In 1958, slowly and quietly, the word went out throughout Europe and South America that Nasser’s Egypt was hiring scientists who worked in Nazi Germany’s Peenemunde V1 and V2 rocket test center in Hamburg in 1943-45 and were responsible for the horrifying bombings of London in WWII. Weapons would now be built for Egypt. The target was Israel, but the consequences would immediately endanger all of the Middle East and Europe. Almost overnight, Cairo’s expensive suburbs in Zamalek and Heliopolis, were filling with Germans.
With the growing threat in Egypt, Israel’s Mossad began training a blue-eyed, blonde-haired Aryan called Wolfgang Lotz for an extraordinary mission that would begin in Cairo, January 1, 1961.
Posing as a wealthy and sophisticated horse breeder, Lotz quickly was assimilated into the Cairo lifestyle and was accepted by both Egyptians and Germans. Lotz was fun. He poured champagne and amused the wives. In Zamalek, he started a stud farm and riding school. Lotz’s cover story, carefully understated, spread. And, his cover became even more secure when he was mistakenly identified as a former SS officer. Everyone trusted Lotz.
In June 1961, Lotz went to Paris for his semi-annual debriefing by the Mossad. His excuse for these trips was to buy horses for the Cavalry Club. Before returning to Egypt, he took a short vacation trip, during which time, on the Orient Express from Paris to Munich, he met a beautiful blonde German named Waltraud. It was love at first sight. In a whirlwind courtship, against all regulations, and without advising his superiors, he decided to ask her to marry him. She said yes. They were married in Munich and, after two weeks to settle her business, she joined Lotz in Egypt. When Lotz subsequently advised the Mossad, they were shocked, and feared for their lives as well as the success of the mission. But it was too late to replace them.
Contrary to the Mossad’s worries, and with nicknames “Rusty” and “Teddy”, Wolfgang and Waltraud became an extraordinary spy team. Avoiding the eyes and ears of the Egyptian security police, they would ride their horses into the desert each morning to discuss and analyze the information they gathered at the previous night’s party, and plan their next move.
Unexpectedly, on June 26, 1962, Lotz saw a rocket in the sky over Cairo. It was painted in black and white squares, startlingly reminiscent of the V2 rockets in wartime newsreels. Time was running out before Nasser would unleash a massive attack of his V2 rockets with Tabun warheards, And, to raise the stakes even higher, rumors spread that Egypt was also readying a nuclear warhead.
Fast action had to be taken. All of a sudden, curious accidents began to afflict those who ran and supplied Nasser’s missile program. The Germans got the message and immediately began to pull out of Egypt. Wolfgang and Waltraud also planned to leave, but it was too late. On February 22, 1965, Egyptian security police accidentally discovered them. After being imprisoned, and following the June 1967 Six-Day War, the Lotzs were released to Israel in exchange for the 4,000 Egyptian Third Army soldiers including 9 Generals who were captured by Israel at the Suez Canal at the end of the war. It was history’s biggest spy trade, as fully reported by Time Magazine.