MI5 Thames House, London, no date (Crown Copyright, OGL)

MI5 Secret Files Released

From Nazi Spies to Cold War Communists

The UK’s National Archives have made available to the public 24 previously top secret files from the UK’s Security Service (MI5).

The records cover a range of subjects and span the interwar years, Second World War and post-war era up to the mid 1960s. Personal files include individuals classed as Second World War German intelligence agents, Soviet intelligence agents, communists, and suspected communist and Russian sympathisers.

Searchable from KV 2/4315 to KV 2/4345, the files include:

  • Renato Dos Santos Roque Laia (KV 2/4315-4316 ): a Portuguese businessman in the pay of Germany who was discovered retrospectively to have been in the UK with an intelligence brief in 1940
  • Desmond and Bella Costello (KV 2/4328-4331): a couple with communist sympathies, Desmond ‘Paddy’ Costello was a member of the New Zealand legation in Moscow and Paris. In 1960 Bella is believed to have applied for a death certificate on behalf of Soviet intelligence, used to acquire a false identity for a Soviet spy.
  • Julius Berger (KV 2/4332-4333): involved in establishing the communist parties of Syria and Palestine and probably head of the Middle East section of the Comintern. Held in Stalin’s concentration camps from 1935 to 1956 before later becoming an academic in Israel.
  • Tatiana Malleson (KV 2/4344-4345): first came to notice in 1941 with her husband, actor Albert Lieven, attempting to insert a communist sympathiser into the Russian section of the BBC. A close friend of Klaus Fuchs’ mistress Erna Skinner.

Other individuals include Marxist historian A. L Morton (KV 2/4334-4336), and Barbara Ruhemann (KV 2/4338-4343), a Communist Party of Great Britain member particularly prominent in the International Affairs and Africa committees.

The last tranche of MI5 files was released on 28 September 2016.

Source: Latest MI5 files released – The National Archives (Crown Copyright)

Photo: MI5, Thames House, London, no date (Crown Copyright, OGL).

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