Sorge, Richard “Ramsey”, born 04-10-1895 in Sabunchi, Azerbaijan, one of the nine children of the German mining engineer Wilhelm Sorge and his Russian wife Nina.
His family moved to Germany when he was three. His uncle, Friedrich Adolph Sorge, had been a secretary for Karl Marx ,who died age 64, on 14-03-1883. In October 1914, Sorge volunteered to service in the World War I. He joined a student battalion of the 3rd Guards, Field Artillery. He was severely wounded in March 1916 on the Western Front, leaving him with a lifelong limp. He was discharged with Iron Cross. During his convalescence he read Marx and became a Communist. He spent the rest of the war studying economics in universities of Berlin, Kiel and Hamburg. In 1920 he graduated with a Ph. D. in political science. He also joined the German Communist Party [KPD]. His political views, however, got him fired from both a teaching job and coal mining work. He fled to Moscow where he became a junior agent for Comintern. In 1921 he returned to Germany, married Christiane Gerlach, former wife of Kurt Albert Gerlach, Director of the Frankfurt Institut, who died age 34, on 19-10-1922 and moved to Solingen, in Westphalia. In 1922 the Comintern relocated him to Frankfurt where he gathered intelligence about business community while assisting at the Frankfurt Institut building the library. After the failed coup in October 1923 he continued his work as a journalist. In 1924, he was recalled to Moscow and divorced Christiane, and officially joined the International Liaison Department of Comintern, OMS, an arm of the GPU. In 1928, he was transferred to GPU duties and assigned to Shanghai in 1930. Officially he was editor of German news service and for the Frankfurter Zeitung. There he met Ozaki Hozumi, a Japanese journalist working for Asahi Shimbun. In January 1932 Sorge reported on fighting between Chinese and Japanese troops in the streets of Shanghai. In December he was recalled to Moscow. Sorge was decorated and remarried. In 1933 he was sent to Berlin with the code name “Ramsey”, to re-establish contacts in Germany so that he could pass for a German journalist in Japan. He arrived to Yokohama on 06-09-1933. 1933-1934 Sorge built a network to collect intelligence for NKVD in Japan. His agents had contacts with senior politicians and through that, to information of Japan’s foreign policy. He also recontacted Ozaki Hozumi who developed a close contact with the prime minister Fumimaro Konoye. Ozaki copied secret documents for Sorge. Okazi was also hanged age 43, on 07-11-1944 Officially Sorge joined the Nazi party and worked with the local embassy and ambassador Eugen Ott as an agent for Abwehr. He used the embassy for double-checking his information. Ott died 23-01-1977 (aged 87) in Tützing Bavaria. Sorge supplied the Soviet Union with information about Anti-Comintern Pact, the German-Japanese Pact and warned of Pearl Harbor attack. In 1941 Sorge informed the Soviet Union of Hitler’s intentions to invade the Soviet Union. No action was taken on Sorge’s advice. Before the battle for Moscow, Sorge transmitted information that Japan was not going to attack Soviet Union in the East. This information allowed Zhukov to redeploy Siberian troops for the defense of Moscow. Japanese secret service had already intercepted many of his messages and begun to close in. Ozaki was arrested in October 14 and interrogated.
Death and burial ground of Sorge, Richard “Ramsey”.
Sorge was arrested in October 18 in Tokyo. and not exchanged for Japanese prisoners of war. Both Ozaki and Sorge, age 49, were hanged on 09-10-1944. The Soviet Union did not acknowledge Sorge until 1964. Sorge is buried on the Tama Reien Cemetery, in Tokyo.Sorge with his second wife Maximova Catherine Sorge. In an official marriage Richard lived with Hanako Ishii. It is know that after the execution the Japanese women visited the grave of Richard until the end of her life.