians. That's called 'defensive' intelligence." The Russians have long memories and they never forget anyone they suspect of taking part in anti-Soviet action or passing on information about them. Beautiful, talented Margarete Ottilinger was a victim of this Soviet vengeance.
Only twenty-nine years old and a top official in the Austrian Ministry of Economic Planning, Margarete fell in love with a Soviet officer in 1946. He deserted and fled to the West. Margarete became a marked woman. Driving through the Soviet zone last year and technically entitled to immunity because of her official position, she was nevertheless arrested by an armed Russian patrol.
In reply to Austrian government protests. Colonel General Alexis Zheltov, the deputy Red Army commander in Vienna, coldly retorted: "Fraeulein Ottilinger has been sentenced to 25 years by a Soviet court for having influenced an officer to desert."
The Russians didn't stop at Margarete Ottilinger in settling old scores with Austrian officials.
Take Paul Katscher, who spent seven years in Nazi jails after a brilliant career as a railway expert. When he was liberated, he returned to work repairing his country's shattered rail system. He had to travel around the Soviet zone and the Russians were convinced—wrongly—that he reported their troop movements to the Western Powers. They also wanted him to help rehabilitate their railway network in central and eastern Europe.
Two years ago, Katscher was sent by the Austrian government to attend an international conference in Switzerland. He went on the Arlberg Express—the same train on which American Naval Captain Eugene Karpe was killed in a mysterious accident last winter. At the last Russian check post before the entrance to the American zone, three Russian officers hauled Katscher from the train. According to confidential sources, Katscher died recently in a Soviet prison camp at Lwow, formerly in Poland and now Russian territory.

A Man Who Knew too Much
Then there was Anton Marek, for more than 30 years an Austrian police official. Marek headed an internal security division which had more dope on what the Russians were doing in Austria than perhaps any of the Western Powers. Marek's men, as Austrians, could move freely into the Soviet zone.
On a summer afternoon in 1948, Marek got a telephone call. He told his secretary, "Colonel Karandashov and the boys at the Kommandatura want to see me."
There seemed nothing ominous about this. Marek often served as go-between for the Russians and the Western Allies on police matters.
He walked a half block from his office.
A sedan pulled up alongside of him and he was forced into the car.
In a terse communique, four days later, the Russians announced that Marek had been guilty of conspiring against the Soviet. He was last reported in the MGB prison on Elisabethstrasse in Baden.
The Russians occasionally rely on a pretty girl as bait in an abduction job. Early this year, Gisella Sell, a twenty-four year-old Berliner who had followed a Soviet officer to Austria when he was transferred, wanted to get official authorization to visit her home.
Gisella, a shapely brunette, had employed her boudoir talents with the Russian element in Austria after her lover. Lieutenant Alexander Yelenevsky, was sent home. She also had compiled a string of aliases so she could perform black market errands for her Russian friends. When she asked MGB Captain Orlov for documents to get her to Berlin, he told her she would first have to do the Russians a favor. They wanted a Russian DP, Viktor Morejev, who was working as a handy man in an American billet at Steyr, a town near Linz. Orlov organized a kidnaping part of two DPs and Gisella. She made a reconnaissance trip to Steyr, using false credentials for entering the American zone and the code name "Nina" to get by the Russians. It wasn't hard for Gisella to strike up a cozy friendship with Morejev.

Kidnap Plot Gets Under Way
She returned to the Russian zone and reorted to Orlov, who outlined the abduction plan. One of the DPs would drive 
Gisella to Steyr and the car would be used to haul Morejev to the Russian zone. Orlov gave Gisella a jar of ether and cherry brandy doped with Veronal to use on the victim. She also had a weighted suitcase which she was to leave at the railroad station for Morejev to fetch. Morejev could be seized by the driver when he emerged from the station.
The plan might have worked except for a sharp-eyed buddy of Morejev who heard Gisella say that she had just arrived by train. Morejev's friend had seen her driving into town. He told Morejev to stall until he notified the CIC. American agents then trailed Morejev to the station, where they picked up Gisella and the driver and rescued the quaking Morejev.
Now in American custody, Gisella talks freely of her associations with the Russians —while being treated for tertiary syphilis.
ex-Russian, that he could have a cushy job driving a black market truck. Ageyev, tempted by an advance of 2,000 schillings (about $80) agreed to accompany Altmann and two other members of the gang back to the Soviet zone. Altmann stopped every 20 miles and insisted on treating Ageyev to
Other Russian DPs tabbed for abduction didn't have Morejev's luck. Adi Altmann, a member of Benno Blum's gang, went to Salzburg and convinced Nikolai Ageyev, an
wine. The hapless DP soon fell into a drunken stupor.
At the last American check post, Altmann flashed his papers and smiled significantly at Ageyev. But as the car started to roll over the Enns River bridge separating the American and Russian zones, Ageyev suddenly came to and thrashed out at the driver. The car swerved into a bridge stanchion. Ageyev stumbled out and began to weave back toward the American side. But from the other side of the bridge the Soviet sentry, apparently alerted for the abduction, raised his rifle and fired. Startled, the DP tripped and fell.
Quickly, the sentry helped Altmann and he two other members of the gang drag him away as Austrian police looked on helplessly from the American check post. Ageyev has been reported dying of tuberculosis in the crumbling pile of gray masonry the Russians use for an MGB prison at Ploesslgasse 8, in their sector of Vienna.
Now and then a victim escapes under unorthodox circumstances. Last year the Russians sought an Austrian whom we shall call Johann Kuper, but they asked the Austrian police to make the arrest. They explained he was wanted for murder. Actually, they suspected him of being a Western agent.
Every morning Kuper rode a white horse named Silver through the Prater, the big park in Vienna's Russian sector. The Austrian police, at Soviet insistence, sent two cops out on bicycles to arrest him. They found him on the bridle path and told him to follow them. Kuper quickly sized up the situation, turned Silver's head in the opposite direction and galloped for a bridge leading to the British sector.
While the Austrians pedaled furiously in pursuit, Kuper reached the bridge, cantered across and asked the British military
police for protection.
Kuper's luck was matched last summer when Professor Karl Sondermann escaped from a Russian jeep because Viennese bystanders heard his cries and blocked traffic to help him flee. But breaks are rare in this grim business. There are even times when our plans to thwart a kidnaping misfire with embarrassing consequences.
A Viennese girl who was employed as a receptionist in an American intelligence branch lived in the Soviet sector with her family. The Russians approached her two years ago and demanded that she spy for them. If she refused, they threatened, her people would suffer. The girl informed her American superiors, and they supplied her with phony stories to pass on to (he Russians. But in time they became suspicious. One day she was told to keep a rendezvous with two of them beside the statue of Prince Schwarzenberg near the Allied Council Building.
Our officers promptly assigned a CIC agent and a British MP to watch her and arrest the Russians—since the meeting place was at the time under British jurisdiction.
About ten o'clock in the evening, a car pulled up near the statue and two Russians in civilian clothes stepped out. As they grabbed the girl, the MP and the American agent drew up in a jeep and arrested the Russians at gun point. The girl was told to head for the American sector. The Russians were piled into the open jeep under the American's guard while the MP took the wheel.
Scarcely had they pulled away from the statue when a truckload of Soviet soldiers passed them. The Russians in the jeep shouted at the truck, as the MP stepped on the gas and sped to the nearest Austrian police station. There the prisoners were hustled into the station house and swiftly stripped of their documents, which the CIC man hid in another room.
A moment later, the truckload of Russians burst in, tommy guns in hand, rescued their own men and hauled away the American agent. For the next 24 hours telephones jangled in both U.S. and Soviet headquarters. Finally a deal was arranged. The Russians said they would return our man in exchange for their papers, which showed that one of the two arrested Russians was a top MGB official. We agreed to the terms.

Many GIs in Soviet Hands
Luring our soldiers into the Soviet zone is another favorite Russian technique. Some GIs have been in Russian hands for as long as two years, mostly soldiers who went A.W.O.L. and feared to return and face the consequences.
Just how many are still held is a military secret, but there are many.
American intelligence officers got an insight into Soviet Lorelei methods not long ago when a couple of GIs at Linz went out on a week-end pass and picked up two Austrian girls. After a few drinks, the girls took them to a hotel and kept feeding them liquor until their passes expired. Then, when the soldiers became worried about what would happen when they returned to their units, the girls slyly suggested they'd be better off hiding out in the Russian zone. They offered to help the men get across the border.
Instead of taking the advice, one of the GIs tipped off the CIC by telephone. He was told to agree to the flight into the Soviet zone. That evening, the girls took them down to a wooded bank of the Danube. Two men—DPs on the Russian payroll—came over in a boat. The CIC was waiting for them.
Russian agents have it softest when, as the recent Frankey-Abel case proved, they can recruit GIs to do their dirty work. The reprehensible role of these two young Americans in an abduction showed how the tentacles of the black market sometimes suck our own troops into Soviet hands.
Tough, squat Corporal Paul Abel, a bright but hard-drinking twenty-six-year old from Bolivar, Missouri, had scored high on Army intelligence tests—high enough to make him eligible for officer candidate school. Instead, he preferred petty thievery and the company of an Austrian woman, Frau Antonia Koestbauer, a blowzy blonde once convicted of using her own daughter as prostitution bait.

Corporal Ensnared by Women
Abel went steady with mother and daughter. To keep them well-heeled and also to finance his drinking bouts, he used Antonia to sell his pilfered Army supplies on the black market. Deep in debt, Abel finally shifted a $1,700 radio out of an Army tank. Frau Koestbauer took one look at the radio and introduced the corporal to a black market operator.
"This is small stuff," the operator told Abel. "How'd you like to cut in on some real money?"
The sheaf of Austrian schillings in the operator's hands convinced Abel. A few days later, the black marketeer appeared with two Russians in civilian clothes. One, introduced as "John," spoke fluent English. The other stood by watchfully.
"Some of my friends are anxious to get hold of a group of Russian soldiers who deserted and are hiding in the American zone," the American corporal was told by "John." His friends, he added with a friendly smile, would pay extremely well for the delivery of these men—alive.
Subsequent investigation showed that the Russians knew everything about Abel's habits, his favorite night clubs and his debts. They were responsible for buying all his black market loot.
Egged on by Antonia, Abel met "John" several times over a wine-stained table in the sordid cellar cafe called the Papageno. Abel's first assignment, it soon developed, would need two men. So the corporal looked for a confederate among the men of his own 796th Military Police Battalion. He told more than 100 of the 600 soldiers in his outfit what was up. Although all of them refused to join him, it is significant that not one ever gave a hint to his superior officers that the Russians had found an agent among the MPs.
But finally, a tall, handsome sergeant— twenty-nine-year-old John Frankey—of New York City, succumbed to Abel's promise of easy money. Next day at the Papageno. Abel collected an advance of 2,000 schillings, and learned that he and Frankey were to kidnap an Austrian citizen named Oswald Eder, whose career, like thousands in this city, was checkered with odd jobs for several intelligence services.
The two amateurs were really amateurs. At the first rendezvous fixed for the abduction, Abel turned up drunk and Frankey got cold feet. Money, however, was a compulsive factor. A week later they drove boldly up to Eder's house in a borrowed Army jeep and told the Austrian that an American officer wanted to see him.
The Americans drove Eder to an abandoned factory just off the highway a mile out of town. "John" and four other Russians were waiting there. They seized Eder, slapped him around, dragged him to the factory, and paid off Abel with $320 in Austrian Schillings. Eder has never been heard from since.
Frankey spent his half of the take quietly, but Abel went on a wild spree and was broke in a week. So he contacted "John," took an $80 advance on the "next job," and went off to Italy for a vacation.
When he got back, "John" had news of the next job. It was to kidnap an American —a CIC agent in Linz. The price was $800. But Abel protested. Snatching an American, he pointed out, would be difficult.
"John" agreed. "You may have to bang him over the head," he said.
"Thats pretty tough," Abel demurred.
"It's been done before," was "John's" cold reply.
Abel was in too deep now to back out. He talked over the job with Frankey, who insisted it was too risky. That night, Frankey went to a cabaret to think things over and ran into an American CIC agent he knew.
At the bar Frankey suddenly folded.
"I've been contacted by the Russians for a kidnaping job," he blurted to the agent. "Let's get out of here, and I'll tell you all about it."
The two GIs were arrested, tried by court-martial at American headquarters in Salzburg. Frankey was sentenced to 15 years in prison and Abel twenty.
Frankey and Abel were two of the 796th MPs caught and convicted, but there are others currently under suspicion. It is common gossip shit many of the men in this outfit are corrupt. The seamy bars and shabby hotels around the MP billets on Mariahilferstrasse are nesting grounds for Soviet agents and their stooges in the black market. Easy money is a constant temptation for these soldiers, many of them fresh from the States and still in their teens.

Green Hands at the Spy Game
This helps point up one of our biggest handicaps in the undercover war—we just don't have enough of the right personnel for the job. While American intelligence techniques have improved, the CIC agents who must apply them are rarely trained operatives. Most are inexperienced GIs, issued plain clothes and given a badge and a gun after little more than a four-week course in basic German and intelligence procedures. These youngsters are playing spy in a game whose stakes are high and against opponents who in many cases are veteran Comintern agents with years of experience in the Red underworlds of Europe.
And, worse, almost every time an agent has spent a couple of years on the job, and has acquired the valuable training he needs to beat the Russians at their own game, he's transferred out and replaced by another newcomer. Our intelligence directors in Austria are beset by other problems as well. First of all, they say, Americans are never conscious of what security really means.
"Our troops," these intelligence officers told us, "figure that so long as they don't know the secret of the hydrogen bomb they don't have any information that the Russians could want. They couldn't be more wrong. The Soviets are interested in everything we're up to, and they often find out with no effort at all. Our own people talk too damn' much."
Then, too, we have to bear the brunt of intelligence operations, for our two Western Allies—the British and French—must function on limited budgets.
That leaves the Americans in the key spot, face to face with a tough, competent Soviet intelligence network that's getting smarter and more ruthless all the time. Patiently and painstakingly, the Russians are studying our habits, appraising our strength and learning to exploit our weaknesses. For they plan to be in Vienna a long time. Make no mistake about that. This listening post at the crossroads of the Western and Eastern worlds is just as important to them as it is to us.
A Visit to the Tass Office
Before leaving Vienna, we paid a social call on the Vienna correspondent for Tass, the Soviet news agency. He's an amiable young man who happens to double as an MGB agent. But you'd never know it, as he politely offers you a long Russian cigarette in his paneled office.
"Ah, it is quite dull in Vienna these days," he sighed between puffs. "All is so quiet. It is hard to find news to write about."
We asked him about Benno Blum, who'd been shot to death the night before. Our host waved his hand impatiently.
"We had nothing to do with this Blum," he said. "Nothing whatsoever. Those are American lies."
There seemed to be nothing more to say. We finished our cigarettes and made a luncheon date which we knew he wouldn't keep, and walked over to the gaunt brown building that houses the Soviet Kommandatura on the Ringstrasse. In Hitler's time that building housed the Gestapo.
A huge red star that lights up at night graced the building's fasade. Red wooden barriers at either end of the block barred pedestrians from the sidewalk beneath the building.
Austrians don't need the barriers to make them give the building a wide berth. It was only last summer that Fritz Boehm, a Kommandatura chauffeur, leaped from Colonel Karandashov's fourth-floor office to that sidewalk.
Boehm had been arrested by his Russian employers when they suspected him of helping a young Soviet lieutenant to desert. Austrian passers-by had seen him half carried into the building. Others had seen him hurtle down a few minutes later: they'd heard him, bleeding but still conscious, scream his name before Russian sentries dragged his body back through the building's high wooden doors.
We walked through those same brown doors. Inside, a sentry with fixed bayonet barred our way and waved us to a small office at one side of the entrance corridor. A Soviet officer, in blue breeches and a brown tunic with gold epaulets, snapped a question at us in Russian.
We replied in German that we were Americans, that we would like to see Colonel Karandashov.
The officer gave us a cold stare and pressed a button. A moment later an attractive blonde came in, demurely dressed and smiling. She spoke excellent English. What did we want? We repeated our request and she relayed it to the officer.
There was a long, searching pause. Then the officer spoke rapidly and at length. We caught only one word—"Nyet."
The girl turned to us. "But there is no Colonel Karandashov," she said. "Who told you he was here? We have never heard of such a man." The officer pointed to the door and we walked out quickly. 

We stopped for a moment outside in the sunshine to stare up at a fourth floor window, the window of Colonel Karandashov's office—the window of the man the Russians never heard of.
Yes, everything is peaceful and lovely in colorful old Vienna these days. 

About as peaceful as a charge of TNT.