* 1927 IN BEAUMARAIS †1984 IN BERLIN
BRILLIANT TINKERER AND STRONGMAN
Hans Wax learns all about cars in the motor school of the “Reichsjugendführung” (the ministry managing Nazi youth organizations), and all about explosives in a “Panzerjagdkommando” (an anti-tank Nazi militia) and the SS. After the war, his black market operations and history of burglary land him in prison. After being released, he runs an automobile workshop in the Kant Garage, a multi-storey car park in West Berlin. He begins working as a secret employee (Geheimer Mitarbeiter, or GM) under the code name “Donner” for Department II (counterintelligence) of the Ministry of State Security (Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, or MfS) in 1954.
My motto: better 100% too many explosives than too little.
Abductions and bomb attacks are Wax’s speciality. In 1955 he kidnaps the Danish agent Werner Rieker, who is sentenced to 15 years in prison in the GDR. He blows up a radio station run by Russian emigrants in Sprendlingen (Rhineland-Palatinate) in 1958. Two years earlier he participates in the big agent coup that forms the historical backdrop for the successful DEFA (Deutsche Film-Aktiengesellschaft, the state- owned film studio) film “For Eyes Only”; he manages to get two safes belonging to the American military secret service out of Würzburg and into the GDR by car.
THE GDR BUSINESSMAN
Shortly before the building of the wall, the Stasi decide to move Wax to the GDR “for security reasons.” He starts a business in Berlin-Biesdorf in 1961 with financial assistance from the MfS. He not only prepares cars for the Stasi – he also has a great talent for developing products from plastic materials, i. e. boats. In addition, he deals in goods from the West that are highly sought after and rare in the GDR.
Wax has up to 70 employees, paying them above average wages and bonuses. The MfS compensates for any negative balances in the company. But Wax does not fit “in the socialist economic fabric.” In 1970 his business comes under public ownership. Wax remains its technical manager only briefly.
In 1972 Wax smuggles a computer into the GDR that allegedly contains data from the Israeli secret service. He wants money and recognition, but instead is sent to prison and a psychiatric ward for almost two years. The charge: “Betrayal of secrets and fraud damaging to socialist property.” He falls seriously ill, and the MfS puts him under surveillance.
He sets up another small business in Tornow in 1976, repairing boats and making radar screens. He pays his taxes irregularly and demands continued support from the MfS, from which he is already receiving a monthly “honorary pension.” Wax would gladly perform further sabotage assignments, or at the very least develop products for the army or the MfS. “He feels that he is not being recognized as the plastic processing genius,” an MfS major writes, adding that Wax even threatens to submit an emigration applica- tion. But the MfS has no use for him anymore. His company is liquidated in 1983.