Despite competition from countries with lower wages, textile products from Elsterberg remained in demand -- until the facility suddenly shut down in 2009, despite its full order books. "We were so angry," Haupt recalls. Specifically, the workers were angry at the factory's last owners, the ENKA Group from Wuppertal and the ICI Group from Frankfurt am Main. "They were never concerned with finding a buyer for the factory. Their intention from the start was simply to shut it down," Haupt claims. He believes the owners were only interested in selling off the factory's equipment, which has since been disassembled and rebuilt in Poland and India. Only the expensive environmental protection system, once so important to the factory's works council, wasn't shipped along with the rest of the equipment.
The central figure in the swap was the prisoner from Lewisburg: Robert Thompson, 43, a onetime . Air Force clerk who had served 13 years of a 30-year sentence after confessing, in 1965, that he had passed hundreds of photos of secret documents to the Soviets while he was based in West Berlin. After the exchange, Thompson hurried off into East Berlin, leaving behind several lingering puzzles about his true identity. Although . investigators remained persuaded that he was a Detroit-born American, Thompson maintained that he was actually born in Leipzig (now in East Germany) of a Russian father and a German mother. If given another opportunity to spy for the Soviets, he said, he would "do it again." In any case, Moscow was so eager to obtain Thompson that it arranged for other Communist regimes to give up two prisoners: