The Czechs were both physically and psychologically closer to the West than the Soviets, with easier access to new ideas.
Whereas those born before the Communist coup tended to be true believers, the younger generation knew that Socialist rhetoric rarely matched social reality.
'I don't remember anyone having any qualms about hopping into bed with one another,' says Jan Kaplan, a Czech émigré.
'Part of the allure of collective farms and summer projects was that they were fuckfests: "To hell with bourgeois ideas of chastity; let's have a lot of sex!" How did you get young people to build factories for free? Because at the end of the day, they got to fuck themselves silly.'
|Jan Kaplan was also a consultant for |
Prague's Museum of Communism
Not surprisingly, then, Prague flourished as a center of sexpionage during the Cold War.
Che Guevara partied there with Fidel Castro's brother while trying to broker an arms deal for Cuba.
According to their official minder, both the Czechs and the Russians viewed Che as 'an anarchist,' while Raul Castro—now the president of Cuba—'was no laggard in debauchery:' 'Every night I went with him to some nightclub, where we would stay drinking and dancing with the hostesses until the small hours. I would also procure blonde girls for him to sleep with—he was obsessed with blondes.'
|Che Guevara's lived in Prague for a few months in 1966 |
before setting off on his ill-fated trip to Bolivia
(Source: Czech news site)
To find out more about the heyday of sexpionage, I've decided to try and track down one of the last veterans of the era.
Like many top Czech spies, Ladislav Bittman defected to the West after Soviet troops crushed the 'Prague Spring' of 1968, a doomed attempt to reform the Communist bloc from within.
In The Deception Game, written shortly afterwards, the former deputy chief of 'Department D,' describes how he helped pioneer the field of disinformation.
'For a long time I was a disciplined Communist intelligence officer, speaking the same language and thinking along the same ideological lines as my fellow officers, praying with them to the same god named Lenin, admiring the majestic panoramas of the Charles Bridge and Prague's Hradcany Castle from the headquarters of the Czechoslovak intelligence service.'
The spies' HQ was actually a former monastery kept intact by the Communists because of its artistic value.
'As a result, Party and official meetings took place in the monastery's chapel, where portraits of melancholy saints looked down from the walls.'
|The former spooks' HQ |
(the dark facade beneath the dome)