Egypt Reveals Details About Captured Spy Lotz and his wife Waltraud on trial in Egypt. Photo: Alchetron

March 7, 1965

Egyptian authorities release details about the arrest Feb. 22 of German-Israeli spy Wolfgang Lotz and his wife, Waldrud, on espionage charges. Some reports say Lotz’s arrest was part of a roundup of West Germans as a show for a visiting East German official, only for him to confess to being an Israeli spy; other reports point to Lotz’s use of the same type of radio equipment Israeli spy Eli Cohen used in Syria until his arrest in January 1965

According to the Egyptian information, reported by The Jerusalem Post, Wolfgang Lotz was recruited at a West Berlin riding school and introduced to agent Rudi Bernstein, who offered Lotz $500 to go to Egypt and pose as a tourist.

Lotz arrived in Egypt in 1960 and became acquainted with several Egyptian officials. He returned to Europe in 1961 and was trained over five months to operate secret radios and use codes, ink, photography and other espionage practices.

He went back to Egypt for a monthly salary of $850 plus $1,500 in expenses. He pretended he was a horse breeder and traveled to Europe to report to his superiors every six months. He smuggled spy equipment into Egypt in a riding boot.

He threw lavish parties in Egypt to help obtain military and political information from elites. Franz Kiesow, also recently arrested, helped Lotz run the parties. In December 1962, Lotz returned to Europe for explosives training. He hid equipment in Cairo in the house of Abdel Salaam el-Barbarai.

Egyptian officials say Lotz focused on foreign experts working in Egypt and obtained explosives in soap and letters to target German scientists. Lotz recently sent one of the letter bombs to a post office, where it exploded.

Lotz is convicted in August and sentenced to life imprisonment, while his wife is sentenced to three years in prison. They are freed in 1968 in a prisoner exchange that follows the June 1967 war. It turns out that much of what Egypt believed about Lotz, such as his recruitment in Germany and his financial motivation for spying, is untrue. Having made aliyah in the 1930s and fought as an officer in the Israel Defense Forces during the War of Independence, Lotz was already working for Aman, the Israeli military intelligence division, when he returned to Germany in 1959 and established a cover identity as a German businessman.