How Cold War Espionage Shaped Two Men's Lives

Aug 21, 2017

For a half-century, the Milwaukee restaurant - the Safe House has served a helping of Cold War history alongside burgers, fries, and drinks.  The restaurant was founded by Dave Baldwin, a connoisseur of the Cold War and espionage.  The ownership changed hands more recently, but the walls of the Safe House are still adorned with memorabilia from the Cold War era.

And while its day-to-day missions are food and entertainment, the restaurant not long ago hosted two people with strong connections to the Cold War.

Werne Juretzko was born in the disputed Upper Silesia region of Europe and was recruited as an undercover political operative for the US Army’s G-2 Intelligence Service. He was arrested in action in 1955 by the KGB and Stasi during an authorized military espionage mission in East Germany. Juretzko endured five months of interrogations in Berlin-Hohenschonhausen (the KGB's secret underground interrogation prison) and was imprisoned for six years.

"After six years in captivity, it's a mark, a scar. You have scars on your skin, but if there is something like a scar on your soul...I think I still have it after so many years," says 85-years-old Juretzko.

Francis Gary Powers, Jr. is the son of Francis Gary Powers, the American U2 pilot who was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960.  His father's story was portrayed in the Steven Spielberg film, Bridge of Spies.

Powers is the founder and chairman emeritus for the Cold War Museum in Warrenton, Virginia and he frequently shares a first-hand account of his father's life as a high-profile prisoner through letters and journals kept during his father's time in captivity.

Lake Effect's Mitch Teich had the chance to sit down with Juretzko and Powers at the Safe House and talk about how their first-hand relationship with that time shapes their lives today: