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November 29: A Millionaire Spy?

November 29, 2013
41jc1zAb27L._SY300_Born in Fargo, North Dakota on this date in 1897, Alfred K. Stern was a millionaire investment banker who with his wife, Martha Dodd, an ambassador’s daughter (not Jewish), was accused of spying for the Soviet Union, and fled from the U.S. to Prague in 1957 (some sources say ’53). Stern chaired the Illinois State Housing Commission and was a national housing expert. He was also the founder of the Institute for Psychoanalysis in Chicago. Dodd was the daughter of the American ambassador to Nazi Germany in the days leading up to World War II and had been enamored of the Nazis for several years before turning against them and being recruited to spy for the USSR by her lover, a Soviet intelligence officer. Based testimony before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee by Boris Morros, a Hollywood musician and producer who identified himself as an informer within the American Communist movement for a dozen years, Dodd and Stern were indicted in absentia in 1957 of spying for the USSR. According to a 1975 KGB document, they lived in Cuba between 1963 and 1970, and Stern served as a personal advisor to Fidel Castro. The espionage charges were dropped against them in 1977, and they both died in Prague, Stern in 1986, Dodd in 1990. “When I first came to Germany I was no more and no less anti-Semitic than most gentiles of my background and education. I didn’t like many of what were described to me as their people’s characteristics . . . I thought they were ‘pushy’ and over-intellectual. I had the average gentile’s envy of their brilliance and accomplishment which was developed into a vague prejudice . . . As factual and thoughtful literature began to seep in, against the Nazis’ will, and replace the reams of Nazi propaganda, I began to see the German Jew in his historical role, in his good as well as his bad light.” —Martha Dodd