An important characteristic of many of the highly publicized kidnapings that occurred in West Berlin in the early 1950s was the Soviet and East German concentration upon persons affiliated with one of the many organizations that opposed communism. Under the broad banner of championing human rights, these organizations advocated everything from noncooperation to insurrection for those peoples living under communism. Many of the leaders in these groups were Germans who had recently fled the Soviet Zone for life in the West, or they were non-German refugees who had abandoned their homelands in Central and Eastern Europe when their governments came under Soviet domination.
While these groups and organizations shared a common hostility toward the Soviets and the communist rulers who had been installed in Central and Eastern Europe, including East Germany, they did not exactly share a common past. Some of the men who emerged as leaders had been opponents of Nazism as well, and saw communism as another form of dictatorship. However, there were others who distinguished themselves as opponents of communism, but whose past as Nazi supporters or collaborators was questionable. All of them benefited from the Cold War, and the opportunity to cooperate with American intelligence interests while still pursuing their own agenda. If their agenda was of particular interest to the CIC or the CIA, and could prove useful in field operations, it meant substantial financial support. They were all located