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In Biggles Takes a Hand, Oberst Hans Roth was the Underminister of Defence of the East German government. For some time, the security authorities had suspected him of harbouring pro-Western sympathies. Roth knew about this and planned to escape to the West with his family but he was arrested and executed in a purge before he could do so. However he had made provision to assure the safety of his family by passing some secret documents to his son Moritz, thinking (incorrectly as it turned out) that this would persuade the authorities to leave them alone. His wife Frau Roth, son Moritz and daughter Margareta were however successful in escaping to West Berlin shortly after his execution.

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