Children in grey

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In 1915, Leonard Rembitski, was arrested by officers of the  Russian counterintelligence services and accused of being a German agent. World War I was under way and nothing about the story would be especially interesting if the arrested spy was no more than 12 years old.Read More

During the previous year, 1914, the German services had violently recruited and trained about 400 children, age of 10-16 years, from the population of Eastern Prussia and mainly from Russian-speaking families. The children were educated in special schools and after the war began they were sent behind the Russian lines, under the threat of extermination of their parents that were detained by the Germans. 

The objective was for the children to enter the waves of refugees and perform their tasks. Their advantages in comparison to adult agents were two. The first, the innocence of age that would difficultly create suspicions for their real role and the second, the ease with which they circulated behind the enemy lines without proper identification documents.

The children, dressed almost uniformly with grey and black clothes, wandered behind the Russian lines and assembled information on the movements and placement of troops or executed minor sabotage actions.

The dark battle of espionage, during the storm of the 1st World War, obviously included other categories of spies. The combination of the 2 oldest professions of the world, prostitution and spying, was the most popular method for all the intelligence services. Another common practice was to use the cover of commercial companies, which via many subsidiary companies and salesmen and representatives achieved information gathering and transmission.

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