Archives On The Air 199: Accused Of Espionage—The Joseph Patrick Kauffman Papers

Jun 18, 2020

Joseph Kauffman graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1941 and became a respected Air Force captain. But in 1961 he was accused of espionage.

East German spy Guenter Maennel had defected to the West. He alleged that Kauffman was a spy for East Germany.

Kauffman was on trip to East Berlin when he met Maennel. The men partied together. Kauffman was then detained by East German police for three days and allegedly agreed to be a spy.

Kauffman said he refused to be a spy but did give them the address of a contact so they would release him.

The court case was Kauffman's word against Maennel's. Kauffman was found guilty of passing U.S. defense information to the East Germans and sentenced to 20 years, although his sentence was later reduced

Learn more in Kauffman's papers at UW's American Heritage Center.