Eric Erickson (spy)

Eric "Red" Erickson (1890 – January 1983) was a Swedish oil executive.


Erickson was born in America, the son of Swedish immigrants. He claimed to have fought in the U.S. Army in World War I, although this was not true,[1] and graduated from Cornell University in 1921. He attended Cornell at the suggestion of oil magnate Walter C. Teagle. Erickson moved to Sweden in 1924 and became a Swedish citizen in the mid-1930s.


Erickson spied on German synthetic oil plants for the American OSS in World War II. At the outbreak of war, Erickson offered his services to the United States. Pretending that he was a Nazi, Erickson visited Germany more than 30 times between 1939 and 1945.[2][3]

Alexander Klein wrote a 1958 book about Erickson's World War II exploits, The Counterfeit Traitor, which was made into a 1962 movie of the same name, starring William Holden in the role of Red Erickson.[3] Erickson appeared on "To Tell the Truth" June 3, 1958, to publicize the book.


  1. ^ "How an American Nazi Collaborator Became an Allied Spy". The Atlantic. Retrieved 22 June 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ "Eric Erickson, Wartime Spy (abstract of obituary)". The New York Times. January 25, 1983. Retrieved 2007-11-16. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Alexander Klein, 83; Wrote Spy Thriller (obituary)". The New York Times. August 24, 2002. Retrieved 2007-11-16. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)