Jona von Ustinov


Jona von Ustinov

Jona Baron von Ustinov (aka Klop Ustinov) (December 2 1892-December 1 1962) was a German journalist and diplomat who worked for MI5 during the time of the Nazi regime. He was the father of the actor Sir Peter Ustinov.

Biography

Ustinov was born Jonah Freiherr [German title|Freiherr] von Ustinow in Jaffa, Palestine, then part of the Ottoman Empire, the son of Plato von Ustinov, a former Russian officer and citizen of the Kingdom of Württemberg, who had married into a German-Ethiopian family living in Jaffa [For more details and sources see the Wikipedia article on his son Peter Ustinov] . Ustinov disliked his first name, and chose the nickname "Klop" ("Bedbug" in Russian) by which he was known to his friends and relatives for the rest of his life.

Ustinov went to school in Palestine, Düsseldorf, Germany, and Yverdon, Switzerland. He studied at Grenoble University in France and worked at Humboldt University of Berlin, before moving to London. This gave him a very cosmopolitan attitude that made him averse to any kind of nationalism.

In World War I he was conscripted into the German Army and served in the Army Air Service unit "Flieger-Abteilung (Artillerie) 250" [http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/people/14791-ustinov.html] [http://www.frontflieger.de/2-faa250.html de icon] . His brother Peter von Ustinow joined the same unit and was killed in action on 13 July 1917 [http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/people/28191-lt-peter-von-ustinov-kia-1917-a.html] . After the war he worked for "Wolff's Telegraphisches Bureau", the first German news agency, in Amsterdam.

On July 17 1920 he married the painter Nadezhda Leontievna Benois (aka Nadia Benois) (1896-1975), daughter of Leon Benois. The Ustinovs returned to London where Klop was a press officer for the German Embassy. Their son Peter was born on April 16 1921.

Due to his political opinions Ustinov got into problems with the new Nazi government almost immediately. In 1935 the conflict culminated when Ustinov refused to prove that he was not of Jewish descent ("Ariernachweis"). As a result he lost his job and chose to become a British citizen, thus avoiding internment or deportation later during the war.

During this time he began working for the British intelligence service MI5 (Peter Wright mentions in his book "Spycatcher" that Klop was possibly the spy known as U35) and hosted secret meetings of senior British and German officials at his London home.

He also tried to convince the British government of a more robust attitude towards Nazi Germany. Seven months before the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1939, he was able to acquire the German plans. He later regretted that Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain could not bring himself to take any action.

Ustinov died on December 1, 1962 in Eastleach, Gloucestershire.

References

* Peter Ustinov, "Dear Me", 1977 Pavor S. A.

External links

* [http://www.statesecrets.co.uk/klop.shtml The Unmasking of Klop Ustinov, Secret Agent]
* [http://www.ustinov-foundation.org/ The Peter Ustinov Foundation]

Persondata
NAME = von Ustinov, Jona, Baron
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Ustinov, Klop
SHORT DESCRIPTION = German-British journalist, diplomat and spy
DATE OF BIRTH = 2 December 1892
PLACE OF BIRTH = Jaffa, Palestine
DATE OF DEATH = 2 December 1962
PLACE OF DEATH = Eastleach, Gloucestershire, England


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