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Jurgen Kuczyinski (KV 2/1871-1880)

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Jurgen Kuczyinski (KV 2/1871-1880)

Kuczyinski, a German statistician whose father was working at the London School of Economics and who joined him in Britain in 1936, was well known as a Communist even before his arrival in the UK, having first come to Security Service attention in 1931 through intercepted correspondence. His mail was watched throughout the war, and his father, sisters and brothers-in-law were all subject to the Service's attentions. Yet his role as the man who introduced atom spy Klaus Fuchs to Soviet Intelligence was completely missed, and he secured employment during the war with the US Bombing Research Mission. His connections to Soviet Intelligence were first suspected when his sister, Ursula Buerton, was named by British spy Alan Foote as a Soviet Intelligence agent in 1947, and finally confirmed in 1950 when Fuchs named Kuczyinski as his first contact. This file is the last of the key personalities from the Fuchs spy case to be released.

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KV 2/1871 (1931-1940) covers the period of Kuczyinski's first visits to Britain, his settling here permanently at various addresses in Hampstead and, from November 1939, contains voluminous copies of intercepted mail, after a Home Office warrant was secured on the grounds that "Both Dr Jurgen and Marguerite Kuczyinski are believed to be clearly connected with Communist espionage and propaganda among refugees in this country." It is clear that even at this early stage the possibility of Kuczyinski being involved in espionage was acknowledged. Yet, except for a postal warrant, little effort seems to have been expended on the case. A decision was made in December 1939 not to place Kuczyinski "in the category of friendly alien." Kuczyinski was interned in January 1940, and is reported as having "made himself a nuisance" in the camp, resulting in visiting privileges for his wife being withdrawn (serial 76a, a letter characterised by the interceptors at the Security Service as having been written by "Colonel Blimp"). The file contains a copy of Kuczyinski's German passport with an original photograph. The next file, KV 2/1872 (1940-1941), details how Kuczyinski was released from internment against the Service's wishes in April 1940 ("We do not regard this man's case as satisfactory, but we were overruled by the Home Office…", serial 86a). By this time, the Service suspected that Kuczyinski had control of the entire funds of the German Communist Party.

The following files KV 2/1873 (1941-1942), KV 2/1874 (1942-1943), KV 2/1875 (1943), KV 2/1876 (1943-1944) and KV 2/1877 (1944-1945) consist mainly of further intercepted letters – the warrant was maintained on Kuczyinski's addresses throughout the war. There are copies of Kuczyinski's pamphlets Allies Inside Germany and 300 Million Slaves and Serfs in KV 2/1874. Kuczyinski's recruitment to the US Bombing Research Mission is covered in KV 2/1876-1877 – the Service didn't oppose his appointment, recognising his technical skills would be useful, but the Americans were warned not to give him a chance to further his political beliefs.

After the end of the war in Europe the Kuczyinskis returned to Berlin. File KV 2/1878 (1945-1948) consists mainly of further intercepted correspondence from or mentioning Kuczyinski, until September 1947 when Alan Foote's evidence names Kuczyinski's sister Ursula Buerton as an intelligence agent. A thorough review of the file was undertaken, which still found nothing of substance to identify Kuczyinski as an agent. Michael Serpell concluded (serial 484) that while the Kuczyinskis might be Comintern officers, they were not Soviet espionage agents. Investigations continued, however, and in 1950 (on KV 2/1879, 1948-1951) Fuchs finally unveiled Kuczyinski as being, at the very least, an occasional recruiter for Soviet Intelligence. A further review of the file took place, and almost for the first time it seems that the early indications that Kuczyinski was "in touch" with Soviet Intelligence were picked up (case summary, serial 521b). Even then, however, there was no evidence from the file to allow a positive conclusion as to Kuczyinski's role to be reached. The letters informing the French and Americans of the results of this review of the file are included. The case concludes with KV 2/1880 (1951-1953) where further intercepted correspondence records the continuing, fruitless watch kept on Kuczyinski.