PARIS (Jul. 4)
Leopold Trepper, the World War II master spy, has asked his wife and sons to stop campaigning for his release from Pol- and because there are “other, more important causes than mine,” the weekly Nouvel Observateur reported today. According to Bernard Guetta, the journalist who interviewed Trepper, the former chief of the “Red Orchestra,” the Soviet espionage network in Western Europe during the German occupation, told him “Now is not the time to struggle for me.”
Trepper has been seeking an exit visa in order to join a son in Israel but Polish authorities have withheld it on grounds that Trepper, who is nearing 70, still possesses vital secrets. His wife Elisabeth and two of his sons are presently in Copenhagen. They have been seeking for months to arouse world opinion to bring pressure to bear on the Polish government to allow Trepper to leave.
According to Nouvel Observateur, Trepper said he didn’t want members of his family to take risks, “If anybody has to fight and take risks it will be me,” he was quoted as saying. “I know from experience that no one fully recovers after a hunger strike,” he told Guetta.
The French weekly reported that Trepper stressed that he had no quarrel with Edward Gierek, Secretary of the Polish Communist Party’s Central Committee, but with the bureaucracy. He said Gierek was not responsible for his treatment or for the wave of official anti-Semitism in Poland several years ago. He charged, however, that the Party bureaucracy opposed his going to Israel because “it may be too humiliating for them.”