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News article: "'I thought I was smarter than almost everybody'"

(17 Posts)
user1486613612 Sun 12-Feb-17 16:53:16

AIBU to be upset by this? Today I read an article in The Guardian about some guy Dittrich who claimed "'I thought I was smarter than almost everybody'" and then, in the article, it shows he was working undercover in the US for the KGB for an extensive period of time, and not only that - he has had three wives, as many children and it's incomprehensible to me how he got three women to play along? The article goes on. I'm really annoyed by it. And now he is writing a book about it and will earn a lot of money on his, well, betrayal. angry I agree with one of the commenters to the original article "Don't buy the book. You will only support this man, that ruined so many people's lives." !!!

We also had a shortwave radio at home when I grew up, but I found it was pretty useless. I think it was a Grundig Satellit 2000 actually. This was before the internet so people (read: dad) found it exciting to listen in on radio, from overseas.

DrivingMeBonkers Sun 12-Feb-17 16:55:59

I thought I was smarter than almost everybody

"thought" (past tense) and now he knows he isn't? (present tense)

I don't understand what your last paragraph regarding your father's radio has to do with the price of eggs TBH.

zeeboo Sun 12-Feb-17 17:02:14

What he did was wrong to those three women, not to you. I can't see why you are getting so upset by it.

BillSykesDog Sun 12-Feb-17 17:02:28

If you think he really had a free choice in doing this I suggest you read Anna Funder's Stasiland to get some sort of idea what would have happened to him if he'd refused.

UsedToBeAPaxmanFan Sun 12-Feb-17 17:05:06

I read that article and I agree with the pp, he was actually saying that he was arrogant and ended up in a situation beyond his control, he now realises how stupid he was.

He didn't have three wives at the same time, he had two. I know it's not right, and I'm not defending him, but he wasn't seeing both of the wives at the same time. He was married to the German wife, then he went to the States under an assumed name and was a spy for the KGB there, and he left his previous German life/identity (and wife) behind. His German wife was told he had died.

In the article he was very clear that he had two separate identities, his German one and his American one, and therefore didn't feel as though he was being a bigamist.

I'm not interested in reading the book as the whole spy stuff doesn't interest me I think if you were into the back story of spies and how they operate, it would be an interesting read to see how he was persuaded to behave, and what he had to do. I did feel sorry for both of his wives and for the children as well, who were collateral damage as far as the KGB and him were concerned.

Missbohan Sun 12-Feb-17 17:07:12

Why are you taking it so personally? You feel like some sort of justice should have been carried out and you are annoyed he got away with it? I don't mean this being goady but I don't understand why you directly are upset - it hasn't personally affected you, this man has no clue who you are. Horrific things happen all day every day across the world, takes a lot of energy to be annoyed that not everyone is punished as you see fit. It's annoying he has a book deal but you know, that's life.

WhooooAmI24601 Sun 12-Feb-17 17:08:54

I always think Donald Trump wakes up each morning and whispers "You are smarter and sexier than anybody" in front of his mirror whilst doing Hercules poses.

Brutal way to live for the families he's left in tatters, though.

DrivingMeBonkers Sun 12-Feb-17 17:10:12

I've just read it. Life in Soviet times wasn't a bowl of roses, I suppose he did what he had to so to survive. My concern would be that they used his real pictures, now real identity, he's traceable and the KGB have never gone away. He's open to assassination now.

"Albrecht Dittrich was born in 1949, in a small East German town close to the Polish border. His father was a schoolteacher and a devoted Marxist-Leninist, his mother he describes as an intelligent woman who did not hug him enough. “She sent me away to boarding school when I was 14, and I never missed her.” Soon after, his parents divorced and he lost touch with his father."

www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/11/thought-smarter-everybody-kgb-spy-jack-barsky

Fighterofthenightman Sun 12-Feb-17 17:11:06

I'll never understand why so many MN posters profess to be SO upset by things that affect them in no way.

LiviaDrusillaAugusta Sun 12-Feb-17 17:14:58

By posting on here, you are basically promoting the article, which I'm sure wasn't your intention.

MongerTruffle Sun 12-Feb-17 17:31:38

I think you misunderstood the point of the article. It talks about how he regrets making the decision to join the Stasi/KGB.

user1486613612 Sun 12-Feb-17 17:54:33

Whether he personally regrets it, or not, is beside the point, I think. Say if someone does a horrendous crime, a murder for instance, and then say "I regret it all", and then it's nothing?

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 12-Feb-17 18:06:33

He says he regrets it because it messed him up, it was boring, it was lonely

He doesn't seem to feel anything for the children and women he hurt

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 12-Feb-17 18:12:04

He doesn't understand why his brother was angry with him for disappearing for decades and their mother dying not knowing what happened to him, and thinks his brother is missing out on a nice holiday to America by being angry

He expected his first American wife to feel grateful he had come clean and not abandoned her, after lying to her for years and having a child with her....

He didn't try to contact his German wife and son again, he only saw his German son because his American daughter made the effort to track him down

Really he sounds like a dick

Also no need for him to get married to his German wife when he knew he was going overseas as a spy. Why would you do that to somebody, knowing you would be abroad undercover for years and lying to your wife?

twattymctwatterson Sun 12-Feb-17 21:04:54

I read this yesterday and found it very interesting. I got the impression that the guy was pretty self centred but not sure what the horrendous crime is that he committed? Of course bigamy is a crime and he undoubtedly hurt loved ones but I'm getting the impression it's the fact that he was a spy that angers you so much. Are British/American spies despicable people?

twattymctwatterson Sun 12-Feb-17 21:04:54

I read this yesterday and found it very interesting. I got the impression that the guy was pretty self centred but not sure what the horrendous crime is that he committed? Of course bigamy is a crime and he undoubtedly hurt loved ones but I'm getting the impression it's the fact that he was a spy that angers you so much. Are British/American spies despicable people?

HopelesslydevotedtoGu Sun 12-Feb-17 21:33:22

In fact I find the spy stuff really interesting, reading the beginning of the article where he was training and arriving in the US I was really interested and wanting to read his book.

It's the thoughtless way he treated his family that I find awful. Imagine finding out you are married to an undercover spy. Or your father or son going missing. I find his lack of empathy for them through his life really upsetting.

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