The girl in an East German coal mine

In 1981 Marie-Claude Hawkes was an 18-year-old living in Amiens, France when she embarked on a trip to East Germany looking for adventure… Among her experiences was working in a lignite coal mine. Lignite is considered the lowest rank of coal and the most harmful coal to human health but was a major fuel source … Read more

Two weddings and a teaching post in Cold War Berlin

  Marie-Claude Hawkes continues her story with her return to Berlin in 1985 as a French teaching assistant at the Havel School RAF Gatow, teaching French and taking part in school activities in West and East Berlin. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! Between September 86 and August 87 Marie-Claude … Read more

Life in the forbidden zone at the East/West German border

A young Claudia Bierschenk lived in a village surrounded by hills, valleys and thick forests at the edge of a world called the GDR. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! Her great uncle lives in the Forbidden Zone, the area where the East German border is a few metres away … Read more

A daughter’s 18 year search for her Cold War CIA pilot father

In 1961, members of the Alabama Air National Guard secretly took part in the failed invasion of Cuba by U.S.-backed Cuban exiles known as the Bay of Pigs. This was a covert attempt by the United States to overthrow the Soviet-allied Cuban government of Fidel Castro. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome … Read more

My life laid bare through secret police files

  What is it like to be under secret police surveillance? On 10 March 1983, 12 year old Carmen Bugan returned from school to find Romanian secret police in her living room. Her father’s protest against the regime had changed her life for ever. In recent years Carmen gained access to the files of the … Read more

Arrested by the KGB and taken to the Lubyanka prison

Marti Peterson was the first female CIA operative to be assigned to Moscow, probably the most challenging posting during the Cold War. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! This second episode turns to TRIGON, the code name for Alexandr Ogorodnik. He was an official in the Soviet Embassy in Bogota, … Read more

The first female CIA officer in Cold War Moscow

Marti Peterson was the first female CIA operative to be assigned to Moscow, probably the most challenging posting during the Cold War. Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! Her story begins in Laos during the Vietnam War where she accompanied her husband John, a CIA officer. She describes their life … Read more

The first woman to graduate from French Commando school

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on SpotifyListen on Google PodcastsBecome a Patron! Maura McCormick was posted to Berlin as a Signals Intelligence voice interceptor (Russian). Her workplace was the Teufelsberg  U.S. listening station,  aka Field Station Berlin. Maura shares her early impressions of Berlin and working at the Tberg. She talks about her impressions of the … Read more