Werner Mauss in der Internationalen Presse
German translation Spanish Translation French translation Italian translation

Scenes from documentary film made by Stephan Lamby for German TV channel MDR: The Top Agent – The Secret Life of Werner Mauss, broadcast by the channels - ARD on the 17th of February 1999, NDR on the 4th of September 2000 and Phoenix on the 12th of February 2002  

Press release of the defence lawyer Prof. Dr. U. Sommer at the beginning of the lawsuit Werner Mauss before the Regional Court Bochum on 10 Oct. 2019

A criminal trial begins that should never have begun. The subject is the construct of alleged tax evasion. Mr. Mauss has not evaded taxes. He has never come into conflict with the law in his now very long life.

On the contrary: Mr. Mauss has rendered outstanding services to this community like few other living people in the Federal Republic of Germany. He has uncovered criminal offences like hardly any other, he has brought ter- rorists to justice, he has exposed corruption within federal authorities and to this day he works as noiselessly as successfully for the police and the public prosecutor's office. Foreign services appreciate his support. His leg- endary mediation activities in Colombia and the Middle East, in which he brought unprecedented humanitarian results, are still remembered today. Mr. Mauss saved lives.

He has uncovered crimes and made many enemies with them. The impression is not far-flung that the trial strips are drawn in the background out of own interest to damage a legend. Criminal tax law is a suitable instru- ment for this. The state authorities with whom Mr. Mauss cooperates know that global intelligence missions cost money; they have therefore created the financial background of his operations with the secret trust fund which is the subject of the proceedings, and covered it for decades. That details of secret actions and their fi- nancing may not be public is a banal matter of course. Anyone who constructs allegedly conclusive criminal law accusations from scraps of knowledge about these financings will damage constitutional principles.

It is obvious that Mr. Mauss cannot defend himself without publicly enlightening and thereby affecting the inter- ests of the Federal Republic of Germany and other states. Of course, he also fulfils his civic duties to provide in- formation as a person in charge of secrets, but neither the tax return nor the publicity of a German courtroom is the right place for this.

It is already perfidious to force a person obliged to secrecy into the existence-threatening justification situation of a defendant. If, in addition, the Federal Court of Justice in its decision, which is the occasion for the repeated conduct of the criminal proceedings, wants to impose on Mr. Mauss the burden of proof ("verifiable", "unequiv- ocally ascertainable", "unambiguously agreed") that the funds at issue here are not his own, criminal procedural principles of constitutional rank are turned upside down. It is not the citizen who has to prove his innocence, it is solely the task of the criminal court to prove criminal offences without any reasonable doubt. The defence can only speculate as to why the Federal Court of Justice is giving instructions to destroy a deserving citizen with unacceptable means.

The fact that a hardly comprehensible unfairness dominates the entire procedure has been a sad experience of Mr. Mauss for years. The reason for the proceedings was a Luxembourgian "tax CD", whose author has mean- while been convicted under Swiss criminal law, and whose procurement was commissioned by German author- ities - obviously in an illegal manner - and remunerated with success bonuses to criminals in the millions and yet used under the mantle of the rule of law. Other suspected criminals can be found directly in the judiciary, who soon passed on all details of the ongoing criminal files to sensationalist journalists. Mr. Mauss's criminal complaint has not been supported by the public prosecutor's office for years, investigations in his own ranks are not taking place - possibly the next criminal offence within the judiciary.

As a result, the parts of the judiciary who acted so unfaithfully, in cooperation with a press driven only by the desire to decouple secret interests and images of prominent actors, have manoeuvred a court case into the im- practicability of the rule of law. Witnesses who, in spite of their own secrecy obligations, had agreed to make statements and thus prove the untenability of the accusations against Mr. Mauss, had to withdraw in order not to endanger themselves and their families and in order not to harm their past and future, superpersonal duties. The public prosecutor's office observes this obviously only with grim pleasure. In any case, it refused all offers of the defence to hear these witnesses or even to be present at the hearings of these witnesses.

Mr. Mauss is only familiar with the fact that a criminal trial is not supposed to lead to clarification, but that a conviction is celebrated behind the facade of a judicial ritual, from states whose international activities he had fought against in the past. He knows that the rule of law is not a state of affairs, but a constant dynamic process. He will fight to ensure that the trial that now begins does not go further than the limits of fairness.

March 03, 2017

Open letter to the press

Witch hunt by the Süddeutsche Zeitung? Journalists like Leyendecker and Mascolo are able to influence court proceedings and their outcome and thus are able to destroy lives - also that of families. That cannot possibly be the constitutionally protected task of a "pillar of our state"! Journalism or character assassination? The decision is yours!

"Character assassination can be worse than murder, because the person affected has to continue to live with the injustice".

Mascolo: Saludos Amigos!
Leyendecker: Always an eye for the essential?
Leyendecker: Indiana Jones at the peril of his own life on Rio Magdalena

Werner Mauss


58 Years of Fighting Crime – A Pioneer for Justice.

Welcome to the Homepage of Werner Mauss
In order to read the Homepage in German, Spanish, French or Italian, please click on the appropriate flag at the top left of the menu panel.
The Reason for this Homepage is:

that we, Letizia and Werner Mauss, wish to present factual evidence to refute the often criminally-motivated disinformation that a handful of journalists have been disseminating to our detriment over some decades.

We hope it will be understood that many interesting stories and operational details cannot be reported on here, in the interests of security structures with regard to future police investigations. As part of the process of due diligence, we also have a responsibility towards the numerous persons involved in helping or supporting the undercover war on crime and can therefore only report in the abstract.

All operations carried out worldwide over several decades, in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East, have always been effected in cooperation with German governmental agencies and authorities, under their direction, and with their full collaboration.

If you would like to find out more about our lives, please read on.

You can also get in touch with Werner Mauss’s secretary’s office via the contact option in the menu. [Link]


Werner Mauss, born February 11th 1940 in Essen, Germany

Qualified agronomist
After retraining: criminologist

A particular skill and the basis for his professional success according to many specialists both in Germany and abroad is his analytical genius

He has been married to Letizia Mauss since 1983 [Link]

Letizia Mauss, born March 30th 1961 in Italy

Letizia attended school in Vancouver, Washington State, USA passing school-leaving examinations in 1979
1980, second school-leaving examinations in Cagliari, Italy
Studies in Political Science broken off in interests of the following undercover operations
Letizia Mauss speaks four languages

In 1961 Mauss underwent private training under the instruction of highly specialised police training instructors in single combat, investigation skills, criminology, criminal law, strategy and conspiracy. Amongst his instructors was a former member of the intelligence services.

Short of funds, he earned money to finance his training through a series of odd jobs, including assistant journalist, labourer and vacuum-cleaner salesman.

  • He opened a detective agency.
  • He immediately proved himself both resourceful and purposeful and brought decisive success for German industry and insurance operators.
  • He opened offices in Germany, England and Switzerland.
  • He supported police authorities.
  • He recognised that the international nature of criminal organisations at that time was rendering the police powerless.

In the mid-sixties therefore, in a police pilot project initiated by him, Mauss became West Germany’s first undercover agent. The aim of the project was the root infiltration of criminal organisations in order to get at the men behind the operations, not simply to lop off branches but topple the entire tree.
After consultations, the German insurance federations decided that it would make economic sense to support the proposed pilot project, offering as it did the opportunity of reducing the damaging effects of gang criminality.

Through his years of pioneer work experience was gathered and the legal groundwork for undercover crime detection created. What at the time was often criticised is today normal police procedure.

From the very beginning of his assignments Mauss developed his own code of morals: “Impartiality and fearlessness” were to be his watchwords. He vowed never to use the revolver or the fist. To work silently and use only his brain, learning from every situation. These are principles that Mauss has continued to live by to the present day. Mauss is a convinced non-smoker and purely social drinker.

In a career spanning more than 40 years, from 1965, Mauss has only once made use of a firearm. In 1969, in self-defence and in an emergency situation at Langwieder See, a lake near Munich, he was forced to shoot a robber in order to save the lives of two detectives.

In 1970 Mauss gained his commercial pilot’s licence with instrument flight licence, IFR and turbo-prop authorisation. In practically all weathers, by day and by night, a twin-engine plane with pressurised cabin was at his disposal to fly him to the scenes of his investigations, all over Europe. Until 1985 he had completed some 3,700 flight hours without a co-pilot and accident-free.

His successes in the fight against crime led to Mauss being engaged in a civilian capacity by the Federal Criminal Police Office and by other federal, regional and local police authorities in the struggle against gangs, murderers, terrorists, and other hardened criminals. Mauss was not paid commission according to successes.

At that time the long-standing president of the Federal Criminal Police Office Dr. Horst Herold referred to Mauss as “My secret weapon”, a quote that was quickly taken up by the press.

Mauss was involved in the smashing of more than one hundred criminal groups and in the arrests of around 2,000 individuals. Most of these organisations were prosecuted in accordance with paragraph 129 of the German criminal code on criminal associations.

On June 16th 1983, the Ministry of the Interior of Lower Saxony issues a so-called “Sperrerklärung” in accordance with Section 96 of the German Code of Criminal Procedure, in order that undercover agent Mauss ("Claude"), ca testify without breaking his cover, in the Düe feigned robbery case.

The ministry explains, among other things, that the witness "Claude" is, a police informer. “He is assigned to the fight against serious crime.”

“The interrogation of the witness “Claude” before a selected public would render impossible his present and future assignment within the field of serious and organised crime.

“This would not only constitute a danger to life and limb for the witness “Claude” and the members of his family but would also be prejudicial to the well-being of Lower Saxony and to Germany as a whole.”

On July 31st 1998, the daily newspaper “Die Welt” carried the cover story: The Long Journey of Investigator Werner Mauss. The article described the special conspirative method developed by him for combating crime as the System Maus [translator’s note: spelling correct?]. See navigation bar "Die Welt"

Mauss first came to the attention of the press in 1983. From then his name became associated with the solving of a whole series of spectacular criminal cases. However, the precise details of his involvement have never been made public, contributing to speculation and to the creation of the Mauss legend.

Some of the cases with which the name Mauss is associated include

  • the 1970 arrest of the police murderer Lecki and his accomplice Derks in Alicante and Marbella. The Federal Criminal Police Office assigned Mauss to the case as undercover investigator, to hunt down the “Bonnie and Clyde” robbers. The German Interior Minister at the time, Hans-Dietrich Genscher, made the pair top priority on Interpol’s most-wanted list, the first time in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany when, at the request of a German Bundesland, the Federal Criminal Police Office was used by the Interior Minister for central investigations.
  • the 1974 case of the arrest of the Italian robber Batista* whom Mauss, working undercover and in collaboration with Italian, French, Swiss and German Interpol investigators, helped to lead into a trap in the Cathedral Square in Milan. According to two Italian Interpol officers, Batista approached Mauss, who was about to arrest him, when suddenly Batista drew two revolvers from his coat pocket and opened fire. With lightening-quick reactions, Mauss threw himself to the ground and rolled between his car and the kerb. Batista’s bullets punctured the fuel tank of his car. The two officers were seriously injured. Batista attempted to shoot his way out of the situation but was him shot by other Italian detectives. Batista’s haul was recovered. Mauss helped to ensure that a seriously injured Italian investigator in Austria received a neurological operation, which allowed him to walk again.
    * real name has been changed for reasons of security.

Furthermore, in 1976 came

  • the arrest and imprisonment of those involved in the robbery at Cologne Cathedral, and the recovery and return of the cathedral treasure which had been hidden near Belgrade in Yugoslavia
  • as well as the arrest of Rolf Pohle the suspected Red Army Faction terrorist. Using a method developed by himself, Mauss succeeded in having Pohle arrested by the Greek police as he was buying a German newspaper in Athens. This was the beginning of this style of dragnet investigation using computer analysis of data to pinpoint suspects. More than 200 police officers were involved in the operation, staking out more than 80 kiosks in Athens and Piraeus for around two hours. After just forty minutes, the Mauss plan proved a success as Pohle walked into the trap.

In 1981 came the investigation of

  • the feigned robbery (of 13 million Deutschmarks) by the jeweller Düe.

    Working undercover, Mauss succeeded in obtaining fifteen pieces of jewellery from Düe which the jeweller had already reported as stolen.

    Düe was arrested on August 5th 1982 and on January 4th 1984 he received a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence from the District Court in Hanover.

    However, because one witness had not been heard, the Supreme Court quashed the sentence on November 2nd 1984.

    In the Court of Appeal the public prosecutor’s office suppressed all evidence obtained by conspiratorial methods. On March 13th 1989 Düe was acquitted due to a lack of evidence.
    The Civil Chamber of the Hanover District Court convicted Düe in spite of the acquittal on the grounds that evidence not produced in the court of appeal represented wilful deceit and gross negligence. It also rejected his request for legal aid in a 73 million Deutschmark damages suit against the Mannheimer Versicherung insurance company.

    See Judgement of the Hanover District Court, 26th February 1992, AZ 130192/91; pp.17,18, and 19
    [Link], HAZ, 27. 2. 1992 [Link]




In 1983, Düe, with the aid of criminal accessories, succeeded in manipulating a group of journalists whose names are now known and who were coordinated by a freelance television journalist from Frankfurt on Main.


According to information now available, it was possible for these people to corrupt a detective who was then on remand in North-Rhine/Westphalia. With the help of this person it was possible for them to reveal the identity of the Claude/Mauss, witness in the Düe case and police special agent. They illegally paid this detective to supply them with confidential information on various investigations by the German public prosecutor’s office in which Mauss was involved as a police undercover agent.

By means of the illegal insight gained into the procedures of the special prosecutors the journalists could find out in which cities Mauss had been operating on behalf of the public prosecutor’s office.


Arrogantly, in neglect of their journalistic duty to the truth and prepared to risk the possible legal consequences through “misleading of judicial authorities”, the journalists, with only their own financial interests at heart, systematically brought charges of receiving stolen goods, and other offences against Mauss in Hanover, Coblenz, Stuttgart, Frankfurt/Main and other cities.


The public prosecutors offices in the respective cities quickly recognised the nature of the intrigue however and acted to bring the individual judicial proceedings together (Sammelverfahren) in Frankfurt on Main. They suspended ex officio all inquiries against Mauss with regard to accusations of criminal offences by the journalists.

To official observers at the time it was also no great surprise when the freelance television journalist from Frankfurt on Main, the coordinator of the criminal circle of journalists, followed up his exposure of agent Mauss in 1983 with a criminalising television documentary directed against Mauss.

In the autumn of 1983, the journalist from Frankfurt began visiting prisons, seeking out hardened criminals with the intention of buying information on the undercover operations in which Mauss had been involved. The journalist evidently had agreements reached with Düe and his own financial interests at heart.

In the dubious television documentary the man from Frankfurt gave the hardened criminals the “opportunity” to “air their grievances”. With the “coordination of a well-drilled choir” they sang out protestations of Düe’s innocence. Cleverly the journalist manipulated his film against Mauss and in favour of the accused Düe. The objective here, which developed into a well-rehearsed pattern of polemic in the following years, was to discredit and criminalise the most important witness for the prosecution in the Düe case “Claude” alias Mauss.

Düe’s supporters went to a great deal of trouble, up to and beyond his “acquittal”, further influencing the print media and television companies and attempting to defame and lend a dubious notoriety to Mauss with the help of misleading reporting.

During 1987/88, Mauss and his wife were involved in various undercover operations coordinated by European security services, tracking murder suspects and kidnappers.

Once again the “journalists’ circle” gained illegal information on one such operation. It seemed they would stop at nothing in their efforts to DISRUPT the work Mr and Mrs Mauss, including bring the couple into DANGER OF THEIR LIVES.

In one case they even went so far as to plant objects close to the scene of a meeting between the couple and their criminal interlocutors with the intention of exposing the pair’s identity. Criminal investigation officers from the country in which the operation took place seized the disruptive objects as evidence. Today they are in storage as court exhibits in the cellar of the Mauss’s lawyer’s office.

In another case, the above-mentioned deliberately passed on information to criminals who then lay in wait for the police agents in a Frankfurt underground car park. The couple noticed a crosswise-parked car, which was intended to prevent them from leaving the car park. At that moment five men approached their car. Quick as a flash, Mauss smashed the offside window of the parked car with the help of a car-jack, pushed the obstructing vehicle to the side and drove by the southern-European-looking men who had tried to hinder him and his wife from continuing their journey. They drove at high speed out of the multi-storey car park, smashing their way through the closed exit barrier.

Once again, the intention was to eliminate Mauss as prosecution witness.




The new owner had found the allegedly stolen goods concealed behind walls and ceilings. In the autumn of 1982, as Rene Düe was awaiting trial, his father Friedrich had sold the business. This was the reason why the criminal son “fortunately” was unable to clear out the allegedly stolen jewellery from its hiding place before its discovery in June of 2000.




In retrospect it is shocking to note that at the time Düe and those who helped him were even able to manipulate well-known politicians, to deceive and delude them, and turn them into unknowing accomplices to his criminal activities.


- October 31st 1981 Düe “Robbery”

- Düe reports more than 40 kilos of jewellery as stolen, approx. 3,400 individual goods on consignment

- witnesses observe: Two males of southern European appearance hastily leaving premises carrying small executive-type cases

- the police in Hanover do not believe that these possible suspects could possibly have removed 40 kilos of jewellery in the time available– cases too small, too many individual pieces etc.


- during a murder trial in Istanbul in 1991, some Turkish [Link], [Link], men claim to have assisted Düe in feigning robbery


- could the Turks have been the same southern-European-looking men seen by witnesses immediately after the crime?


- 1982, the State Office of Criminal Investigation in Lower Saxony forms a special committee due to the presence of various seriously suspicious factors


- summer 1982: Düe hands over to police agent “Claude” (Mauss) the fifteen pieces of jewellery he had reported as stolen


- In the period between his conviction in 1984 and his appeal court acquittal in 1989, Düe and his criminal accomplices organised a campaign of character assassination against an important prosecution witness (police agent Mauss), on a scale probably unique in Germany, in order to try to render him ineffective as a witness for the prosecution




- March 13th 1989: René Düe is acquitted on appeal due to lack of evidence against him. The court in Brunswick suppressed all conspiratorially obtained evidence in advance




- Mauss not called as witness for the prosecution in the Brunswick criminal trial.




- Mauss is not called as a witness for the prosecution in the Brunswick criminal trial





- Under examination Düe claims he had found the fifteen items of jewellery reported by him as missing by chance in his father’s business premises. The court believes him




-In spite of the acquittal of the Brunswick criminal court, the district civil court in Hanover allows all evidence produced by undercover agent Mauss as well as other evidence produced by the police. It finds Düe guilty of having wilfully deceived the insurance company. With the decision of the Hanover court of February 26th 1992, confirmed by the Federal Supreme Court, the insurance company is exempted, due to the charge of wilful deceit, from any liability. Düe’s request for legal aid in a claim for damages worth 73 million Deutschmarks against the insurance company is also rejected.

CONTROVERSY: In spite of these judgements, the State of Lower Saxony paid out millions of Deutschmarks compensation to Düe for wrongful imprisonment. His criminal accomplices immediately laid claim to the money


- June 20th 2000: On this day - 19 years after the deed - renovation work lays bear 10.8 kilos of jewellery from the Düe robbery, still bearing its original labels, behind walls and ceilings at the former business premises of Düe’s father. This place lies only 400 metres away from the scene of the crime.

- After this discovery even people who had allowed themselves to be influenced in the years before by the character assassination campaign, organised with a great deal of money and effort against agent Mauss, are convinced of Düe’s guilt.


International criminologists, judges and public prosecutors agree: The Düe case is very well suited for instruction purposes in police training colleges. It also makes clear that Düe’s criminal energy and the organised power that he and his supporters were able to summon had simply trampled over the constitutional state to achieve acquittal; the result: The crime had been committed, but was no longer punishable.







WamS, No. 25 of 18.6.2000 [LINK],
HAZ 29.6.2000, [LINK];
Wochenspiegel,12.6.2000 [LINK],
dpa, 28.6.2000; [LINK],
Der Spiegel, No.26/2000, pp.71,72 and 73;[LINK]
Bild, 24.6.2000; [LINK],
Bild, 26.6.2000;[LINK]


Provisional order against Düe from 31.07.2000 LG Stuttgart, AZ 17 O 406/2000[Link],

Prof. Wenzel, written submission of 4. 9. 2000 for enforcement of the verdict in action for disposition before the District Court Stuttgart against Düe [Link],

Interlocutory injunction against Rene Düe on September 28th 2000 final, AZ 17O406/400 [Link],

Declaration of submission by Düe [Link],
and announcement of his lawyer RA Malottke vom 3.11.2000 [Link]

Submission by 26.1.1992 by Prof. Wenzel to the General State Prosecutor Celle and senior public prosecutor in Hanover on suspicion of Turkish national Aydin Yildizsoy’s, involvement in the Düe feigned robbery of 31.10.1981. [Link]

Yildiszoy had murdered his accomplice in Istanbul on 20.3.1991; and in Mafia fashion sewn up the mouth with cotton thread. His testimony in court: The dead should not “betray their secrets from beyond the grave”. Before the same Istanbul court, the brother of victim Nevzat Avan testified that his murdered brother and Yildiszoy had been accomplices of Düe and had helped him to carry out the feigned robbery on his jewellery business. In court he testified to knowing René Düe and said that the robbery of 31. 10. 1981 had been faked.

On the above-mentioned facts [Link]
as well as the article from "Hürriyet" from 1st February 1992 [Link], and the "Mannheimer Morgen" from 5th February 1992 [Link] and from "Der Spiegel" from 26th June 2000, No. 26/2000 [Link]


  • In 1983 Mauss was able to avert an environmental catastrophe through his success in finding the 41 barrels of highly toxic Seveso chemicals containing dioxin. Criminals had hidden the barrels in a closed-down butchery in northern France. Due to the pressure of the police investigation, the thieves had intended to dump the barrels into the Atlantic or the Mediterranean. With Mauss’s help it was possible to find and arrest the perpetrators and to recover the toxic barrels. These arrests brought the police new leads in the fight against environmental criminals, specialised in the criminal disposal of environmental pollutants.

  • In 1987, Mauss and his wife were entrusted with a special mission to be carried out in cooperation with the German government’s crisis management team to secure the release of the hostages Rudolf Cordes and Alfred Schmidt from Lebanon. The operation was a success.


Mauss met his future wife, the young Italian student Letizia in 1981. A student of political science she could also speak four languages. In 1983 they were married in St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice. The marriage produced three children. She has accompanied and supported him on all his missions throughout the world.

1984 saw an increase of activity for Mauss and his wife in South America, particularly Columbia. Their first job, in the service of the German Mannesmann AG company was to help secure the continuation of the Cano Limon pipeline project against guerrilla resistance.

Despite the kidnapping of technicians, the use of weapons and numerous attacks, the couple managed, with the help of a humanitarian programme to inspire the poor population in the project area and to win them over to its aims.

With the support of the Catholic Church in Columbia, the couple were able to help initiate the building of small kindergartens and emergency hospitals, as well as securing urgently needed medicines such as antibiotics; important, even life-saving provisions and facilities in an area where many live under the subsistence level.


On the 9th of September 1985, the Bishop of Arauca, Monsenior Jesus Emilio Jaramillo Monsalve, wrote a thank-you letter in the name of the people of the region thanking Mr and Mrs Mauss:


Extract: You have helped me to understand my people, who are very poor. I know existentially that the tragedy of a people who have nothing is that they see no future. That is why I say that the greatest thing that anyone can give us is hope or a reason to live. ......your heart shines like a star from the heavens that are stained with the blood of man. I praise God that he chose you to bring a relief programme to the Third World. The finest page of your life’s work is being written in my diocese.”


Respect came from the guerrillas and they too reacted with humanity. In place of violence came dialogue: the former enemies became helpers and guardians of the project. By 1986, Mannesmann had managed to complete the pipeline without bringing further danger to their employees.


At the beginning of the project Mauss and his wife realised that violence was not the answer. A much more effective tactic than fighting the guerrillas would be to help to fight and overcome the endemic poverty of the region.


On a German ZDF television discussion programme

Eser and Guests, aired on July 19th 1998, and

hosted by Rupprecht Eser, Herr Mauss talked about

these and other experiences, with the military

commander of the ELN (National Liberation Army),

Pablo Beltrán and Frau Mauss

[ LINK to the Film ] Eser and Guests, Large size


Contacts formed during the period of working for Mannesmann were put to use when Mauss and his wife became part of a special mission under the direction of German Chancellery Minister Bernd Schmidbauer, MdB (http://www.bernd-schmidbauer.de) to take up negotiations with the leader of the ELN central command (COCE).


THE AIM OF THESE NEGOTIATIONS WAS TO BRING THE ELN TO THE PEACE TABLE. At the same time, the Chancellor’s Office demanded the unconditional release of a European hostage who had been kidnapped by the ELN while working for a German company in Colombia.

Because of the interest shown by Germany in the peace process in Colombia the guerrillas immediately agreed to the release of the hostage.

After some preliminary talks, mediated by Herr and Frau Mauss, an ELN delegation travelled to Germany for personal talks with chancellery minister Schmidbauer.

The ELN delegates issued an invitation to Herr Schmidbauer, to attend a meeting to sound out the possibilities of the peace process and accepted Herr and Frau Mauss as negotiation partners. The guerrillas proposed that the first talks should take place at their central camp in the Colombian mountains. The meeting was to be attended by their number 1 commander Nicolás Rodríguez Bautista and the number 2 Antonio García. The Chancellor’s Office gave its agreement in principle, but wanted to wait for the European’s release.

At the beginning of October 1995 the couple travelled to Colombia to bring back the hostage. Colombian security forces were informed about what was to happen so as try to avoid any unnecessary danger from that quarter.

For humanitarian reasons and as a means of building some initial trust between themselves and the ELN, the couple arranged to have a field hospital provided for the treatment of sick and injured and for coping with pregnancies. This was carried out in accordance with arrangements agreed upon by the guerrillas and the Chancellor’s Office during the Bonn meeting and was done in collaboration with the Catholic Church of Colombia.


The place chosen for the handing over of the hostages was a few hours drive from the Colombian city of Valledupar. It was a hilly jungle area, which, at that time, was being fought over by military, paramilitary and guerrillas. All routes into the area had been sealed off by the military. So Mauss and his wife flew into the area in a chartered single-engine aircraft, landing at a small airstrip where they were met by the secretary of the Bishop of Valledupar. In the church jeep and accompanied by the priest, it was after midnight when the couple finally arrived at the coordinates agreed for the meeting with the guerrillas. The reception committee was one-hundred-strong force of heavily armed guerrilleros who handed over their heavily alcoholised hostage.

Torrential rain and a consequent landslide buried the jungle track in mud. On the return journey the church jeep skidded into a deep hollow in the road. It was badly damaged. With the greatest of difficulty the occupants succeeded in getting the vehicle back on its way.

It was only later discovered that a heavily armed paramilitary patrol, dressed in army uniforms had set up an ambush at one of the jungle crossings at the very same time as the jeep was making its return journey. The commanders had probably noted significant movements of their enemy on the edge of guerrilla-controlled area.


A light-coloured jeep, very similar to the church vehicle, in which some campesinos (farmers) were travelling along at that moment and blundered into the sudden glare of headlights that signalled the paramilitaries trap. Possibly they had thought to ambush the church jeep as it was coming from the direction of the guerrilla-controlled area. The ambushers immediately opened fire on the unarmed campesinos, who were badly injured. The church jeep, held up by the accident, arrived at the spot later than it should have and was stopped by the paramilitaries. They asked the church secretary, Herr and Frau Mauss and the hostage to leave the vehicle at gunpoint. The padre, with the help of Frau Mauss, was able to convince the ambushers that the jeep’s occupants were not guerilleros but all members of the church at Valledupar. It was the priest’s ability to convince that saved the lives of his companions.


Mauss, his wife and the priest administered first aid to the badly injured campesinos, one of whom had severe stomach wounds. The ostensible paramilitaries looked on impassively, however they did allow the injured persons, who were screaming in pain and bleeding heavily, to be taken away in the church jeep. The nearest medical facilities were a two-and-a-half hour drive away.


Mauss, his wife and the priest later helped the doctors, who were ill-prepared for such an emergency, to treat the injured campesinos.

Mauss had kept the Chancellor’s Office informed of events via satellite telephone throughout the operation.


It was intended that the freed hostage be flown out of Colombia on a chartered flight that morning to an airfield with a Lufthansa connection to Frankfurt airport. However engine trouble forced the plane to land before the planned stop in Valledupar and it was only with the help of a second chartered plane that the freed hostage was able – and still on schedule – to be flown out and handed over to the care of Lufthansa for the flight from Caracas to Frankfurt/M.


Chancellery minister Schmidbauer later invited the courageous priest and the Bishop of Valledupar to come to Germany to a personal reception in the Chancellor’s Office. The minister and Herr and Frau Mauss personally thanked the churchmen for their lifesaving actions.


Finally, with the successful release of the hostage, and delivery of the field hospital accomplished, all conditions were fulfilled for Herr and Frau Mauss, with the backing of the chancellery office, to take up an invitation to visit the ELN’s central camp in Colombia. The plan was to prepare the leadership of the ELN as main group in the conflict for possible freedom talks.


For the purposes of documentation it was planned that Mauss and his wife should be accompanied on their dangerous journey to the ELN camp by a team of journalists. A series of discussions was therefore held with various publishers and journalists.


At the suggestion of the two agents it was agreed that members of the editorial team of the news magazine “DER SPIEGEL” as well as news editorial staff from “SPIEGEL TV” a camera team, and a legal adviser of Herr and Frau Mauss should accompany the couple to Colombia. The Federal Chancellery gave its approval.


For the purposes of agreeing legal arrangements, members of Spiegel’s publishing management team met with the Mauss’s legal adviser at the time, Prof. Dr. Wenzel in Stuttgart. A secrecy obligation was signed as a safeguard before the camp visit.


In the wording under points 3 and 8 of the contract of November 3rd 1995, “DER SPIEGEL” committed itself, amongst other things, to the following:


3. “If M. and/or his wife should be photographed or filmed, alone, or in the company of others, by any SPIEGEL employee, that film and/or the corresponding negative will be destroyed by “DER SPIEGEL”, if necessary after its cutting out from the film”.

8. In case of violation of the preceding obligations “DER SPIEGEL” undertakes to pay a breach of contract penalty to the amount of 50,000 Deutschmarks to M. for each individual case of violation and without regard for the continuing nature thereof.


The group led by Mauss and his wife was guided by a priest and transported in vehicles supplied by the Catholic Church to the fringes of the guerrilla-controlled territory. From that point on a command group from the ELN took over. In order to reach the ELN camp, it was necessary for the party to cross a minefield on mules. This particular danger was only revealed to Herr Mauss by the ELN sometime later.


During their four-day stay at the camp, both Mauss and has wife became aware of the ELN’s willingness to participate in peace negotiations and were given assurances that this was the case. Members of the “SPIEGEL” and “SPIEGEL TV” teams too, with the encouragement of the agents, found themselves in a position to get involved in intensive dialogue with the guerrilleros. The camera team filmed life in the camp and the interviews, often for up to eight hours. This was also the case with discussions involving the commander of the central command.


Negotiations also took place at this time for the release of two Italian citizens who were being held by the ELN, a request being made that they be released on humanitarian grounds and without the payment of ransom money.

In Camp: The team from SPIEGEL filmed, Mauss lending support with around 1,800 photographs.

After a four-day stay at the ELN headquarters, the travellers returned to Bogotá using a variety of small aircraft. The SPIEGEL team stayed on in Bogotá. Herr and Frau Mauss returned to Germany for two days to talks in the Chancellor’s Office. This opportunity allowed Herr and Frau Mauss to hand over the film material made at the camp to SPIEGEL editorial staff in Frankfurt. The SPIEGEL TV film was shown on November 19th 1995 on the German RTL television channel. In accordance with the terms of the contract of November 3rd 1995, Mauss nor his wife were mentioned in the TV report.


An article on the Colombian mission appeared in issue no. 47 of DER SPIEGEL, of November 20th 1995. The SPIEGEL editors stuck to the agreement. On page three of the same issue, SPIEGEL published an editorial note with illustration and the following caption: Guerrilleros, SPIEGEL TEAM in Colombia. The picture was taken in the camp by Herr Mauss and made available to SPIEGEL.


The German authorities, coordinated by chancellery minister Schmidbauer MdB, supported the agents’ proposals to invite the ELN to Germany as well as the proposed method for obtaining the release of the Italian hostages. Both the Italian and the Colombian governments were informed of this.

After their return to Bogotá the couple flew back to the ELN-controlled jungle area with the SPIEGEL team. The Italian hostages were formally handed over to the SPIEGEL people by the ELN as was later shown in the RTL report. The agents then accompanied the released Italian hostages to Bogotá where they were handed over to waiting members of the Italian Embassy staff.

In the night of November 16th to 17th 1996, Herr and Frau Mauss were illegally arrested at Jose Maria Córdoba airport, Medellin-Rio Negro. This was later established res judicata in the acquittal of May 20th 1998.

A few days after the couple were arrested, SPIEGEL, in what seems to have been a move designed to stimulate sales, sold film material it had made with the cooperation of Herr and Frau Mauss at the ELN camp in 1995. During the first three months after the couple’s arrest, the film was often shown more than ten times per day on Colombian television. It was cut in such a way as to be deliberately misleading. It showed scenes of arrival and departure, where Herr and Frau Mauss, in a way perfectly typical for South America, were seen embracing ELN guerrilleros. Film scenes showing members of the “DER SPIEGEL” team involved in the same kinds of behaviour with ELN members had “of course” been left out. For the viewers, this gave a misleading impression.

For outsiders, such as the Colombian army for example, the film sold by Spiegel and shown in Colombia gave the impression that a “special relationship” existed between the agents and the ELN. The Columbian criminal prosecution authorities had believed the SPIEGEL film material to have been recorded in secret, without the couple’s knowledge, and not as part of a contractually regulated cooperation agreement. This film, shown while the couple were in prison, put their lives in danger, exposing them to a much greater risk of being attacked by either the military or paramilitary forces.


On the basis of this, the DAS, the Colombian secret service, began preliminary proceedings against Mauss and his wife after consultation with the Fiscal General (Attorney General).


This situation, led to a prejudicial and damaging spread of disinformation on the couple among the Colombian authorities as well as in sections of the press and general public. The couple’s lawyer, Professor Dr. Wenzel then wrote a letter to the SPIEGEL management on September 15th 1997 from Stuttgart demanding clarification of the facts. SPIEGEL bosses understood and reacted quickly. On September 19th 1997 a reply from SPIEGEL’S legal adviser was sent to Stuttgart to be presented to the President of the DAS, General Henrique Montenegro Rinco.


Dear Professor Wenzel,

Herr X (SPIEGEL management) has directed me to inform you that all of the filming carried out in November of 1995 by a Spiegel TV team on the occasion of the visit of Herr Mauss and his wife to the ELN camp was done in consultation – certainly not conspiratorially – with the said persons. Spiegel TV used this material only after the couple’s arrest. For this reason Herr and Frau Mauss had no influence on the content or presentation of the later Spiegel TV programme.

…signed by the SPIEGEL legal adviser

Upon presentation of the SPIEGEL letter, the additional pending criminal proceedings against Herr and Frau Mauss because of the film were immediately dropped via order 20598 by the President of the DAS on November 5th 1997. The letter placated the Colombian authorities for the irritation caused by the Spiegel programme, and the reputations of Mauss and his wife were redeemed.

See also: FOCUS no. 46/ 1997 [Link]

With the consent of the Chancellor’s Office the couple held conciliatory talks from the very beginning of the operation with the then President of Colombia Ernesto Samper, Interior Minister Horacio Serpa and the former Columbian Consul in Berlin Carlos Villamil Chaux. The last named was at the time appointed special commissioner to the talks at the Federal Chancellery by President Samper.

See also letters from the President of Colombia to the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany from:

May 17th 1996 [Link],
June 13th 1996 [Link],
June 28th 1996
July 11th 1996 /Extract/ [Link]


On September 22nd 1996 a meeting between the Columbian President, Ernesto Samper, Carlos Villamil Chaux, Chancellery Minister Schmidbauer and Herr and Frau Mauss took place at the UN Embassy in New York. The discussion brought a concrete proposal for the setting up of a peace table in Germany under the patronage of the Bishops’ Conferences of Germany and Colombia.

Source: La Semana, Colombia, March 2nd 1998; title story: Mauss at full gallop; weekly magazine [LINK]

In November of 1995, the ELN leadership announced that members of their central command (COCE) would follow Herr and Frau Mauss to Germany to explore the possibility of peace talks. At the beginning of 1996 the couple travelled to the Colombian jungle in a coordinated operation to bring back the commanders. They were prepared to give themselves over unarmed to the agents. This action was later described as historic.

When the ELN commanders arrived in Germany, Chancellery Minister Schmidbauer MdB made it clear that the freeing of all European hostages held by the ELN was a condition that must be met before peace talks could commence. The commanders immediately declared their readiness in principle to comply with the German proposal. The ELN has a confederalist structure. It became necessary at this point therefore to get the approval of the Frente leaders (local leaders) of the Colombian guerrillas for the COCE decision.


It became the task of Herr and Frau Mauss to persuade every single local guerrilla leader in the Colombian jungle of the necessity of releasing their hostages.


By November of 1996 Mauss and his wife had succeeded in securing the release of ten European hostages, a job done at risk to their own lives in dangerous war zones and in time that might have been spent in more leisurely pursuits. The Federal Chancellery remained in constant personal and cooperative contact with the governments concerned before and during the operations. All governments were informed of the couple’s mission and fully supported it.


One businessman whose company was active internationally and who had had one of his employees kidnapped wrote to thank the German Chancellor personally for his role in securing the releases.



March 11th 1996

Dear Chancellor,


In these difficult times of ever-increasing worldwide competition it is good to know that you have done the groundwork necessary to be ready, in particularly difficult countries, to take appropriate action to help German companies in precarious situations.

One of your aims, you have said, is “to talk to those to whom no one else speaks.” This policy, Herr Chancellor, has brought about the release of our colleague without a demand for the payment of ransom. You have helped our company group to avoid even greater troubles, saved the life of Herr X and made a young family happy again.

Herr X is in a reasonably good state, all things considered, although he and his wife have still some way to go before they can get over the psychological shock. As soon as he feels up to it, Herr X would like to send you a letter personally


The entire operation was very professionally and efficiently organised from start to finish by Minister of State Schmidbauer. The commendable personal courage of Herr and Frau Y is to thank for bringing Herr X back from the jungle. The feeling of security that your office gave us over the entire period was due to the fact that there was no weak link in the chain. Our feelings are very much those of great respect and gratitude.

Herr Chancellor, family X, my employees and I thank you very warmly for the support you have given us. We admire your courage and political will and are proud to have you as our Chancellor.

With kind regards,



Regrettably, Herr X, the freed hostage referred to in the above letter never recovered from the psychological shock. He has died.


The last hostages that Herr and Frau Mauss were involved in rescuing were kidnapped by criminals, not by the ELN. The ELN peace table delegates in Germany aided by their Frente helped in their discovery. The ELN liberated the hostages and handed them over to Herr and Frau Mauss in the Colombian jungle. Risking their own lives yet again, Mauss and his wife traversed the war zones disputed by military, paramilitary and guerrillas to bring the hostages safely to the airport at Medellin. The criminal kidnappers were later arrested by the police, accused by the Fiscalía – public prosecutor’s office – and given long prison sentences. The facts as presented here were later documented in detail in the acquittal judgement of May 20th 1998.


Intrigue and corruption led to the arrest of the agents on November 17th 1996 at the airport in Medellin. After having taken possession of the hostages they were seized, despite being in possession of a covering letter from the German government, for “alleged kidnapping” of the hostages. This was only possible through criminal manipulation of Colombia’s autonomous judicial system.





That same evening, immediately after their reception of the hostage, the men from Control Risk called their bosses in England, presumably to tell them of the “great success of their work”. This account of the what took place has been verified by the investigations of the Procuradoruía – public prosecutor’s office for, among other things, state and authority corruption. They investigated later due to the dubious behaviour of the police. Telephone calls made by Control Risk during their stay at the hotel were therefore checked and the information recorded as evidence.


The judgement of the High Tribunal of Antioquia of May 20th 1998 revealed, among other things, that Control Risk had tapped into corruption in the Colombian authorities, deliberately plotted against Herr and Frau Mauss, and, consequently, against their peace efforts. This was done for reasons of financial interest and with the intention of bringing about the couple’s arrest.


What is an established fact is, that during the course of their investigations between the beginning of 1997 and the verdict of acquittal on May 20th 1998, the Procuradoría – public prosecutor’s office for state and authority corruption – and the Fiscal General – General State Prosecutor for General Criminal Law – established A CRIMINAL COLLABORATION BETWEEN AUTHORITIES IN MEDELLIN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FREEING OF THE HOSTAGES AND THE COMPANY CONTROL RISK.


The judgement states: “As was the case with the court of the first instance, this court too is surprised by the amount of influence exercised by “Control Risk” in the handling and coordination of the process (the word process here refers to the procedures involved in the freeing of the hostages). This went so far that the representative of the English company secured a place on the irregular “committee” created on the fringes of legality by the provincial government of Antioquia for the purpose of carrying out “investigations”.

The multinational concern (Control Risk) came to have such a powerful influence on the committee that they succeeded in manipulating higher police and civil authorities and the handling of information. The judgement goes on: “The deception of the authorities (Colombian authorities) by those who had only their own and not the interests of peace at heart has all been for nothing in the end.”
(End of citation)


The investigation records also make it clear that “Control Risk” abused their position as members of the committee through the dissemination of disinformation in 1996, thereby hindering the early release of the German hostages.


The Federal Government reacted to the couple’s arrest in early 1997 with a multilateral governmental declaration which was delivered to the Fiscal General - General State Prosecutor of Colombia - along with a verbal note issued on January 25th 1997 by the German Embassy in Bogotá. The government declaration explained the open and official nature of the couple’s role in the peace process and provided documentary clarification of this.


- original letter - [ Link ]

Even before the delivery of the government declaration, the Procurador General, Jaime Bernal Cueller began secretly investigating corruption amongst the Fiscales – public prosecutors – and police active in the Mauss case. His prosecutors very quickly ascertained that there had been manipulation and interference with witnesses who were forced by Colombian police to testify against the couple. Punishment, imprisonment and torture were the consequences threatened for disobedience. The witnesses, the majority of whom were already serving prison sentences in Medellin, were promised rewards, including reduced penalties, for testifying against Herr and Frau Mauss. The false statements of these prisoners were decisive in the issuing of the couple’s arrest warrants.

The contents of the “arrest warrant” and “charge” were kindly read out to Herr and Frau Mauss in prison on Christmas Eve, 1996 by court officers of the Medellin Fiscal and the documents then handed over to them. According to the charge, a 60-year prison sentence was the prospect facing the couple on that “Christmas Eve”.

Because of the reasonable suspicion of official corruption, in early 1997 the Procurador General convened a secret investigation commission to investigate the prosecutors – Fiscales – and police officers involved in the Mauss case.

The Procuradores – public prosecutors for, amongst other things, state and authority criminality – first of all re-examined the evidence that had led to the arrest warrant against the couple. Amongst other things, their research provided probative evidence to establish that the couple could not even have been in Colombia on one of the days mentioned by a witness. On the day in question they had been in a meeting in the Chancellor’s Office. The prosecution witnesses were re-examined. Before the investigating prosecutors, they retracted their earlier statements and stated that all allegations against the couple were manipulated and false.


Many of the very poor in Colombia were horrified by the arrest of Herr Mauss and his wife, the couple’s imprisonment dashing hopes that had just begun to be raised by the advent of the German-initiated peace process.


The central command of Ejercito de Liberación Nacional – ELN – reacted in December of 1996 with a comprehensive eight-point official communiqué which was published in the media.


The ELN text:



In reaction to the conjecture surrounding the arrest of Werner Mauss and his wife at José Maria Córdoba International Airport in Rio Negro, Antioquia, on November 25th 1996, the central command of EJERCÍTO DE LIBERACIÓN NACIONAL – National Liberation Army – wishes to make the following statement to the national and international community. ........

Extract from the ELN’s official communiqué [Link]


Finally, in August of 1997, after nine months of criminally motivated detention, Herr and Frau Mauss were released from custody.

Prior to this time, Frau Mauss had been brought once a month, bound hand and foot, from the “Buen Pastor” prison where she was serving her sentence for an eight-hour visit to the Itaguí maximum-security prison in which her husband was incarcerated. During the first three months, she was brought in an armoured car, sitting between soldiers and screened behind an iron door bolted on the outside. Her vehicle was accompanied by a convoy of military trucks full of soldiers in battle dress and steel helmets.

On May 20th 1998, final acquittal for Werner [LINK] and Letizia Mauss [LINK] All confiscated property needed for their missions was returned.


The 78-page acquittal judgement stated:

  • that the detention of the couple on November 17th 1996 in Medellin had been illegal and due to manipulated and false statements, which are also specified in detail in the judgement
  • that Herr and Frau Mauss had never, during any of their stays in Colombia, nor or any of the missions with which these stays were connected, infringed any Colombian laws.
  • that their assignment had only been motivated by the Colombian peace process
  • that the arrests had been due to the intrigues of a group of identified persons motivated by self-interest


The judgement was based upon an eighteen-month investigation by the Fiscal General – prosecutor for punitive justice -, the Procurador General – public prosecutor’s office responsible for, among other things, state and authority offences – and the investigation and interrogation records compiled by their offices which ran to more than 6000 pages.


In the summer of 1999 the German daily newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung printed a factually inaccurate article. Mauss’s lawyer Dr. Waldemar Garmer in Stuttgart wrote to the newspaper demanding correction and requiring that they desist. The paper then printed a second article on October 7th 1999 rectifying the factual content. Their legal department signed a declaration of discontinuance. [Link]


Immediately following their release, the agents were requested by the Colombian authorities, with guarantees given by the President, to resume their contact to the ELN and resurrect the peace process.

Once again, with the support of the Colombian government and the consent of the Chancellor’s Office, the agents ventured into the Colombian jungle.


Between September 1997 and May 1998 they made a total of eight trips, each one requiring a five-day mule ride through the conflict zones of the Colombian jungle in order to reopen negotiations with the commanders of the ELN central command – COCE. The Colombian government supported them during these operations. With the help of two satellite telephones the couple were able to carry on negotiations from the jungle between the government and the guerrillas. They were able to solve many problems, in some cases to avert military confrontations and kidnappings and reduce acts of aggression.

After their acquittal on May 20th 1998, Mauss and his wife were officially commissioned by the National Peace Council.


In detail:

Presidencia de la República, Presidency of the Republic

Alto Comisionado de la Paz, High Commission for Peace

Consejo Nacional de Paz, National Peace Council


The National Peace Council was at that time represented by:


Prof. Dr. Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, present Colombian Interior and Justice Minister - At that time, beginning May 20th 1998, the main contact person for Herr and Frau Mauss. He was also present at Mainz and Kloster Himmelspforten (Himmelspforten Convent).


Dr. Jaime Bernal Cuellar, then Procurador General - General State Prosecutor, also with responsibility for Human Rights - At that time, beginning May 20th 1998, a main contact person for Herr and Frau Mauss. He was also present at Mainz and Kloster Himmelspforten (Himmelspforten Convent).

as were the delegates Samuel Moreno Rojas, Gustavo Alvarez Gardeazabal, José Noé Rios Muñoz and Rafael Rincón.

At that time Gustavo Alvarez Gardeazabal was the elected representative of the Governors’ Association of Colombia in the National Peace Council and thus Governors’ representative in the National Peace Council in the government of President Pastrana.

In a letter dated August 5th 1998, Gardeazabal expressed his thanks to Minister Schmidbauer, MdB for the support of the German government and Herr and Frau Mauss in the Colombian peace process. [Link]

After their acquittal on May 20th 1998, Herr and Frau Mauss entered into preliminary talks via satellite telephone with Antonio García, second in command of the ELN. This was done with the agreement and cooperation of the Colombian Peace Commission. Garcia also sent personal birthday greetings to chancellery minister Schmidbauer, MdB via satellite fax

written on May 28th, received on May 29th 1998 [Link]

as well as a further communication, written on June 2nd, received on June 4th 1998 [Link]


Both communications make evident the ELN’s readiness to enter into peace talks and propose that a personal meeting with Herr and Frau Mauss should be arranged as soon as possible in order to discuss details.


For the purposes of the operation the Colombian government provided a plane which took the agents to the edge of the guerrilla controlled areas. From here, the couple were again led on a five-day mule ride along secret jungle paths by a detachment from the ELN to the central camp of the COCE.

In agreement with the Chancellor’s Office and the Chairman of the Bishops’ Conference and with the authority of the above-mentioned policy makers from the Colombian government, Herr and Frau Mauss began a new round of negotiations after their arrival at the camp at the beginning of June 1998. The profile of the talks was actively coordinated between Herr and Frau Mauss, the Colombian Peace Commission in Bogotá and passively with chancellery minister Schmidbauer, MdB via constant satellite telephone contact.


During the discussions at the camp, the COCE declared their willingness to send a delegation to Germany under the leadership of ELN military chief Pablo Beltrán to begin peace talks. The guerrillas also declared their readiness to put their trust in Herr and Frau Mauss and to accompany them, unarmed and under their leadership, on the journey from the Colombian jungle to Mainz.


On the afternoon of June 8th 1998 the ELN commanders withdrew for private discussions which went on until after midnight. They then handed over three documents ratified by the COCE to Herr and Frau Mauss, which Herr Mauss immediately sent off from the jungle to the various addressees by means of satellite telephone fax.

Read the documents:

1. Petition to the Federal German Government [Link]

2.Letter Cardinal Karl Lehmann

3. Request to the Federal German Government [Link]

After their return to Bogotá, the couple reported to the Colombian National Peace Commission. With the agreement of the Colombian government, the National Peace Commission authorised the journey of the six guerrilleros, led by their military commander, Pablo Beltrán, with Herr and Frau Mauss guaranteeing security, from the Colombian mountains all the way to the peace table in Mainz.


On June 11th 1998, the National Peace Council informed the then Chancellor, Dr. Helmut Kohl, and the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, now Cardinal Dr. Karl D. Lehmann, of the decision. Earlier, the National Peace Council had been informed by the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, via the Columbian Bishops’ Conference, that permission had been given for the commencement of peace talks with the guerrillas in Germany. [Link]


After Colombian and German approval for the secret operation had been granted, Herr and Frau Mauss took on and successfully completed the extremely difficult and dangerous job of escorting the guerrillas from their hideout in the Colombian mountains, via several South American countries, to Europe and the peace table in Mainz.

See also article from “Die Zeit” June 14th 1998, [LINK]


The first peace talks began around the middle of June 1998 in the Hilton Hotel in Mainz between representatives of the Colombian government and the ELN under the patronage of the German and Colombian Bishops’ Conferences and with Herr and Frau Mauss in attendance as observers.


As a first result of the peace conference between the Colombian opponents, all participating parties signed a declaration of intent on June 28th 1998. [Link]


On June 29th 1998, the Chairman of the Bishops’ Conference, today Cardinal Karl Lehmann, invited the conference participants from Colombia along with other supporters of the peace process, including Herr and Frau Mauss, to his residence, the bishop’s house in Mainz.



See also letter of July 8th 1998 from the then Colombian Environment Minister Eduardo Verano de la Rosa to Chancellery Minister Schmidbauer MdB, [Link]


The German Bishops’ Conference had invited all participating parties and supporters for the peace talks proper to the Carmelite monastery at Würzburg on July 15th 1998. Again, Herr and Frau Mauss were invited as observers.

See also: “FOCUS” July 4th 1998, interview with Werner Mauss: “Todesängste während der Haft

"dpa" July 1st 1998, Mauss: Friede für Kolumbien ist greifbar nahe [Link]

"ap" July 5th 1998, Kolumbianische Guerilla läßt 15 Frauen frei; Wachsende Hoffnung für Friedensgespräch in Mainz [Link]


After four days of talks the opposing parties put their signatures to a five-page agreement which was then made public. [Link]

Aim of the agreement was, among other things, to convene a national convention whose task would be to work out proposals for a comprehensive pacification and democratisation of Colombian society.


Francisco Santos, co-editor of the largest Colombian daily newspaper “El Tiempo”, TODAY VICE PRESIDENT IN THE GOVERNMENT OF COLOMBIA, was a member Colombia’s National Peace Commission in 1998. In that year, he and Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, presently Interior and Justice Minister, were joint initiators of a move to obtain an official mandate from the National Peace Council for the work of Herr and Frau Mauss in the peace process.

He, too, as “fighter for peace” was present at the Carmelite convent of Himmelspforten and described the meeting as the first historic step towards peace for his country.

Between October 1997 and the acquittal of May 20th 1998, Francisco Santos held many meetings with Herr and Frau Mauss to discuss the Colombian conflict. Santos also brought other senior “El Tiempo” journalists in on the discussions from time to time.

Source: Berliner Zeitung, July 16th 1998 Erste Schritte zum Frieden in Kolumbien - Guerillas und Politiker unterzeichnen Abkommen [LINK]

As a sign of their faith in Herr and Frau Mauss, the ELN issued the couple with a written "Mandate for Peace" on November 9th 1998. [Link]



Herr and Frau Mauss wish, through the factual account of events and incidents recorded here, to rectify a situation whereby a handful of journalists have, over several decades and from various motives, been disseminating disinformation.


The former Minister of State writes:(Original letter Link)

Bernd Schmidbauer MdB
Former Minister of State,
dated May 22nd 2001



I gladly confirm that husband and wife, Ida and Werner Mauss, in close coordination with the German government and with Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl, initiated and have maintained contacts to the ELN (Ejército de Liberación Nacional) in Colombia.

As Minister of State and coordinator of the intelligence services between 1991 and 1998, I initiated and carried through a number of activities with Herr and Frau Mauss.

These included meetings in Europe intended to move on the peace process in Colombia; discussions and negotiations with the Catholic Church led to positive negotiations in Germany.

Technology was used to help maintain contact so that the dialogue would not be interrupted. For this reason Frau Ida Mauss maintained contact via satellite telephone.

For the German government, the activities of the Mauss family as recorded above were transparent and agreed upon in advance.

One lasting result of these activities was the successful conclusion of several humanitarian missions and the opening of a dialogue between the opposing parties in Colombia.

I remain at your disposal for further discussion of this issue.

Yours sincerely


Bernd Schmidbauer MdB
Former Minister of State


In conclusion, Letizia and Werner Mauss wish to make the following clear:


All operations carried out worldwide over several decades, in Europe, South America, Asia and the Middle East have always been effected with the cooperation of German governmental agencies and authorities and with their full awareness and collaboration.


With regard to the circumstances of the Colombian affair it needs to be reiterated that the German government made it clear from the very beginning, with the arrival of the ELN commanders in January of 1996, that before any peace talks could take place all ELN-held European hostages were to be released. In spite of these conditions, Herr and Frau Mauss were successful in negotiating the handing over of ten hostages. They took possession of these hostages in conflict zones in the Colombian jungle and escorted them back to safety.
Contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, the appropriate Colombian authorities were always informed before any of these hostage actions. This is also documented in the Colombian judicial enquiry against Herr and Frau Mauss and in the acquittal of May 20th 1998.


No ransom money was paid for any of these hostages.

The available funds were used for the procurement of humanitarian supplies and equipment, which were handed over to the guerrillas only after this had been officially approved. These included such things as field hospitals, surgical instruments, and sterile equipment, as well as the necessary logistics costs connected with making such things utilisable under extreme jungle conditions.
Arrangements were also made for the seriously injured to be flown out of the crisis zones in order to save the needless loss of life.


The German broadcaster MDR asked Stephan Lamby to produce a film entitled “The Top Agent – The Secret Life of Werner Mauss“ . ARD broadcasted it on February 17th 1999, NDR on September 4th 2000, and Phoenix on February 12th 2002. Among other things, the film documented the role of Herr and Frau Mauss in the Columbian peace process. See Scenes from documentary [LINK]

See also: Article by Stephan Lamby in "Die Zeit" of May 14th 1998 Interview mit Werner Mauss, Der Agent, der in die Wärme ging, [LINK]

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