Heinrich Koenen was born in the Konigsberg district of Berlin, the son of Communist Reichstag deputy Wilhelm Koenen. He was selected as political head of the Young Communist League of Germany. He studied engineering at the Technical University of Berlin but for political reasons, was expelled in 1933 before his final examination. He emigrated via Denmark and Sweden to the Soviet Union, where he worked as an engineer in a Moscow tractor factory and in 1940, became a Soviet citizen.
After Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, he volunteered for military service and was trained for use in Germany as a paratrooper and radio operator. He was given the task of restoring the broken links between the Moscow headquarters of the Comintern and the GRU and the Berlin group of the Red Orchestra. On 23 October 1942, Koenen parachuted behind German lines at Osterode in East Prussia and made his way to Berlin to his contact, Ilse Stöbe. On 29 October 1942, he was arrested by a Gestapo official waiting at Stöbe's apartment.
Koenen was executed without trial at Sachsenhausen concentration camp in February 1945. His name is inscribed on a memorial in the Gedenkstatte der Sozialisten Socialist Memorial in Lichtenberg, Berlin.
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