PARIS (Nov. 2)
The attorney for World War II master spy Leopold Trepper quoted Gestapo documents in court here today to show that Trepper was not a Gestapo collaborator as charged by Jean Rochet, former head of the French counterespionage agency. Trepper is suing Rochet for libel in connection with his letter to the newspaper Le Monde which alleged that Trepper betrayed his underground comrades after his arrest by the Gestapo in 1942.
The documents produced by attorney Leon Matarasso revealed that the arrests of Trepper’s comrades occurred before Trepper himself fell into Gestapo hands. Matarasso said further that Trepper; who headed the “Red Orchestra,” the Soviet spy network in Nazi-occupied Western Europe, was in close contact with many other anti-Nazi espionage groups in France, Belgium and elsewhere. None of these groups suffered as a result of Trepper’s arrest which shows that he was not a collaborator, the attorney said.
The French Minister of Interior, Raymond Marcellin, denied today that Rochet’s recent dismissal from the counter-intelligence service was in any way connected with his accusations against Trepper. Rochet was removed from his post last week and appointed Prefect of the Meurthe and Moselle Departments in Eastern France. The government said it was a “routine transfer.” French newspapers claimed that Rochet had embarrassed several ministers by his undiplomatic statements.