Thursday, May 30, 2013

Today -100: May 30, 1913: Of redls

Col. Alfred Redl, who had been the director of Army intelligence for Austria and a double agent for Russia, which was using his homosexuality to blackmail him, commits suicide (that is, he’s given a loaded revolver – and an operating manual for it! – and told to do the right thing, as was the custom). Among the items he passed to Russia: the German and Austrian plans for how they’d fight a war with Russia. The authorities tried to keep all this secret, and succeeded for two weeks. You may know Redl from the István Szabó movie Colonel Redl with Klaus Maria Brandauer (good but no Mephisto) or the John Osborne play A Patriot for Me (I saw it with Alan Bates as Redl, and a Vienna nightclub scene in which I was a little slow to realize all the dancers were in drag).

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