Well, this is big news, isn't it? Or am I just out of the loop? An article in NRO by a former Romanian intelligence officer describes the KGB's efforts to discredit the Church's authority in Western Europe. He says they focussed on Pius XII, and that the infamous play The Deputy emerged from the cloud of influence of the KGB:
In 1963, General Ivan Agayants, the famous chief of the KGB’s disinformation department, landed in Bucharest to thank us for our help. He told us that “Seat-12” had materialized into a powerful play attacking Pope Pius XII, entitled The Deputy, an oblique reference to the pope as Christ’s representative on earth. Agayants took credit for the outline of the play, and he told us that it had voluminous appendices of background documents put together by his experts with help from the documents we had purloined from the Vatican. Agayants also told us that The Deputy’s producer, Erwin Piscator, was a devoted Communist who had a longstanding relationship with Moscow. In 1929 he had founded the Proletarian Theater in Berlin, then sought political asylum in the Soviet Union when Hitler came to power, and a few years later had “emigrated” to the United States. In 1962 Piscator had returned to West Berlin to produce The Deputy.
Throughout my years in Romania, I always took my KGB bosses with a grain of salt, because they used to juggle the facts around so as to make Soviet intelligence the mother and father of everything. But I had reason to believe Agayants’s self-serving claim. He was a living legend in the field of desinformatsiya. In 1943, as the rezident in Iran, Agayants launched the disinformation report that Hitler had set up a special team to kidnap President Franklin Roosevelt from the American Embassy in Tehran during the Allied Summit to be held there. As a result, Roosevelt agreed to be headquartered in a villa within the “safety” of the Soviet Embassy compound, which was guarded by a large military unit. All the Soviet personnel assigned to that villa were undercover intelligence officers who spoke English, but, with few exceptions, they kept that a secret so as to be able to eavesdrop. Even given the limited technical capabilities of that day, Agayants was able to provide Stalin with hourly monitoring reports on the American and British guests. That helped Stalin obtain Roosevelt’s tacit agreement to let him retain the Baltic countries and the rest of the territories occupied by the Soviet Union in 1939-40. Agayants was also credited with having induced Roosevelt to use the familiar “Uncle Joe” for Stalin at that summit. According to what Sakharovsky told us, Stalin was more elated over that than he was even over his territorial gains. “The cripple’s mine!” he reportedly exulted.
Just a year before The Deputy was launched, Agayants had pulled off another masterful coup. He fabricated out of whole cloth a manuscript designed to persuade the West that, deep down, the Kremlin thought highly of the Jews; this was published in Western Europe, to great popular success, as a book entitled Notes for a Journal. The manuscript was attributed to Maxim Litvinov, né Meir Walach, the former Soviet commissar for foreign affairs, who had been fired in 1939 when Stalin purged his diplomatic apparatus of Jews in preparation for signing his “non-aggression” pact with Hitler. (The Stalin-Hitler Non-Aggression Pact was signed on August 23, 1939, in Moscow. It had a secret Protocol that partitioned Poland between the two signatories and gave the Soviets a free hand in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Bessarabia, and Northern Bukovina.) This Agayants book was so flawlessly counterfeited that Britain’s most prominent historian on Soviet Russia, Edward Hallet Carr, was totally convinced of its authenticity and in fact wrote an introduction for it. (Carr had authored a ten-volume History of Soviet Russia.)
The Deputy saw the light in 1963 as the work of an unknown West German named Rolf Hochhuth, under the title Der Stellvertreter. Ein christliches Trauerspiel (The Deputy, a Christian Tragedy). Its central thesis was that Pius XII had supported Hitler and encouraged him to go ahead with the Jewish Holocaust. It immediately ignited a huge controversy around Pius XII, who was depicted as a cold, heartless man more concerned about Vatican properties than about the fate of Hitler’s victims. The original text presents an eight-hour play, backed by some 40 to 80 pages (depending on the edition) of what Hochhuth called “historical documentation.” In a newspaper article published in Germany in 1963, Hochhuth defends his portrayal of Pius XII, saying: “The facts are there — forty crowded pages of documentation in the appendix to my play.” In a radio interview given in New York in 1964, when The Deputy opened there, Hochhuth said, “I considered it necessary to add to the play a historical appendix, fifty to eighty pages (depending on the size of the print).” In the original edition, the appendix is entitled “Historische Streiflichter” (historical sidelights). The Deputy has been translated into some 20 languages, drastically cut and with the appendix usually omitted.
Before writing The Deputy, Hochhuth, who did not have a high school diploma (Abitur), was working in various inconspicuous capacities for the Bertelsmann publishing house. In interviews he claimed that in 1959 he took a leave of absence from his job and went to Rome, where he spent three months talking to people and then writing the first draft of the play, and where he posed “a series of questions” to one bishop whose name he refused to reveal. Hardly likely! At about that same time I used to visit the Vatican fairly regularly as an accredited messenger from a head of state, and I was never able to get any talkative bishop off into a corner with me — and it was not for lack of trying. The DIE illegal officers we infiltrated into the Vatican also encountered almost insurmountable difficulties in penetrating the Vatican secret archives, even though they had airtight cover as priests.
And speaking of espionage, if you haven't yet, check out Sandro Magister's article on Polish efforts in regard to JPII:
There’s no lack of surprises. Many would like to discover the identity of “Seneka,” an agent active in both Krakow and Rome, someone very close to the pope. Was he a philosopher? It is clear that interest was concentrated from the very beginning upon the curious name “Wojtyla.” Now the whole world, and not just Poland, knows how to say the name “Wojtyla.” But back then, just after the war, it was a cipher that could lead to an error, that could be turned to “Wojdyla.” And that’s where our story begins.
Krakow, November 17, 1949. The mole, using the code name “Zagielowski” (but who also used the name “Torano” and in the future would give his real signature), sent the police a “top secret” report on a meeting in the curia during which this “Wojdyla” was pointed out as someone to keep an eye on.
“Zagielowski” was recruited in 1948 and would be active until his death in 1967. His age would remember him by his real name, Wladyslaw Kulczycki. Father Kulczycki. He had been interned in a Nazi concentration camp, and it was for this reason that he was viewed as more approachable: he had seen of what evil man was capable. Besides, he had a sin that compromised his priestly character – a sexual weakness. In 1953 a note from Department IV of the interior ministry, the one charged with watching over the Church, gave this assessment of him: “His evaluation is good. He is the only one working in Krakow who can be approached.” He was the pastor at Saint Nicholas, and was the friend – and perhaps even the confessor - of the legendary cardinal Stefan Wyszynski (in the photo, with Wojtyla). He showed bitter enmity against young Karol from Wadowice. Kulczycki couldn’t explain how he climbed the ecclesiastical ranks so easily. A document written in 1960 contains this outburst: “I don’t understand why Wojtyla is chosen for all the important tasks. The man is well educated, he knows the communists, he has ties among the workers, and he frequently organizes pastoral visits to Nowa Huta.”
The infiltrators didn’t know each other. That’s how things worked, whatever the location. And who knows how many times Fr. Kulczycki met at the chancery with another key pawn for the regime: Tadeusz Nowak, the treasurer for the curia, who was also the administrator of “Tygodnik Powszechny,” the Catholic weekly dear to the future John Paul II.