Top Jewish-Soviet spy who spied on Israel dies at 97

“He was a Communist who acted out of conviction and gratitude to the Red Army for having allowed him to fight the Nazis who massacred his entire family in Poland,” daughter Sylvia Klingberg told AFP.

Klingberg had always maintained that his motivation for spying was ideological and not financial.

Born in Warsaw into an ultra-Orthodox Jewish family, Klingberg fled Poland during the Nazi invasion in 1939 and made his way to the Soviet Union, where he studied medicine.

In 1941, after German troops entered the Soviet Union, he enlisted in the Soviet army.

He returned to Poland at the end of the war, where he discovered that his parents and brother had died in a concentration camp. He emigrated to Sweden, then to Israel shortly after the state was created in 1948.

He served in the Israeli army’s health services, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel and specialising in epidemiology. He joined the top-secret biological institute, located in Nes Ziona south of Tel Aviv, in 1957.

Israeli suspicions turned toward him in 1963 and there were suggestions that his spying began long before, but he was arrested only 20 years later in 1983 with the help of a double agent codenamed Samaritan.