Michael Honegger’s father was a spy during the Cold War. Bilingual in German and English, he worked for the US Air Force and sent agents to East Germany and elsewhere behind the Iron Curtain.
The Honeggers lived in West Germany between 1959 and 1963, at the height of the Cold War. No member of the family had the slightest idea of the father’s professional life, and any questions on the subject received the same predictable response: “Do you need to know?”, followed by a smile and silence. It wasn’t until long after his retirement that he finally shared some details of his career as a special agent in counter-espionage.
This project is an exploration of the meager details that emerged from these brief conversations and Michael’s curiosity about Cold War espionage and its impact on his family at the time. His father led two lives that rarely intersected. Members of his family were often unwitting participants in indecipherable events that left them with far more questions than answers. Mysterious strangers would show up at their apartment late at night, only to leave before dawn without saying a word to anyone but his father. Peculiar encounters, curious radio transmissions and unexplained coincidences became the norms of his childhood.
Michael S. Honegger: “I now need to know more about the secret world my father inhabited, and the lives of the others he interacted with. This project is a photographic recreation of the intersections and divergences of his secret life and the traditional paternal role he played. Ironically, many of the archival photographs in the project were taken by my father and me on separate trips to West Berlin in the winter of 1961, but have only recently been rediscovered. So it becomes an interesting intersection of fact and fiction based on historical research, family archives, my memories and my imagination.
The project comes at a time when the stakes of the Cold War have evolved and continue to loom large on the international stage. The current war in Ukraine is just one example of how the conflict has evolved. The espionage tools of the 1960s may seem primitive to some extent, but they too have changed to conform to today’s applications and tools used for cyber-warfare and propaganda. The cycle of history continues to unfold in an ever-recurring pattern.
The need to know – Michael S. Honegger
Essays: Brenton Hamilton, Barbara Honegger, Aline Smithson and George A. Reisch
Book design: Aneta Kowalczyk
Hardcover, 100 pages, 54 photos, English
800 copies (all signed and numbered)
BLOW UP PRESS, Warsaw, Poland
ISBN : 978-83-965969-1-8
Price: 65.00 EUR | 72.00 USD | 57.00 GBP
To order the book, click here.
Blow Up Press
November 01, 2023 to November 30, 2023