JERUSALEM (May. 10)
A former Israeli spy who says he would surely have been executed 30 years ago if his Egyptian captors had not believed he was a German, has plunged into Israel’s political fray at age 71 on behalf of the right-wing Tehiya party.
Wolfgang Lutz, to use the alias he adopted for espionage, is a German-born Jew who previously was a Likud supporter. On May 3, he formally joined Tehiya.
“I have always been a man of the right. Only Attila the Hun was further right,” he boasted to reporters, though he might have mentioned the Nazis he came to Palestine to escape in 1933.
In any case. Lutz, whose Hebrew name is Ze’ev Gur-Aryeh, agrees with Tehiya that Likud has swung to the “left.”
Though he will continue to live in Germany, where he has resided for the last 11 years, he intends to campaign for Tehiya in preparation for the June 23 Knesset elections.
Lutz came to Israel, with his fifth wife, German journalist Herma Hadorf, to make a documentary on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for German state television.
His own life story would probably make a more suspenseful TV drama.
Born in 1921, Lutz’s aliyah at age 12 coincided with Hitler’s rise to power.
He studied in Ben Shemen, a youth village near Lod where one of his contemporaries was Shimon Peres.
In 1961 he was serving in the Israel Defense Force with the rank of major when the Mossad, the secret service, approached him with the offer of a spy mission to Egypt.
His cover was Wolfgang Lutz, a deceased SS officer who had been an enthusiastic horse trainer. Secretly financed by Mossad, he would open a high-class stud farm in Egypt bound to interest Cairo high society.
Lutz undertook his mission with a new bride, Wolltrud Neumann, a German woman he met on the Paris-Munich express who had no idea of his identity.
The Mossad was unhappy with that twist. But Wolltrud turned out to be an asset, helping to organize the orgies which attracted top Egyptian political and military figures to the farm where they were pumped for information.
For four years, Lutz fashioned a complex web of contacts with the Egyptian elite. Using his expensive flat in Cairo and the farm as bases, he was able to transmit valuable information to Mossad.
It included details of the development of missiles for Egypt by German scientists. Lutz was involved in sending letter-bombs to some of them.
When Egyptian counterintelligence tracked him down in 1965, they were convinced he was a German simply working for the Israelis. According to Lutz, that saved his life, for had he been identified as an Israeli Jew, he would have been shot.
The Egyptians released him after the 1967 Six-Day War.
“Lutz’s joining us has been a pleasant surprise,” Tehiya Knesset member Elyakim Haetzni said. “The right feels isolated after Likud’s turn to the Left, and therefore I am glad a personality such as Lutz has joined us.”