The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

Fiedler Character Analysis

The second-in-command at the Abteilung, Fiedler is a Jew and a true believer in the Communist cause. As a child, he fled the Nazis with his parents, but returned to join the Communist political movement in East Germany after the war. Although the crimes of Stalin are being publicized at this time, Fiedler remains a dedicated Stalinist, who believes that individuals may be killed in order to make progress towards Communism. Fiedler has begun to suspect Mundt of being a British agent, which is why Control sends Leamas on his mission. Leamas believes that his target is Mundt, but he is actually supposed to discredit Fiedler, who prosecutes the case against Mundt. Fiedler comes to like and trust Leamas, who he sees as a simple operator, lacking in analytical skills.

Fiedler Quotes in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The The Spy Who Came in From the Cold quotes below are all either spoken by Fiedler or refer to Fiedler. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Books edition of The Spy Who Came in From the Cold published in 2013.
Chapter 13 Quotes

The qualities he exhibited to Fiedler, the restless uncertainty, the protective arrogance concealing shame, were not approximations but extensions of qualities he actually possessed; hence also the slight dragging of the feet, the aspect of personal neglect, the indifference to food, and an increasing reliance on alcohol and tobacco. When alone, he remained faithful to these habits. He would even exaggerate them a little, mumbling to himself about the iniquities of his Service.
Only very rarely, as now, going to bed that evening, did he allow himself the dangerous luxury of admitting the great lie he lived.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas, Fiedler
Page Number: 130
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 14 Quotes

"I've thought about it night and day. Ever since Viereck was shot, I've asked for a reason. At first it seemed fantastic. I told myself I was jealous, that the work was going to my head, that I was seeing treachery behind every tree; we get like that, people in our world. But I couldn't help myself, Leamas, I had to work it out. There’d been other things before. He was afraid—he was afraid that we would catch one who would talk too much!"
"What are you saying? You're out of your mind," said Leamas, and his voice held a trace of fear.
“It all held together, you see. Mundt escaped so easily from England; you told me yourself he did. And what did Guillam say to you? He said they didn't want to catch him! Why not? I'll tell you why—he was their man; they turned him, they caught him, don't you see, and that was the price of his freedom—that and the money he was paid.”

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Fiedler (speaker), Hans-Dieter Mundt, Peter Guillam
Page Number: 139
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

“But what I mean is this: suppose you had done that, suppose it were true—I am taking an example, you understand, a hypothesis, would you kill a man, an innocent man—”
"Mundt's a killer himself."
"Suppose he wasn’t. Suppose it were me they wanted to kill: would London do it?"
"It depends . . . it depends on the need . . ."
“Ah,” said Fiedler contentedly, "it depends on the need. Like Stalin, in fact. The traffic accident and the statistics. That is a great relief."
"Why?"
"You must get some sleep," said Fiedler. "Order what food you want. They will bring you whatever you want. Tomorrow you can talk." As he reached the door he looked back and said, "We're all the same, you know, that's the joke."

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Fiedler (speaker), Hans-Dieter Mundt
Page Number: 161-162
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 20 Quotes

“Riemeck had no car himself, he could not have followed de Jong from his house in West Berlin. There was only one way he could have known—through the agency of our own Security police, who reported de Jong's presence as a matter of routine as soon as the car passed the Inter Sector checkpoint. That knowledge was available to Mundt, and Mundt made it available to Riemeck. That is the case against Hans-Dieter Mundt—I tell you, Riemeck was his creature, the link between Mundt and his imperialist masters!”
Fiedler paused, then added quietly:
“Mundt-Riemeck-Leamas: that was the chain of command, and it is axiomatic of intelligence technique the whole world over that each link of the chain be kept, as far as possible, in ignorance of the others. Thus it is right that Leamas should maintain he knows nothing to the detriment of Mundt: that is no more than the proof of good security by his masters in London.”

Related Characters: Fiedler (speaker), Alec Leamas, Hans-Dieter Mundt, Karl Riemeck
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 22 Quotes

London must have gone raving mad. He'd told them—that was the joke—he’d told them to leave her alone. And now it was clear that from the moment, the very moment he left England—before that, even, as soon as he went to prison—some bloody fool had gone round tidying up—paying the bills, settling the grocer, the landlord; above all, Liz. It was insane, fantastic. What were they trying to do—kill Fiedler, kill their agent? Sabotage their own operation? Was it just Smiley—had his wretched little conscience driven him to this? There was only one thing to do—get Liz and Fiedler out of it and carry the can. He was probably written off anyway. If he could save Fiedler’s skin—if he could do that—perhaps there was a chance that Liz would get away.

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Liz Gold, Fiedler, George Smiley
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 23 Quotes

Fiedler, who had returned to his chair and was listening with rather studied detachment, looked at Leamas blandly for a moment:
“And you messed it all up, Leamas, is that it?” he asked. “An old dog like Leamas, engaged in the crowning operation of his career, falls for a . . . what did you call her? . . . a frustrated little girl in a crackpot library? London must have known; Smiley couldn't have done it alone.” Fiedler turned to Mundt: “Here's an odd thing, Mundt; they must have known you'd check up on every part of his story. That was why Leamas lived the life. Yet afterwards they sent money to the grocer, paid up the rent; and they bought the lease for the girl. Of all the extraordinary things for them to do . . . people of their experience . . . to pay a thousand pounds, to a girl—to a member of the Party—who was supposed to believe he was broke. Don't tell me Smiley's conscience goes that far. London must have done it. What a risk!”

Related Characters: Fiedler (speaker), Alec Leamas, Hans-Dieter Mundt, Liz Gold, George Smiley
Page Number: 202
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 24 Quotes

"As for the Jew," she continued, "he made an accusation against a loyal comrade."
"Will they shoot Fiedler for that?" asked Liz incredulously.
“Jews are all the same,” the woman commented. “Comrade Mundt knows what to do with Jews. We don't need their kind here. If they join the Party they think it belongs to them. If they stay out, they think it is conspiring against them. It is said that Leamas and Fiedler plotted against Mundt. Are you going to eat that?” she enquired, indicating the food on the desk. Liz shook her head.

Related Characters: Liz Gold (speaker), The Prison Wardress (speaker), Alec Leamas, Hans-Dieter Mundt, Fiedler
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 25 Quotes

"But what about Fiedler—don't you feel anything for him?"
"This is a war," Leamas replied. "It's graphic and unpleasant because it's fought on a tiny scale, at close range; fought with a wastage of innocent life sometimes, I admit. But it's nothing, nothing at all besides other wars—the last or the next."
"Oh God," said Liz softly. "You don't understand. You don’t want to. You're trying to persuade yourself. It's far more terrible, what they are doing; to find the humanity in people, in me and whoever else they use, to turn it like a weapon in their hands, and use it to hurt and kill . . ."

Related Characters: Alec Leamas (speaker), Liz Gold (speaker), Fiedler
Related Symbols: World War II
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

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Fiedler Character Timeline in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold

The timeline below shows where the character Fiedler appears in The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 12: East
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas thinks he will meet with a man from the Abteilung named Fiedler, whose file he knows well. Peters neither confirms nor denies this, but Leamas feels nearly... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...in, and Leamas asks Peters if he’s been here before, and whether it was with Fiedler. Peters says yes, and Leamas asks Peters if Fiedler is good at his job. Peters... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Fiedler tells Leamas that he will not be going further East, and Peters confirms this. Leamas... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fiedler says that Leamas has no reason to be so angry: both secret services sacrifice individuals... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
After eating dinner with Fiedler, Leamas is taken to his room and falls asleep. The next morning, as Leamas is... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Fiedler begins asking Leamas detailed questions about how the files were handled for Rolling Stone. Leamas... (full context)
Chapter 13: Pins or Paper Clips
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
On long walks through the countryside around the lodge, Fiedler asks Leamas questions about every detail of the British secret service. He is especially interested... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Fiedler and Leamas sit at the top of a hill, and Fiedler begins to ask more... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...angry. He says he has done his part and never promised to write any letters. Fiedler explains that they have only finished the first part of the interrogation. Later, they will... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
...thinks about the deception he is perpetrating. Leamas reflects that Control had been right that Fiedler could be fed evidence against Mundt. Leamas wonders if perhaps Fiedler is the agent that... (full context)
Chapter 14: Letter to a Client
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
The next morning, Fiedler brings Leamas letters to the banks in Oslo and Copenhagen to sign under the aliases... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
On a walk that day, Fiedler steers the conversation to Mundt. He asks Leamas if he knew that Mundt was in... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Fiedler steers the conversation to Riemeck, asking Leamas about the occasion when Riemeck and Control met.... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
One night, Leamas and Fiedler go driving together in a car. Fiedler stops at a phone booth, leaving the keys... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fiedler drives to a hilltop and he and Leamas get out of the car to talk.... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fiedler says he has worked it out: Mundt was caught in England and then turned into... (full context)
Chapter 16: Arrest
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
When Fiedler and Leamas arrive back at the lodge, three men who say they were sent by... (full context)
Chapter 17: Mundt
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...Mundt gives Leamas water and orders a guard to bring him food. Leamas asks where Fiedler is, and Mundt tells him that he is under arrest for “conspiring to sabotage the... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...will have to confess to having been sent by the Circus to frame Mundt with Fiedler’s help. The court will then look at his case sympathetically and consider that he was... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...people and shouting, and Leamas is carried away. He wakes up in a hospital, with Fiedler standing at the foot of his bed. (full context)
Chapter 18: Fiedler
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Fiedler tells Leamas that he was also interrogated, and that Mundt not only had him beat... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fiedler says that Mundt wanted him to confess that he was in league with the British... (full context)
Chapter 20: Tribunal
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...his own clothes, while Mundt is in the front of the room, in prison clothing. Fiedler presents his case by saying that he and Leamas were arrested on the day he... (full context)
Ideology and Morality Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fiedler continues his speech, giving a summary of Mundt’s career. He describes Mundt as having been... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Mundt’s brilliant escape from London, Fiedler contends, would never have been possible if Mundt had not been allowed to leave by... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
Fiedler then calls Leamas to the witness stand. Leamas testifies that he heard from Peter Guillam... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
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Elites and Others Theme Icon
Leamas also testifies that Riemeck and Control met alone in his apartment in Berlin. Fiedler explains that the documents that the British received from Riemeck were not included in the... (full context)
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
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Fiedler describes Mundt’s technique. He says that the British were likely hesitant to trust Mundt at... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Witness
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...with British practice to try to frame Mundt with a great deal of circumstantial evidence. Fiedler has either been tricked into believing in Mundt’s guilt, or he is himself a part... (full context)
Chapter 22: The President
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...only thing left for him to do, he thinks, is try to save Liz and Fiedler. He wonders how Karden knows so much. He is sure that he was not followed... (full context)
Chapter 23: Confession
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
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...the President insists that she be kept in custody until the hearing ends, saying that Fiedler may want to question her. Fiedler and Liz’s eyes meet and he seems to see... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Elites and Others Theme Icon
...up with all the details to incriminate Mundt. Leamas tries to make an excuse for Fiedler, saying he is not the only man who wanted Mundt dead. Leamas goes on to... (full context)
Alienation and Connection  Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Fiedler asks Leamas whether he believes that he really messed up the operation by falling for... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
The President says that the Tribunal is ready to make its report, and that Fiedler will be fired. The President continues, saying that another court will determine Leamas’s punishment. Then... (full context)
Chapter 24: The Commissar
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...who will be shot next, and the Prison Wardress says that Leamas and the Jew Fiedler will be executed. She says Leamas will be shot because he killed a guard, and... (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
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...by a car. Mundt talks to Leamas, then leads Liz to him. “She’s trash, like Fiedler,” are Mundt’s last words to them before he walks away. (full context)
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Loyalty and Betrayal Theme Icon
...says they need to reach Berlin in five hours. Liz asks what will happen to Fiedler, and Leamas says he will be shot. Liz continues asking questions, and finally Leamas bursts... (full context)
Chapter 25: The Wall
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
...the night, Liz asks Leamas what her part was in the operation. Leamas says that Fiedler was too powerful to be taken down by Mundt alone. London saw that Fiedler needed... (full context)
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...by blaming their escape on someone else. Liz asks if he really doesn’t care that Fiedler and other innocent people will be killed. Leamas says it makes him sick, but all... (full context)