Trofimoff (The Glow of Retirement)

Colonel George Trofimoff was suspected by the FBI of having delivered classified documents to the KGB in the 70s. This suspicion did not arise until the mid-90s when British Secret Intelligence Service shared what little information they had from a recent KGB defector that some high ranking American military intelligence officer in Nurenberg, Germany had leaked classified documents to the Soviets. All that was known was that he was recruited and handled by a priest.

To the FBI, this seemed to fit Colonel George Trofimoff because he was an American intelligence officer in Nurenberg and close to a priest. They didn’t realize the priest was his brother or consider the other dozens of profiles this generalization could have matched. Nevertheless, the FBI insisted that the German secret service arrest Trofimoff and his brother and investigate. The Germans did, found no evidence of spying and released both the U.S. Colonel and his priest brother.

Colonel Trofimoff was a naturalized U.S. citizen. As a teenage boy having grown up in Germany, he escaped WW ll, the Nazis, and the communists, and made it to America. He volunteered for military service after having lived in the USA for only seven months in 1948. He rose in rank from pvt.(E-1) to colonel(0-6) in the USAR, while also serving in the Civil Service of the Dpt. of Defense, after discharge from active duty in the army.

In 1995, he chose to retire with his wife, Jutta, and his cat, “Struppi”, to the Indian Colony Club in Florida. He had been away from America for many years and had a dream of a Florida retirement.

In Germany, before leaving, the family’s German and allied friends warned not to enter into the “mouth of the lion”, that American police were secretive and vengeful. If they suspected the Colonel, they would make sure of his arrest in America. Colonel George Trofimoff did not believe this admonition of his non-American friends. He believed it had all been a mistake. One that had been cleared up by the German court.

Two years after the arrival of Col. Trofimoff, Jutta, and “Struppi” in Florida, the FBI set up a sting operation in order to arrest the Colonel.

I write of the life of Colonel George Trofimoff in my book:  “Observer: The Colonel George Trofimoff Story, the tale of America’s highest ranking military officer convicted of spying”

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