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According to Benjamin Ginsberg's book How the Jews Defeated Hitler:

Jews in the Soviet Union, United States and Great Britain were very important in the realm of intelligence and espionage. The Soviet Union's major - and very effective - spy rings, including the Red Orchestra, were led by Jews ...

Was Red Orchestra led by Jews? And how significantly did they contribute to the defeat of Nazis?

  • Keep in mind that it helps to put extremist thinkers in perspective when learning about the history of ideas. It's admittedly hard, since extremist (as in to the very end) thinkers tend to be the ones that get celebrated in history books when it comes to history of economics, social sciences, ideas, etc., but be mindful about the fact that thinking in their heyday tended to be more balanced. Think of them as extremes of new ideas. – Denis de Bernardy Aug 19 '17 at 23:26
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To be clear, Red Orchestra was an umbrella term used by the Gestapo for anti-Nazi resistance movements in Berlin, and for Soviet espionage rings operating in German-occupied Europe and Switzerland during the Second World War.

The main units that came under the term Red Orchestra were:

  1. The Trepper unit, based in Germany, France & the low-countries,
  2. The ‘Red Three’, based in Switzerland, and
  3. The Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group, based in Berlin itself.

The Wikipedia page Red Orchestra (espionage) gives the names of the leadership of these groups:

The Trepper unit was led by Leopold Trepper. Trepper was Jewish, and an agent of the Soviet GRU.

'Red Three' was led by Alexander Radó. Radó was also Jewish and an agent of Soviet Intelligence.

The Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group was led by Harro Schulze-Boysen, his wife Libertas Schulze-Boysen, Arvid Harnack and his wife, Mildred Harnack. None of them was Jewish. All were anti-Nazi activists. Harro Schulze-Boysen was an officer serving with the Luftwaffe. Mildred Harnack was an American citizen.

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