"Miss Werner was a woman of leisure, well-spoken, and had been given a good education by her middle-class parents. For her new masters, all this counted in her favour. They were short of posh ladies" (The Economist, July 13th 2000). Ruth Werner joined the Communist Party as a teenager in Berlin, in the believe that Communism would change the society for a better. Undiscovered, she lived in Shanghai, Manchuria, Switzerland and Great Britain and in the end East Berlin, as a spy of Stalin's regime. The poverty she saw in China, strengthened her believe that a revolution was needed and that Communism was the social model that could make the world a better place. She was a courier of Klaus Fuchs, the scientist who delivered secret and critical information from building the first nuclear bomb. She was following the traces of her idol Rosa Luxemburg, the German communist revolutionary who was executed in 1919. But Ruth Werner, code named "Sonja", was never discovered and lived a long life of 93 years. She died in Berlin in the year 2000, in a re-unified Germany and a time when people in Germany literally celebrated what they called the "Collapse of Communism". She must have felt that her life's mission has failed.
Having dinner with friends yesterday, I was recommended to have a closer look at Ruth Werner's biography. She was a convicted Communist all her life, but I found the turning point interesting in which she got aware of the crimes of Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and other Communist leaders. I was wondering what the thoughts could be of somebody who finds out at the end of her life, that she has been fighting with best intentions all her life potentially on the wrong side. Of course, the discussion yesterday sparked on trying to understand Chinese Communists today, and what their comprehension might be standing at the edge from a Communist state to something nobody has really seen before. Or has it? Is it just another form of a fascist state? Or not even another form? I guess the next few years will be the most interesting ones to watch in China. It will be the years in which it will make it or break it.