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Annual Conference 2023, joint IIHA & Need to Know, 17-19 October 2023, Graz, Austria


Need to Know XII and 2023 IIHA Annual Conference: Intelligence and Security in border regions

17-19 October 2023, Graz, Austria.



17th October: Young Researchers Forum N2K/IIHA, University of Graz, RESOWI center

Young Researchers Forum: 14:00 – 16:00
Chair: Sylwia Szyc
Moderators: Thomas W. Friis, Władysław Bułhak
Stefanie Kirchweger, Austrian-Israeli Intelligence Cooperation
Mohamed Mohamady, Soviet Strategy in Africa
Monika Stachoń: The imperial game in the Middle East. The coup in Iran in 1953.
Christoph Huber, Soviet- Austrian trade through Americans eyes
Anne Rheder, LfV in Schleswig-Holstein
Jon Thulstrup, Bund Deutscher Nordschleswiger: Surveillance of the German Minority in Denmark

18:30: Dinner/Informal Get-Together at the castle St. Martin


18th October – conference, day 1, castle of St. Martin

Introduction 9:00-9:30
Moderation: Dieter Bacher
Barbara Stelzl-Marx, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Research on Consequences of War
Karol Polejowski, IPN to be confirmed
Shlomo Shpiro, IIHA

9:30-10:00 Keynote Speaker: Michael Lohnegger (Direktion Staatsschutz und Nachrichtendienst,
DSN), topic to be announced

10:00-11:30 – PANEL I: Case study 1: Austria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia as a “border region”
Chair: Barbara Stelzl-Marx

1. 10:00-10:15 Dieter Bacher, Connecting dots. Complementary methods in researching Czechoslovakian intelligence in Austria during the early Cold War

2. 10:15-10:30 Philipp Lesiak, Networks and Neutrality. Early Cold War Austria and the
Czechoslovak Legacy

3. 10:30-10:45 Daniel Belousek, Sending couriers to Czechoslovakia as a part of anti-communist resistance in the first half of the 1950s

4. 10:45-11:00 Magdolna Barath, In the Shadow of the Iron Curtain. The Austrian-Hungarian Border between 1948 and 1965

11:00 – 11:30 discussion

11:30 – 11:45 coffee break

11:45 – 13:15 PANEL VII: Case study 2: Ukraine and Beyond
Chair: Irena Chiru

5. 11:45-12:00 Bernhard Escherich, From need to know to ability to generate: Generative AI and the future of intelligence history research on borders and spheres of influences

6. 12:00-12:15 Thomas Boghardt, Project AERODYNAMICl. CIA cover Operations in Ukraine,

7. 12:15-12:30 Ivo Juurvee, GRU Tactical PSYOPS in Ukraine – do they play by Soviet handbook?
8. 12:30-12:45 David Jaklin, The paramilitary – intelligence nexus of Group Wagner and its rolein the war in Ukraine.

12:45 – 13:15 discussion

13:15 – 14:30 lunch break

14:30 – 16:00 PANEL III: Cross-border operations. International Intelligence Cooperation and Rivalry
Chair: Bernd Schaefer

9. 14:30 – 14:45 Mark Kramer, Soviet Intelligence Operations in the NATO-Warsaw Pact Border Regions

10. 14:45 – 15:00 Jacek Tebinka, Rumours about Soviet attack on Romania in November 1968. Intelligence and decision making during the Cold War

11. 15:00 – 15:15 Nadia Boyadjieva, Intelligence Operations in Balkan Border Regions during the Cold War

12. 15:15 – 15:30 Tilman Lüdke, Across and Beyond Ideological Borders: The Org. Gehlen/ BND between Israel and the Arab States, 1945 – 1968

15:30– 16:00: discussion

16:00 – 16:15 coffee break

16:15 – 17:30 PANEL IV: Border Guard units and Intelligence
Chair: Charlotte Backerra

13. 16:15-16:30 Yaacov Falkov, A Vital Contributor to the Country’s National Security”:
Intelligence Activity of the Soviet Border Guard Forces, 1957-1991

14. 16:30-16:45 Agnes Jobst, The Reconnaissance Department of the Hungarian Border Guard Force in the People’s Republic of Hungary

15. 16:45-17:00 Paul Maddrell, The Stasi and the inner-German border, 1950-1989

17:00 – 17:30 discussion

17:30 –18:30 – Annual meeting IIHA (members only, there is a possibility to join IIHA during the conference).

Membership meeting agenda

19:00: reception and dinner at the castle


19th October – conference, day 2, castle of St. Martin

09:00 – 10:30 PANEL V: Intelligence-centred hubs during WWII and Cold War.

Chair: Wolfgang Krieger

1. 09:00-09:15 Thomas Riegler, From „Shooting gallery“ to neutral ground: Cold War Vienna as a contested sphere of influence and intelligence hub

2. 09:15-09:30 Adrian Hänni, Switzerland as an Intelligence Hub and Borderland from World War I to the Present

3. 09:30-09:45 Ali Dogan, The importance of East Berlin for Iraq’s intelligence operations in Europe

4. 09:45-10:00 Tommy P. Christensen, A thin Blue line. The Baltic Sea as a border region in the Early Cold War

10:00 – 10:30 discussion

10:30 – 10:45 coffee break

10:45 – 12:00 PANEL VI: Communist security apparatus and counter-intelligence

Chair: Jan Goldman

5. 10:45-11:00 Kristina Burinskaitė, „Invisible“ war in Lithuania in 1944-1953: „Games“ of Soviet secret services and Lithuanian partisans

6. 11:00-11:15 Corina Snitar, “Need to Know” during the 1956 crisis within the Soviet Block

7. 11:15-11:30 Paweł Jaworski, “Stay particularly sharp”. Surveillance of Baltic Sea border in Poland after WWII

8. 11:30-11:45 Przemysław Gasztold, Władysław Bułhak, Need to Know: Polish intelligence and crises in the Middle East during the Cold War

11:45 – 12:15 discussion

12:15 – 13:15 lunch break

13:15 – 14:45 “Shallow intelligence” and Counterintelligence

Chair: Mike Goodman

9. 13:15-13:30 Aleksandar Zivotic, Intelligence agents, spies, saboteurs and security services. A„small war” on the Yugoslav-Albanian border (1948-1953)

10. 13:30-13:45 Barak Bouks, Hezbollah’s Terror Perpetrations Across the Israeli-Lebanese Border: Incursions, Rocket Launching & Construction of Tunnels

11. 13:45-14:00 Shlomo Shpiro, The Cross Affair: Israeli Intelligence Early Cold War Cross-Border Operations

12. 14:00-14:15 Marek Hańderek, Crossing borders or building walls? Polish military intelligence under the cover of the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission in South Korea 1953-1956

14:15-14:45 – discussion

14:45 – 15:00 coffee break

15:00 – 16:30 PANEL VIII: Cases and Methods
Chair: Anna Abelmann

13. 15:00-15:15 Kevin Riehle, Soviet Border Guard Defectors

14. 15:15-15:30 Kemény János, Intelligence Defectors in the Cold War: The Forgotten Case of Ernő Bernát

15. 15:30-15:45 Grzegorz Wołk, Polish marielitos? General Jaruzelski’s failed emigration operation. The perspective of the secret services

16. 15:45-16:00 Tomasz Kozłowski, Open sesame! A secret operation of stealing American diplomatic cables by Polish counterintelligence: scale, consequences, analysis of the collection of stolen documents

16:00 – 16:30 discussion

16:30 – 17:00 End of the conference and the presentation of the next conference venue and idea


Registration of the audience per mail via:
Note: There is no conference fee in 2023. Instead, participants have to cover the costs for the meals themselves. Accommodation in the castle is only provided for speakers and participants with special needs.
If you are looking for accommodation, you may consider our recommendations:

Hotel Süd Graz

Hotel Kern Buam

Hotel Restaurant Lindenwirt


We are looking forward to fruitful discussions in the scenic landscapes of Graz!