Birthday: August 18, 1939
Boyfriend: Fidel Castro
Died At Age: 80
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Ilona Marita Lorenz
Born Country: Germany
Born in: Bremen, Germany
Famous as: Fidel Castro’s Girlfriend
father: Heinrich Lorenz
mother: Alice June Lofland
children: Andre Vasquez, Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez
Died on: August 31, 2019
Cause of Death: Heart Failure
Who was Marita Lorenz?
Ilona Marita Lorenz was a German-born American woman who had a relationship with Fidel Castro in 1959 and was allegedly part of CIA’s assassination attempt against him in January 1960. Originally from Bremen, Lorenz spent several months imprisoned at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp along with her mother as a child. Freed after the end of the war, she accompanied her father in his travels on his passenger liner. She came to Havana in February 1959 and met Castro. She subsequently spent several months with him, which resulted in her pregnancy. The child’s eventual fate has since become a matter of debate. Lorenz came to US and joined the anti-Castro movement in Florida. In her later testimony, she said that she was recruited by the CIA to assassinate Castro but did not go through with the plan. Later, she claimed that she had an affair with the deposed Venezuelan dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez and had a child with him. In the 1970s and 1980s, she delivered testimonies about the John F. Kennedy assassination.
Early Life & Family
Born on August 18, 1939, in Bremen, Nazi Germany, Marita Lorenz was one of the four children of Alice June (née Lofland) and Heinrich Lorenz. Her parents had another daughter, Valerie, and two sons, Joachim and Manfred "Philip".
Heinrich Lorenz, a native German, worked as a maritime commercial ship captain, while Alice June, an American from Delaware, was an actress and dancer who used the professional name, June Paget.
The Nazi authorities claimed that Lorenz’s mother had helped forced labourers in Bremen escape, and she was subsequently sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp along with Lorenz. After the conclusion of the World War II, Marita was liberated and joined her father on his passenger liner.
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Castro, PÃ©rez JimÃ©nez & Kennedy
In February 1959, after the Cuban Revolution had successfully installed Fidel Castro as the new ruler of Cuba, Marita Lorenz reached Havana with her father onboard MS Berlin. She met Castro when he and his friends came to see the ship. The Máximo Líder developed an attraction towards the young woman. She was 19 years old at the time, and he was 32.
After she reached New York and started residing with her brother Joachim in Manhattan, she began communicating with Castro through telephone. He later flew her back to Havana, and she spent several months with him at Havana Hilton, which Castro was using as his headquarter at the time. She became pregnant at some point, and it was quite easy to deduce who the father was.
According to Lorenz, in October 1959, almost full-term into her pregnancy, she drank a glass of drugged milk and lost consciousness. She woke up in a doctor’s office and did not see her child anywhere. There are multiple theories on what might have happened: either there was an abortion or a miscarriage, or the child lived and went on to become a paediatrician named Andre.
She eventually returned to US and joined the anti-Castro movement in Florida. She claimed that she was enlisted by CIA operative Francisco Fiorini, an alias for Frank Fiorini Sturgis of the Watergate Scandal, to assassinate Castro. She was given poison pills to put in Castro’s food.
She went back to Cuba in 1960 but did not carry out the plot, telling Castro about the conspiracy and confessing that she still was in love with him. After she departed from the island, she travelled back to see Castro one last time in 1981.
Her first meeting with the deposed Venezuelan dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez took place in March 1961 in Miami Beach, Florida. He took a liking to her, and they had an affair. In August 1963, Pérez Jiménez’s extradition to Venezuela was briefly stalled by a paternity suit filed by her.
In an interview to the ‘New York Daily News’ in 1977, Lorenz gave a detailed account of travelling in a car to Dallas with Sturgis and Lee Harvey Oswald in November 1963. In Dallas, they were joined by Jack Ruby and E. Howard Hunt before the assassination of the US President John F. Kennedy on 22 November by Oswald, who himself was killed two days later by Ruby.
Lorenz repeated her account in a testimony in front of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, which found it to be unreliable. In 1985, she again repeated her account in a deposition in Hunt's libel suit against the Liberty Lobby's tabloid, ‘The Spotlight.’
Personal Life & Death
In 1970, Marita Lorenz married a manager of an apartment building in New York. The couple served as FBI spies on Eastern Bloc UN diplomats residing in the building. She got married several other times. Her daughter, Monica Mercedes Pérez Jiménez, is the product of her affair with Pérez Jiménez. She also had a son, Mark E. Edwards.
Lorenz spent part of her life in Jackson Heights, Queens before relocating to Baltimore, Maryland. On August 31, 2019, she died of cardiac failure in Oberhausen, Germany. She was 80 years old at the time.
In Popular Culture
Marita Lorenz co-wrote her first autobiography, ‘Marita: One Woman's Extraordinary Tale of Love and Espionage from Castro to Kennedy’, with Ted Schwarz. It was published by Thunder's Mouth Press in 1993.
Her story was made into a 1999 TV film, ‘My Little Assassin’, starring Gabrielle Anwar. Jennifer Lawrence is set to portray her in the upcoming film ‘Marita’, which is based on her memoir, ‘Marita: The Spy Who Loved Castro’ (pub: 2017, Pegasus Press).