U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, Norman

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, Norman

Postby admin » Fri May 18, 2018 12:57 am

U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis
by Richard Breitman, Norman J.W. Goda, Timothy Naftali and Robert Wolfe
© Richard Breitman, Norman J. W. Goda, Timothy NaftaIi, Robert Wolfe 2005

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

• PREFACE
• INTRODUCTION
• SECTION ONE: ESPIONAGE AND GENOCIDE
o 1. OSS Knowledge of the Holocaust, by Richard Breitman with Norman J. W Goda
o 2. Other Responses to the Holocaust, by Richard Breitman
o 3. Case Studies of Genocide, by Richard Breitman with Robert Wolfe
o 4. Nazi Espionage: The Abwehr and SD Foreign Intelligence, by Richard Breitman
o 5. Follow the Money, by Richard Breitman
o 6. The Gestapo, by Richard Breitman with Norman J. W Goda and Paul Brown
• SECTION TWO: COLLABORATION AND COLLABORATORS
o 7. Banking on Hitler: Chase National Bank and the Ruckwanderer Mark Scheme, 1936-1941, by Norman J. W Goda
o 8. The Ustasa: Murder and Espionage, by Norman J. W Goda
o 9. Nazi Collaborators in the United States: What the FBI Knew, by Norman J. W Goda
• SECTION THREE: POSTWAR INTELLIGENCE USE OF WAR CRIMINALS
o 10. The Nazi Peddler: Wilhelm Hottl and Allied Intelligence, by Norman J. W Goda
o 11. Tracking the Red Orchestra: Allied Intelligence, Soviet Spies, Nazi Criminals, by Norman J. W Goda
o 12. Coddling a Nazi Turncoat, by Robert Wolfe
o 13. The CIA and Eichmann's Associates, by Timothy Naftali
o 14. Reinhard Gehlen and the United States, by Timothy Naftali
o 15. Manhunts: The Official Search for Notorious Nazis, by Norman J. W Goda
• CONCLUSION, by Norman J. W Goda with Richard Breitman
• APPENDIX: Western Communications Intelligence Systems and the Holocaust, by Robert J. Hanyok
• TERMS AND ACRONYMS
• SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
• RECORD GROUPS CITED
• CONTRIBUTORS
• INDEX

Some claims about vast conspiracies involving the American government and Nazi war criminals or the intelligence use of some big-name Nazis in the postwar period turned out to be completely unfounded. The hiring of Nazi criminals, for the most part, occurred on an ad hoc basis, rather than by grand design ….

“I'll never understand how, with all we knew about Germany and its military machine, we knew so little about the concentration camps and the magnitude of the Holocaust … [F]ew if any comprehended the appalling magnitude of it. It wasn't sufficiently real to stand out from the general brutality and slaughter which is war….

We remained ignorant of the Holocaust. Yes, I saw our map of Nazi concentration camps, but none was identified as a death camp. We received no real information on the "final solution." I am surprised that I did not give it any thought as I had early on always believed that the Nazis were out to do away with the Jews….

I have asked myself and I have asked R&A colleagues when any of us first became aware of a policy of mass murder as something qualitatively different from the well-recognized viciousness of the concentration camps….most of us were still thinking of an increase of persecution rather than a new and barbaric policy of genocide….

Some of the Chilean despatches about economic conditions in Bohemia-Moravia and the availability of food and raw materials were sent by Bruce to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. [32] Morgenthau, who was friendly with Donovan, [33] was perhaps the most prominent Jew in the Roosevelt administration and the one high government official who might have reacted vigorously and quickly to the report about Nazi policy toward the Jews. Ironically, he did not receive a copy of what is in retrospect Montt's most important despatch….

Dulles quickly became well informed about the Holocaust….

Allen Welsh Dulles, forty-nine years old in 1942, was perfectly qualified for his role as an intelligence official in Switzerland concerned primarily with Nazi Germany. Of upper-class birth and Princeton education, Dulles pursued successful careers in diplomacy and law -- both closely tied to European affairs. He had served as a young diplomat in Switzerland during World War I, at the peace conference in Paris in 1919, and in Germany in the immediate postwar period. He was friendly with two leading German Social Democrats, Rudolf Hilferding and Rudolf Breitscheid, both of them to die at the hands of the Nazis. He held some negative stereotypes of Jews, but in 1921 he was directly involved in efforts to expose the now infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a forgery. He was unable to persuade the State Department to denounce the document publicly….

In April 1933, Dulles took time out from his legal career to serve again as a diplomat on disarmament matters, during which time he went back to Germany and had a face-to-face discussion with Hitler. As a successful corporate lawyer, Dulles spent much time with German clients and lawyers. As strains developed between Germany and the West during the late 1930s, Allen Dulles, in contrast with his elder brother, John Foster, became more and more convinced that Nazi Germany could not be allowed to expand at will….

On December 17, the United States, Britain, and a number of other Allied governments (overriding objections from the State Department and the British Foreign Office) formally recognized that Nazi Germany was pursuing a policy of extermination of the Jewish people. But American and British refugee policies were not otherwise changed for some time….

The new racist policy, which in cold, calculated cruelty surpasses the horrors of Magdeburg or Carthage, was revealed to me at Lisbon by a British officer who escaped the hell of the Himmler ghetto in Warsaw ... According to the officer, who was caught in Warsaw and hidden by Jews until his escape fourteen days ago, as the Jews die, disappear or are executed, new Jews are brought into the ghettos to replace them from Austria, Germany, Moravia, Bohemia, and elsewhere, keeping the maximum at the destruction centers. Eventually all Jews within the grasp of Greater Germany will be rounded up and routed to Poland, deprived of all rights, robbed, practically undressed, herded [?] into the "epidemic districts" then starved, terrorized or executed ....

Dulles learned of these Berlin events from Dr. Visser t'Hooft (to whom Dulles gave the code number 474), a Dutch theologian who was first secretary of the World Council of Churches and was based in Bern…. “It is definitely expected that these methods of rapid and total extermination of the Jews in Germany will be extended in the coming weeks to other German regions, and very likely also to the occupied territories. Instead of deporting the Jews to Poland and having them killed in that country, the new policy is to kill them on the spot.” … The last portion -- regarding killing on the spot -- was clearly inaccurate…

Dulles said that the information was not fully verified, and that unspecified proposed Allied measures to hinder this new program did not seem at all practical…..

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover received a quotation allegedly from Ilya Ehrenburg's book The Great War for the Fatherland, published in the Soviet Union in 1942, which indicated that Nazi anti-Semitism was a lie: "They have their own Jews whom they spare. These Jews have on their passports two letters, W.J., meaning 'worthy Jew.''' Hoover asked Donovan to look into this, even though he was skeptical. Donovan asked Dulles (among others), who could not confirm that there were such markings on passports, although he did mention that the Nazis had given some Jews marked identity cards. Donovan quickly told Hoover of reports of two isolated cases, but said that the British had never heard of the practice and considered it improbable.….

When he had impeccable sources about actions against Jews, Dulles did not hesitate to tell Washington … “Obersturmbannfuehrer Kappler has been commissioned from Berlin, to seize the 8,000 Jews resident in Rome and take them to northern Italy where they are to be liquidated.” …

By the time he received this document, Dulles knew that the roundup of Jews in Rome had been carried out, even if it turned out to be only partly effective. …

Dulles mentioned Hungarian anti-Semitic speeches and discrimination against Jewish professionals, but pointed out that Hungary had taken in seventy thousand Jewish refugees from Poland, Croatia, and Slovakia …Under these circumstances, Dulles did not want to be too critical of Hungary's Jewish policy. He believed that wherever Germany extended its control, Jews would be eliminated….

If Dulles was well aware of Nazi policy toward Jews, he probably did not know much about the means and sites of mass murder. To be sure, he learned that conditions in the concentration camps in Germany were horrifying … But the OSS and the FBI lacked early evidence about the internal conditions and workings of the camps…. Newly released records declassified by the IWG suggest that the OSS did not actively seek information on concentration or extermination camps….

The British picked up a decode in November 1942 indicating that guards at Auschwitz would need six hundred gas masks…. reports on new crematoria reached London in March 1943 ….

“468,000 non-registered Jews have been gassed in Oswiecim [Auschwitz]. Between September 1942 and the beginning of June 1943 there arrived approximately 60,000 Jews from Greece ... about 50,000 Jews from Slovakia and the Protectorate, approximately 60,000 Jews from Holland, Belgium and France, 6,000 from Chrzanow and 5,000 from Kety, Zywiec, Sucha, Slemien and vicinity. Two per cent of these people are alive today ... Each convoy arriving in Oswiecim is unloaded; men are separated from women, and then packed haphazard, in a mass (mainly women and children) into cars and lorries and taken to the gas chamber in Brzezinka [Birkenau]. There they [are] suffocated with the most horrible suffering lasting 10-15 minutes, the corpses being ... cremated ... At present, three large crematoria have been erected in Brzezinka, for 10,000 people daily, which are ceaselessly cremating bodies and which the neighboring population call '’the eternal fire’ ...

“As from 20.6.1943 mass convoys have been arriving in the Oswiecim camp (Brzezinka), including: one convoy from Nice (870 persons), one convoy with more than 500 persons from Berlin, 800 people from Salonika. Two convoys with 1,600 persons from Brandenburg, one convoy from Sosnowiec, one convoy from Lublin, containing 391 people. These convoys contained 80% Jews and 20% Gypsies from Greece and southern France. Possibly 10% of these people have remained alive in the camp, the remaining 90% were immediately taken to the gas chambers and gassed ... "

In November 1944, the British interrogated an escaped former officer-cadet of the Polish Air Force named Henryk Rygiol, whose family still lived near Birkenau. Rygiol had been interned in Auschwitz and used as a rail worker. The tales of other inmates supplemented his own observations to British intelligence-observations which included the murder of 450,000 Hungarian Jews from May to July 1944. "Twenty-one ovens were burning day and night, " reported Rygiol, a fact which he said "could be confirmed by anyone in the area.”….

The OSS was very cool to the idea of using eager Jews from Palestine either as commandos or as agents in southeastern Europe, even though the Jewish Agency offered everything from personnel to organizational structure. [84] Jews who were not prisoners were not part of the OSS' strategic thinking, and Jewish camp prisoners were not either. In the view of the OSS, there was no serious military need to study the camps where Jews were held….

In all, newly released OSS records concerning German camps reflect the strategic priorities of the war.

-- U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, Norman J.W. Goda, Timothy Naftali and Robert Wolfe
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Re: U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, No

Postby admin » Fri May 18, 2018 5:59 am

U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis

This book is a direct result of the 1998 Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. Drawing on many documents declassified under this law, the authors demonstrate what U.S. intelligence agencies learned about Nazi crimes during World War II and about the nature of Nazi intelligence agencies' role in the Holocaust. It examines how some U.S. corporations found ways to profit from Nazi Germany's expropriation of the property of German Jews. This book also reveals startling new details on the Cold War connections between the U.S. government and Hitler's former officers.

At a time when intelligence successes and failures are at the center of public discussion, U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis also provides an unprecedented inside look at how intelligence agencies function during war and peacetime.

Richard Breitman, professor of history at American University, is the author or coauthor of seven books and more than forty articles. One of his books, The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution, won the Fraenkel Prize for Contemporary History, and another, Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew, was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Holocaust Studies. Breitman serves as editor of the scholarly journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Norman J. W. Goda is an associate professor of History at Ohio University. He is the author of Tomorrow the World: Hitler, Northwest Africa and the Path to America and numerous scholarly articles. He is currently completing a book entitled Tales from Spandau: Cold War Diplomacy and the Nuremberg War Criminals.

Timothy Naftali, an associate professor at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs, directs the Presidential Recordings Program and the Kremlin Decision-Making Project. Coauthor of "One Hell of a Gamble": Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-1964, he is currently completing Khrushchev's Cold War and Blindspot: The Secret History of U.S. Counterterrorism. Naftali was most recently a consultant to the 9/11 Commission.

Robert Wolfe was the senior research specialist for more than thirty years for the National Archives' massive captured German and World War II war crimes trial records, as well as for the records of the postwar occupation of Germany and Austria. His publications include Americans as Proconsuls: U.S. Military Government in Germany and Japan, 1944-52, and Captured German and Related Records.

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MOST SECRET

March 20, 1942.

It has been learned from a most secret source that on November 24, 1941, the Chilean Consulate, in Prague, made the following statement regarding German legislation for Jews:-

"An order published in Berlin regarding Jews abroad has been adopted in the Protectorate. Here is a full translation:--

"A Jew habitually residing abroad cannot be a German citizen. The Jew loses German nationality immediately this order comes into force, whether he is abroad or whether he was established outside Germany prior to this order. The fortune of a Jew who loses German nationality -- in accordance with this order -- belongs to the Reich. Likewise the Reich seizes the fortunes of Jews who, on the date of this order -- and stateless and originally had German nationality although they habitually have their residence outside Germany. The fortune which the Reich obtains in this manner will serve to solve the questions in connection with Jews....."

Another recent order is as follows: --

"It is strictly prohibited for Jews: to transfer their movable goods or any of their property, installations in their departments, personal effects, claims to other goods, without special permission for each article, issued by the competent German authority. Contraveners, sellers, purchasers or intermediaries in illegal acts are subject to severe penalty.

Neither can the Jews conceal, hide, deposit or decrease the value of any of their property. It is particularly prohibited to transfer, sell, make gifts of, employ or give in custody to other persons their property or deeds.

All the sales effected after the 10th October of such property should be notified to the Jewish Community Office giving exact details of the name of the purchaser and seller, list of valuable articles etc. etc. In the case of a gift the dates should be given. Penalties for contravention are equaly severe .....

The Jewish problem is being partially solved in the Protectorate, as it has been decided to eradicate all the Jews and send some to Poland and others to the town of Terezin, whilst looking for a more remote place.

The German triumph will leave Europe freed of Semites. Those who escape with their lives from this trial will certainly be deported to Siberia, where they will not have much opportunity to make use of their financial capabilities.

In proportion to the U.S.A. increasing its attacks on the Reich, Germany will expedite the destruction of Semitism, as she accuses international Judaism of all the calamities which have befallen the world.

The exodus of the Jews from the Reich has not had the results prophesied by the enemies of Germany: on the contrary: they have been replaced by Aryans with obvious advantage to everything and in everything, except in the usury line in which they are past masters."

DECLASSIFIED
Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act
PL105=246

British translation of an intercept from the Chilean Consul in Prague to his headquarters in Santiago. A discussion of this document begins on page 17. The document itself is in NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 386, folder 6.
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Re: U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, No

Postby admin » Fri May 18, 2018 6:01 am

Preface
by Richard Breitman and Norman J. W. Goda

THIS BOOK HAS its own unusual history. The four co-authors all served as consulting historians for the Nazi War Criminal and Imperial Japanese Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), a small government organization created to implement the 1998 Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. Working closely with the IWG and with archivists at the U.S. National Archives, we helped with the declassification of approximately 8 million pages of U.S. government records; we examined a significant portion of those records; and over the course of five years we wrote about what we considered the most significant topics illuminated by newly declassified records.

Part of the purpose of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 was to release to the public the remaining archival secrets about U.S. government policies concerning Nazi war crimes and criminals during and after World War II.
Some members of the IWG -- Thomas Baer, Richard Ben-Veniste, Elizabeth Holtzman, and its first chair Michael Kurtz -- decided that independent historians with some expertise in the areas covered by the act were in a better position to assist in contextualizing the new material than were government historians employed by the various affected agencies. We have thus not written as government historians -- three of us continue to hold university appointments -- but rather as independent scholars. We requested and received the freedom to select our own topics and to adopt our own interpretations. We did not think we could credibly present our versions of history unless we had intellectual independence.

The original version of our report was published in limited circulation by the National Archives Trust Fund. Cambridge University Press recognized that the authors' expertise served as the basis for a study of U.S. intelligence and the Nazis; private publication might reinforce the point that this work is not an official history, based on sources inaccessible to others. Anonymous peer reviewers for Cambridge were kind enough to suggest that our work might have some continuing value. (The Cambridge work was not initiated or sponsored by the IWG.) This expanded book contains a rewritten introduction, a new conclusion, and minor corrections in chapters and notes.

We would like to acknowledge all those who made both versions of this work possible. The IWG consisted (as of this writing, it still consists) of seven high-level government agency representatives and three "public" members, appointed by President Clinton and continuing under President Bush. The public members -- Thomas Baer, Richard Ben-Veniste, and Elizabeth Holtzman -- were particularly generous with their time and their suggestions for improvements in our work. The first chair of the IWG, Michael Kurtz, helped the historians establish the preconditions for successful independent scholarly work. His successor, Steven Garfinkel, drew upon his decades of experience with the process of declassification to help the historians gain access to the agency records they needed. IWG executive director Larry Taylor helped get resources and solve problems. Kristine Rusch edited the manuscript superbly and ironed out differences among the authors. The National Archives and Records Administration supplied a staff of able archivists to the IWG-staff director Dave van Tassel, William Cunliffe, Dick Myers, and for a time, Greg Bradsher and Steve Hamilton. Without these outstanding archivists our work would not have been possible.

Gerhard L. Weinberg chaired a group of distinguished outside experts (Historical Advisory Panel) who supplied advice and specific comments to their colleagues. We are grateful to all of them -- Rebecca Boehling, the late James Critchfield, Ed Drea, Carol Gluck, Peter Hayes, Robert Hanyok, Linda Goetz Holmes, Christopher Simpson, Barry White, and Ron Zweig -- for their time, patience, and suggestions. Robert Hanyok also contributed his expertise on the topic of signals intelligence with a piece we included as an appendix.

Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Office of Special Investigations of the Department of Justice, generously allowed the authors to interview him and OSI staff historians. Theit expertise was invaluable, even when we did not see the subject the same way.

Several researchers hired by the IWG -- Paul Brown, Miriam Kleiman, Robert Skwirot, and Eric Van Slander -- assisted us in finding and organizing records, and Paul Browne contributed a piece of one chapter. Brenda Jones made countless photocopies for us, allowing us to organize our materials.

At Cambridge University Press, Lewis Bateman showed great enthusiasm for this project and pushed it over the various obstacles. All of those listed have improved what we wrote; of course, we are responsible for what problems may remain.

Richard Breitman
Norman J. W. Goda

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At great personal risk, Fritz Kolbe (code named "George Wood"), a German Foreign Office official, provided Allen Dulles, the OSS operative in Bern, with critical wartime information on the military, intelligence, economic, and political affairs of both Germany and Japan. He also gave Dulles documentary evidence regarding the persecution of Jews in Hungary and Italy.

At an August 1943 meeting with Dulles, Kolbe drew a map (see previous page) showing Hitler's headquarters at Rastenburg (the "Wolf's Lair"); Ribbentrop's residence nearby; the Wehrmacht headquarters; and siding tracks for Himmler's, Goring's, and Ribbentrop's special trains. In September, Kolbe provided Dulles with a printed map (above), on which he identified the location of the Wolf's Lair with an X Together, these two items provided concrete information for possible Allied operations. These maps, released under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998, are in NA, RG 226, entry 190C, folder 19, box 1.
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Re: U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, No

Postby admin » Fri May 18, 2018 6:02 am

Introduction

NEARLY SIXTY YEARS after World War II, the American public and media continue to investigate parts of its legacy -- troubling questions of conscience and history. Who knew what about the Holocaust, and when? Was it possible for the Allies to rescue some Jews from the Holocaust, or was that notion a myth, as one scholar recently put it? [1] Some U.S. businesses collaborated with the Nazi state before and during World War II. What was the extent of these activities, and what was the result? What happened after the war to those who had perpetrated wartime atrocities?

In the 1980s Josef Mengele, whose name has become a symbol of the evil of Auschwitz, became the object of an international manhunt, even though, as it turned out, he had died in Brazil shortly before then. Like the Mengele case, the French trial of Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyon," raised questions long after the war about how some Nazi war criminals managed to escape postwar justice. U.S. Army intelligence had used and protected Barbie, a known Nazi war criminal, in return for assistance in the Cold War. Under what circumstances were other Nazi war criminals used directly or indirectly by U.S. intelligence agencies after the war?

All these questions remain pertinent for various reasons -- not just for those who are fixated with the past. Genocide and "ethnic cleansing" are still part of human existence. In the current struggle against terrorism, the notion of recruiting intelligence assets from among previous foes remains a powerful urge. Can we learn practical lessons from World War II experiences?

Launching a wave of destruction that threatened Western civilization, Nazi Germany sought to annihilate its self-defined racial enemies physically and culturally, eradicating their presence from Europe and from history itself. Leading Nazi officials feared that "weaker" contemporaries and subsequent generations might not understand the "necessity" of their actions, so they tried to conceal their genocidal policies as well as the corpses of many of their victims.

Nevertheless, many of Nazi Germany's secrets leaked. Underground organizations, intelligence officials of governments-in-exile, and some anti-Nazi Germans all supplied important information about Germany to Britain and the United States during World War II. Britain and the United States also developed their intelligence channels to get at the innermost secrets of the Nazi regime. Allied intelligence organizations made unprecedented efforts during the war to learn about their German intelligence rivals, believing that such knowledge would help them win the war more quickly. After the war, they continued to gather such intelligence, hoping to prevent the resurgence of a Nazi threat in Allied-occupied Germany. All these intelligence-related documents represented a storehouse of valuable historical information.

Yet World War II scholars and students of postwar intelligence have long found it difficult to use this information effectively. Although many millions of pages of intelligence compiled by agencies of the U.S. government were previously declassified and made available in the National Archives, specific categories of this intelligence information were withheld or withdrawn from public view, rendering American intelligence information fragmentary and at times opaque.

Some of the best intelligence about Nazi policies and activities acquired by the U.S. government during World War II, for example, came from foreign sources, especially from Great Britain. But to maintain good relations with foreign governments and organizations, information supplied by foreign governments was automatically excluded from regular declassification practices and was exempted even under the Freedom of Information Act. Intelligence "sources and methods" was another privileged category, and the details related to these issues were blacked out (redacted) or entirely withheld. Existing laws also allowed certain World War II-era information to remain classified for national security and privacy considerations. Relevant information about the activities of Nazis or Nazi collaborators after World War II was inaccessible for other reasons.
The act of revealing sources cuts against the grain of what intelligence services do.

Spurred by Senator Michael DeWine of Ohio and Congresswoman Caroline Maloney of New York, in 1998 Congress passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. Designed to address moral and historical imperatives, this law obliged the CIA, the U.S. Army, and the FBI to declassify operational information on their recruitment among Nazi and collaborationist veterans in the early Cold War. It also created a new organization, the Nazi War Criminal and Imperial Japanese Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), to implement and oversee a declassification effort that turned out to be the largest targeted declassification in American history.

The volume of documents declassified under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act (an estimated 8 million pages) proved too large for us to examine all of them. But acting as historical consultants to the IWG, we have looked closely at hundreds of thousands of pages of recently opened records of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) -- the ancestor of the CIA -- and at a good portion of an even larger collection of new FBI records.
[2] We have drawn more selectively upon very large collections of new U.S. Army Intelligence records and State Department records. We have used an unprecedented collection of documents from the CIA. Finally, we were able to work with small but important collections from the National Security Agency and some other agencies such as the Office of Naval Intelligence.

At times our research strategy was determined or influenced by external constraints, such as which records had been located and which collections or files had been delivered to the National Archives or declassified up to that time. We began with a sense that we should write about new and significant findings. Of course, our ability to recognize new and significant documents in a vast pipeline of records depended in part upon our previous knowledge. Different researchers might well have found and selected different subjects. Over time we looked to broaden our initial selection of topics.

In this book we have tried to demonstrate that newly declassified documents, particularly when combined with previously available documents, allow us to add to, or even revise, our understanding of certain aspects of the Holocaust, of the looting of assets by Nazi Germany and its allies, and of perpetrators of war crimes or acts of persecution. Unlike many other studies of World War II-era intelligence, [3] we concentrate not on military intelligence, but on political intelligence: not on what made the greatest difference at the time, but often what slipped by and in retrospect seems more important than contemporaries recognized.

We have begun to describe how Allied intelligence organizations reacted to the Holocaust and other war crimes during and soon after the war. We also examine the activities and interactions of intelligence organizations from five Allied or pro-Western governments or communities: the Polish government-in-exile, the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the United States, Great Britain, and West Germany.

The Polish underground gathered information about the vast array of Nazi crimes and murders in Polish territory, including the extermination of millions of Jews in special camps equipped with gas chambers and crematoria. This information reached the Polish government-in-exile in London, and much of it was passed to Britain and the United States. Although they had all the evidence in front of them, Polish government officials did not sufficiently recognize the distinctions Nazi Germany made between Poles and Jews. For the Nazis, the Jews were the prime enemy -- the moving force behind most opposition to Germany -- which justified an extraordinary effort to eradicate them across Europe. The Polish government-in-exile highlighted the persecution of Poles. [4] Nonetheless, they recognized the inherently murderous character of Nazi rule and supplied much detailed evidence to Britain and the United States.

The Jewish Agency for Palestine understood Nazi goals and tried, under terrible constraints during the war, to counteract them in limited ways. Kept at arm's length by the Western Allies, the Jewish Agency had neither the resources nor the legitimacy of a government. But it, too, gathered intelligence about Nazi Germany and tried to arrange the escape or rescue of some remnants of Jewish communities in Axis Europe, tasks it saw as directly related. Other Jewish organizations -- the Bund, the World Jewish Congress, the Joint Distribution Committee, and Agudas Israel -- also carried out rescue and relief efforts and ran into similar problems. Their activities forced them to have contacts with some Nazi officials, and these contacts created or increased some Allied suspicions about their loyalty to the Allied cause.

Much remains to be learned about the wartime reactions of American and British intelligence agencies to the Holocaust. The raw evidence is now available for systematic study of OSS, the FBI, and various American military intelligence organizations. Evidence presented here suggests that some American intelligence officials understood Nazi goals and methods for Jews and other persecuted groups, but others clearly did not. Unlike the Jewish Agency, American intelligence agencies did not view World War II and the Holocaust as closely related. Although American intelligence organizations gathered information about a vast range of conditions in Nazi territories, in satellite countries, and even in neutral countries, there are relatively few signs of special intelligence efforts to secure information about the fate of Jews in occupied Europe until President Roosevelt established the War Refugee Board in January 1944. There was more attention to gathering evidence about the perpetrators of what were called atrocities or war crimes (later to be called crimes against humanity), but a great deal of information about what we have come to call the Holocaust came in from other places or was accumulated incidentally -- it came in with other matters considered more significant to the war effort.

Since Nazi Germany's policies of genocide, exploitation, and looting were central elements of the regime, some may judge in retrospect that there was at least a partial intelligence failure -- a failure to grasp one of the central political goals of the enemy. And, given the range of evidence about specific elements of the Holocaust presented below, it seems that this failure had less to do with collecting information than with recognizing its significance.

On the other hand, American and British intelligence scrutinized their intelligence rivals in Nazi Germany and in the process turned up incriminating evidence about a range of German intelligence organizations and officials. New evidence we have drawn upon here, when combined with previously known documents, indicates that German intelligence organizations, particularly the foreign intelligence branch of the SS Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst or SD), were very much part of the Nazi apparatus of persecution and extermination. The ideological conformity required by Hitler and his key subordinates forged a cooperative effort among the SS, the police, and German intelligence organizations that is visible today through detailed historical research. To loyal Nazi intelligence officials, gathering information for the war was directly related to helping Hitler to eliminate what he considered his most dangerous enemy -- the Jews.

The central German military intelligence organization known as the Abwehr, subordinate to the High Command of the Armed Forces, certainly contained numerous individuals of conscience -- even some leading figures of the anti-Nazi resistance. But the Abwehr as an organization could hardly escape the constraints or the criminality of the Nazi regime. The valiant individuals who resisted at best won small victories. We have gone to some length to describe new evidence about Nazi intelligence organizations because it casts light upon the connections between intelligence gathering and Nazi Germany's war against the Jews.

After the end of World War II, thousands of war criminals were prosecuted in different countries. Thousands of others escaped prosecution for reasons that had little or nothing to do with American postwar policies. But a good number of former German intelligence personnel, some of them members of criminal organizations such as the SS or the Gestapo, had special advantages.

The Army Counterintelligence Corps (which was the largest American intelligence organization in the immediate postwar period), the CIA, and the American-sponsored organization under General Reinhard Gehlen that became the basis of the West German Secret Service found it desirable to make postwar intelligence use of a substantial number -- at least some dozens -- of their former intelligence or police enemies. The notion that they employed only a few "bad apples" will not stand up to the new documentation.

Some American intelligence officials could not or did not want to see how many German intelligence officials, SS officers, police, or non-German collaborators with the Nazis were compromised or incriminated by their past service. Many of those with dubious pasts were eager to sell their knowledge and their services. A good number convinced some Western government and intelligence officials that they could be useful, often against a growing Communist threat. Once they had secured a foothold in postwar Europe, they generally found protection against criminal prosecution, which by the late 1940s was winding down. Others, unable or unwilling to succeed in the new Europe, unreconstructed Nazis or Nazi allies notorious for their crimes, found protection only in South America or the Middle East.

Hindsight allows us to see that American use of actual or alleged war criminals was a blunder in several respects. Granted, some intelligence activities involve a degree of secrecy and messiness which strain conventional moral standards, but there was no compelling reason to begin the postwar era with the assistance of some of those associated with the worst crimes of the war. Lack of sufficient attention to history -- and on a personal level, to character and morality -- established a bad precedent, especially for new intelligence agencies. It also brought into intelligence organizations men and women previously incapable of distinguishing between their political/ideological beliefs and reality. As a result, they could not and did not deliver good intelligence. Finally, because their new "democratic convictions" were at best insecure and their pasts could be used against them, some could be blackmailed by Communist intelligence agencies. Thus they represented a potential security problem. The new Communist enemy (against whom they were supposed to be useful) could and in some cases did recruit them as double agents. The extent of this security problem did not become evident to American and West German intelligence until the 1960s.

Perhaps we still need to ponder this chapter in history. At a time when there is renewed emphasis on the need for recruiting agents and informants among the enemies of the United States, the lesson of the postwar intelligence use of former Nazis and collaborationist officials is that it is better not to have some kinds of assistance.

We also need to learn from what we did not find -- and we have made some effort to do this in our chapters. Some claims about vast conspiracies involving the American government and Nazi war criminals or the intelligence use of some big-name Nazis in the postwar period turned out to be completely unfounded. The hiring of Nazi criminals, for the most part, occurred on an ad hoc basis, rather than by grand design. And legends and concoctions about certain high-level criminals such as Heinrich Muller, head of the Gestapo, whose fate remained obscure at the end of the war, flourished best in a climate of suspicion and secrecy. The opening of OSS, CIA, and FBI records on Muller will not sway those determined to believe in conspiracy theories, but they should convince those who are willing to base conclusions on the evidence.

Can we learn from history? Some people are optimists, others not. But in a sense we have no choice but to make use of the past. The limitations of our knowledge and the complexity of our problems mean that we inevitably borrow from past experience -- individual and collective -- in efforts to understand and choose among our options. Is Saddam Hussein another Hitler? Was the Baath regime like the Nazi regime? Can Iraq become a democracy as West Germany did? We cannot begin to answer such explicit or implied questions soundly unless we understand the past in some depth. The real question is not whether we will make use of our past to deal with the present, but rather how well we will do so. To do it well, we need all the documents, particularly the kinds declassified by the IWG.

This work is neither an official history nor an exclusive one. All the documents used here are available to other researchers. We have done our best to give careful citations in our notes -- which, for a time, will serve others as entree into new collections. Those willing to carry out archival research will undoubtedly make their own discoveries in these declassified documents and in related records at the National Archives. The importance of the newly declassified records can best be measured after years of archival research by a wide community of researchers and writers.

_______________

Notes:

1. William D. Rubenstein, The Myth of Rescue: Why the Democracies Could Not Have Saved More Jews from the Nazis (London: Routledge, 1997).

2. All documents cited in National Archives, Record Group 226, entries 210-219, were declassified under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. We have also mentioned in the text the declassification of some significant documents in other entries of RG 226.

3. Among which the largest and most famous is probably F. H. Hinsley et al., British Intelligence in the Second World War, published by Cambridge University Press.

4. David Engel, In the Shadow of Auschwitz: The Polish Government-in-Exile and the Jews, 1939-1942 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987) and Facing a Holocaust: The Polish Government-in-Exile and the Jews, 1943-1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993).

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RSHA chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner

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Otto Skorzeny, RSHA sabotage and special operations expert

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Walter Schellenberg, chief of SD Foreign Intelligence
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Re: U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, No

Postby admin » Fri May 18, 2018 6:09 am

Part 1 of 2

1. OSS Knowledge of the Holocaust
by Richard Breitman with Norman J. W Goda

INFORMATION ABOUT NAZI SHOOTINGS of Jews started to leak out shortly after they began during World War II. At first, however, U.S. media coverage indicated that large numbers of people in different Nazi-occupied countries were suffering terribly, and there was little distinction between the fate of Jews and that of other groups. In any case, the military situation and the fate of friends and relatives on the battlefronts were the central collective concerns in the United States. The Allies seemed to be struggling to cope with one Axis conquest after another in the early phases of the war. Given this focus, many Americans did not recognize what we have come to call the Holocaust even after an Allied statement in December 1942 that Nazi Germany was carrying out a policy of mass extermination of Jews.

Did American intelligence officials know more, or know earlier? The small office of the Coordinator of Information (COI), and its successor, the new Office of Strategic Services (OSS), both headed by General William J. Donovan, attempted to capture as much information as possible about Nazi Germany, particularly about its military, economic, or sociopolitical weaknesses. As a by-product, the COI and OSS accumulated substantial intelligence about Nazi measures against Jews.

In memoirs and other retrospective accounts, however, a number of former OSS officials have disclaimed recognition of the Holocaust at the time. For example, William J. Casey, stationed in the OSS London office from October 1943 on (and later director of the CIA in the Reagan administration), commented in his memoirs:

I'll never understand how, with all we knew about Germany and its military machine, we knew so little about the concentration camps and the magnitude of the Holocaust. We knew in a general way that Jews were being persecuted, that they were being rounded up in occupied countries, and deported to Germany, that they were brought to camps, and that brutality and murder took place at these camps. But few if any comprehended the appalling magnitude of it. It wasn't sufficiently real to stand out from the general brutality and slaughter which is war. There was little talk in London about the concentration camps except as places to which captured agents and resistants were deported if they were not executed on the spot. And such reports as we did receive were shunted aside because of the official policy in Washington and London to concentrate exclusively on the defeat of the enemy. [1]


Casey's last comment suggests that lack of awareness of the Holocaust went beyond the OSS and into the upper ranks of the American and British governments.

Arnold Price fled Nazi Germany during the 1930s and landed in the Research and Analysis (R&A) branch of the OSS in 1942, where, among other things, he gathered biographical information about influential Germans. Price recalled:

We remained ignorant of the Holocaust. Yes, I saw our map of Nazi concentration camps, but none was identified as a death camp. We received no real information on the "final solution." I am surprised that I did not give it any thought as I had early on always believed that the Nazis were out to do away with the Jews. [2]


Price's "we" referred to himself and his colleagues in R&A.

Another OSS R&A man, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., later became an eminent figure in government and the academy. He recalled:

I have asked myself and I have asked R&A colleagues when any of us first became aware of a policy of mass murder as something qualitatively different from the well-recognized viciousness of the concentration camps. OSS presumably received the best possible intelligence, and German-Jewish refugees would have been the last people inclined to ignore or discount reports of a Final Solution.

Yet my recollection is that, even in the summer of 1944 as we received with horror the mounting flow of information about the camps, most of us were still thinking of an increase of persecution rather than a new and barbaric policy of genocide . . . I cannot find R&A colleagues who recall a moment of blazing revelation about the Final Solution. [3]


All three OSS men describe a common pattern of being unaware of genocide, but Price and Schlesinger cautiously limit it to the Research and Analysis branch.

“I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center.”
-- National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, Loose Change, 2nd Edition Recut, written and directed by Dylan Avery


Scholarly studies about the OSS and the Holocaust have revealed that two young American Jews working in OSS Research and Analysis -- Abraham Duker and Charles Irving Dwork -- not only recognized the Holocaust as it was happening, but also tried to gather systematic information about it. What later became known as the Duker-Dwork collection in the United States National Archives represents probably the largest single cluster of OSS information about the Holocaust. But Duker and Dwork represented the exceptions that proved the rule. They were upset that more senior officials in Research and Analysis did not give sufficient weight to Nazi genocide -- or even recognize it for what it was. Few, if any, of those in R&A had the clearance to gain access to the most highly classified OSS documents. Duker and Dwork had to search for documents about the fate of Jews from other sections of the OSS and from outside the agency. [4]

With few exceptions, OSS R&A documents have been declassified for some time -- the majority for more than five decades. OSS documents recently declassified under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 and other records from the Secret Intelligence branch and field offices abroad supply more specific information about the Holocaust. They do not indicate what the mythical "average" OSS official in Washington knew about the Holocaust. In this sense, the evidence presented here does not contradict the recollections of Casey, Price, Schlesinger, or others. But it adds to our knowledge of how and when top-secret information leaked out of Nazi Germany and provides additional detail about particular events, sites, and perpetrators. These documents represent another perspective on how much information about the Holocaust was available to some American intelligence officials who were in the right place geographically and organizationally. Initially, the right place was New York, partly because of a British connection there. But the British effort to gain access to foreign diplomatic reports began elsewhere.

The Diplomatic Pouches

A recent biography of the now notorious Anthony Blunt, wartime official in MI-5 (the British equivalent of the FBI) and Soviet spy, discloses that Blunt and others figured out ways to gain access to sealed diplomatic pouches of neutral diplomats stationed in Britain:

At ports, the couriers would be persuaded to hand their bags over to Port Security, who would put them into a safe. "Blunt's people would open the back of the safe," a colleague recalled, and take out the bags and examine them. At airports, flights would be "delayed," and the couriers once again would be persuaded to hand over their bags for "security," "giving him time for his cronies to open the bags, open the envelopes, read everything in them, photograph some of them if need be, and put it all back so nobody would know a thing." Blunt's department collaborated with the post office to develop special methods for opening the seals on the bags and repairing them without trace.


Blunt found that MI-6 (British secret intelligence service) was also collecting its own information from foreign embassies abroad, presumably by similar means. [5]

In his memoirs, MI-6 agent H. Montgomery Hyde discussed some isolated British successes at opening diplomatic pouches at the Gibraltar station, and he alluded to ways of temporarily separating a diplomatic courier from his pouch and photographing the contents at censorship stations in Bermuda and the Caribbean. The FBI, he said, put such methods into practice after he suggested them. [6] Perhaps so: FBI records do contain some copies of foreign diplomatic reports sent across the Atlantic, but they contain markings indicating that they were of British origin. [7] In any case, OSS records contain a very large quantity of foreign diplomatic despatches sent across the Atlantic. Most of them indicate that they were obtained from a "most secret" source, which is a British designation. A number of them specifically state that they were given to the British Security Coordination Office in New York, and went from there to the OSS. [8]

A batch of these British-copied diplomatic despatches arrived before the United States formally entered the war -- an indicator of the friendly British-American intelligence relationship. Because some British intelligence officials, especially William Stephenson, were heavily invested in making the COI work, [9] the COI may have been the first and preferred recipient of this type of prized British diplomatic intelligence.

Sometimes the prize was dubious. Diplomats stationed in Germany and other European posts during World War II varied widely in ability, political orientation, and access to inside information. Many diplomatic reports were partially or wholly inaccurate. It is usually difficult to discern whether even the better despatches had any impact at the time. But at least they were copied, translated, and distributed to a few officials who might have had official interest.

Some largely accurate information about the Holocaust can be gleaned from those diplomatic reports that came into British and then American hands. For example, in late August 1941, the Mexican minister to Portugal, J. M. Alvarez del Castillo, drew extensively from an Italian newspaper report (in the Giornale d'Italia) about German behavior in Russia following the German invasion, as follows:

Almost every morning in the Russian cities occupied by Axis troops, men and women are shot by military squads for the commission of acts of sabotage during the previous night.

These mass assassinations of innocent and defenceless men and women (especially the latter) in Russia, on the trivial pretext that they have committed sabotage, shows the moral, or amoral, state of the Reich.


This report seems to have been derived from Italian observers at the front, who may not have recognized that SS and police units did far more such killing than the regular army. The general thrust of the story was accurate nonetheless.

After describing the German Blitzkrieg in the East and commenting that Germany did not seem to be making quick enough progress to win a decisive victory, Alvarez returned to his moral concerns:

In the occupied countries the tragic number of victims who -- on the pretext that they have carried on communist propaganda, that they belong to the Jewish race, or that they have committed acts of sabotage -- are inhumanly sacrificed, grows incessantly. These are the patriots of the nations that are suffering German oppression, who are guilty of nothing more than being arbitrarily considered as suspect by the occupying authorities. By these methods of classic criminality Nazism is rapidly bringing upon itself humanity's repudiation of its doctrine, its philosophy and its morals ... [10]


Alvarez's open condemnation of Nazi killings shows that intelligent contemporaries could see through pretexts and rationalizations to the essence of Nazi policy and methods.

Gonzalo Montt Rivas

The Chilean consul in Prague, Gonzalo Montt Rivas, was closer to the ghettos and killing sites in the East and had even better sources of inside information. Montt unwittingly became a repeated supplier of information to British and American intelligence about Nazi measures against Jews. Ideologically and politically, Montt was diametrically opposed to Alvarez: Nazi Germany could not have found a better South American advocate of its anti-Jewish policy.

In 1940 Germany requested the closure of Chilean consulates in Paris, Brussels, the Hague, Copenhagen, and Prague. (After the German annexation of Bohemia and Moravia in March 1939, Prague was no longer capital of a country.) The Chilean consul general in Hamburg, Eugenio Palacios Bate, took charge of the work of the closed consulates, but in 1941 he was able to reopen the consulate in Prague. It appears that Nazi attitudes toward Chile transcended diplomatic neutrality -- they were characterized as friendly -- and the former Chilean consul in Prague, Montt, was able to resume his post in spite of the fact that all other foreign diplomats had been forced to leave. [11]

Montt was a forty-eight-year-old career diplomat who had previously served in Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Britain, and the United States. He also fought in the Paraguayan army during the Chaco War and was awarded a decoration. He went on to have a very successful career after the war, serving as the Chilean delegate to the United Nations and ambassador to Egypt. [12] His activities during the Nazi era have never been studied.

Montt's reports from Prague, most of which are newly declassified, reveal considerable access to the thinking of Nazi officials. In June 1941 he quoted passages from a lecture given by Karl Hermann Frank, the number-two Nazi official in the Protectorate (Bohemia-Moravia): "The Reich has once again manifested its firm intention ... of Germanizing all territories within its 'living space.' And experience has shown that the only practical means of achieving this object is to eliminate the native inhabitants, replacing them with its own co-nationals." [13] In September 1941, Montt reported the establishment of the Warsaw ghetto and forecast a similar solution for Jews in the Protectorate. He traced a host of new restrictions forced upon Czech Jews and characterized these restrictions as returning Jews to their status of several centuries earlier. He found it unsurprising that Germany had taken such steps: the "Jewish element" in Britain, the United States, and Russia had launched the war against Germany, hoping to destroy the Christian world, annihilate gentiles, and achieve world domination. Only then would their Messiah come. [14] One could hardly distinguish Montt's beliefs from the Nazi worldview.

On November 1, 1941, Montt accurately reported intensified Nazi evacuations of Jews from the Protectorate and Germany itself to Lodz and other ghettos in the General Government (the Nazi administrative unit for about two-thirds of Poland). All Jews from Luxembourg had already been transferred east; that country was now "free from Semites." Montt added,

always draw your attention to these Jewish questions as I have the impression that the [Nazi] intention is to get rid of the Jews at all costs, and one way would be by sending them to our countries, which I hope and trust our Government will not permit, and which our people would not tolerate, as [the Jews] are useless for agricultural or mining work, which is what should be increased in our Hemisphere ... They are all propagators of communism, bolshevism and other physical and moral vices. [15]


Montt noted other brutal Nazi policies. In mid-November, he reported various executions of Czechs accused of subversive activities: Reich authorities were "determined to drown in blood every attempt, every plot, and every act or word, which threatens the security of the Great[er] Germany ... " To Montt, Germany was determined to Germanize the Protectorate, and, unfortunately for the Czechs, they fell within Germany's political orbit. He continued, "The history of the whole of Europe is made up of struggles of this kind. Some races disappear, being absorbed or destroyed by others more numerous, stronger, more intelligent, or possibly more fortunate." [16] Montt seemed to have little sympathy for the people and the country to which he was originally sent.

In late November 1941, Montt sent word to the Foreign Ministry about local German press coverage of a recent agreement among Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, and Bolivia not to accept illegal Jewish immigrants. If Jews had not received proper exit visas from their country of origin, they would not be allowed in. Montt added a warning about recent Jewish efforts to obtain Chilean visas from the consulate in Prague. Some of these Jews had claimed that their relatives or acquaintances in Santiago had succeeded in getting the Foreign Ministry to authorize visas for them. As far as he was concerned, however, even a "baptized" Jew remained a Jew: "Baptismal water can cleanse original sin, but not the filth accumulated during centuries in ghettos everywhere." [17]

Montt's most revealing despatch came when Nazi Germany targeted Jews who had already left German territories. According to the Eleventh Decree to the Reich Citizenship Law announced and published on November 25, 1941, Jews living abroad could no longer be German subjects, and all remaining assets of German Jews residing abroad automatically and immediately were forfeited to the Reich. Expropriation, more than denaturalization, was the goal of this measure. [18]

A day before the Eleventh Decree was issued, on November 24, 1941, Montt translated a portion of it for the benefit of his government. "The Jew [residing abroad] loses German nationality immediately ... The fortune which the Reich obtains in this manner will serve to solve the questions in connection with Jews ... " He then quoted a portion of another recent order in the Reich Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia, barring unauthorized transfer or sale of property by Jews after October 10. [19]

These two specific regulations moved Montt to summarize Nazi policy in general:

The Jewish problem is being partially solved in the Protectorate, as it has been decided to eradicate all the Jews and send some to Poland and others to the town of Terezin, whilst looking for a more remote place ....

The German triumph [in the war] will leave Europe freed of Semites. Those [Jews] who escape with their lives from this trial will certainly be deported to Siberia, where they will not have much opportunity to make use of their financial capabilities.

In proportion to the U.S.A. increasing its attacks on the Reich, Germany will expedite the destruction of Semitism, as she accuses international Judaism of all the calamities which have befallen the world.

The exodus of the Jews from the Reich has not had the results prophesied by the enemies of Germany: on the contrary: they have been replaced by Aryans with obvious advantage to everything and in everything, except in the usury line in which they are past masters. [20]


Although lacking details of most of the logistics of the Final Solution, in his last paragraphs this Chilean diplomat managed to capture the gist of Nazi goals on the Jewish question. Two months before the Wannsee Conference, he was able to forecast the Nazi destruction of "Semitism," the clearing of Jews from Europe. Montt did not perceive broad Nazi objectives to be vague rhetoric or metaphor -- a conclusion reinforced by his reference to Jews who escaped with their lives to Siberia. Nazi Germany was pursuing a policy of genocide.

Montt's report of Nazi objectives was so plain that his comment about Nazi reactions to American criticism seems a little askew. Nazi Germany would hardly adopt a policy of extermination simply as a result of American hostility toward Germany. On the other hand, it might blame the United States for its need to resort to the harshest measures, and it might possibly accelerate the timing of killing measures intended in any case.

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Report from Gonzalo Montt Rivas, the Chilean consul in Prague, to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, intercepted and translated by the British and passed on to U.S. authorities [NA, RG 65, 62-65008-24-1-(1-100), boxes 26-27, folder -- Secret Intercepts -- South America].

R/5114

FROM: RIVAS G. MONTT,
CHILIAN CONSUL,
PRAGUE

TO: MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS, SANTIAGO, CHILE

DATE: Sept. 6th, 1941 (Spanish)

ANTI-JEWISH MEASURES IN WARSAW AND PRAGUE

"In WARSAW the Jews have been concentrated in a single quarter of the city, that is to say, there has been a return to the mediaeval 'ghetto'. This Jewish city within the Polish capital has some 500, 000 inhabitants; 40% of them work as artisans, shoemakers, cabinet-makers, tailors and mechanics. The German authorities supplied many of them with the means of setting up their workshops.

"The example of WARSAW shows that some solution can be found for this aspect of the Jewish problem. There is no reason why similar action should not be taken in the Protectorate. What has been done so far is incomplete; the Jews are forbidden to go to cinemas and cafes .. but they always manage to evade these regulations, and carry on dishonest trading (black markets of all kinds); they also spread fantastic lies about the REICH and provoke the Aryans by their arrogance. A search of the houses and apartments occupied by Jewish families shows that these PRAGUE Hebrews, far from suffering in any way from the war, had managed to get hold of large quantities of foodstuffs, preserves, clothing, shoes, etc.

"The time has therefore come to put a stop to such behaviour. The Jews are now forbidden to enter public and private libraries; the reproduction in any form of music by Jewish composers is prohibited: punishment for infringement of the regulations is a maximum fine of 5000 Kr. and 15 days' imprisonment. All typewriters owned by Jews must be registered. They must also register their furs. This last measure is no doubt due to the intention to requisition all skins, which are required to line the coats of the German soldiers fighting in RUSSIA.

"Henceforth the PROTECTORATE Jews will have to wear a yellow star over the left breast and will not be allowed to go about in PRAGUE or the interior without police permission.


"....The Jews are returning to the position in which they found themselves centuries ago. It is not to be wondered at that the REICH is taking these measures against the Israelites, seeing that it is in reality the dominant Jewish element in GREAT BRITAIN, U.S.A. and RUSSIA which brought about this war against GERMANY: when the Christian element has been destroyed and the 'Gentiles' have been annihilated, the Jews hope that their expected Messiah will come, to make the 'chosen people' the rulers of the world."

B.6.11.41
MF

London (2) New York (2) Trinidad (1) Jamaica (1)
G.F. CZECHOSLOVAKIA


Montt's statement that Terezin (Theresienstadt) would serve as a temporary collection site for Czech Jews showed knowledge of specific plans first discussed among high Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) officials in Prague on October 10. Reinhard Heydrich, head of the RSHA, had spoken at a press conference that same day, releasing selected information about the Jewish question to sympathetic journalists. [21]

While Hitler was secluded at his East Prussian headquarters during much of the summer and fall of 1941, and Himmler was either at his own headquarters nearby or touring sites near the front where his SS and police were in action, [22] Heydrich went to Prague. Hitler appointed him as Reich Protector of Bohemia-Moravia on September 27. From that point on, Heydrich operated not only as Himmler's key subordinate on Jewish matters, but also as an independent authority in the Protectorate. He reported some matters directly to Martin Bormann in order to inform Hitler, and he had at least one private meeting with Hitler (on October 25), at which he apparently gave a presentation. [23] During this time, Hitler continually ranted about removing the "Jewish menace" in the Protectorate and elsewhere. [24] Himmler also explained to Slovakian government officials that he wished to help them solve the Jewish problem. [25] Heydrich was well versed in what was expected, and he was in control of operations in at least one key region.

The various despatches from Montt in Prague to the Foreign Ministry in Santiago, Chile, were misread in one respect -- Montt's name was frequently garbled. Although at least one of Montt's despatches has his name typed at the bottom, [26] most have only a signature -- really a barely legible scrawl. If one knows that Gonzalo Montt was the consul in Prague, one can make the signature out -- with difficulty. It is invariably G. Montt, with the G resembling an E and the last t appearing uncrossed.

Many of the British intelligence translations of Montt's despatches given to COI simply do not name the Chilean diplomat -- they give only his post -- but there are some exceptions. A British report of September 13, 1941, passing along the Chilean despatch of June 24, 1941, gave the Chilean the name E. Morin. [27] A British report of February 4, 1942, summarizing the Chilean despatch of November 15, 1941, listed him as E. C. Conti. [28] The signature actually looks more like E. C. Conti than like Montt, but no one with the name Conti ever served as a Chilean diplomat. [29] The man in Prague was always the same: Montt.

The errors in reading the signature confirm that British intelligence got access to Montt's actual paper despatches. Radio messages would have given the name -- in code, to be sure -- but even garbled British decoding would have produced a more consistent version of Montt's name.

Montt's November 24, 1941, despatch came to the West in early 1942 (the United States received a copy from the British on March 20, 1942) very early in the flow of information about the Holocaust. A set of Chilean reports from Prague, Montt's among them, went from the British office in New York to David Bruce, who had just become head of the new Secret Intelligence branch of the Coordinator of Information. [30] Bruce apparently directed copies to those who might be interested in the contents. A handwritten note on the British/Chilean despatch of November 24 indicates that William Kimbel, an administrative assistant to director William J. Donovan, received a copy. No information has been found to suggest how Kimbel reacted -- or whether he did anything else with this document. Nor is there anything to demonstrate that Donovan himself saw this information.

FBI copies of selected despatches from Montt were forwarded to Assistant Secretary of State Adolf Berle and Byron S. Huie, Jr., an intelligence analyst in the Board of Economic Warfare. Nelson Rockefeller, who headed the independent Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, received a copy of at least the report about Jews being deported to the General Government. [31] The reasoning for sending it to Rockefeller seemed to be that Montt's fears of Jews trying to seek entry into Western Hemisphere countries might materialize; therefore, those in charge of Latin American policy should be informed about potential Nazi actions.

Some of the Chilean despatches about economic conditions in Bohemia-Moravia and the availability of food and raw materials were sent by Bruce to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr. [32] Morgenthau, who was friendly with Donovan, [33] was perhaps the most prominent Jew in the Roosevelt administration and the one high government official who might have reacted vigorously and quickly to the report about Nazi policy toward the Jews. Ironically, he did not receive a copy of what is in retrospect Montt's most important despatch.

In Britain the Chilean report fit into a pattern of other completely reliable intelligence information about Nazi genocidal policy, and it may have strengthened British intelligence conclusions about Nazi policy toward Jews across the continent. In the United States, where there was less in the way of relevant and trustworthy intelligence information in early 1942, there is no sign that this Chilean report had an impact, beyond possibly reinforcing fears about an influx of Jewish refugees into the Western Hemisphere.

Despite Montt's clear articulation of the Reich's genocidal intentions, his November 24 despatch had limited impact upon Western governments at the time. It prompted no Western action to warn potential Jewish victims. Why would any British or American official pay particular attention to the views of an unknown Chilean diplomat in Prague, who adopted Nazi rhetoric so freely? Perhaps there was a gap between rhetoric and reality. In addition, for many Americans and Britons inside and outside of government, the central, overriding concern during 1939-1945 was the war itself -- not the barbaric policies that accompanied it. No single document -- no matter how powerful -- could change the dominant perception within a new American intelligence organization that it had to concentrate on ways to help win the war.

Early OSS Sources

At its birth on June 13, 1942, the OSS consisted of a little more than eight hundred employees. [34] Some branches, such as Research and Analysis as well as Secret Intelligence and Special Operations, were carried over from the COI and then expanded; others had to be created. In mid-1942, the OSS did not yet have officials in key listening posts near Germany such as Switzerland and Sweden. It had to rely partly on outside assistance.

The COI had established the Oral Intelligence Unit in August 1941 in New York to collect first-hand information from refugees and others returning home from enemy territory. [35] A large number of individuals who experienced Nazi abuses during the 1930s managed to enter the United States by 1941. Their impressions of the country they had left and their accounts of their experiences provided not only unique details, but also general information of value to subsequent generations. [36] Some OSS interviews of these immigrants and refugees remained classified until recently, apparently because they listed the names of individuals and their interviewers.

In the period 1942-44, it was quite unusual for Jews to escape Nazi territory and make their way into the United States -- or even to give detailed testimony to American officials abroad. But there are some interesting exceptions which produced good historical evidence. One case will have to suffice here.

Forty-nine-year-old Joseph Goldschmied had been a citizen of Czechoslovakia before the Nazis dismembered it. He was married to an American. The Swiss government arranged an exchange in which first his wife and son and then Goldschmied himself were extricated from danger in mid-1942. He left Prague twelve days after Heydrich was assassinated, then spent nearly a week in a police camp in Berlin. After a railway trip through France to Spain, he eventually sailed on the Drottningholm, one of the exchange ships crossing the Atlantic. Interviewed after his arrival in New York in July 1942, he dictated and wrote an extremely detailed, twenty-six-page, single-spaced picture of his experiences from the time Germany occupied Prague until his departure.

Goldschmied had worked for the Bohemian Union Bank in Prague. He gave a vivid account of the process of organized robbery that followed the German occupation, including the takeover of his bank by the Deutsche Bank. His report covered, among other things, Nazi repression after the assassination of Heydrich, the activities of the Czech resistance, illegal listening to foreign radio broadcasts, the attitudes of German soldiers in Prague, economic conditions and forced labor practices in the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia, conditions and attitudes in Berlin, and the behavior of the Gestapo.

Goldschmied went into greatest detail about Nazi measures against Czech Jews, and he was able to trace over time shifts in Nazi strategy -- from expropriation and forced emigration measures to forced labor and deportations, and from deportations to annihilation. The report began with the claim that the SS and Gestapo had been entrusted with the task of annihilating the Jews. He ended as follows:

Of the 48,500 Jews still living in Prague before the occupation, approximately one half [were] deported [by] the day of my departure. Everything was carried through upon direct orders from Berlin, where they had had a good deal of practice before. From the small towns almost all Jews were deported, in Prague only those could remain who were married to an Aryan. Later transports went to Theresienstadt, a garrison about one hour from Prague ... Later on Theresienstadt was used only as a transit place. After three days the Jews were sent on to Poland ... Men and women were separated and many died of starvation. Reports coming in indirectly from Poland give heartbreaking details. If Hitler remains true to his program of destroying all European Jewry -- he will have achieved that goal soon and most countries will be depleted of Jews. [37]


OSS interviewer Emmy Rado described him as intelligent, perceptive, and objective, in spite of what he had gone through. Goldschmied must have convinced Rado that he knew that Nazi Germany was carrying out Hitler's threat to destroy the Jewish people; she rated his lengthy account credible.

Additional information about the Holocaust came to the OSS around that time from a series of three letters or articles by an unidentified journalist, or possibly by an official of the Office of War Information. The author was in Lisbon in June 1942 and "on the German frontier" -- probably Switzerland or Vichy France -- in November 1942. These three letters were declassified well before the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. Some historians have used them previously, considering them good sources, despite some inaccuracies and gaps. [38]

It is difficult to be precise about the origin of these letters because of their handling in the post-World War II period. Before they were sent to the National Archives, the author's and recipient's names were blacked out, and the documents were photocopied. The originals apparently no longer exist, so the redactions cannot be removed now.

The IWG has now declassified a large number of additional letters on a wide variety of topics. This related set of documents is scattered within a particular entry of OSS records. Although the unidentified authors and foreign locations vary, the additional letters, like the three discussed above, are virtually all addressed the same way: "Dear A--." The traces of a capital A are visible in the blacked-out name in some letters; a final n appears in others. In one case the censor (fortunately) slipped up entirely, and the name appears in its entirety: Allen. [39]

We deduce that Allen Dulles, while stationed in the COI's New York office, began the practice of soliciting detailed reports from journalists or other contacts who were stationed or traveling abroad. These background reports on conditions in locations throughout the world continued to flow into OSS New York even after Dulles went to Switzerland in November 1942 to head the OSS office there. [40] The three-part series of articles on the topic "Nazi extermination of Jews," addressed to Dulles, also went to OSS Secret Intelligence in New York, which makes it important evidence in a study of what the OSS knew and when. [41] Only the author is unknown. [42]

The first letter from Lisbon, dated June 28, 1942, specified that Nazi Germany had made the Jews into a special case -- they were beyond persecution:

Germany no longer persecutes the Jews. It is systematically exterminating them.

The new racist policy, which in cold, calculated cruelty surpasses the horrors of Magdeburg or Carthage, was revealed to me at Lisbon by a British officer who escaped the hell of the Himmler ghetto in Warsaw ... According to the officer, who was caught in Warsaw and hidden by Jews until his escape fourteen days ago, as the Jews die, disappear or are executed, new Jews are brought into the ghettos to replace them from Austria, Germany, Moravia, Bohemia, and elsewhere, keeping the maximum at the destruction centers. Eventually all Jews within the grasp of Greater Germany will be rounded up and routed to Poland, deprived of all rights, robbed, practically undressed, herded [?] into the "epidemic districts" then starved, terrorized or executed ....

In a recent visit to the governor [of the General Government] during April, Herr Himmler complained that Jews were not disappearing fast enough to please the Fuehrer. Himmler then laid down a sort of ultimatum to Berlin's representative ....

Firstly: Virtual extermination of all Jews must be accomplished before a specified date, known to the Aryan chiefs.

Secondly: All Polish secret organizations must likewise be exterminated.

Thirdly: All Jewish business, mainly black market groups, must be immediately wiped out by execution.

Fourthly: One more million Poles must be transported to Germany to work, forming part of the most colossal slave drive in history.


Himmler's records confirm that he visited the Warsaw ghetto on the evening of April 17, 1942; Gestapo officials executed more than fifty Jews in Pawiak Prison that same evening. [43] There is no confirmation that Hitler or Himmler issued a formal order in April 1942 requiring the rapid elimination of all remaining Jews in the General Government, but it is not improbable -- similar things were ordered later. The British officer who escaped from the Warsaw ghetto to Lisbon knew what he was talking about. There may be further British documents about this escapee, but if so, they have not been released.

The second article by the same author, dated November 7, 1942, was equally pointed:

The exact date when Hitler decided to wipe the [J]ews from the surface of Europe in the most literal sense of the word, namely by killing them, is unknown. Evacuations and deportations accompanied by executions date as far back as the Polish campaign [fall 1939], but the organized wholesale slaughter of whole communities and trainloads of [J]ews appears to have been practiced not before the German attack on Russia ....

When the Red armies flooded back from the Baltic countries there began at once an all out hunt of "[J]ews" and "communists." Since there were hardly any communists left -- most of them followed the red army -- the [J]ews had to bear the brunt of the orgy of revenge which followed the communist reign in the Baltic countries. Many [J]ews had, indeed, been unwise enough to associate themselves too closely with the communist regimes, apparently hoping that they would protect them against Hitler. Their miscalculation hastened their destruction. Lithuanian and Latvian fascists ably assisted by special SS detachments massacred within a few days tens of thousands ofJews in Lithuania and Latvia alone.

This orgy of bloodshed, which in a way can be described as a genuine pogrom, was the signal for the general massacer [sic] of Jews in all three Baltic countries, in Poland, White-Russia and the Ukraine. As long as it was possible Lithuanians and Latvians were used as executioners, but even the most bloodthirsty among them soon got tired of the job and left it to the genuine professionals from Germany.

But even in the following months Lithuania and Latvia, the scene of the "real pogroms" remained one of Himmler[']s favorite execution grounds. Whatever happened there could, if necessary, be blamed on the local anti-[S]emites and on the [J]ewish communists commis[s]ars who had been the cause of this anti-[S]emitism.


This account of Nazi-incited pogroms, followed by more organized and systematic mass shootings, captured the general pattern in Latvia and Lithuania.

The third article, dated November 15, 1942, continued the woeful story of Nazi executions in the Baltic States, tracing, on the basis of information from an eyewitness, one train of Wesphalian Jews deported to Riga, who were executed batch by batch in a ditch dug in a forest on the route to Kaiserwald. The author went on to discuss similar executions, carefully prepared, elsewhere. But he concluded with a mention of the very latest methods, whose details were still unknown: gassing in trains (a slight error; it was vans) and electrocution in water basins, which was an inaccurate report. If these methods proved technically feasible, "there is every reason to assume that they will finally replace the old methods." The author did not have up-to-date information about the construction of extermination camps using gas chambers and crematoria, but the level of detail about mass shootings in the East, the first phase of the Holocaust, was quite impressive.

Dulles himself most likely did not have access to these letters before he left New York for Switzerland (the first letter was delayed, the second written while he was en route, the third after his arrival). Whether or not he received them in Switzerland, he got similar information after his arrival there on November 10, 1942. Drawing from various sources, Dulles quickly became well informed about the Holocaust.

Allen Dulles in Switzerland

Allen Welsh Dulles, forty-nine years old in 1942, was perfectly qualified for his role as an intelligence official in Switzerland concerned primarily with Nazi Germany. Of upper-class birth and Princeton education, Dulles pursued successful careers in diplomacy and law -- both closely tied to European affairs. He had served as a young diplomat in Switzerland during World War I, at the peace conference in Paris in 1919, and in Germany in the immediate postwar period. He was friendly with two leading German Social Democrats, Rudolf Hilferding and Rudolf Breitscheid, both of them to die at the hands of the Nazis. He held some negative stereotypes of Jews, but in 1921 he was directly involved in efforts to expose the now infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion as a forgery. He was unable to persuade the State Department to denounce the document publicly.

In 1904, the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (home to today's Human Genome Project) was built on the estates of John Foster and Allen Dulles, lawyers for the Rockefeller Standard Oil Company. The Dulles Brothers, who openly professed John D. Rockefeller's racial hygiene doctrines, later directed the U.S. military's Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and after World War II, the CIA. Charles B. Davenport constructed the Cold Spring Harbor facility to provide a home for racial hygiene research, what was then called "eugenics research." The first racial hygiene laws in the world evolved from investigations and reports issued from here. The John D. Rockefeller and Averell Harriman, America's wealthiest oil and railroad magnates, invested more than $11 million -- an extraordinary fortune at that time -- in funding this facility. Soon thereafter, in 1909, the first genetics laboratory was established at the Rockefeller Institute and directed by Dr. Phoebus Aaron Theodor Levene.

By 1907, medical education had been mostly monopolized by the Rockefeller consortium. That year, the American Medical Association (AMA) advanced its medical education rating system effectively eliminating, by 1918, approximately 600 of the initial 650 medical schools. Through Rockefeller cohorts in the Andrew Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching, Abraham Flexner was appointed to survey medical schools throughout America. This led to the infamous "Flexner Report" that vilified every alternative to drug-based medicine. The Rockefeller's political control over this American medical coup was clearly reflected in Flexner family relations. Abraham Flexner served on the Rockefellers General Education Board. Abraham Flexner's brother, Simon, headed the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research. Simon's brother, Bernard, later joined the board of trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation after he helped found the politically powerful Council on Foreign Relations.

In 1910, following the death of Averell Harriman who presided over Yale's infamous secret society, the Skull and Bones, his widow donated 80 acres of estate property to establish the Eugenics Research Association at Cold Spring Harbor, New York, along with the Eugenics Records Office. The following year, social Darwinism subscriber, John Foster Dulles, revealed his desire to help develop a "super race." He explained that by eliminating "the weakest members of the population," a purer Aryan race might be created. According to several reputable authors, the Dulles brothers directing Rockefeller's management group and law firm at Sullivan and Cromwell on Wall Street, later administered the American affairs of I.G. Farben -- Germany's leading industrial organization -- linked intimately to Hitler and the rising Third Reich. The Dulles law firm also directed U.S. business affairs for Fritz Thyssen, Hitler's primary financial backer. Thyssen later introduced Allen Dulles to the rising Nazi fuehrer, after which brother John negotiated loans for the Nazis.

-- The American Red Double-Cross, by Dr. Len Horowitz


In April 1933, Dulles took time out from his legal career to serve again as a diplomat on disarmament matters, during which time he went back to Germany and had a face-to-face discussion with Hitler. As a successful corporate lawyer, Dulles spent much time with German clients and lawyers. As strains developed between Germany and the West during the late 1930s, Allen Dulles, in contrast with his elder brother, John Foster, became more and more convinced that Nazi Germany could not be allowed to expand at will. Shortly after Pearl Harbor and Germany's declaration of war on the United States, he began to work for the COI. [44]

In May 1933, just after the Hitler regime was consolidated, an agreement was reached in Berlin for the coordination of all Nazi commerce with the U.S.A. The Harriman International Co., led by Averell Harriman's first cousin Oliver, was to head a syndicate of 150 firms and individuals, to conduct all exports from Hitler Germany to the United States. [fn35]

This pact had been negotiated in Berlin between Hitler's economics minister, Hjalmar Schacht, and John Foster Dulles, international attorney for dozens of Nazi enterprises, with the counsel of Max Warburg and Kurt von Schroeder.


John Foster Dulles would later be U.S. Secretary of State, and the great power in the Republican Party of the 1950s. Foster's friendship and that of his brother Allen (head of the Central Intelligence Agency), greatly aided Prescott Bush to become the Republican U.S. Senator from Connecticut. And it was to be of inestimable value to George Bush, in his ascent to the heights of "covert action government,'' that both of these Dulles brothers were the lawyers for the Bush family's far-flung enterprise.

Throughout the 1930s, John Foster Dulles arranged debt restructuring for German firms under a series of decrees issued by Adolf Hitler. In these deals, Dulles struck a balance between the interest owed to selected, larger investors, and the needs of the growing Nazi war-making apparatus for producing tanks, poison gas, etc.

Dulles wrote to Prescott Bush in 1937 concerning one such arrangement. The German-Atlantic Cable Company, owning Nazi Germany's only telegraph channel to the United States, had made debt and management agreements with the Walker-Harriman bank during the 1920s. A new decree would now void those agreements, which had originally been reached with non-Nazi corporate officials. Dulles asked Bush, who managed these affairs for Averell Harriman, to get Averell's signature on a letter to Nazi officials, agreeing to the changes. Dulles wrote:

Sept. 22, 1937

Mr. Prescott S. Bush

59 Wall Street, New York, N.Y.

Dear Press,

I have looked over the letter of the German-American [sic] Cable Company to Averell Harriman.... It would appear that the only rights in the matter are those which inure in the bankers and that no legal embarrassment would result, so far as the bondholders are concerned, by your acquiescence in the modification of the bankers' agreement.

Sincerely yours,

John Foster Dulles

Dulles enclosed a proposed draft reply, Bush got Harriman's signature, and the changes went through. [fn36]

In conjunction with these arrangements, the German Atlantic Cable Company attempted to stop payment on its debts to smaller American bondholders. The money was to be used instead for arming the Nazi state, under a decree of the Hitler government.

Despite the busy efforts of Bush and Dulles, a New York court decided that this particular Hitler "law'' was invalid in the United States; small bondholders, not parties to deals between the bankers and the Nazis, were entitled to get paid. [fn37]

In this and a few other of the attempted swindles, the intended victims came out with their money. But the Nazi financial and political reorganization went ahead to its tragic climax.

-- George Bush: The Unauthorized Biography, by Webster Tarpley


By the time the COI became the OSS in 1942, high officials had recognized the value of having a well-stocked base in neutral Switzerland, nearly surrounded by the Axis powers, prepared to defend itself if attacked, but otherwise steering a delicately balanced course. Switzerland had so many economic links with both Germany and Italy that there was bound to be leakage of information through corporate channels. Prominent exiles from Nazi Germany in the country still had lines of information into Berlin. The Swiss government, the International Red Cross, and the Bank of International Settlements might each yield some Nazi secrets if the right people plied their officials. Dulles had just the right qualifications. He almost left for Switzerland too late -- the journey was strewn with obstacles, and Dulles barely made it across the French border before Germany shut off this route in response to the Allied invasion of French North Africa. [45]

Dulles was given the cover of being special assistant to the American minister in Bern, Leland Harrison. Dulles had regular contact with Embassy officials, including Harrison; he even used some State Department codes when his own facilities for communication with Washington were overloaded. Although Dulles quickly found and developed his own sources of information about Nazi Germany, he was aware of, and occasionally drew on, information from the legation and consulates. It turned out that legation and consular officials had very good sources of their own with regard to the Holocaust.

In the summer and fall of 1942, individual private reports about the Nazi policy of mass extermination of the Jewish "race" reached Jewish sources in Switzerland. The most famous report originated with an anti-Nazi German industrialist, Eduard Schulte, whose huge company, Georg von Giesches Erben, ran a zinc rolling mill in the town of Auschwitz. [46] Schulte gave the report to his business associate Isidor Koppelmann, who contacted Benjamin Sagalowitz, a press officer for the Jewish community of Zurich. Sagalowitz went to Gerhart Riegner, representative of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva. In early August, Riegner outlined the Nazi Final Solution, the use of gas chambers and a poison gas based on prussic acid to exterminate 3.5 to 4 million Jews. Keeping the name of his source secret, Riegner asked American and British diplomats to send this information to their governments, and also to give it to officials of the World Jewish Congress in both countries. [47]

American diplomats in Geneva and Bern sent Riegner's telegram to the State Department. The desk officers in the European Division and the refugee specialists discounted this telegram, and the State Department declined to pass it on to Rabbi Stephen Wise, president of the American Jewish Congress. The State Department summarized this information for the OSS in Washington as "a wild rumor inspired by Jewish fears."
[48]

But Wise later got the information from London colleagues and brought it to the attention of Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles. Welles then ordered an investigation. Harrison received a triple priority instruction from Undersecretary of State Welles to investigate Riegner's sources and the accuracy of his information. As part of that process, on October 22, Harrison met with Riegner and his colleague from the Jewish Agency for Palestine, Richard Lichtheim; he even induced Riegner to give him the name of his German industrialist in a sealed envelope. Riegner and Lichtheim presented Harrison with a set of documents, nearly thirty pages including the industrialist's information and other independent sources. Their cover sheet on the packet of documents indicated that, in keeping with deliberate Nazi policy, four million Jews were on the verge of complete annihilation by a number of methods, including: starvation; ghettos; slave labor; deportation under inhumane conditions; and mass murder by shooting, poisoning, and other means. Harrison and other American diplomats collected much more information about the Holocaust than actually went to Washington. [49] After Harrison notified Welles that he was convinced of the accuracy of the information, Welles privately confirmed Riegner's telegram to Wise. Wise quickly held a press conference in late November to publicize the information. [50]

The refugee specialist at the State Department, Robert Borden Reams, complained in an internal memorandum that Wise should never have publicized the information he had received from Riegner (and which Undersecretary Welles had privately confirmed):

It should again be stressed that all of these reports are unconfirmed. It is obviously impossible to secure confirmation of German activities in the various occupied countries ... It cannot be doubted that the Jewish people of Europe are oppressed and it is certain that considerable numbers of them have died in one way or another since the war started. Whether the number of dead amounts to tens of thousands, or, as these reports state, to millions is not material to the main problem ... Our main purpose is the winning of the war and other considerations must be subordinate thereto. [51]


Reams was hardly the only one in government who felt that way, but he was unusually blunt in stating that he wanted relevant information about the Holocaust to be disregarded. He did not want Rabbi Wise to stir up demands for some kind of government action that might interfere with the war effort.

On December 8, Rabbi Wise and a number of other American Jewish representatives presented some of the evidence about the Holocaust, including Riegner and Lichtheim's documents, to President Roosevelt at the White House. The president said that the government was familiar with most of the facts, but that it was hard to find an appropriate course of action. The Jewish leaders asked for an official government statement denouncing Nazi policy, and FDR agreed. Independently, pressures mounted in London for a similar British statement. On December 17, the United States, Britain, and a number of other Allied governments (overriding objections from the State Department and the British Foreign Office) formally recognized that Nazi Germany was pursuing a policy of extermination of the Jewish people. But American and British refugee policies were not otherwise changed for some time. [52] There was a major difference between recognizing information and taking action on the basis of it.

The exchanges between Bern and Washington indicate how much basic information about the Holocaust was available and accepted by American diplomats in Switzerland by the late fall of 1942, when Allen Dulles arrived. Dulles would have been a poor intelligence man if he had not learned quickly about the State Department's interaction with the legation in Bern over Nazi policy toward Jews. He was in Switzerland when the Allied governments issued their December 17 statement, which was based in part on the information and evidence the legation had provided. He would likely have known that State Department bureaucrats were unhappy that the legation had allowed Riegner to send information to Wise, and even unhappier when Wise publicized this information. All these events help to explain why certain kinds of Holocaust information did not go through OSS channels. Dulles did not need to reconfirm the obvious, especially because it was politically sensitive in Washington.

Later, Nazi Germany supplied some solid evidence of its intended actions against Jews. On February 24, 1943, Hitler commemorated the 22nd anniversary of the naming of the Nazi Party with a speech in which he again promised that the war would lead to the annihilation of the Jews. The German press published an account under the headline The Destruction of the Jews, suggesting a sharpening of Nazi policy. [53] This kind of propaganda offensive had several different rationales. Nazi leaders used anti-Semitic themes generally to try to convince people in Allied countries that the Jews were forcing them to carry on a costly war. But Hitler's "prophecy" at this time was partly an effort to show progress toward a fundamental Nazi goal, despite the recent catastrophic defeat at Stalingrad. Just as importantly, it incriminated Germans by giving them a sense of extreme measures (while requiring their complete loyalty), without revealing exactly what had happened and was still happening to Jews deported from Germany. [54]
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Re: U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, No

Postby admin » Fri May 18, 2018 6:11 am

Part 2 of 2

On February 27, Berlin SS and police began a roundup of a planned total of fifteen thousand Jews, largely those working in factories but including those who were married to Christians and had been previously exempt. As the roundup continued into early March, targeted Jews were confined in the Jewish Community's administration building in the Rosenstrasse. The spouses of some of those arrested flocked to the site and began a demonstration. Meanwhile, other Jews learned of the roundup in advance and went into hiding. [55]

Dulles learned of these Berlin events from Dr. Visser t'Hooft (to whom Dulles gave the code number 474), a Dutch theologian who was first secretary of the World Council of Churches and was based in Bern. Visser t'Hooft's sources in Berlin indicated that the SS was trying to remove all Jews from the capital by mid-March:

It is definitely expected that these methods of rapid and total extermination of the Jews in Germany will be extended in the coming weeks to other German regions, and very likely also to the occupied territories. Instead of deporting the Jews to Poland and having them killed in that country, the new policy is to kill them on the spot.


The last portion -- regarding killing on the spot -- was clearly inaccurate, but the report tracked important events almost as they occurred. [56]

If his recollections are accurate, Visser t'Hooft had grasped the thrust of Nazi policy toward the Jews since sometime in early 1942. The decisive event for him was hearing a Swiss businessman tell what he had witnessed during a trip to Russia. German officers had invited him to observe a mass killing of Jews -- men, women, and children machine-gunned as they lay in prepared mass graves. After hearing of this incident, Visser t'Hooft closely followed subsequent reports about Nazi actions against Jews. [57]

Dulles had a long talk with Visser t'Hooft to discover his sources about the Berlin roundup. A Swede, likely Hugo Cedergren of the YMCA, had recently been to Berlin and had the information from a Protestant pastor whose wife was non-Aryan, as well as from an official at the Swedish legation in Berlin. Dulles told Visser t'Hooft that this was a matter in which Minister Harrison took a deep interest. On the other hand, Dulles said that the information was not fully verified, and that unspecified proposed Allied measures to hinder this new program did not seem at all practical. Dulles wrote up his conversation with Visser t'Hooft for Harrison, who responded that Riegner had given American Consul Paul Squire some additional reports about the disappearance of Jews in the privileged category, including Riegner's own uncle. [58]

The two senior American officials traded information and scrutinized sources, both of them recognizing the sensitivity of this matter in Washington. (State Department officials had earlier prohibited Harrison from allowing private individuals like Riegner to send information through diplomatic channels, but Harrison told Dulles that this prohibition no longer applied to Dulles' means of communication.) [59] Dulles also reported the public protests by the affected spouses of some of the Jews detained. A month later British press attache Elisabeth Wiskemann told Dulles that one of her sources had confirmed Visser t'Hooft's account of the arrest of "half-Jews"; she also reported that many religious people in Berlin were hiding Jews. [60] Some of Dulles' information about Nazi measures against Jews in Berlin went from the OSS to the White House. [61]

Sometimes Washington asked Dulles to investigate allegations that the Nazis were sparing specific Jews for their own purposes. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover received a quotation allegedly from Ilya Ehrenburg's book The Great War for the Fatherland, published in the Soviet Union in 1942, which indicated that Nazi anti-Semitism was a lie: "They have their own Jews whom they spare. These Jews have on their passports two letters, W.J., meaning 'worthy Jew.''' Hoover asked Donovan to look into this, even though he was skeptical. Donovan asked Dulles (among others), who could not confirm that there were such markings on passports, although he did mention that the Nazis had given some Jews marked identity cards. Donovan quickly told Hoover of reports of two isolated cases, but said that the British had never heard of the practice and considered it improbable. [62]

Most believed their meritorious service would convince their comrades and society to accept them as "normal." Half-Jew Wilhelm Droscher wrote in 1940 that he wanted to serve on the front to prove that he was "a great guy (Kerf)" and worthy German. He would prove his desire to be a "worthy German" by receiving Hitler's Genehmigung, being promoted to first lieutenant and receiving both Iron Crosses and the German-Cross in Gold. [153] Many did more than required, and thus one can safely assume that several died premature or unnecessary deaths attempting to prove their worthiness. Out of 1,671 Jewish and Mischling soldiers documented in this study, 7 Jews, 80 half-Jews, and 76 quarter-Jews died in battle. Some 244 received the Iron Cross, [154] I the German-Cross in Silver, [155] 19 the German-Cross in Gold, [156] and 15 the Knight's Cross (Ritterkreuz) of the Iron Cross,157 one of Germany's highest military honors.

-- Hitler's Jewish Soldiers: The Untold Story of Nazi Racial Laws and Men of Jewish Descent in the German Military, by Bryan Mark Rigg


When he had impeccable sources about actions against Jews, Dulles did not hesitate to tell Washington. In October 1943, after Berlin ordered a roundup of the Jews in Rome, the German consul Eitel Friedrich Mollhausen dissented; he asked Hitler and Foreign Minister Ribbentrop for instructions. Dulles later received a copy of Mollhausen's cable and decided to send it verbatim to Washington through a special means of transmission. The original document allowed Washington to see just how German officials lobbied. Mollhausen had written:

Obersturmbannfuehrer Kappler has been commissioned from Berlin, to seize the 8,000 Jews resident in Rome and take them to northern Italy where they are to be liquidated. General Stahelm [Stahel], city commander of Rome, said that this action is to be permitted only with the approval of the German Foreign Minister. I am personally of the opinion that it would be better business to transport the Jews to Tunis for work on fortifications. [63]


By the time he received this document, Dulles knew that the roundup of Jews in Rome had been carried out, even if it turned out to be only partly effective. [64]

On at least one occasion Dulles cast a cable to OSS Washington in such a way that it revealed his basic understanding of Nazi policy against Jews. In an early March 1943 discussion of Hungary's "straddling" (shifting slightly away from its alliance with Germany), Dulles mentioned Hungarian anti-Semitic speeches and discrimination against Jewish professionals, but pointed out that Hungary had taken in seventy thousand Jewish refugees from Poland, Croatia, and Slovakia. This balancing act was part of a reported Hungarian strategy to hold off German pressure: "[Hungarian officials] felt that if they barked at the Jews, biting them would not be necessary. Had the blocking of Germany been tried by Hungary, there would have perished in the latter country eight hundred thousand Jews." [65] Under these circumstances, Dulles did not want to be too critical of Hungary's Jewish policy. He believed that wherever Germany extended its control, Jews would be eliminated.

The new racist policy, which in cold, calculated cruelty surpasses the horrors of Magdeburg or Carthage, was revealed to me at Lisbon by a British officer who escaped the hell of the Himmler ghetto in Warsaw ... According to the officer, who was caught in Warsaw and hidden by Jews until his escape fourteen days ago, as the Jews die, disappear or are executed, new Jews are brought into the ghettos to replace them from Austria, Germany, Moravia, Bohemia, and elsewhere, keeping the maximum at the destruction centers. Eventually all Jews within the grasp of Greater Germany will be rounded up and routed to Poland, deprived of all rights, robbed, practically undressed, herded [?] into the "epidemic districts" then starved, terrorized or executed ....

-- U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, Norman J.W. Goda, Timothy Naftali and Robert Wolfe


Dulles had a number of advantages in recognizing the scope of Nazi policy. The legation in Switzerland had gathered much relevant information before he arrived. Dulles quickly chose a naturalized American named Gero von Gaevernitz as his chief assistant. Born and raised in Germany, Gaevernitz had excellent contacts among the anti-Nazi resistance. His mother was of Jewish origin, and he would have been very sensitive to any news about measures against German Jews. Dulles also used a number of informants who possessed a clear understanding of the Final Solution, including Eduard Schulte, the original source of information for Riegner's telegram.

Given the level of reporting from Dulles and other OSS officials in Europe, the Secret Intelligence branch of the OSS hardly lacked basic information about the Holocaust. In addition, it received information in Europe and in the United States from Jewish organizations such as the Jewish Labor Committee. [66] The Polish underground and the Polish government-in-exile also contributed substantial, detailed information.

In one now-famous case, both Polish channels and the Jewish Labor Committee were involved in getting to the OSS the horrifying eyewitness account of Polish courier Jan Karski, who secretly visited the Warsaw ghetto. [67] A leader of the Bund (a Polish party closely allied with the Jewish Labor Committee), who was among the doomed in the Warsaw ghetto, had given Karski a message to carry to the West:

What is happening to us is altogether outside the imagination of civilized human beings. They [in the West] don't believe what they hear. Tell them that we are all dying. Let them rescue all those who will still be alive when the Report reaches them. We shall never forgive them for not having supplied us with arms so that we may have died like men, with guns in our hands. [68]


This moving document reached OSS hands. How widely it was distributed within the organization and how much attention and credibility it generated are open to question. [69]

The Extermination Camps: Allied Information and Conclusions

If Dulles was well aware of Nazi policy toward Jews, he probably did not know much about the means and sites of mass murder. To be sure, he learned that conditions in the concentration camps in Germany were horrifying. One report from a prisoner at Dachau who escaped into Lucerne estimated that one thousand of four thousand Polish priests imprisoned there during 1942-43 had died as a result of mistreatment and inadequate food. [70] But the OSS and the FBI lacked early evidence about the internal conditions and workings of the camps, especially the extermination camps; their best sources arrived later.

The operations of the Nazi extermination camps were so secret that even transports to the camps were reported in heavily coded language. [71] Although information on the extermination camps reaching the West was fragmentary by nature, it allowed for more general conclusions. [72] Newly released records declassified by the IWG suggest that the OSS did not actively seek information on concentration or extermination camps. Ordered late in the war to assemble specific information on German war crimes and criminals for the purpose of arrest and prosecution, the OSS seems to have done relatively little in this regard, even when valuable information fell into its lap.

Information on the extermination camps was available in London. The murderous nature of Belzec was known in London as early as April 1942, and that of Treblinka as early as July. [73] The Jewish Chronicle reported on Chelmno's gas vans in the summer of 1942, as well. [74] Information on Auschwitz-Birkenau was received in London and Washington during 1942 and 1943, partly thanks to British intercepts and partly due to the Polish underground. [75] The British picked up a decode in November 1942 indicating that guards at Auschwitz would need six hundred gas masks. In 1942, through intercepted and decoded German radio messages, they were able to follow jumps and falls in the registered Auschwitz Jewish population as well as in the number of Jews deported by rail to Auschwitz, which was a far higher number than registered Jews. Polish underground reports on Jewish extermination activities at Auschwitz also reached London in the fall of 1942, and reports on new crematoria reached London in March 1943. The most famous and most detailed report on Birkenau remains that of escapees Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler, parts of which were available in London and Washington from mid-June 1944 as Hungary's Jews were transported there. [76]

An account written by a Polish agent code named "Wanda" in October 1943 and forwarded to the Polish government-in-exile in January 1944 was handed directly to the Americans -- to the Military Attache in March 1944 and to the OSS in April. "Up to September 1942," it said,

468,000 non-registered Jews have been gassed in Oswiecim [Auschwitz]. Between September 1942 and the beginning of June 1943 there arrived approximately 60,000 Jews from Greece ... about 50,000 Jews from Slovakia and the Protectorate, approximately 60,000 Jews from Holland, Belgium and France, 6,000 from Chrzanow and 5,000 from Kety, Zywiec, Sucha, Slemien and vicinity. Two per cent of these people are alive today ... Each convoy arriving in Oswiecim is unloaded; men are separated from women, and then packed haphazard, in a mass (mainly women and children) into cars and lorries and taken to the gas chamber in Brzezinka [Birkenau]. There they [are] suffocated with the most horrible suffering lasting 10-15 minutes, the corpses being ... cremated ... At present, three large crematoria have been erected in Brzezinka, for 10,000 people daily, which are ceaselessly cremating bodies and which the neighboring population call ''the eternal fire" ...

As from 20.6.1943 mass convoys have been arriving in the Oswiecim camp (Brzezinka), including: one convoy from Nice (870 persons), one convoy with more than 500 persons from Berlin, 800 people from Salonika. Two convoys with 1,600 persons from Brandenburg, one convoy from Sosnowiec, one convoy from Lublin, containing 391 people. These convoys contained 80% Jews and 20% Gypsies from Greece and southern France. Possibly 10% of these people have remained alive in the camp, the remaining 90% were immediately taken to the gas chambers and gassed ... "


The report that contained Wanda's account noted that the Poles "asked that the report be given publicity." [77] It was never made public.

Most reports on camps came to the OSS from British intelligence, and they have long been declassified. A Polish political escapee named Szadowski, who had been at the Auschwitz main camp from June 1940 to March 1942 and then at Birkenau until his escape in 1943, reported in person to British intelligence in October 1944. [78] According to his British interrogator, "Szadowski ... shows surprisingly accurate knowledge of conditions in Oswiecim and his account tallies perfectly with all the information at our disposal." Szadowski's detailed account was thus compared with many other accounts received by the British. Yet Szadowski seems to have been interrogated mostly on mundane issues like barrack size, the camp barbers, availability of cigarettes, and the location of horse stables. Szadowski surely had much to say on Birkenau's gas chambers and crematoria, but his account of these amounts to a half-page of a twenty-five-page report. Since his report was based on interrogation, one must assume that this was the interrogator's choice. [79]

In November 1944, the British interrogated an escaped former officer-cadet of the Polish Air Force named Henryk Rygiol, whose family still lived near Birkenau. Rygiol had been interned in Auschwitz and used as a rail worker. The tales of other inmates supplemented his own observations to British intelligence-observations which included the murder of 450,000 Hungarian Jews from May to July 1944. "Twenty-one ovens were burning day and night, " reported Rygiol, a fact which he said "could be confirmed by anyone in the area."
Rygiol also reported on other atrocities such as attacks by dogs on female prisoners, and he named a number of perpetrators, including the Commandant Rudolf Hoss. Rygiol's inflated claim that up to 7 million Jews had been killed at Auschwitz might have detracted from his other comments concerning German atrocities there. The maps provided from his interrogation, in any event, were of strategic targets such as the detention camp at Mylowitz, used as a collection point for the movement of Polish workers to France. Of the three detailed diagrams provided by Rygiol for British intelligence, none was of Birkenau. [80] Rygiol's interrogation reinforces other historians' comments that strategic concerns at the Auschwitz complex, not the mass extermination of Jews, were of top importance to the Allies. [81]

Similarly, when U.S. intelligence assembled data on Germany's victims, the driving force was strategic. The OSS borrowed information from French intelligence on the use of labor from the Dora concentration camp to assemble German V-2 rockets; it studied German documents seized by French agents from Natzweiler-Struthof, which contained statistics on the death of inmates there. The OSS learned from various sources that ait raids over prisoner of war camps caused considerable loss of life among prisoners, including fifty-two killed on the night of February 2, 1945, at Stalag XIII B. [82] The OSS studied the numbers, locations, and health conditions of Russian, Polish, French, Dutch, Belgian, Yugoslav, and Italian slave laborers in Germany, who, it was thought, could support Allied operations through sabotage if supplied with weapons via parachute. The OSS assembled detailed statistics and locations for each national group of slave laborers in Germany. It concluded that advance "OSS ... organizers ... would be sufficient to create strong foreign worker nuclei to which quantities of arms could be dropped." [83]

The OSS was very cool to the idea of using eager Jews from Palestine either as commandos or as agents in southeastern Europe, even though the Jewish Agency offered everything from personnel to organizational structure. [84] Jews who were not prisoners were not part of the OSS' strategic thinking, and Jewish camp prisoners were not either. In the view of the OSS, there was no serious military need to study the camps where Jews were held.

Toward the end of the war, lower-level Allied intelligence officials undertook studies intended to convey a sense of the German camp system as a whole. This effort was mainly a British one, with the OSS simply receiving British reports. These reports were flawed, possibly because those who compiled the reports, as a result of bureaucratic compartmentalization, lacked access to the best intelligence then available.

One case in point is a newly declassified "List of German Concentration Camps." Compiled by the German and Austrian Intelligence Branch of Britain's primary information agency, the Political Warfare Executive (PWE), the List was revised every few months based on collected intelligence. The version of the List in recently declassified OSS records is dated June 21, 1944 (three months after the previous update), and it lists 144 camps. [85] In war information made publicly available, PWE played down the plight of Europe's Jews. [86] The June 1944 List should be seen in this context. It contained the peculiar comment that

reliable information is hard to obtain. In the German Press individual camps have never been mentioned by name ... The reports of even inmates of the camps need interpretation. Inmates may not be told the correct name of the camp to which they are taken and may identify it by a railway station. [87]


The report also acknowledged confusion as to the nature of the concentration camp system itself: "There are several types of camp which may be confused with concentration camps, but should probably not be included on a list of concentration camps." These other types, though, included not extermination camps but work camps (Arbeitslager) and prison camps (Straflager).

Theresienstadt was the only camp out of 144 on the PWE list where the notation "for Jews" was included. Chelmno was simply noted as being 64 kilometers northwest of Lodz. Oswiecim (Auschwitz) was included in the list with no special distinction at all, and Brzezinki (Birkenau) was said to be "possibly associated with Oswiecim." [88] Death camps Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, all shut down by this time, were still thought to be in operation but received no special distinction beyond their location. [89]

Given what information was available from other sources by mid-1944, the List of Concentration Camps seems inept. British analysts surely knew the German press contained nothing on extermination camps in Poland, but they also knew that one could look in other places, most of which were in London, for information such as escapee reports and intercepts. The OSS knew this too.

Britain's most comprehensive wartime analysis of concentration camps, written by the British secret intelligence service, MI-6, was completed in April 1945 as an appendix to a chapter in The German Basic Handbook. Parts of the report were used at the Nuremberg trials of the major war criminals later that year. The appendix on concentration camps is thirty-six pages long and includes enormous detail, broad attempts at analysis, and its own sub-appendix that attempts to list every known German camp, including transit camps, labor camps, and so on -- more than three hundred in all. The detail is such that MI-6 surely began work on the concentration camp appendix much earlier than April 1945; the appendix can thus be seen as an inventory of what British intelligence understood (or chose to say) about the camp system in the later part of the war, and perhaps as what the OSS understood, too. The OSS does not seem to have ever undertaken such a study on its own. [90]

MI-6 failed to comprehend the aims of the German camp system. The report included no information from escapees, the Polish underground, intercepts, or censorship.
Key parts of the appendix were based on sources from liberated western camps such as Drancy in France, while for the East it depended on Soviet radio broadcasts regarding camps recently liberated in Poland. None of it seems to have been built on what had been learned about Belzec and Treblinka via the Polish underground, and none of it came from detailed intercepts or reports on Auschwitz-Birkenau that had reached London. Perhaps the appendix foreshadowed official thinking about Jewish displaced persons in 1945, according to which Jewish refugees, despite their statelessness and the horrors of their wartime experience, were to receive no preferential treatment. [91]

The appendix noted that "the Concentration Camp system is coeval with the Nazi regime," but it never acknowledged that Jews were the primary victims of the same regime. [92] MI-6's analysis of concentration camps incorrectly sewed Jews into the broad quilt of Nazi Germany's many racial and political enemies:

The victims [of concentration camps] are ... of two kinds. The first consists of persons considered dangerous to the regime: Jews, anti-Germans from the occupied countries, members of oppositional political groups who have tried to make friendly contacts with prisoners of war, Germans who have had sex-relations with members of "Helot" races such as Jews or Poles, disgruntled German workers who have grumbled once too often, listeners to foreign broadcasts, and, in general, "politically unreliable" individuals. The second kind includes persons believed to have committed robberies with violence, black-market swindlers, officials who have been denounced as bribe-takers, racketeers or alleged racketeers of various species, and other non-political offenders.


British analysts had a clear sense of group badges worn by camp inmates. [93] But it was also known at the time that throughout the concentration camp system Jews were hardly on a par with German racketeers. Otherwise, badges would not have been needed at all. Yet the appendix argues that "reports indicate a practice of discriminating racially, as regards both discipline and living conditions, against other people besides the Jews." [94]

MI-6 analysts acknowledged in the concentration camp appendix that a "Death Camp System" existed (it counted eleven death camps in all) and that in 1942 the death roll among all German prisoners in Europe rose drastically as a result.

There are certain camps which function mainly, if not exclusively, as centres for the mass extermination of prisoners ... a report that the death-rate of the Concentration Camps as a whole rose during 1942 to 12 per cent per month does not appear to be exaggerated.


The statement by Yrba and Wetzler that "on principle only Jews are gassed," was ignored in this appendix. [95] Instead MI-6 erroneously tied the entire system of camps -- extermination camps included -- to the labor needs of the Reich and the need to move local populations far from potential bases of resistance. It reads:

During the latter half of 1942, the transportations from the western camps into Poland grew, and were only partly offset by the despatch to German camps of Polish and Russian contingents. Deportations were part of the system. Thus in 1942 Jugoslav "political" prisoners were to be found confined in Norway. (Our of 900 sent to Narvik in July, 550 had died, mainly of disease and neglect, by October of that year). But the intake of fresh inmates in the west was also increasing. Despite the transportations to Poland, the evidence points to no permanent depletion of numbers elsewhere.


At one point MI-6 even explained the purpose of German camps in Poland as the accommodation of runoff from camps in Germany itself:

The size of those [camps] in Germany, indeed, may partly have been kept down by means of systematic deportations of their surplus to the great camps of Poland.

The [death] camps served as a "pool" or reservoir which could be used to smooth out irregularities in the supply of their human material from the rest of Europe.


Most of the information for the appendix seems to have come from Belzec and Maidanek, and though Auschwitz-Birkenau and Chelmno were mentioned briefly as death camps, so were camps that were not death camps at all, such as Gusen (near Linz) and Neuengamme (near Hamburg). Sobibor did not appear at all in a list of more than 330 camps. Neither, astonishingly, did Treblinka, about which a great deal had been known in London for three years.

Death camp victims, said the appendix, were of two types. Large parts were "unwanted populations" belonging to "Helot races," namely Poles and Jews. MI-6 did not distinguish between the two, and the appendix reveals no sense that Nazism viewed the Jews as a singular threat, rather than as just "unwanted" people. The intelligence analysts overlooked twelve years of apocalyptic anti-Semitic rhetoric coming from Berlin [96] and numerous reports of exclusively Jewish transports from all over Europe to Poland. MI-6 did nor acknowledge Jews as the primary victims of the extermination camps.

Certain populations, according to MI-6, were killed simply because they represented unwanted mouths to feed or because they were in the way, occupying areas needed for German colonization. The second category of death camp victims, according to the report, were "worked-out" victims of all nationalities condemned to death because they were no longer fit or were security liabilities after their labor on certain sensitive projects, such as V-2 rockets. MI-6 also misunderstood, to a degree, the methods of human extermination. "From Majdanek, " said the report, came the now familiar account of the disinfectant-gas chamber where prisoners were murdered by "so-called cyclone" (Zyklon) gas. Yet MI-6 also believed errant reports that electrocution in a metal-floored shower installation was the primary means of execution at Belzec.

It is hard to fathom how analyses of this nature could have misrepresented so many aspects of the German system this late in the war. A great deal of information was readily available on extermination camps and also on the singling out of Jews for mass murder. After the war, when war criminals were arrested en masse, this information was used to assemble names. In May 1945, British Military Intelligence (MI-14) handed the OSS a list of over five hundred German concentration camp officers, compiled "during a period of several years," so that these men could be arrested if encountered. Most of the names came from western camps liberated by the Allies such as Mauthausen, Dachau, Buchenwald, Natzweiler, and Flossenburg. None came from Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec, or Chelmno, but 102 of the names -- roughly 20 percent -- were from Auschwitz, and many of these had been learned as early as September 1942. [97]

On December 15, 1944, William Donovan relayed instructions from the War Department that the OSS was to help the Judge Advocate General Division with the assembly of names and evidence for eventual war crimes arrests and prosecution. [98] But with the war in Europe at a crucial stage -- the Germans would launch the second Ardennes offensive the following day -- the OSS does not seem to have done much in this regard using its own records.

In all, newly released OSS records concerning German camps reflect the strategic priorities of the war and thus confirm earlier historical findings regarding Allied intelligence and the Holocaust. The OSS was able to assemble hard-to-find information on German camp prisoners for strategic projects, as its detailed work on slave laborers in Germany shows. The OSS does not seem to have taken much detailed interest in German camps as they concerned the extermination of Jews. The "Wanda" report mentioned above was not sought by OSS officials -- it fell into the OSS' lap. Information assembled on Auschwitz, such as it was, was gathered by British interrogators, not American ones. The OSS seems to have undertaken no general study concerning the German extermination of its Jewish prisoners.

_______________

Notes:

1. William J. Casey, The Secret War Against Hitler (Washington, DC: Regnery Gateway, 1986), 218, quoted in Raul Hilberg, Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish Catastrophe 1933-1945 (New York: Harper Collins, 1992), 254.

2. Arnold H. Price, My Twentieth Century: Recollections of a Public Historian (Tubingen: Universitas Verlag Tubingen, 2003), 87.

3. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., A Life in the Twentieth Century: Innocent Beginnings, 1911-1950 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2000), 307.

4. Shlomo Aronson, "Preparations for the Nuremberg Trials: The O.S.S., Charles Dwork, and the Holocaust," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 12, no. 2 (1998): 266-70; Barry M. Karz, "The Holocaust and American Intelligence," in The Jewish Legacy and the German Conscience: Essays in Memory of Rabbi Joseph Ascher, 297-307, ed. Moses Rischin and Raphael Ascher (Berkeley, CA: Judah L. Magnes Museum, 1991).

5. Miranda Carter, Anthony Blunt: His Lives (New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2001), 273-74.

6. H. Montgomery Hyde, Secret Intelligence Agent (New York: Sr. Martin's Press, 1982), 33-34, 104-05.

7. For a sample, Rivas G. Montt [sic], Chilean Consul, Prague, to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Santiago, Chile, 6 Sept. 1941, NA, RG 65, 62-65008-24-1-(1-100), boxes 26-27.

8. In at least one case, William Stephenson personally solicited Donovan's reaction to Argentinian diplomatic reports from Berlin. See British Security Coordination (Bill) to William J. Donovan, 27 June 1942, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 400, folder 9085. For documents that clarify Q (the designation for British Security Coordination), see To Q, 13 July 1942, A, RG 226, entry 210, box 326, folder -- British Data; and Allen W. Dulles to David Bruce, 17 July 1942, NA, RG 226, entry 92, box 103, folder 9452.

9. Donovan was selected Coordinator of Information on June 17, 1941, and formally appointed on July 11, after opposition from the Office of Naval Intelligence and G-2 (Army Intelligence) had been overcome. British intelligence officials had lobbied heavily for the establishment of a unified American intelligence organization and for Donovan's appointment as director. Stephenson fed Donovan other prized intelligence. See Thomas F. Troy, Donovan and the CIA: A History of the Establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America, 1984), 43-70, 83; and more generally: Troy, Wild Bill and Intrepid: Donovan, Stephenson, and the Origin of CIA (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996).

10. COI distribution, 26 Sept. 1941, based on despatch of 25 Aug. 1941, NA, RG 226, entry 16, box 3, folder 450-494, document 468.

11. Mario Barros Van Buren, La Diplomacia Chilena en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, (Santiago, CL: Empresa Editora Arquen, 1998) 83, 118-20. Montt's name is listed in Fritz Berber, ed., Jahrbuch fur Auswartige Politik 6, (1940): 11. Our thanks to Gerhard Weinberg for this reference.

12. Diccionario Biografico de Chile (Santiago: Empresa Periodistica Chile) eighth edition, 1950-52, and twelfrh edition, 1962-64. We are grateful to Pascale Bonnefoy for the references.

13. [British] Summary, 13 Sept. 1941, of Chilean despatch, 24 June 1941, copy in NA, RG 226, entry 16, box 32, folder 7000-7377, document 7346.

14. Montt to Foreign Minister, 6 Sept. 1941, Chilean National Archives, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile, vol. 149 (1941), file E 3-10-1-1. Translated copy in NA, RG 65, 62-65008-24-1, boxes 26-27.

15. Conti [Montt] to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Santiago, Chile, 1 Nov. 1941. Translated copy of "Evacuation of Jews from Bohemia and Moravia" in NA, RG 65, 62-65008-24-178-156, box 27, folder -- Secret Intercepts -- South America.

16. [British] Intelligence report, 4 Feb. 1942, regarding Chilean despatch from Prague, 15 Nov. 1941, copy in NA, RG 226, entry 16, box 49, folder 11250-11300, document 11280. The consul is incorrectly identified as E. C. Conti. For explanation of the mistake, see below.

17. Montt to Minister of Foreign Affairs, 6 Sept. 1941, Chilean National Archives, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile, vol. 149 (1941), file E 3-10-1-1. Translated copy of "Anti-Jewish Measures in Warsaw and Prague" in NA, RG 65, 62-65008-24-1-(1-100), boxes 26-27, folder -- Secret Intercepts -- South America.

18. This decree is published by H. G. Adler, Der verwaltete Mensch: Studien zur Deportation der juden aus Deutschland (Tubingen: Mohr, 1974), 500-04. For analysis, see Martin Dean, "The Development and Implementation of Nazi Denaturalization and Confiscation Policy up to the Eleventh Decree to the Reich Citizenship Law," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 16, no. 2 (2002): 217-42.

19. See the British translation dated 20 Mar. 1942 in NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 386, folder 6. The diplomat's name is not given in the British version. The Spanish original may be found in the Chilean National Archives.

20. See the British translation NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 386, folder 6.

21. See Notizen aus der Besprechung am 10.10.41 uber die Losung von Judenfragen, copy in United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), RG 48.005, roll 3. There is a reference to the press conference in Peter Witte et al., eds., Der Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers 1941-42 (Hamburg: Christians, 1999), 231n26.

22. Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 1936-1945: Nemesis (London: Penguin, 2000), 420; Richard Breitman, The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England, 1991), 170-214.

23. Heydrich Fernschreiben for Lammers, for Bormann, 9 Oct. 1941, NA, RG 242, T-120, roll 1026, frames 406029-34; Hitler's appointment schedule, NA, RG 242, T-84, roll 387, frame 516. On October 21 Himmler had discussed with Heydrich his "Vortrag b. Fuhrer."

24. Kershaw, Nemesis, 488.

25. See Witte, et al., Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers, 241 n61, referring to a discussion among Himmler, Tiso, Tuka, and Mach on 20 Oct. 1941.

26. Montt to Foreign Ministry, 18 Oct. 1940, vol. 148 (1940), Chilean National Archives.

27. NA, RG 226, entry 16, box 32, document 7346.

28. NA, RG 226, entry 16, box 49, folder 11250-11300, document 11280.

29. We are grateful to Pascale Bonnefoy for this information.

30. Nelson D. Lankford, The Last American Aristocrat: The Biography of David K.E. Bruce, 1898-1977 (Boston: Little, Brown, 1996), 125-28.

31. Conti [Montt] to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Santiago, Chile, 1 Nov. 1941. Translated copy of "Evacuation of Jews from Bohemia and Moravia," in NA, RG 65, 62-65008-24-156, box 27, folder -- Secret Intercepts -- South America. Also, J. Edgar Hoover to Adolf A. Berle and Huie, 1 May 1942, ibid.

32. Montt's despatches of November 18 and 20, 1941, dared 20 and 23 Mar. 1942, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 386, folder 6.

33. See Troy, Donovan and the CIA, 40, 61-62.

34. Ibid., 152.

35. Ibid., 91.

36. See the collection of interviews conducted by the OSS Division of Oral Intelligence in NA, RG 226, entry 210, boxes 258, 261, and 264.

37. Rado to Buxton, 8 Aug. 1942, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 258, folder 2.

38. Richard Breitman, Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew (New York: Hill and Wang 1998), 129; Witte, et al., Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers, 401 n44.

39. From Beirut to Dear Allen, 17 Feb. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 16, box 330, folder 31750-31903, document 31770.

40. These letters all seem to be in NA, RG 226, entry 16. Some of those of intelligence value were copied to other agencies.

41. The first letter docs not state that it is part of a series of articles, but the second one notes it is the second article (although the first one had not yet arrived in New York), and the third one notes it is the third article. NA, RG 226, entry 16, boxes 252, 257, and 259, documents 26896, 27275, and 27428.

42. Richard Breitman previously speculated that the author was Gerald M. Mayer, who represented the Office of War Information post in Switzerland and worked closely with Dulles there; see Breitman, Official Secrets, 129. Mayer's itinerary roughly corresponds with the author's, but the wider series of "Dear Allen" letters raises other possibilities. Mayer was not the only former or active journalist in Europe who took an interest in Nazi persecution of Jews.

43. Witte, et al., Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers, 400, 400n43.

44. We have drawn this portrait generally from Peter Grose, Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994), 1-145.

45. On Dulles' trip, see Grose, Gentleman Spy, 148-51.

46. Staight to Dolbeare, 30 Nov. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 107, box 3, folder 43 -- Rocket Weapons.

47. Walter Laqueur and Richard Breitman, Breaking the Silence: The German Who Exposed the Final Solution (Hanover, NH: University Press of New England for Brandeis University Press, 1994), 115-49.

48. To OSS R&A from Harrison, 11 Aug. 1942, NA, RG 226, entry 4, box 1, folder 2-Bern.

49. See the account in Richard Breitman and Alan M. Kraut, American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 153-57.

50. Laqueur and Breitman, Breaking the Silence, 156-60. State Department experts (like those in the British Foreign Office) resisted the conclusion that Nazi Germany was pursuing a systematic policy of mass extermination of Jews, or that the Allied governments should publicly denounce it. This debate has been studied in detail by a number of previous historians (see n. 52 below), most recently by Breitman, Official Secrets, 141-54.

51. Reams to Travers, 15 Dec. 1942, NA, RG 59, file 52D-408, box 3, folder-Bermuda Conference Background. Quoted in Breitman, Official Secrets, 173.

52. The period between August 1942 and the Allied Declaration of December 17, 1942, is recognized as a critical learning period in all of the following works, each of which has somewhat different interpretations about the period of inaction that followed: Arthur D. Morse, While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy (1968; Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1983); Henry L. Feingold, The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust, 1938-1945 (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1970); Saul S. Friedman, No Haven for the Oppressed: United States Policy Toward Jewish Refugees, 1938-1945 (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1973); Monty N. Penkower, The Jews Were Expendable: Free World Diplomacy and the Holocaust (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983); David S. Wyman, [ur=http://survivorbb.rapeutation.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=3607l]The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust[/url], 1941-1945 (New York: Pantheon, 1984); Richard Breitman and Alan M. Kraut, American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987).

53. On the speech, see Nathan Stoltzfus, Resistance of the Heart: Intermarriage and the Rosenstrasse Protest in Nazi Germany (New York: W. W. Norton, 1996), 207.

54. David Bankier, "The Use of Antisemitism in Nazi Wartime Propaganda," in The Holocaust and History: The Known, the Unknown, the Disputed, and the Reexamined, ed. Michael Berenbaum and Abraham J. Peck (Bloomington: Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2002), 48.

55. Stoltzfus, Resistance of the Heart, 209-48. Many aspects of these events have been revised, on the basis of German documents, by Wolf Gruner, "The Factory Action and the Events at the Rosenstrasse in Berlin: Facts and Fictions about 27 February 1943 -- Sixty Years Later," Central European History 36, no. 2 (2003): 179-208. Dulles' intelligence sources were too imprecise -- they were wrong about some details -- to resolve issues now disputed among historians, but two different informants, discussed below, suggested that SS officials in Berlin had a radical view about eliminating the remaining Jews. These sources also support the view that public protest and sheltering of Jews who went into hiding helped to frustrate SS hopes.

56. Bern to Secretary of State for OSS-SI, 10 Mar. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 171, folder 1079.

57. Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret: Suppression of the Truth about Hitler's "Final Solution" (Boston: Little, Brown, 1980), 99.

58. Undated Visser t'Hooft report, L. H. to A.W. D., 13 Mar. 1943, and A. W. D. for the Minister, 15 Mar. 1943, NA, RG 84, Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, American Legation Bern, General Records 1942-48, Economic Section, box 13, 1943, 840.1 Jews.

59. Harrison's handwritten addendum, in L. H. to A.W. D., 13 Mar. 1943, Ibid.

60. Harrison, Legation [Dulles] to Secretary of State [SI], 1 Apr. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 134 Washington Registry: Radio and Cables Files, box 171, folder 1079. See also Stoltzfus, Resistance of the Heart, 244. On Wiskemann's letter [15 Apr. 1943-B arrived from Berlin on 13 Apr.] to Dulles, see NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 376, folder 5. Those with one Jewish parent who were treated as Jews because of their identification with the Jewish community were among those rounded up. There is some evidence of more far-reaching plans to deport all whom the Nazis considered half-breeds (Mischlinge), which were not carried out. See Scoltzfus, Resistance of the Heart, 203-07.

61. Grose, Gentleman Spy, 179.

62. SI to Drum, Bern, 16 Mar. 1943, and Burns, Bern to SI, 5 Apr. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 165, folder 1057; and NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 171, folder 1079, D-27 to Bern, document CD 16945. Hoover to Donovan [undated], and Donovan to Hoover, 5 Apr. 1943, NA, RG 65, 65-430 15-37x.

63. This document came from the anti-Nazi official in the German Foreign Office, Fritz Kolbe, one of Dulles' best sources. See Bern to SI, 30 Dec. 1943 (IN 8021 and 8020), NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 463, folder 2. For the most recent account of Fritz Kolbe's espionage work, based in part on newly declassified material, see Greg Bradsher, "A Time to Act: The Beginning of the Fritz Kolbe Story, 1900-1943 " Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration 34, no. 1 (2002): 7-26.

64. See chapter 3.

65. Bern to Secretary of State, 2 Mar. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 134 Washington Registry, Radio and Cables Files, box 171, folder 1079, D-27 from Bern, 16 June 1942-31 July 1943, document CD 15751.

66. Arthur Goldberg to Dulles, 20 July 1942, and Goldberg to Bowden, 2 Sept. 1942, NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 98, document 10641 B.

67. See Breitman, Official Secrets, 148, 288n41.

68. For this eloquent document, NA, RG 200, National Archives Gift Collection, Duker/Dwork Papers, box II, folder 107-Report ... Polish National Council (quoted at greater length in Breitman, Official Secrets, 149).

69. It is worth noting that Abraham Duker and Charles Dwork salvaged this copy for the Research and Analysis Branch of the OSS, and that other copies have not been found in the OSS collection.

70. Memorandum on the Visit of L [Lunders] on Jan. 14 [report dated 15 Jan. 1942], NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 375, folder 4, document WN 13, 925.

71. Peter Witte and Stephen Tyas, "A New Document on the Deportation and Murder of Jews during 'Einsatz Reinhard' 1942," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 15, no. 3 (2001): 468-86.

72. See Breitman, Official Secrets, 94; Martin Gilbert, "What Was Known and When," in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, ed. Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (Bloomington: Indiana University Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 1994), 539-52; Mitoslav Karny, "The Vrba and Wetzler Report," ibid., 553-68. Also Yitzak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987): 349ff.

73. Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, 349-51.

74. Bernard Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe 1939-1945 (London: Institute of Jewish Affairs; New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), 150. See also Laqueur, Terrible Secret, 74ff, 219-23.

75. See Breitman, Official Secrets, 115-17. Martin Gilbert mentions a report dated Apr. 18, 1943, written in London by a member of the Polish underground, and adds that the report made little impression in London since it was never made public. Martin Gilbert, Auschwitz and the Allies, (New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1981), 130.

76. Karny, "The Vrba and Wetzler Report," 558-62. For the text see Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Werzler, The Extermination Camps in Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Birkenau in Upper Silesia [Vrba-Wetzler Report] (Washington, DC: Executive Office of the President, War Refugee Board, n.d.). Available in photocopy format at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Library.

77. For the report see F.L. Belin to Dr. William L. Langer, 10 Apr. 1944, and enclosed "Description of the Concentration Camp at Oswiecim," NA, RG 226, document 66059, identical with Military Attache report 20 Mar. 1944, NA, RG 165, box 3138, folder -- Poland 6950. In fact, the report, while overestimating the numbers in some cases, such as Greece (only 36,151 Jews arrived from 20 Mar. 1943 to 16 May 1943), was remarkably accurate on others. The total for Jews arriving from Holland, Belgium, and France from September 1942 to June 1943 was 66,378. For calculations see Danuta Czech, Kalendarium der Ereignisse im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau 1939-1945 (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1989). This report from Wanda is also discussed in Richard Breitman, ''Auschwitz Partially Decoded," in The Bombing of Auschwitz: Should the Allies Have Attempted It? ed. Michael J. Neufeld and Michael Berenbaum (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000), 33. See also See Richard Breitman, "Auschwitz and the Archives," Central European History 18 (I985): 371-72.

78. "Oswiecim Concentration Camp," dated by hand 26 Oct. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 16, document 98885.

79. This suggestion is borne our by the analysis in Laqueur, Terrible Secret, 66-7. Poles were in fact interrogated by British military intelligence officers, though one wartime Polish emissary would later comment that his Foreign Office interrogators had little interest in what he had to say about Poland's Jews.

80. Report No. PWIS (H) /LDC 1469, NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 801, folder 17.

81. See especially Dino A. Brugioni, "The Aerial Photos of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Complex," in Bombing of Auschwitz, 52-4.

82. OSS Paris Report, No. FF-4777, 5 Mar. 1945, NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 784, folder 10. Natzweiler-Srruthof (in Alsace) was liberated on November 23, 1944.

83. HQ & HQ Detachment, Office of Strategic Services, European Theater of Operations, United States Army (Main) APO 413, 3061/406, 9 Jan. 1945, Written By Gerald Miller, Chief-SO Branch, NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 784, folder 10. See also Supreme Headquarters/Allied Expeditionary Force/G-3 Division (Main), SHAEF/I7240/25/Ops (C), GCT/370-15/Ops (C) 14 Feb. 1945, NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 784, folder 6.

84. See chapter 2.

85. On PWE's reluctance to report on the mass murder of Jews, see Breitman, Official Secrets, 102-3, 155-58.

86. On Foreign Minister Anthony Eden's role, see Arieh J. Kochavi, Prelude to Nuremberg: Allied War Crimes Policy and the Question of Punishment (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1998), 141-42. There was more Jewish emphasis in the wake of the declaration in 1942. Breitman, Official Secrets, 159.

87. The Polish exile press and the English language Jewish Press, which contained numerous reports, are not mentioned.

88. "P.W.E. German and Austrian Intelligence, List of German Concentration Camps," 21 June 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 801, folder 17.

89. Himmler decided on the liquidation of the three Reinhard camps in March 1943. Belzec was closed in July, Treblinka in November, Sobibor in December. Arad, BeLzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, 370-76.

90. The report is part of a larger work by MI-6 on the German police system and is titled "Appendix to Chapter VI -- Concentration Camps," located in NA, RG 65, 65-47826-12-330, boxes 50-52.

91. Arieh J. Kochavi, Post-Holocaust Politics: Britain, the United States, and Jewish Refugees, 1945-1948 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 32ff.

92. "Appendix to Chapter VI -- Concentration Camps," located in NA, RG 65, 65-47826-12-330, boxes 50-52, 1.

93. Ibid., 23.

94. Ibid., 10.

95. Vrba-Wetzler Report, 16.

96. Jeffrey Herf, "Anti-Semitism as Hatred and Explanation: Goebbels' Major Public Statements," paper presented at German Studies Association, Annual Meeting, October 2001, Washington, D.C.

97. MI-14, War Office, "German Concentration Camp Personalities " NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 801, folder 17.

98. Donovan to List S, 15 Dec. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 536, folder 124.
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Re: U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, No

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Part 1 of 2

2. Other Responses to the Holocaust
by Richard Breitman

THE FIRST OFFICIAL RECOGNITION that Nazi Germany was pursuing a war of extermination against the Jews -- the Allied Declaration of December 17, 1942 -- generated public and media criticism that Britain and the United States were not doing anything to halt the slaughter. During a late March 1943 trip to the United States, British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden engaged in preliminary discussions in preparation for a joint American-British conference on refugee problems. This conference, scheduled to take place in Bermuda in April 1943, was arranged in part to show that the two governments were working on saving lives.

The State Department and the Bermuda Conference

Rabbi Stephen Wise of the American Jewish Congress and Joseph M. Proskauer of the American Jewish Committee met with Eden while he was in the United States and asked him for an Allied declaration calling upon Hitler to permit Jews to leave Nazi-occupied Europe. Eden rejected this idea as "fantastically impossible," also repudiating their hope of shipping food to starving Jews in Europe. In a meeting later that day with high State Department officials, Eden warned that Hitler might take the Allies up on an appeal to release large numbers of Jews, and that there were not enough ships and means of transportation in the world to handle them. [1] (German U-boats, in fact, were destroying Allied ships in the Atlantic faster than new ships could be built: an Allied invasion of North Africa in the fall of 1942 suffered from insufficient shipping.) [2]

Eden's dismissal reduced the chance of an Allied appeal to Hitler. On April 7, Undersecretary of State Sumner Welles, who favored some specific schemes to evacuate Jews from the Balkans, told the Jewish leaders that only President Roosevelt could reverse the unfavorable attitude within the government regarding an appeal to Hider to release Jews.

A newly declassified document suggests that the idea of an appeal to Hitler was still alive going into the Bermuda Conference. A few days before the conference, the head of the Visa Division in the State Department, Robert C. Alexander, told FBI official S. S. Alden that President Roosevelt had had some difficulty finding someone to head the American delegation to the Bermuda Conference. In his memo of the conversation Alden noted:

Mr. Alexander further advised in the strictest confidence that the tentative plan was to ask Hitler, through neutral intermediaries, to release several million Jewish refugees presently in occupied territory. If Hitler refused, his moral position would be further aggravated. I asked Mr. Alexander if, in the event [Hitler] agreed, the United States and the other nations represented at the Bermuda Conference would not be faced with an inescapable obligation to immediately care for several million people, and [Alexander] agreed that such was the case. [3]


The two men expressed concern that the Nazis might offer to interrupt or reduce the Final Solution in order to embarrass or hinder the Allies, who could not handle a huge flow of refugees.

This account of a private conversation casts new light on tensions and significant divisions of opinion on the American side. Alexander worked closely with and under Breckinridge Long, assistant secretary of state for Special War Problems. From the start of the war, Long supported one barrier after another to refugees applying to enter the United States; he did not want the Bermuda Conference to relax these immigration restrictions, and he did not want an Allied appeal to Hitler to let Jews leave Nazi territories. Long was in charge of preparations for Bermuda, and not coincidentally, his friend Harold Dodds, a conservative Republican who was president of Princeton University, ended up as chair of the American delegation. The second member of this delegation was Scott Lucas, a Democrat senator from Illinois, who resisted any rescue project that might impinge on the war effort. The third member was Representative Sol Bloom, a Democrat from Brooklyn, who was chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Long indicated at the time that he felt Bloom would be easy to handle. [4] Passed over was Representative Samuel Dickstein, another American Jew who was chair of the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization. Dickstein had considerable expertise on refugee matters but was a sharp critic of Long's policies.

Though he was no Dickstein, Bloom declined to be a stand-in for Long. [5] According to the minutes of Bermuda Conference meetings, Bloom strongly advocated an Allied appeal for the release of Jews. After Richard Law, chair of the British delegation, opened on April 20 by criticizing extravagant suggestions, such as dealing with Hitler to release vast numbers of Jews, Bloom recommended at least seeing what could be achieved through private negotiations. Bloom suggested that the Allies give Nazi Germany a target number -- the number of refugees per month the Allies could handle. Dodds reminded Bloom that the official policy of the U.S. government forbade any kind of negotiations with Nazi Germany. The British delegates and the American delegation secretary, Robert Borden Reams, then joined Dodds in criticizing Bloom's proposal. The minutes noted that another "extended argument" ensued before the discussion moved on. [6]

Bloom had very litde toom to maneuver at Bermuda. In his opening statement, Law explicitly raised the specter of Nazi Germany agreeing to release a million or two Jews, sending spies among them and overwhelming Allied shipping capacity. The Allies could not issue a blanket appeal because Hider might accept it. But to work out practical arrangements on a smaller scale meant that somebody would have to negotiate with Nazi Germany. The Allied policy of "unconditional surrender" announced in January 1943, however, virtually precluded any talks but surrender negotiations. If Bloom pushed a public appeal, he ran into British refusal; when he supported negotiations, he ran afoul of the U.S. and British support for the policy of unconditional surrender, designed in part to reassure the Soviet Union that the West would not strike a deal with Germany. Alexander had spoken to Alden about the possibility of Bermuda delegates looking for neutral intermediaries to appeal to Hider, but what neutral party would undertake this role without Allied backing?

Would a widely publicized appeal have moved Hider to release Jews? In retrospect, the idea seems a complete illusion. Nonetheless, it might have influenced attitudes in Nazi satellite countries, which, after Nazi military setbacks, were beginning to doubt Germany's chances in the war, and it might have encouraged neutral countries to accept more of those Jews who were able to reach their borders. A wide public appeal would also have alerted many countries and citizens to the true nature of Nazi Germany's aims. The recently declassified FBI document does not reveal new opportunities for rescue, but it permits better understanding of some U.S. officials' hostile attitudes toward rescue, which also interfered with less ambitious rescue and relief options.

Bloom was not the kind of politician who generally led solitary crusades. Did he have some encouragement from Undersecretary of State Welles (or even President Roosevelt?), who was more positive than most State Department officials about relief and rescue opportunities? The evidence is circumstantial, but the possibility exists. Bloom's comments at the conference were consistent with what Alexander had told Alden a week earlier.

The International Committee of the Red Cross

Could a neutral organization such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), based in Geneva, have appealed for the release of Jews from Nazi territories? The Red Cross was able to arrange some shipments of food parcels to Theresienstadt and some ghettos, but it was unable to obtain information about the fate of deported Jews. It was also unwilling to issue a public condemnation of Nazi killings of Jews on the grounds that it would be taking sides against a single belligerent and compromising both its neutral status and its ability to do practical humanitarian work for POWs and non-Jews who were suffering. [7]

During late 1942 and 1943, the World Jewish Congress lobbied repeatedly for Red Cross support for a number of proposals, such as an effort to appeal to neutral countries to open their borders to escaping refugees, an inquiry into the fate of deported Jews, and verbal support for Allied relief measures targeting the suffering populations of occupied Europe. The ICRC declined to enter discussions with the World Jewish Congress on these matters. [8] In May 1943, the Washington delegate of the ICRC sent to Geneva a list of specific actions proposed by the World Jewish Congress. Although the original letter is not available in the National Archives, a copy of the response from ICRC Secretary General Jean Suchard, dated June 24, 1943, is among the documents recently declassified by the IWG. Suchard painted a bleak picture:

We can only confirm [our previous view that it is] ... quite impossible for us either to make protests or to take action as the World Jewish Congress frequently demands of us.

The German authorities will tolerate no intervention whatsoever regarding the Jewish question, and again quite recently we have come up against a blunt refusal even over the question of relief work, which we were attempting to extend to certain Jewish workers camps in Silesia, similar to that which we have undertaken for the internees in Theresienstadt.

... Dr. Tartakower [of the World Jewish Congress] proposes a vast plan for feeding the Jewish population of Europe -- the means being furnished by the United Nations: he does not take into account however, these measures resulting from the economic war, which prohibit all transfer of food to the belligerent countries of Europe; only parcels for prisoners of war and civilian internees are permitted. The case of Greece is the sole exception which the Allies have been willing to make to this rule, which has been strictly observed up till now.


Suchard explained that the World Jewish Congress should submit its plan to the Allies enforcing this blockade, and also get the support of the American Red Cross. The national organizations were not under the control of the International Committee. He concluded with a postscript:

If there is an apparent contradiction between our cable of 28th December, 1942, to the World Jewish Congress ... and our present attitude, it is essential to make it quite clear that the situation has considerably modified since the time when the cable was sent: the authorizations which we then possessed no longer exist, and we regret to have to add that it is in part due to the protests which appeared in the international press, causing a definite tightening-up in the attitude of the occupying authorities, and which have thus resulted in an aggravation of the situation of the deported Jews. [9]


Those opposed to public pressure for action on behalf of potential victims and refugees frequently asserted that publicity had somehow intensified Nazi persecution of Jews. In retrospect, however, the claim seems to be based on a complete misunderstanding of Nazi policy.

A month later, the ICRC went as far as it was willing to go in the way of a public appeal. It sent a telegram to all the belligerents, with copies to the national Red Cross organizations, and also published the text in the August 1943 issue of the International Journal of the Red Cross. The telegram read:

Faced with the horrors, sufferings and injustices of war, the guiding principle of the International Committee of the Red Cross has always been to make clear its moral position and its wish to bring [succor] by deeds rather than by words ....

The International Committee of the Red Cross wishes yet again to entreat the belligerent powers whatever military considerations dictate to respect man's natural right to be treated according to the law, without arbitrariness and without being held to account for actions he bears no responsibility for. It also requests the powers not to resort to unwarranted acts of destruction and above all not to pernicious forms of warfare banned by international law.


An ICRC historian concluded that this text did not have unfortunate consequences, but it also did not create much of a stir. [10]

"Dogwood" and Anti-Nazi Germans

One Central European and Balkans intelligence network linked to the OSS supplied substantial information about the Holocaust; some of its informants also recommended more active Allied responses. But this network, code named "Dogwood," turned out to have fatal security flaws, which ultimately discredited even the worthwhile intelligence and contacts it supplied. Historian Barry Rubin reconstructed the general story of the Dogwood network on the basis of less extensive documentation. [11] The discovery and full declassification of additional intelligence reports, especially a complete narrative history by one of the key participants in Dogwood, reveal more links to the Holocaust and greater detail about the activities of a number of anti-Nazi Germans and Austrians.

Dogwood's creator was Alfred Schwarz, a thirty-nine-year-old Czech Jew who had lived in Istanbul for more than fifteen years. An engineer who sold and installed heavy industrial machinery, Schwarz had represented a number of machinery manufacturing firms, among them the Chicago Pneumatic Too) Company. After the war broke out, he volunteered to work for British intelligence in Istanbul and for Czech intelligence (operating out of Jerusalem) without pay. By mid-1943, he already knew the espionage trade. Earlier that year he had liquidated his firm, devoting himself full-time to wartime problems and plans for postwar reconstruction. He had good language skills and intimate knowledge of the heavy industry sectors in Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Austria. Two OSS officials who met him were also impressed with his broad command of economic, social, political, and military matters in Central Europe. One of them thought him too good to be true -- he must be a German spy. But his loyalty to the Allies turned out to be genuine, and he was brought into the OSS in July 1943. [12]

Taking over the office of an agent for the Cunard Ctuise Line, which had little business during the war, Schwarz was initially insulated from other OSS officials and operations in Istanbul. He reported only to Archibald Coleman, an old friend of William Donovan, director of the OSS. Coleman took on the code name "Cereus," Schwarz became "Dogwood," and most of Dogwood's agents and informants were named after trees, flowers, plants, herbs, or spices.

Working with a number of anti-Nazi German emigres in Istanbul, [13] Schwarz had already developed some well-placed contacts in Germany and satellite countries. In reports about a range of political, economic, and military matters, they had also passed along information of mixed quality about the Holocaust. Schwarz gave some of these earlier reports to Coleman after he joined the OSS.

An informant named Wurm, reporting details of Slovakian politics, extensively covered Slovakian efforts to resolve its "Jewish problem" through legislation and deportations. While in Hungary, Wurm was able to learn that deported Jews went to three locations -- Birkenau, Podleski-Medzirici (relatively near Sobibor), and Sobibov (Sobibor) -- but thought that these were way stations to other eastern execution sites, where all except those Jews capable of hard labor were shot in mass graves. He left no doubt that Slovak officials were eager to cooperate with Nazi Germany in getting rid of Jews permanently. [14]

On a July 1943 trip to Istanbul, the (now famous) anti-Nazi resistance leader Helmuth James von Moltke presented two key Dogwood men with a detailed but largely inaccurate and previously unknown account of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, in which tenacious Jewish fighters were equipped with the most up-to-date weapons. [15] This claim must have reached the High Command of the Armed Services from SS sources seeking to explain why it took them so long to suppress the Jewish revolt in the Warsaw ghetto; Moltke apparently believed it and passed it on. Moltke's report further indicated that twelve hundred to fifteen hundred Germans defected to the Jewish side during the battle because of their rejection of further massacres and atrocities in the name of the German people. This was wishful thinking on the part of those who wanted to salvage some honor for Germans. Moltke did accurately report that transports of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto had gone to "annihilating institutes" (presumably, the German term was Vernichtungsanstalten) in Poland. [16]

A separate report written one month later (but reaching an American diplomat in Istanbul in January 1944) filled in the details about one "annihilating institute." The supplier of the report was described as a reliable Jew in Istanbul. Nothing in the document clearly labels it a Dogwood report, but it likely came from Schwarz. The original source of the information was a Jew named David Milgrom, originally from Lodz, who had spent 1940 and 1941 in Warsaw. [17] Although deported from Czestochowa to Treblinka in the fall of 1942, Milgrom was able to join a small group of Jews assigned to sorting the clothing of Jews who were gassed. Although kept away from the area of the gas chambers, Milgrom heard a first-hand description from two boys who temporarily crossed over to the barracks for the Jewish workers. Milgrom related:

The naked people who were brought there were herded into those barracks, and told that they are going to be bathed. When a batch of them was inside, poison gas was let in. Those still outside naturally tried desperately to back away when they realized what was going on inside. Then the SS and the Ukra[ i]nians with their bloodhounds went into action and forced them in. The cries we had heard came from such crowds at the moment of entering. When a batch was inside the door was closed and remained so for fifteen minutes. When it was opened again, everyone inside was dead. Now the 500 Jews employed there had to throw the corpses into the fire-ditch which stretched beyond the fence into the death-camp. Those 500 Jews were in terrible condition of physical and psychic decay. They also got very little food, and ten or twelve committed suicide daily. From their "work" they all emitted a penetrating cadaverous smell, and it was this smell which betrayed our two informants, who were discovered among us and marched away by guards. [18]


Remarkably, after less than a week in this hell, Milgrom and two companions were able to escape. Two of the three reached Warsaw, and Milgrom went on to Cracow, where he obtained "Aryan" papers. Eventually, he contacted Slovakian smugglers who helped him cross the border. He wrote up his experiences in late August 1943. If they came into the hands of the Dogwood network, then Schwarz had a clear sense of how the Final Solution was being pursued.

Coleman met five times with Josef W Rudiger, the assistant general manager of the large Semperit manufacturing firm in Austria, who was based in Istanbul. Semperit was involved in the manufacture of natural and artificial rubber in locations from Duisberg to Cracow. [19] Rudiger had previously told Schwarz (in June 1943) that Germany had become much more dependent upon the manufacture of artificial rubber, some of which was to be produced at "Ausspitz" in Moravia. (Perhaps Schwarz or one of his subordinates did not hear Rudiger precisely, but someone knew enough to write in a correction -- Oswiecim, the Polish name of Auschwitz.) [20] In August, Rudiger indicated that the Auschwitz area in Upper Silesia (correct this time) was becoming the most important German war arsenal, and that it ought to be "flattened even at great risk." This report mentioned that the concentration camp of sixty-five thousand people, including thirty-two thousand Jews, supplied labor for new factories, and that twenty-two hundred SS men served as guards there. [21] In September, Rudiger again suggested bombing Germany's sources of raw materials, especially oil fields and Buna factories. The OSS in Washington was impressed enough by this source to have the Research and Analysis branch prepare a questionnaire about Buna, which was later sent to Istanbul for Rudiger. [22]

Giving Rudiger the code name "Stock," Coleman considered him a highly valuable source after he revealed detailed information about the V-1 planes and V-2 rocket program, which turned out to be 92 percent accurate. Rudiger also developed an intelligence link with his corporate superior Franz Messner, who, like Rudiger, was a native Austrian with a Brazilian passport. Messner ("Cassia") then developed his own intelligence and sabotage chain. [23] It later turned out, however, that Rudiger's office associate and friend was a Gestapo agent, who probably was the cause of Messner's arrest by the Gestapo in Budapest in mid-1944. [24]

At the beginning of October 1943, OSS Washington alerted field offices that the most important function of the Secret Intelligence branch was to penetrate Germany to obtain specific intelligence, and that nearby neutral countries or countries occupied by Axis troops offered the best opportunities. [25] The Dogwood network fit this mold precisely. The head of OSS Istanbul, Lanning "Packy" Macfarland, alerted OSS Washington: "For the last two months we have been building up an independent group for penetration into the Reich. This group is well set up now, and starting to attain results." [26]

OSS Washington was quick to follow up with a request for more information. Macfarland asked to go to Washington and to meet with William Donovan personally; Donovan arranged for him to receive top air priority and said he was urgently needed. On October 30, Macfarland promised to give further details in person about "our Nazi penetration group [which] is getting in touch with top-notch Axis economic and military officials and formet diplomats; some are renowned. Proceeding very well under the close surveillance of my assistant [Coleman]." [27] When Macfarland reached Washington, he radioed Istanbul to ask for the latest information about Coleman's Hungarian contact. Macfarland arranged for Coleman to meet with Donovan and himself in Cairo in late November; Coleman was to bring all his data along." [28]

This flurry of activity at the highest levels of the OSS resulted directly from an effort authorized by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to detach one or more of the satellite nations from the Axis. After OSS Istanbul drew up a memorandum on the Hungarian situation, the Joint Chiefs authorized the OSS to investigate the chance of persuading Hungary to break its alliance with Germany. [29]

There was also an initial burst of interest -- but ultimately strong opposition in Washington -- to Moltke's December 1943 effort through some of the Dogwood operatives to bring about some form of cooperation between the Western Allies and the anti-Nazi opposition in Germany. Moltke went to Istanbul, hoping to speak directly to an American he could trust. He left Istanbul disappointed. Still, Washington continued to value the intelligence extracted by Dogwood in Istanbul. At the end of the year, OSS Washington notified Macfarland in Istanbul: "Our political intelligence is being accorded markedly increased interest on the part of civilian departments of the government. Isn't it possible for the German field to yield more of your famous flowers?" [30] Moltke ("Camelia") became unavailable shortly afterwards: the Gestapo arrested him for unrelated reasons on January 19, 1944. [31]

The pressure from Washington for results helps to explain some OSS decisions in Istanbul that soon led to disaster. The first mistake was Coleman's decision to make use of a known Hungarian smuggler named Andre Gyorgi (aka Bandi Grosz). Grosz, code named "Trillium," came to Coleman's attention through Teddy Kollek, head of the Jewish Agency for Palestine's intelligence group in Istanbul. Kollek (much later to become the mayor of Jerusalem) explained that Grosz had helped to smuggle gold coins into Germany, which were then used to finance the escape of Jews to Turkey and other neutral countries. Kollek considered Grosz untrustworthy (to wit, "a double-crossing rat"), but he was also a good smuggler who worked on the side for others, including Hungarian intelligence and the General Staff of the Hungarian army. [32]

Coleman did not put much stock in intelligence delivered by Grosz. When Grosz brought a report that Germany and the Soviet Union had conducted separate peace negotiations in Bulgaria, with positive results, Coleman commented that this was typical of "leaks" stage-managed by the German Foreign Office. He rated the intelligence D-4: both the messenger and the message were unreliable. [33] He also thought that Grosz had little opportunity to gain insight into Dogwood's activities. But intelligence and political needs worked in Grosz's favor. The OSS wanted to contact the Hungarians secretly, and Grosz, acting for the Hungarian chief of staff, was no less eager to find a channel to American officials. Grosz and his sponsor in Hungarian intelligence, Co!. Otto Hatz, however, tipped the Germans off about a potential Hungarian break with the Axis. [34] Germany had time to prepare to occupy Hungary with its own troops, and it did so on March 19, 1944.

American intelligence problems in Istanbul went deeper than Grosz, who was, from the beginning, regarded as a risk. As Coleman became seriously ill in late December 1943, Macfarland took over supervision of Dogwood. Schwarz, a man of strong will and great faith in his own judgment, decided to exploit this situation, maneuvering Coleman out of the picture. Macfarland allowed Schwarz even freer reign than he had enjoyed before. [35] An investigation by an outside OSS official in August 1944 disclosed that Coleman had warned Schwarz repeatedly against using his old friend Fritz Laufer, another Czech of Jewish background, for intelligence purposes. But Schwarz ignoted the advice, considering Laufer (code named "Iris") one of his best agents.36 Laufer, however, turned out to be a Sichetheitsdienst (SD) agent who helped destroy Dogwood's usefulness. By July 1944, the whole Dogwood network was in shambles, and OSS Istanbul had little left in the way of an intelligence network.

After Coleman recovered and wrote a long report on this debacle, OSS officials asked him a number of questions. The last one was: "How does the 'Brand Mission' fit into the above picture?" [37] Coleman said he knew nothing about this mission. Since some of Dogwood's people were involved in Brand's mission, this question still lingers for historians.

The Brand Mission

In May 1944, while tounding up Hungarian Jews for deponation to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Adolf Eichmann allegedly offered to spare Hungary's Jews in return for ten thousand trucks and other needed commodities from the Western Allies to be used by Nazi Germany only against the Soviet Union. Eichmann used Joel Brand, a Hungarian Jewish activist, to convey the offer of "Jews for trucks" to Western officials in Istanbul. Eichmann held Brand's wife hostage in Budapest. At the same time, the SD officials in Budapest sent another intermediary, none other than Grosz (Trillium in the Dogwood network), along with Brand to contact Western officials about the possibility of Germany reaching a separate peace with the West.

Were these Nazi feelers a hoax or a real chance to prevent, or at least delay, the last stage of the Holocaust? Lacking conclusive evidence, historians have divergent viewpoints. [38] Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer has taken the Brand-Grosz mission as a serious offer because Himmler was allegedly behind these feelers; by May 1944 Himmler might have been willing to break with Hitler. But Himmler's willingness to stage a coup and halt the Holocaust was never tested, according to Bauer, because British government officials, and to a lesser extent, their American counterparts, had no interest in pursuing a deal for Jewish lives. Besides the formidable political and military risks of bargaining with Nazi Germany, the rescue of Jews did nor enjoy high priority for Western governments. [39]

Bauer's interpretation shifts moral responsibility for the last phase of the Holocaust partly to the Western Allies. (Although the Soviet Union was in a better geographical position to try to intervene, Stalin's regime showed not the slightest interest in doing so.) Newly declassified evidence about Brand's mission can inform the debate about what the West might have done in response to the Holocaust in Hungary. One example is the first postwar debriefing of Rudolf Kasztner, one of the Jewish representatives in Budapest involved in contacts with Nazi officials there. Although this document in FBI files does not identify Kasztner by name, he fits the description of the source: "a Hungarian Jew who arrived in Switzerland on April 18 [1945, who] acted as a go-between in negotiations conducted by the SS with various Jewish organizations in Switzerland ... " Kasztner described Eichmann as running a tight ship in Hungary. If any of his SS subordinates had accepted bribes, Eichmann would have had them shot.

The one apparent exception was SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Dieter Wisliceny, who had taken bribes while serving in Slovakia during 1943. Knowing this, Hungarian Zionist and other leading Hungarian Jews hoped that money might stop the death factories. They therefore commissioned Kasztner to contact German authorities after Germany took control of Hungary. Wisliceny introduced Kasztner to Eichmann's subordinate, Hermann Krumey, who in turn arranged for a meeting with Eichmann. Eichmann demanded and received an advance of 6.5 million pengoes in Hungarian currency before he would negotiate. Afterwards, he insisted that he was not interested in money, but he did want ten thousand trucks.

This debriefing of Kasztner, now available in FBI records, supplies important background to the missions of Brand and Grosz in Istanbul. In particular, it clarifies that the initial idea of striking a bargain for lives came from Hungarian Jews who had learned (and misinterpreted) what had occurred in Slovakia earlier. Eichmann expanded and exploited this initiative. [40]

There is also some new information about Brand's traveling companion Grosz. Hermann Krumey was among a trio of Nazi officials who briefed Grosz before he left for Istanbul. According to a newly declassified OSS document obtained from the British, two SD men, Otto Klages and Fritz Laufer (Dogwood's "Iris"), plus Krumey, gave Grosz instructions. He was to bring about a meeting between high American and British officers with two or three high SD officials in a neutral country. He was to use Zionist contacts -- both Brand and Grosz had had past dealings with Jewish Agency officials -- to bring about this meeting. If, however, the Zionist connection failed, Grosz had another channel: after all, he was part of Dogwood. So Grosz could reach American officials one way or another. [41] This event suggests that Eichmann's men in Budapest and the SD were working together, not at cross-purposes, as some historians had believed.

In Istanbul, Grosz was met with suspicion and hostility. American intelligence officials had by now discovered from various sources that the Nazis had thoroughly penetrated the Dogwood network and that much of the intelligence Dogwood and his subordinates had collected was planted. An American counterintelligence officer quickly excoriated Grosz:

This man has been an unscrupulous double-agent. He has worked for most of the intelligence organizations operating in Istanbul, but has been faithful to none, so far as we can see. He is a Jew [he was actually a convert to Catholicism] and has Hungarian-Jewish support. With this he has attempted to go to Palestine ... We have a great deal of interest in this interrogation [which the British will carry our] ... we expect that easy methods will be used at first but that there will be no hesitation in using methods of whatever degree of stringency may be required to get results. The man definitely deserves no consideration on our part but we are concerned in getting out of him what he knows and what he has blown to the Germans. [42]


Grosz's reputation eliminated any possibility that Western intelligence officials would listen to the messages Brand and Grosz brought with them. Grosz represented a source of danger, and in their eyes Brand was at best an unknowing accomplice. After discussions with Jewish officials in Istanbul and an initial debriefing by British intelligence officials, Brand and Grosz crossed the border into British-held Syria, trying to reach Palestine. Suspicious of both men and the offers they carried, British officials grilled them in Aleppo, and later sem them to Cairo for more extensive interrogation.

Quite independently, but almost simultaneously, the Morale Operations branch of OSS Cairo proposed to launch a publicity campaign directed toward Jews in Hungary and Romania, inciting them to fight against their collaborationist regimes and the Nazis. Proposed articles and leaflets, allegedly stemming from the Hungarian underground, urged:

We, Catholic Hungatians, with faith in God and mindful of the [T]en [C]ommandments, took up the fight against the gangsters of Hitler, and we fight with every available means. Many of our underground organizations were killed during the first days of our fight, but we gain a dozen new soldiers for every martyr. ...

What are you doing, Jewish brothers?

Are you going to join our fight like men, or will you go to your death without opposition, like a bunch of sheep? Our lives are not in jeopardy like yours -- we are only fighting for our country. Your days are numbered, and you know that after the most terrible humiliations and degradations, your destination is -- Poland!

You are facing the inevitable -- so why don't you fight?

You know that you are sentenced to death; why not at least take a Nazi beast with you?

-- St. Stephan's League [43]


Another appeal, titled "Fight, Jew, Fight," was to come from a Jewish organization called Son of Samson:

Are we the cowards, the lice, the scum the Nazis say we are; or are we men, like the Warsaw heroes?! ...

There are 850,000 of us, we can do untold damage to Hitler, and if some of us will have to go down fighting, at least we will not die in vain like the heroes of the Warsaw ghetto. By fighting hard, we will hasten the liberation, and at least some of our loved ones will escape Poland's extermination plants. [44]


Whatever its potential disadvantages in motivating Hungarian Jewish resistance, the draft did not mince words. Another branch of the OSS had recognized that the Nazis had a policy of genocide for the Jews.

OSS Cairo sent this unusual proposal to Washington, where the OSS Planning Group emphatically rejected it and proposed to use Donovan's authority against it. OSS Washington told Cairo that the matter "involves matters undoubtedly unknown to you and too complex to enumerate." [45] Perhaps that was an allusion to Brand's mission and Allied attempts to discern what Nazi motives lay behind it.

OSS counterintelligence in Washington, despite wanting more information about Brand and Grosz, soon concluded that the Nazi offer to trade Jewish lives for trucks was meant to cause the Allies embarrassment: "Roosevelt is the chief target, for the Nazis claim that he is impeding the war effort by his attempts to rescue Jews." [46]

News of Eichmann's offer through Brand was leaked to the press in late June, and the British government publicly rejected it. Nonetheless, officials of the American War Refugee Board were open to the possibility of using Jewish negotiations with Nazi officials to delay further deportations and killings. Officials of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, as well as other Jewish organizations, were also willing to try to save the last large component of European Jewry.

So negotiations -- not between Nazi officials and the West, but between Nazi officials and Jewish representatives -- started again, despite the fact that Brand and Grosz had failed and were kept out of action. As a result of these meetings, first in Budapest between SS official Kurt Becher and Rudolf Kasztner, and then on the border of Switzerland, 1,684 Hungarian Jews were sent first to Bergen-Belsen and later to freedom in Switzerland as a sign of Nazi "good faith." [47]

The Allies never gave Nazi Germany trucks or other needed commodities, but questions remain about the original Nazi offer. Who gave the signal to send Brand and Grosz to Istanbul, and why? The following aftermath of the story, unknown until discovered among documents recently declassified by the IWG, suggests new answers.

On November 13, 1944, a German officer named Karl Marcus deserted and surrendered to Free French troops in France. After his release in Paris, Marcus established contact with British officers and convinced them he had valuable information. Marcus had served as assistant to Kurt Jahnke, a veteran German intelligence official who was a regular advisor to Walter Schellenberg, head of SD Foreign Intelligence. Marcus represented himself as Jahnke's envoy to the West.

British officials had no interest in pursuing Marcus' (or Jahnke's) idea that Britain should abandon the idea of fighting until Germany was destroyed, and that instead Britain should work with Germany to counteract Soviet influence. But they recognized that Marcus had a great deal of information about German intelligence operations. With the express permission of Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Marcus was brought to England at the beginning of 1945 and given various code names. [48]

British intelligence officials interrogated Marcus repeatedly. After giving a wealth of information about specific individuals and intelligence operations, especially in Britain and Ireland, Marcus revealed that Joel Brand's mission was approved by Schellenberg himself, and that its main purpose was to split the alliance against Germany. [49]

Schellenberg lacked jurisdiction over what the Nazis called the "Final Solution" of the Jewish question; there is no way he could have legitimately offered to stop mass murder of Jews. (And despite Eichmann's alleged offer to Brand to stop the deportations and killing, the trains of Jews from Hungary to Auschwitz continued while Brand was in Istanbul.) But if the purpose of sending Brand and Grosz to Istanbul was to sow dissension among the Allies, Eichmann would have surely gone along with Schellenberg's maneuver.

Image
SECRET

OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES
U.S. ARMY FORCES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

1 August 1944

Subject: OSS Arrangement with Jewish Agency

To: Major H.M. Chapin

1. I have forwarded your memorandum to the Jewish Agency through Mr. Pinkerton in Jerusalem. Mr. Zaslany will have received it some time before you get this message.

2. In your letter of transmittal you ask my opinion concerning the development of relations between you and the Jewish Agency. I have known Mr. Zaslany for some time and I like him very much personally. He is an exceedingly capable and straight-forward man, whose single-minded concern is directed toward the rescue of Jews from Europe and the establishment of Zionist policies among those who remain.

3. You should recognize from the first that the men from the Jewish Agency whom you may decide to use will definitely have a divided allegiance, in which the interests of OSS should be recognized as coming clearly in second place. So long as you are aware of this and discount it in advance you will probably be all right, but I would advise you not to look for too large a contribution from Jewish Agency representatives whom you may send along with your teams. I would certainly urge that such representatives should be attached to American teams and should not compose the majority on any one of them, for it will be impossible to depend upon them to respond rapidly to your directives or even to respond to them at all lin case your requests conflict with what they consider to be their major business.

4. Colonel Teague of ISLD, who has used Jewish Agency representatives rather extensively in the past, told me the other day that he had never received a single W/T message from any of them and considered that the effort which had been put into placing them in the field had been very largely wasted. He advised me very strongly to avoid using them, if possible, and to depend on our own men even though they might not know the country or have the contacts which the Jewish representatives might be in a position to supply.

5. Not long ago a document was found in the car of a Jewish ...

First page of a note from Stephen Penrose of OSS Cairo to his colleague in Washington claiming that the Jewish Agency is too self-interested to be a suitable partner for joint operations (Penrose to Chapin, 1 Aug. 1944, re. OSS arrangement of Jewish Agency, NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 172, folder 1281 -- Jewish Agency).
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Shortly afterward, Reuven Zaslani, a member of the Political Department of the Jewish Agency and the liaison from the Haganah to the British army, went to Allied headquarters at Bari, Italy, and agreed on a draft of a formal agreement with OSS officials at Bari. [61] Stephen Penrose of OSS Cairo then commented that Zaslani was capable and straightforward, but his "single-minded concern is directed toward the rescue of Jews from Europe and the establishment of Zionist policies among those who remain." Reviewing the incident of the seized notes about the OSS, Penrose cautioned OSS official Howard Chapin at Bari and OSS Washington that the Jewish Agency might use any joint operations now as claims at a postwar peace conference for further American assistance toward a Jewish state.

You will probably think from the above that I am an anti-Semite as well as a cynic. I am not the first, although my experiences during the past three or four years may have made me the second I am not strongly in favor of your proceeding very far with the Jewish Agency but I do not wish to influence you [Chapin] unduly.


In a postscript, he added, "Their motto is 'us first' -- 'you second' (or third)." [62] Elsewhere, Penrose declared that from the time of his arrival in the Middle East, he had fought the idea of recruiting Jewish Agency personnel for intelligence missions. [63]

Army security officials were even more negative, citing proof that some representatives of the Jewish Agency had been used by German intelligence (Grosz was the obvious example on everyone's mind). Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) officers in Cairo believed that the greatest mistake made by Allied intelligence was to presume that any Jew was anti-Nazi and anti-Axis. The CIC believed that Jews would deal with Nazi Party officials and German intelligence, and sell out Allied contacts, agencies, and operations if it served their cause. [64] The American consul general in Jerusalem also weighed in against using the Jewish Agency operatives. [65]

The Jewish Agency had some OSS supporters. Carl Devoe in the Labor Section of the OSS said that the Jewish Agency had turned over useful intelligence reports based on interviews with refugees en toute to Palestine. These reports contained economic data that aided the selection of targets for bombing. The Jewish Agency was aware, Devoe said, that there would be no American quid pro quo. Lewis Leary, chief of OSS Secret Intelligence for the Middle East, still favored careful cooperation with the Jewish Agency, pointing out both that the British had already used such men and women for operations in the Balkans, and that the OSS would control radio communications. [66]

Teddy Kollek of the Jewish Agency continued to believe that Zionist representatives who had had contact with Nazi officials in Hungary and Slovakia possessed useful information that the Allies might develop. Kollek sent Penrose a list of such Zionist officials: the top two Hungarian names were Rudolf Kasztner and Haynal Brand (wife of Joel Brand). Zaslani went to Cairo to brief Penrose on what they and others might accomplish with Allied backing. [67]

As the debate within the OSS stretched out to the end of 1944, the Jewish Agency raised another possibility, suggesting that it be allowed it to use Switzerland as a base to reach those Jews left in Germany and Austria, as well as the inmates of Theresienstadt. The author (probably Teddy Kollek) [68] of a new proposal now tried to turn the abortive Brand mission into an advantage. He stated that Nazi officials such as Krumey (Eichmann's man), Laufer, and Klages (both SD Foreign Intelligence) had used Brand and were still contacting other Jewish officials, such as Rudolf Kasztner in Budapest. Although these Nazi officials wanted to negotiate on various matters such as relief or exchange of Jews, contact with the Nazis might yield highly useful intelligence for the Allies. Nazis who had taken part in persecuting and exterminating Jews were among the fanatics who might likely go underground after Germany's defeat. The Allies would need information about such criminals, some of whom would seek refuge outside Germany. Switzerland was now a better vantage point than Istanbul to develop these Jewish Agency links with Nazi officials.

According to the same memorandum, the Allies had neglected another option to shorten the war. There were British and American plans to reach Allied paws in Nazi camps and to incite uprisings or sabotage by foreign laborers in Germany. In late September 1944, Allied planes dropped 250,000 incendiary weapons in the section of Frankfurt-Mainz with a high concentration of workers. General Eisenhower, in a radio broadcast translated into several languages, appealed to foreign workers to bring the war to an earlier conclusion through sabotage. [69] But nothing had been worked out to reach Jews interned in labor camps, who might also take part in an uprising coordinated with the Allied invasion of Germany. Switzerland was the best base for clandestine efforts into Germany's camps, and the Jewish Agency wanted to send people there with Allied support. [70]

OSS Washington sent the Jewish Agency's proposal for a Swiss base to Irving Sherman in the New York office. Sherman, something of an expert on Jewish issues, told Allen Dulles he thought the OSS should move forward at once:

The Intelligence Section of the Jewish Agency has been very effective. They have succeeded in maintaining regular contact with key individuals in various Axis countries ...

The problems peculiar to the Jews, and consequently to the Jewish Agency [have] necessitated their having close liaison with some important Nazi and Gestapo individuals. I know that important contacts are maintained through Switzerland and know of important negotiations even now taking place there.


Sherman recommended transferring Herbert Katzki from Istanbul to Switzerland, where he could again work both for the War Refugee Board and the OSS, and could serve as liaison to the Jewish Agency. [71] Dulles, who apparently had not received the Jewish Agency's detailed memo, cautioned Sherman against working "too closely with Kantar [code name for the Jewish Agency] at this stage" since its primary objective was to use the OSS to facilitate the movement of refugees to Palestine. But he expressed willingness to cautiously try ''Ardent'' (Katzki) or someone else. [72]

By late February 1945, Zaslani and Penrose had both gone to Washington, where they resumed contact. Lewis Leary in Cairo again lobbied for OSS cooperation with the Jewish Agency. But the military situation had changed: the movement of Allied troops toward the heart of Germany had reduced the need for internal uprisings to bring about Germany's defeat. Sensing as much, the Jewish Agency sought other opportunities for collaboration with the OSS. Emissaries from Palestine, working with local Jewish officials and communities still remaining in liberated territories, could assist OSS operations there, identify German agents and saboteurs, collect evidence about war criminals, and trace them. They could also help the Americans strengthen democratic influences in newly liberated countries. Infiltration of agents into areas still controlled by Germany-Austria in particular -- was mentioned, but now it was subordinate to other goals. [73]

In early March, Penrose cleared Katzki's trip to Switzerland, nominally again for the War Refugee Board, but also for the purpose of a liaison between the OSS and the Jewish Agency. [74] Then he notified Dulles of the proposed limited relationship:

We are willing to receive from [the Jewish Agency], with absolutely no commitments on our part, information which they will freely turn over to us. It has been definitely decided on a high level that we are to offer no assistance, financial or otherwise, to the advancement of their interests in the belief that this would help our own operations. We will not bring [the Jewish Agency] representatives to Switzerland ... for it is our belief that such activity on their part would only be a cover to their political interests. [75]


This tentative decision meant that the OSS was not willing to give cover (such as working for the War Refugee Board) to anyone from the Jewish Agency.

As Katzki was en toute, OSS officials in Washington sharpened their opposition. First, high-level officials finally rejected the plan to send Jewish agents into southeastern Europe as part of American teams. Whitney Shepardson, chief of Secret Intelligence in Washington, sided with Penrose, concluding that there was more to be lost than to be gained in collaboration on these operations, and that the Jewish Agency had not been really helpful enough in previous efforts. (It appears that a negative report from Lieutenant Jules Konig, who visited Palestine and met with some of the proposed candidates, influenced this decision.) [76] Then the same calculation reduced the scope of the proposed collaboration in Switzerland: any overt collaboration was to be avoided, mainly because "they always exploit any possible connection to their own advantage." The OSS would gladly take whatever intelligence the Jewish Agency could provide, but this was to be a one-way flow of information with nothing given in return. [77]

A subsequent letter by Stephen Penrose explained that Konig's negative report had an impact, but even more decisive was the Jewish Agency's suggestion (called a prerequisite) that the OSS bring a Jewish Agency man inside its organization to make the liaison work. This proposal again raised the specter of Jewish Agency penetration of the OSS, which high OSS officials emphatically rejected. [78] So a one-way flow of information from the Jewish Agency to the OSS was all that remained.

Jewish Agency for Palestine War Crimes Documentation

Shortly before the end of the war in Europe, the Political Department of the Jewish Agency began to organize its information about war crimes against Jews according to the names of individual perpetrators. For each of the individuals in a long alphabetized file, Jewish Agency officials drew on information obtained from survivors or witnesses, most or all of whom had reached Palestine. The individual sources were each given numbers, and next to each specific action attributed to a perpetrator were the numbers of potential witnesses.

SS and Police Leader Friedrich Katzmann "was charged with the extermination of Jews in eastern Galicia. He planned all proceedings against the Jews and supervised the strict carrying out of the orders." Source numbers 74 and 83 were prepared to testify that, in the middle of November 1941, Katzmann ordered all Jews to move into a ghetto, and that during this transfer some fourteen thousand elderly Jews were taken away and simply executed. Numbers 84 and 72 had information about Katzmann's inspections of the Janowska camp, during which he sometimes personally killed inmates. [79]

Although Katzmann was a high-ranking perpetrator, there were many files on lowly gendarmes or members of the German municipal police sent to occupied territories, and some German soldiers were included. Individuals who served in what is today Poland were the main subjects, but there was also coverage of some towns in conquered areas of the Soviet Union. It may be that the Jewish Agency compiled a broader geographical range of files and covered non-Germans as well as Germans. [80]

Some of the summaries were mildly exculpatory. Dr. Nagel, head of the Sipo (Security Police) and SD section dealing with Jews in Lvov, was involved in the first deportation from the ghetto, but higher authorities considered him too lenient. He was transferred in July 1942. [81] Other reports contained unusual information -- events that did not fit known patterns. For example, SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Novak, who headed the Gestapo in Sosnowice (Poland), started the persecution of Jews there. At the end of 1940, he arranged deportation of some Jews, mostly intellectuals or those suspected of political activities or offenses against regulations, to "the Oswiecim extermination camp." [82] At that time, Auschwitz was not yet an extermination camp, but some Jews were sent to what started as a concentration camp for Poles, and hardly any survived. Similarly, a report on the extermination of the Jews of Tarnow indicated that sixty prominent Jews were arrested and sent to Oswiecim at the beginning of 1941, never to return. [83]

When there were enough survivors with good memories or documents for particular locations, Jewish Agency officials combined their information into reference works. The name files comprised detailed information about individual crimes and had even provided physical descriptions of the perpetrators -- to aid their recognition and arrest. But the reference files tried to provide an understanding of the events in particular localities -- the process of destruction as it developed over time.

What must be the earliest history (or mini-history) of the extermination of the Jews in Lvov was prepared on June 5, 1945. The ten-page document pointed out that, as soon as German troops took Lvov, Ukrainians in the city denounced Jews who had cooperated with Soviet authorities during the period of Soviet occupation, 1939-41. Those Jews were arrested, gathered near the municipal building, and beaten by the Germans and local inhabitants. Later, local inhabitants, especially from the villages nearby, ravaged the Jewish quarter and beat Jews who stood in the way of their tobbery. Starting on July 1, a pogrom was organized; German police, soldiers, and local Ukrainians all took part. Many of those arrested were tortured and killed. On July 2, Dr. Levy, chief rabbi of Lvov, traveled to see Archbishop Sheptytsky (of the Uniate Church) to plead for his intercession, but on his return trip Levy was attacked by Ukrainians, taken to the local prison, and shot by a German army officer. More than twelve thousand Jews were killed in the first weeks of the German occupation of Lvov. The report described the establishment of a ghetto in fits and starts, the use of some Jews in labor camps, the killings on site, and the deportations to Belzec beginning in August 1942. [84]

The Jewish Agency's report on Tarnow traced the refusal of the Jewish council (Judenrat) to cooperate with deportations inJune 1942. A number of its members were killed, and German authorities were forced to organize deportations themselves with the aid of SS extermination brigades, the German Schutzpolizei (municipal police), the Criminal Police, Polish police, and local Hitler Youth members. When the ghetto was finally liquidated in September 1943, a number of visitors -- including the now notorious Amon Goeth, commandant at Plaszow, who had dealings with Oskar Schindler -- arrived from Cracow. The Tarnow study detailed Goeth's personal involvement in murder:

Goeth inspected the people lined up on the square and sent all those who appeared frail, old or for any other reason unfit for work, as well as mothers with children, to the railway station for deportation to Belzec. Several women who were found hiding their children among their baggage were shot by Goeth and his assistants ...

... [As for] women and small children, who had not complied with orders [i.e., got out of the lorries], the SS fired at them. Among the shooting party were Goeth, Grunoff, Palten, and Rommelmann. [85]


In general, these studies contained a great deal of material of historical value, some hard-to-find nuggets about chronology and specific events, and some useful information for potential war crimes purposes.

It is hard to determine whether all this work-files on at least 569 individual perpetrators -- contributed to the arrest or prosecution of anyone. [86] The individual sources of information are listed only by code number, and the identification list is not in the files. Some of the same individuals may have testified later in war crimes proceedings, but it would be impossible to determine from the information available in the National Archives.

The Jewish Agency apparently supplied a microfilm copy of these records to the 055, which printed hard copies at some later date on thick paper. These paper records later became part of the collection of war crimes records assembled by American prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials. At some later date they arrived at the National Archives, where they were declassified long ago, but were otherwise ignoted. They had been tightly tied together in bundles with tope (apparently of the 1940s era); the thick paper had curled into tight cylinders, and one needed to use two hands to unwind and read each page. The paper was brittle and unmanageable. But archives curators took over in 2002, making a better copy that is available for research today.

There were many reasons why the Allied governments prosecuted only a small percentage of those who committed murder and other crimes during the Holocaust. It was a huge task, and there were many practical obstacles. But one of the problems was accumulating specific evidence about exactly what each perpetrator did when, and where. Perhaps what came for free to the OSS was not properly appreciated.

_______________

Notes

1. Richard Breitman, Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew (New York: Hill and Wang 1998), 182.

2. Gerhard L. Weinberg, A World at Arms: A Global History of World Wor II (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 380, 384.

3. Memorandum for Mr. Ladd, 13 Apr. 1943, NA, RG 65, 64-23000 -- Bermuda Conference on Refugees, box 16.

4. Henry L. Feingold, The Politics of Rescue: The Roosevelt Administration and the Holocaust, 1938-1945 (New Brunswick, NJ, 1970), 195.

5. Influenced by the meager results of the Bermuda Conference, Jewish activists at the time and historians have judged Bloom harshly. See, for example, Richard Breitman and Alan M. Kraut, American Refugee Policy and European Jewry, 1933-1945 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 139-40; Henry L. Feingold, Bearing Witness: How America and its Jews Responded to the Holocaust (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1995),83; Monty N. Penkower, The Jews Were Expendable: Free World Diplomacy and the Holocaust (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983), 108.

6. Morning Conference, 20 Apr. 1943: Confidential Memorandum for the Chairman, NA, RG 59, 52D-408 Misc. Subject Files, 1942-1947, box 3, folder -- Bermuda Conference Minutes.

7. Jean-Claude Favez, The Red Cross and the Holocaust, [fans. and ed. John and Beryl Fletcher (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999),78-79,103.

8. Favez, Red Cross,79-80.

9. The 28 Dec. 1942 cable is nor available in the National Archives. Suchard to Peter, 24 June 1943 re. Intervention of the World Jewish Congress, censorship copy in NA, RG 226, entry 191, box 4, folder 44-Censorship -- Greece.

10. Favez, Red Cross,89-90.

11. Barry Rubin, Istanbul Intrigues (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1989). See also some key documentation reprinted in USA und deutsche Widerstand, ed. Jurgen Heideking and Christof Mauch (Tubingen: Francke Verlag, 1993),40-69.

12. Arch F. Coleman to Maj. Lee M. Sharrar, Narrative Account of the Organization and Activities of the "Dogwood Project -- Istanbul Mission," 5 Dec. 1944, 1-2, NA, RG 226, entry 214, box 6, folder WN24849-24859, document WN24851 [hereafter cited as Coleman Report]. Also, Coleman's earlier assessment (of Dogwood) in Report on Field Conditions, Istanbul, 2 May-14 Sept. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 536, folder 1.

13. In September 1943, Ernst Reuter, Gerhard Kessler, Hans Wilbrandt, and Alexander Rustow founded a German Freedom Movement in Istanbul. All but Wilbrandt were academics. See USA und deutsche Widerstand, 41-43. Two young German physicians, Peter Ladewig and Werner Laqueur, worked in Schwarz's office. Ladewig was considered part Jewish by the Nazis, and Laqueur was Jewish. See Coleman Report, 4.

14. Bericht Wurm, 20-26 Apr. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 137, box 23, folder 160, envelope 3A, part 2.

15. The July 9, 1943, report is identified only as WRu-OKW; this abbreviation meant Wilbrandt and Rustow from an OKW source. NA, RG 226, entry 137, box 23, folder 160, envelope 68 P U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis 3A, part 2. A later document, a 14 Sept. 1943 report from Cereus on the basis of information from Hyacinth [Dr. Hans Wilbrandt] through Dogwood [Schwarz], specifically identified Moltke as the source of the July 9 report, which covered a number of other subjects in addition to the Warsaw ghetto uprising. Sec Cereus (13), Hyacinth via Dogwood, 8 Sept. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 137, box 23, folder 160, envelope 3A, part 2. For additional evidence of Moltke's trip to Istanbul and his meeting with Wilbrandt and Rustow, see Helmuth James von Moltke, Letters to Freya, trans. Beata Ruhm von Oppen (New York: Knopf, 1990), 317, 317n 1.

16. WRu-OKW, 9 July 194.3, NA, RG 226, entry 137, box 23, folder 160, envelope 3A, part 2.

17. Melbourne to Secretary of State, 13 Jan. 1944, NA, RG 59, CDF-740.00 116 E.W. [European War] 1939/1311 2/3/TLPS/TL.

18. Ibid.

19. Coleman Report, 10.

20. Riediger [sic], (Stock) Report of 10 June 194.3, NA, RG 226, entry 137, box 23, folder 160, envelope 3A, part 2.

21. Only the second page of this report from Rudiger survives -- it left Cairo on 29 Sept. 1943, copy in NA, RG 226, entry 146, box 246, folder 3437.

22. Report from Stock/Periwinkle through Cereus, 7 Sept. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 137, box 23, folder 160, envelope 3A, part 2. OSS to Macfarland, Istanbul, 19 Jan. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 288, folder 1651.

23. Coleman Report, 10-11.

24. Irving Sherman, Report on My Istanbul Mission, 24 Aug. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 369, folder 7.

25. OSS Washington to Gustav, Cairo, 1 Oct. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 252, folder 1521.

26. Macfarland was then in Cairo for consultations. Gustav, Cairo to OSS, From 550 [Macfarland] to 154 [Shepardson] re. Penetration into the Reich, 8 Oct. 1943, ibid.

27. OSS to Gustav, Cairo, Carib and 154 to 550, 9 Oct. 1943; Gustav, Cairo to OSS, Macfarland to Buxton, II Oct. 1943; OSS to Gustav, Cairo, Donovan to Toulmin, 23 Oct. 1943, all in NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 252, folder 1521. Quote from Macfarland, Istanbul to OSS, 30 Oct. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 288, folder 1652.

28. OSS to Macfarland, Istanbul, From 550 [Macfarland], 7 Nov. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 288, folder 1652 -- Dispatches; Macfarland, Istanbul, to OSS, From 550: Attention, Cereus, 10 Nov. 194.3, ibid.

29. OSS to Macfarland, from Carib and 154, 22 Nov. 1943; OSS to Macfarland, 9 Dec. 1943, both in NA, RG 226, entry 1.34, box 288, folders 1651 and 1652.

30. The story of Moltke's Dec. 1943 feeler, which the OSS called the "Herman Plan," is already well covered in scholarly literature. See USA und deutsche Widerstand, 52-67, for key documents. The section of the Coleman Report on Moltke contains much misinformation about the man and his motives. For the quote, OSS to Macfarland, Istanbul, 31 Dec. 1943 re. the German Field, NA, RG 226, entry 1.34,box 288, folder 1652 -- Satellite nations of Axis and Hungary.

31. Moltke, Letters to Freya, 385.

32. Coleman Report, 14-16.

33. Source: Cereus (35); Subsource Trillium via Dogwood, 24 Sept. 1943, re. Rumors of Russo-German Peace Negotiations, NA, RG 226, entry 137, box 23, folder 160, envelope 3A, part 2.

34. Coleman Report, 16, 18-20, 23-24.

35. Coleman Report, 27-31.

36. Sherman's Report on My Istanbul Mission, 24 Aug. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 369, folder 7, document WN 14753.

37. Coleman Report, 62.

38. See discussion of varying historical interpretations in Richard Breitman and Shlomo Aronson, "The End of the Final Solution? Nazi Plans to Ransom Jews in 1944," Central European History 25, no. 2 (1992): 177-80.

39. Yehuda Bauer, Jews for Sale? Nazi-Jewish Negotiations, 1933-1945 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1994), esp. 119-195.

40. Military Intelligence Report from unidentified Information Group, 17 May, 1945, on SS Organizations in Hungary Responsible for Jewish Persecution, copy in NA, RG 65, 65- 47826-249, box 63.

41. Grosz met with two SD men and one Security Police official (Jeschke) in Budapest on May 15, 1944. The next day he met with two SD men and one of Eichmann's subordinates (Krumey). Both meetings involved discussions of Grosz's (and Brand's) mission in Istanbul. Extract of British interrogation of Grosz in Aleppo, Syria, 6-22 June 1944 (S.I.M.E. Report 3), NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 447, folder 10, document WN 16145. The full interrogation of Grosz is already available at the Public Record Office at Kew: FO 371/42811.

42. X-2 report for week ending 3 June 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 108A, box 141, folder DX 010 1944. Emphasis is in the original document.

43. The original title was the Calvin League, which was struck out. Perhaps someone remembered that Calvin was nor Catholic.

44. Hungarian Jews, NA, RG 226, entry 92, box 552, folder 15, document 31957. This document, declassified well before 1998, was called to my attention by Daniel Davis, to whom I am grateful.

45. Wilson to Director, Strategic Services, 15 June 1944 re. MO plan for Jews in Hungary and Romania, in NA, RG 226, entry 92, box 552, folder 15, document 31957.

46. OSS to Ustavic, London, 7 July 1944, re. Brand Plan, NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 245, folder 1499-Wash-Sect-R&C 75.

47. Breitman and Aronson, "End of the Final Solution?" 193-202; Tuvia Friling, "Nazi-Jewish Negotiations in Istanbul in mid-1944," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 13, no. 3 (I 999): 405-36.

48. OSS despatch, at the request of the chief of MI-6, 28 Dee. 1944, entitled Nazi Attempt to Contact British; Buxton's Memoranda for the Secretary of State and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 16 Jan. 1945, both in NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 364, folder 2.

49. Dictionary Information about the UK and Eire: Interrogation No. 25 re. Jahnke, undated, NA, RG 226, entry 109, box 66, folder XX11587-11599.

50. Report on the Desirability of our Co-operation with the Jewish Agency, 27 Oct. 1943 [from Dogwood and Cereus], NA, RG 226, entry 210 (A1-171), box 20, folder 11.

51. Coleman's assessment in Report on Field Conditions, Istanbul for the period 2 May to 14 Sept. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 536, folder 1; also Coleman Report, 14.

52. Sherman to Beale, 31 Dec. 1943, re. Herbert Katzki, A, RG 226, entry 214, box 7, folder WN25844-25850, document WN25846.

53. Executive Order 9417, quoted in Breitman and Kraut, American Refugee Policy, 191; on the cable, 191-92.

54. Macfarland to Lt. Col. Vala Mocarski, OSS Cairo, 31 Jan. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949.

55. Hughes to Shepardson, from Donovan to Macfarland, 17 Mar. 1944, re. Herbert Katzki to Istanbul, NA, RG 226, entry 214, box 7, folder WN25833-25843. On Karzki's work for OSS, see Sherman to Dulles, 17 Jan. 1945, re. Intelligence Section of the Jewish Agency, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 241, folder WN9432/00 1-9890/048, document WN9446.

56. Shertok to the Minister-Resident in the Middle East, Cairo, 7 Feb. 1944, re. Jewish resistance in the Balkans, copy in NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949.

57. For British reaction, see Bernard Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe 1939-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979), 289-94; also Dina Porat, The Blue and the Yellow Stars of David: The Zionist Leadership in Palestine and the Holocaust, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), 224-25. For a summary of the results of the missions and information about those involved, see Porat, 225-28.

58. Porat, Blue and Yellow Stars, 228.

59. Major C. T. S. Keep to Mr. Penrose, Cairo, 13 June 1944, re. Sample security opinion for men recruited from the Jewish Agency, NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 172, folder 1281-Jewish Agency.

60. CIC Cairo Report to A. C. of S., G-2, U. S. A. F.I.M.E., 13 June 1944, re. translation of notes found on a prominent member of the Jewish Agency, ibid. The man was not named in this document.

61. Proposed Cooperative Arrangement between SI Central European Section OSS and Jewish Agency Intelligence Service, 21 July 1944; Chapin to Penrose, 24 July 1944, re. Jewish Agency Intelligence Service Proposed Agreement, both in NA, RG 226, entry 190, box J 72, folder 1281-Jewish Agency.

62. Penrose to Chapin, 1 Aug. 1944, re. OSS arrangement of Jewish Agency, ibid.

63. Penrose to Wisner, memorandum from Wisner previously dared 17 and 19 Aug. 1944, 24 Aug. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 2 J 0, box 252, folder 6, document 10250/5.

64. Kennedy to Toulmin, 7 Aug. 1944, re. Jewish Agency, NA, RC 226, entry J 90, box 172, folder 1281-Jewish Agency.

65. Mentioned in Leary to Shepardson, Notes on Cooperation with the Jewish Agency, 15 Mar. 1945, NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949, document WN25946.

66. Devoe to Penrose, 16 Sept. 1944, re. Report on meeting with officials of Jewish Agency, NA, RC 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949; Leary to Chief, SICE, 16 Mar. 1945, re. Mission in near East, Accomplishments and Personal Conclusions; and Leary to Shepardson, 6 Mar. 1945, re. proposed cooperation between the Jewish Agency and OSS in penetrating Austria, both in NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949, document WN25946.

67. Kollek to Penrose, 31 Oct. 1944, re. Zaslani trip to Cairo, NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949.

68. Kollek had by this time been transferred from Istanbul to Jerusalem. On 14 Dee. 1944 he wrote Penrose on several matters and said that he was attaching a suggestion about activities that could be organized in Switzerland. Kollek to Penrose, 14 Dec. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949.

69. Christof Mauch, The Shadow War Against Hitler: The Covert Operations of America's Wartime Secret Intelligence Service, trans. Jeremiah Riemer (New York: Columbia University Press, 2003),176.

70. Jewish Agency for Palestine, Switzerland as Base of Operations, 11 Dec. 1944; a handwritten note indicates that it was sent to Whitney Shepardson in Washington, NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949. The Jewish Agency had apparently learned from its previous rebuff that it had to deliver more that was of intelligence value to the OSS if it wanted American sponsors. In January, Kollek promised an increase flow of material, and he delivered a thirteen-page memo on "Jewish Terrorist Gangs in Palestine," which one OSS official found worthwhile.

71. Sherman to Dulles, 17 Jan. 1945, re. Intelligence Section of the Jewish Agency, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 241, folder 3-WN9432/001-9890/048, document WN9446.

72. Bern to OSS, from 110 to 154 and 209 [Shepardson and Sherman?] 17 Feb. 1945, re. Kantar, NA, RG 226, entry 134, box 192, folder 1219-IN D-27 SI Bern Jan.-Mar. 1945.

73. Zaslani to Shertok, 27 Feb. 1945, re. Jewish Agency for Palestine, document WN25946; Leary to Shepardson, 26 Feb. 1945, re. Swiss Plan from Jewish Agency, document WN25946; Leary to Shepardson, 6 Mar. 1945, re. Proposed Cooperation between the Jewish Agency and OSS in penetrating Austria, document WN25946; Unsigned [Zaslani] Suggestions for Joined Activities in South-Eastern European Countries, 27 Feb. 1945; all in NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949, and RG 226, entry 190, box 172, folder 1281. 74. Penrose to Sherman, 10 Mar. 1945, re. Kantar, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 241, folder 3, document WN9439/009.

75. Penrose to 110 [Dulles], 22 Mar. 1945, re. [Ardent], NA, RG 226, entry 214, box 7, folder WN25833-25843, document WN25837.

76. Penrose to Leary, 20 Mar. 1945 re. Jewish Agency Plan, NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949; Washington to Aldrich and Leary, Maddox, Caserta, for Ulmer, Bari from 154 [Shepardson] and Penrose, 21 Mar. 1945, NA, RG 226, entry 190, box 172, folder 1281. Konig submitted a preliminary report on March 5 (Konig Preliminary Report, 5 Mar. 1945, cover sheet 6 Mar. 1945, see Konig to Chief, SICE, 16 Mar. 1945). Leary sent his own summary on March 15 (Leary to Shepardson, 15 Mar. 1945, NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949, document WN25946), and Konig sent a supplement on March 16 (Konig to Chief, SICE, 16 Mar. 1945, NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949, document WN25946).

77. Penrose to Leary, 20 Mar. 1945, re. Jewish Agency Plan, NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949, document WN25946.

78. Leary to Shepardson, 15 Mar. 1945, notes on cooperation with the Jewish Agency; Penrose to Leary, 30 Mar. 1945, re. the decision on cooperation with the Jewish Agency, both in NA, RG 226, entry 215, box 4, folder WN25940-25949, document WN25946.

79. Katzmann, Brigadefuhrer SS, NA, RG 238, entry 52D, box 15, folder-Immhof-Katzmann.

80. Here I cover only those copies that ended up in American hands. The original files are said to be in the Haganah archives in Israel.

81. From the Jewish Agency re. Dr. Nagel and Novak, dated 10 and 30 May 1945, NA, RG 238, entry 52D, box 15, folder-Mons-Novak.

82. Ibid.

83. Report titled "The Extermination of the Jews of Tarnov" from the Jewish Agency for Palestine, 28 May 1945, NA, RG 238, entry 520, box 16, folder-Reports-Extermination of the Jews of Sosnowiec, Bendzin and vicinity, etc.

84. Report titled "The Extermination of the Jews in Lvov" from the Jewish Agency for Palestine, 5 June 1945, NA, RG 238, entry 520, box 16, folder-Krueger-Kuehnlein; Misc. Reports.

85. Report titled "The Extermination of the Jews of Tarnov" from the Jewish Agency for Palestine, 28 May 1945, NA, RG 238, entry 52D, box 16, folder-Reports-Extermination of the Jews of Sosnowiec, Bendzin and vicinity, etc.

86. Alphabetical list of criminals, undated, from the Jewish Agency for Palestine, NA, RG 238, entry 520, boxes 15 and 16, folder-Misc., Alphabetical List.
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Re: U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, No

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3. Case Studies of Genocide
by Richard Breitman and with Robert Wolfe

EXISTING NAZI GOVERNMENT and party documents do not reveal the full intentions and crimes of Nazi officials. Some incriminating matters were never put in writing, while others were camouflaged with euphemisms or vague allusions. Some highly sensitive documents were lost or intentionally destroyed as Germany's military fortunes deteriorated.

A number of Nazi secrets, however, leaked out at the end of the war when Nazi officials talked. In other cases, Allied intercepting and decoding operations picked up German radio messages. This chapter contains one case study using each type of intelligence. These two new cases, the result of material declassified under the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, help to reveal how far the Nazis went to commit murder and to conceal their crimes.

The "Selection" of Elite Czech Children

Nazi efforts to Germanize Czech territory involved more than bringing German settlers into the Protectorate of Bohemia-Moravia or seizing Czech assets. The SS was prepared to destroy the Czech nation. The main lines of Nazi policy were laid out in German documents long since declassified, but one newly declassified Allied interrogation of an SS officer stationed in Prague yields striking and ghastly details of a previously unknown plan to murder talented Czech children.

Image
CSDIC(WEA)
BAOR
31 Aug 46
SECRET
APPENDIX TO FR 92
Goorg BUGELSACK
APPENDIX
PLAN FOR THE EXTERMINATION OF CZECH CHILDREN
A. HISTORY AND ORGANISATION

1. In 1941 Ostubef KUNZEL received an order from HITLER via Gruf HEYDRICH, to work out details of a plan for the liquidation of those Czech children who on account of their personality, physical excellence and high intelligence seemed likely to become future leaders of Czech national life. KUNZEL planned this operation in conjunction with HEYRICH, and later Oberf WEIHMANN, and with the Secretary of State for the Protectorate, K.H. FRANK. The plan finally decided on was as follows: -

2. Permission was requested from the Czech President, Dr HACHA, for commissions of German doctors to tour the Protectorate with a view to X-raying all Czech children, allegedly in order to discover and prevent the spread of tuberculosis. The operation was outwardly of a purely medical nature and was to be carried out in co-operation with the Czech local authorities. Accordingly it received HACHA's support.

3. About 1942, three separate commissions of three or four members each were formed. The heads, KUNZEL, PREUSS and ULRIAK, were all SS officers who pretended to be doctors; they wore civilian clothes. The commissions toured the entire Protectorate. The heads called on the local Czech mayors and requested them to assemble the children in the school building. Here X-ray photographs were taken of each child. The children also underwent a brief examination as to racial characteristics and were given an intelligence test.

4. Results of those examinations were collated and sent to Ostuf Dr mod HUSSMANN in PRAGUE, who had established an office in the Hradschin under the cover-name of "Rontgonkommission". HUSSMANN was assisted by Oschaf BENDER, Oschaf STUTZ and Rotf HOHM. The results obtained by the "medical" commissions were entered on a card-indo, each child receiving a separate card.

5. The process of liquidation was planned in the following manner: The local Czech authorities would be furnished with nominal rolls of children who, it would be claimed, needed hospital or medical treatment for TB. The authorities would be requested to inform the parents of this fact and to cause the children to be sent to German Youth Hostels and convalescence centres. From here it was planned to send the victims to special extermination camps. In due course, the parents were to be informed that their children had died of TB.

6. Prisoner states that this order was never given, but the work of the unit was not wasted. When the Russians were approaching the borders of CZECHOSLOVAKIA, large numbers of Czech youths, specially earmarked for extermination, were despatched to exposed sectors of the front. They were officially given the job of building fortifications; Prisoner, states, however, that the true intention was to cause their death. This purpose has, according to Prisoner, largely been achieved.

7. Prisoner states that about 1942/43 the "SS Rasso- und Siedlungsamt Aussenstelle BOHMEN un-MAHREN" was set up in CZECHOSLOVAKIA. The HQ (Hauptdionststelle) was at Marakstr 5, PRAGUE. Provincial offices (Dionststeller) were set up in various towns of the Protectorate.

8. The complete card-index prepared by the "Rontgonkommission" was transferred to the Hauptdienststelle and was kept by one of the sub-departments known as "Kartei". The officials of the Dienststellen ...

Part of a report from British interrogation of Georg Buglesack describing Nazi plans to murder gifted Czech children (CSDIC Final Report on Georg Bugelsack, July 1946, NA, RG 65, 105- 9666, box 156, Appendix 1 dated 31 Aug. 1946, 1).


In September 1940, Reinhard Heydrich, head of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), wrote a memo for the files about the need to conduct a racial census in the Protectorate. Like his boss, Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler, Heydrich was convinced that a certain percentage of the Czech population was of Germanic stock and therefore valuable-suitable for Germanization, absorption into the German people. What percentage of Aryan blood qualified a person as valuable? In marginal cases, one could also look at subjective qualities, such as behavior. But only a racial census of the population could supply baseline data for determining who could stay and who must go. Those Slavs considered unsuitable, Heydtich wrote, could not remain in Bohemia: he set himself a goal of evacuating them somewhere yet to be determined. [1]

In January 1941, Himmler proceeded with this policy by ordering German officials to arrange for school-based physical examinations of Czech children. Otto Hofmann, chief of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office, suggested that while these exams would produce statistics on racial composition, school physicians would undoubtedly make mistakes and even submit false reports to shield as many children as possible. Recommending more effective examinations by the X-ray team within his office, he reported that he had ordered SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Ermin Kunzel to Prague. [2]

The thirty-three-year-old Kunzel had served in the Race and Settlement Office since 1934, rising to SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer while leader of the regional office in Prague. He served a brief period in the Waffen-SS in 1942, but suffered a relapse of tuberculosis and was discharged. Apart from this stint, he remained in Prague and other SS Race and Settlement outposts. Among other things, he supervised a program labeled "Acceptance of applicants capable of Germanization" (Zulassung eindeutschungsfahiger Bewerber). [3] Available German documents do not clarify what was intended for Kunzel's rejects.

In September 1946, British military police arrested Georg Bugelsack, another former Race and Settlement official from Prague, who supplied information to the British about Kunzel that was later given to the FBI. Bugelsack had served as chief of staff in the Prague Race and Settlement office in mid-1944. Although he had not been there in the early years of Nazi occupation, he had heard a great deal from colleagues who had stayed in Prague throughout. Bugelsack explained that the original plan in Prague was for

local Czech authorities to be furnished nominal rolls of children who ... needed ... treatment for TB ... and to inform the parents that the children would be sent to German Youth Hostels and convalescence centers From here it was planned to send the victims to special extermination camps. In due course the parents would be informed the children had died of TB. [4]


This clandestine extermination plan resembled the carefully camouflaged "euthanasia" program carried out in Germany and some German-occupied territories to dispose of those persons considered genetically deficient because of actual or perceived physical or mental impairments.

The term "euthanasia" was itself camouflage-these individuals were not terminally ill. Some of them had conditions or diseases merely suspected to be hereditary. This so-called euthanasia program, authorized directly by Hitler, was not an SS operation: officials of Hitler's private chancellery directed operations from an office at Berlin's Tiergartenstrasse 4, hence the program's code name "T-4." Through the summer of 1941, more than seventy thousand Germans labeled as defective through this process had already been gassed. [5] Their relatives were given false information that they had died as a result of diseases.

Kunzel's secret plan, as reported by Bugelsack, diverged from T-4 in two respects. First, this program was directly in the hands of the SS. Second, the goal of the SS was not to kill those people labeled defective but "to liquidate Czech children who on account of their personality, physical excellence and high intelligence seemed likely to become future leaders of Czech national life." [6] If the Czech nation was to disappear, then the future Czech leaders had to die. Bugelsack identified Heydrich, State Secretary Karl Hermann Frank, and an SS-Oberfuhrer Weihmann as the high authorities behind this plan.? It would appear that Kunzel kept them satisfied. Kunzel's superior in the Race and Settlement Office, Ono Hofmann, pressed for his promotion because Kunzel had undertaken "wide-ranging activities, especially in the area of racial policy ... which were not only valued but esteemed by Heydrich." [8]

Bugelsack claimed that all the exams were conducted and selections made, but the order to kill the children never arrived. Perhaps Heydrich's assassination in mid-1942 disrupted arrangements, created new priorities, or removed the one person who would not have shied away from the ramifications. Nonetheless, Bugelsack asserted that the work of examining and classifying Czech children was not "wasted." In the late stages of the war, as Soviet troops approached Czechoslovakia, large numbers of Czech youths, particularly those who had been marked for extermination, were sent to exposed sectors of the front, allegedly to build fortifications. But the true intention of these assignments was to bring about their death, which frequently occurred. [9]

Bugelsack's account helps to explain what the Chilean consul in Prague, Gonzalo Montt Rivas, wrote in September 1941: Bohemia-Moravia was to be Germanized. Sometimes stronger peoples simply eliminated weaker ones, a process repeated throughout history. II) This time, Montt guessed wrong.

The study of past plans for mass murder may decrease the chances of future occurrences. The more evidence we have, the better the chance that we will learn. A second case study of genocide draws upon Allied signals intelligence uncovered and declassified by the IWG and subsequently also made available at the Public Record Office (Kew) in the United Kingdom. These new documents offer a clearer picture of German activities in Italy in the summer and fall of 1943, including the effort to deport and exterminate the Jews of Rome.

New Documents on the Holocaust in Italy

On July 23, 1943, in response to rumors about a plot to overthrow Mussolini's government, Herbert Kappler set up a short-wave radio in his office in Rome and established contact with his superiors in Berlin. [11] Technically a police attache within the German Embassy in Rome, the thirty-six-year-old Kappler was placed with German diplomats as a cover. In actuality, he reported not to the German Foreign Office, but to officials of departments IV (the Gestapo) and VI (SD Foreign1ntelligence) of the RSHA.

Kappler's radio connection to Berlin came just in time. Two days later, a palace coup in Italy unseated Mussolini and installed Marshal Pietro Badoglio in office. Anxious authorities in Germany wanted immediate information about the situation, and Kappler used his radio to describe the maneuvers of the Badoglio government, the Italian military, and the Vatican, as well as to report on the status of trusted Fascist officials.

After Italy secretly negotiated an armistice with the Allies and the British and Americans landed troops in southern Italy, Germany responded by rushing large numbers of troops and some policemen into Italy, and by taking control of the capital. Italy was no longer a German ally, but an occupied country-and a battleground.

Finding himself at the focal point of attention in Europe, Kappler relied heavily on radio communication; it gave him independence from Italian (and local German) officials. Radio was also a means to reach Ernst Kaltenbrunner, chief of the RSHA, and even Heinrich Himmler. Although some mail went by courier and some phone calls may have been made, from early September until late October 1943 Kappler and various RSHA and SS authorities in Germany exchanged radio messages each day. These messages provide a running log of SS and police reactions to, and activity during, the Italian crisis; they also include small but revealing bits of information about the first stage of the Holocaust in Italy.

While many radio messages between Kappler and authorities in Germany have not survived or have not yet surfaced, other transmissions were intercepted and quickly deciphered by British intelligence. [12] Translations were distributed within days, and some American intelligence officials were among the recipients. Using documents declassified by the IWG, we can now understand more fully what British and American intelligence learned at the time. [13]

In postwar testimony during his own trial and again later at the trial of Adolf Eichmann, Kappler explained that just after the liberation of Mussolini he had received a phone call from Himmler's office with very good and bad news. He was promoted to SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer and awarded the Iron Cross decoration. In the same call he learned that Himmler wished to proceed with the arrest and deportation of the Jews of Rome. (Kappler did not state who called him.)

The timing of the call mattered because Kappler claimed that he then delayed carrying out Himmler's order. He had misgivings about carrying out this action under the eyes of Pope Pius XII and an unsupportive Italian population. During the rest of September, he hoped to show his superiors that it would be more profitable to exploit Rome's Jews. The latest historical study, Robert Katz's The Battle for Rome, essentially accepts Kappler's version. [14] So did a 1948 Italian military tribunal, which convicted Kappler for other things, but not for deporting Jews from Rome. [15]

The decodes of SD messages (hereafter called SD decodes) and some older evidence raise substantial doubts about Kappler's testimony. During the days before September 12, Himmler was obsessed with the rescue of Mussolini from his Italian captivity. Infuriated by a refusal from General Karl Student, commander of an air corps, to divide his parachute troops to try to free Mussolini, Himmler ordered the rescue of Mussolini with the use of all available SS and police forces; all other activities were to be deferred. Himmler's instructions went to Walter Schellenberg, head of SD Foreign1ntelligence, who radioed them to Kappler. [16] Himmler's telephone logs include nothing about a phone call to Kappler in mid- September 1943.17 New and old sources suggest that any orders for deportations of Jews came later than September 12. Rome was not even under full German control then.

Perhaps the key is to look more closely at the date and manner of Kappler's promotion, which Kappler connected with Himmler's order. It turned out that in February 1944 the RSHA learned for the first time of this promotion and inquired how it had come about. The response was that Karl Wolff, Highest SS and Police Leader for Italy, had suggested it to Himmler in the early days of Italy's effort to desert Germany, and that Himmler had accepted the idea. When he was asked about the date of the promotion, Himmler (in March 1944) wanted it to coincide with the day of Mussolini's liberation-September 12, 1943. So the paperwork was backdated. [18]

Karl Wolff met with Himmler on the afternoon and again on the evening of September 15; he probably suggested the promotion at that point.19 It does not appear that Himmler or his office notified Kappler of the promotion, and the RSHA did not know about it, so that left Wolff. Along with some trusted Italian Fascists, Wolff flew from Germany to Rome on September 17, and Kappler was instructed to have his party met at the airport. Wolff reported his arrival to Himmler the next day. He had begun work in collaboration with General Ricci, newly installed head of a Fascist militia in Rome. [20] Wolff immediately ordered the transfer to Rome of a hundred policemen from a German police battalion in northern Italy, giving Kappler the nucleus of a force of his own. He also used Waffen-SS units to reorganize the Fascist militia. [21] All these forces would be important during the next month, since Kappler recognized that he could not depend upon the Italian police to cooperate in deporting Jews. In fact, the general unreliability of Italian police in Rome forced Kappler to take some Roman police officials into custody. [22]

Wolff did one other thing that is of interest in the present context: he handed out decorations to at least two German officials; they received the War Cross for Merit. [23] Wolff was the one who arranged for Kappler's promotion. Would he not want to pass the news to Kappler at the first opportunity? Was Wolff the one who informed Kappler orally about Himmler's order to deport the Jews of Rome? If Kappler's testimony about hearing about his promotion and the order to deport Jews simultaneously is accurate, it incriminates Wolff. If Kappler's testimony is inaccurate, it suggests that Kappler heard about the order later and did not seek to delay its implementation.

On September 24, Kappler warned Berlin that Spanish diplomats were about to leave Rome on a special train, and that the Vatican had sold Spanish, Argentinian, Portuguese, and Mexican visas to Jews trying to escape Rome on this train. [24] Whether the Vatican had actually done what Kappler reported is doubtful. In any case, no known independent evidence confirms the sale of visas to Jews. But Kappler's warning that some Jews were escaping, and his promise to find out who the purchasers of visas were, cast doubt on his postwar testimony of resisting Himmler's order. By this time, certainly, Kappler was familiar with Himmler's goal of deporting Italian Jews to their deaths. On September 25, the RSHA circulated a list of Jews of various nationalities who could now be deported from different locations-Italian Jews were first on the list. [25]

On September 26, Kappler met with two leading Italian Jews, Dante Almansi, president of the Union of Italian1sraelite Communities, and Ugo Foa, president of the Jewish Community of Rome, to demand fifty kilograms of gold from the Jewish community of Rome within forty-eight hours. If they failed, two hundred Jews would be deported to Germany. Kappler's postwar testimony was that he turned to extortion as an alternative to deportation-he hoped to show his superiors how profitable it would be to exploit Rome's Jews. [26] Historian Susan Zuccotti summarized Kappler's explanation, but expressed great skepticism, and she later dismissed it entirely. [27]

Robert Katz maintained that Kappler was afflicted by "Rome fever" and concerned about maintaining security in the capital. Katz found indications of Kappler's pessimism reflected in his radio messages; perhaps they did reflect Kappler's private view that roundup and deportation of Rome's Jews would be problematic. Katz also plausibly claimed that Kappler tried at least to postpone the roundup of Jews because it might endanger or disrupt the arrest and deportation of more than fifteen hundred Carabinieri, who were deemed a security risk. [28]

The decodes do not conclusively establish Kappler's motivation. They do show that he was concerned about a rise in anti-German sentiments among the Italian population; his measures against the Jews of Rome were adding to the problem. [29] Nonetheless, he collected the gold and, as the decodes reveal, shipped it off to Kaltenbrunner at his RSHA office on October 7. [30]

In an October 6 radio message decoded by the British, [31] Kappler alerted Wolff, who had returned to Germany, that SS-Hauptsturmfuhrer Theodor Dannecker had arrived in Italy with orders to seize all Jews quickly and ship them off "to Germany." In the rest of the message, whose interception or decoding was party garbled, Kappler warned that German officials in Rome were going to Field Marshal Kesselring, commander of the German Army in Italy, to suggest that the Jews could be better used as laborers in Italy. [32]

In his postwar testimony, Kappler claimed that Dannecker had arrived with authorization signed by Gestapo chief Heinrich Muller to deport the Jews and to draw on all available police, a sign that Kappler's foot-dragging had failed. [33] In actuality, Dannecker's arrival in Rome in early October seems to mark the point when those German officials in Italy who disagreed with Berlin about the Final Solution began to act. German Foreign Office records indicate that the main lobbyist against deportation was the German consul in Rome, Eitel Friedrich Mollhausen, who was the senior Embassy diplomat in the absence of Ambassador Rahn. Mollhausen contacted Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop on October 6 to try to cancel the deportations. According to a document later smuggled into Switzerland by an anti-Nazi official in the German Foreign Office, Mollhausen also addressed this message to Hitler. [34] The text suggested that General Rainer Stahel, the German commandant of Rome, was opposed to deportation; it was ambiguous about Kappler's view. Mollhausen's cable specified that he was about to go to Kesselring to reverse any deportation order: he had not already done so. [35]

There is no doubt about Mollhausen's courageous initiative. Kappler, however, sent mixed signals. While awaiting resolution from above, Kappler passed along to Berlin another report that a businessman named Morini from Alessandria was traveling around Italy helping to smuggle Jews into Switzerland. [36] Kappler sent this report to help his superiors shut down this activity, again suggesting that if Kappler were opposed to deporting the Jews of Rome, it was only because he had concerns about whether he could pull it off without the full support of the German authorities in Italy and in the face of hostile Italian public opposition.

On the evening of October 7, Karl Wolff met with Hitler in the Fuhrer's headquarters. [37] Whatever his own views, Wolff knew Hitler well enough not to recommend lesser punishment for Italian Jews. Hitler's comments are undocumented. It is likely that both men were aware that the deportation of Italian Jews was politically sensitive, and that neither particularly wanted to assume direct responsibility for it. In a conflict between SS and military authorities, however, Hitler must have known how to tip the balance without leaving much trace of his involvement. On October 11, Kaltenbrunner sent Kappler a very firm order that undoubtedly reflected both Hitler's and Himmler's view:

It is precisely the immediate and thorough eradication of the Jews in Italy which is the special interest of the present internal political situation and the general security in Italy. To postpone the expulsion of the Jews until the Carabinieri and the Italian army officers have been removed can no more be considered than the idea mentioned of calling up the Jews in Italy for what would probably be very improductive [sic] labour under responsible direction by Italian authorities. The longer the delay, the more the Jews[,] who are doubtless reckoning on evacuation measures[,] have an opportunity by moving to the houses of pro-Jewish Italians of disappearing completely. [Garbled word-Einsatzkommando?] Italy [has been] instructed in executing the RFSS orders to proceed with the evacuation of the Jews withour further delay. [38]


This message survives only because of British interception; we have no other evidence of Kaltenbrunner's intervention. Kappler could now have no doubts that he was expected to fulfill orders regardless of difficulties or repercussions. The next day Kaltenbrunner added a sweetener with his message that Kappler had been awarded not only the Kriegsverdienstkreuz First Class, but also the Iron Cross Second Class. [39]

Kappler's preparations for the action of October 16 in Rome do not appear in the decoded messages to Berlin. Bur when 365 SS and police managed to round up 1,259 Jewish men, women, and children, and imprison them within a military school near the Vatican, Kappler quickly sent off a radio report that same evening (and by courier later). His tone was slightly defensive-he had planned as well as possible, all available German police were used, the Italian police were unreliable, and it had not been possible to cordon off whole blocks in an open city to prevent Jews from escaping. Above all, the Italian public had resisted passively, and there were some instances of active opposition. [40] The results, he seemed to be implying, were as good as possible under difficult circumstances. Whether his superiors would rejoice in the seizure or bemoan the number of those not apprehended (about 6,800), he did not know. [41]

Kappler's men screened the Jewish prisoners, releasing non-Jews arrested by mistake, Jews in mixed marriages, and some other special cases, such as Jews from countries where Germany had not yet started deportations. The Vatican Secretariat of State sought to influence the German ambassador to save these innocent people and to win the release of converts to Catholicism, but without success. About 250 people, non-Jews or part-Jews not deemed Jewish under Nazi standards, were released-not because of Vatican efforts, but because their arrest had been a mistake. [42] On October 18, the remainder left Rome on a train numbered X70469. Wilhelm Harster, Commander of the Security Police and SD for Italy, requested that Kappler radio Vienna and Prague (as well as Berlin) to arrange relief of the police escort when the train arrived there. Harster's radio message specified the ultimate destination of the transport: Auschwitz. British intelligence read that quite c1early.43 Dannecker also used Kappler's radio to report to his office (and thus to Eichmann) the departure of 1,007 Jews (actually 1,002) accompanied by a detachment of guards under SS-Oberscharfuhrer Arndze, who had two copies of a list of the passengers.44 Upon their arrival at Auschwitz, all but 196 Jews on the transport were immediately gassed; only fifteen of the 196 were to survive the war. [45]

On October 21, Dannecker's men headed off to Florence under the temporary command of SS-Untersturmfuhrer Eisenkolb; Dannecker himself was ill. [46] They all had done what they could in Rome under the circumstances. But Kappler was not finished explaining to his chiefs his problems in Rome. On October 27, in response to a message that some of his earlier transmissions had been garbled, Kappler retransmitted an earlier assessment: for a long time the Vatican had been helping Jews to escape, and the population of Rome was turning increasingly anti-German, fearing that seizures of Italian laborers might follow the roundup of Jews. Kappler urged better German propaganda and more use of pro-German Italians to sway Italian public opinion. [47]

Kappler's assessments were a combination of his own perceptions and his own excuses for a job very partially accomplished by Nazi standards. The action of October 16 captured about fifteen percent of the total Jewish population in Rome. The Final Solution in Italy took a roll of about 6,800 Jews-only about 20 percent of the total, but more than Nazi officials might have seized in the face of open defiance and public opposition from the Vatican. Still, it is worth noting that Kappler would hardly have agreed with one recent author that Pius XII was "Hitler's Pope." [48] As far as Kappler was concerned, the Vatican represented a hostile influence. That was undoubtedly what his superiors felt, too.

Image
7732
GROUP XIII/52
ROME TO BERLIN
RSS 160/20/10/43.
[r] on 9138 kcs,
CT 2010/1130/7.3.

Request express W/T despatch to B.d.S. VIENNA and B.d.S. PRAGUE. Transport of Jews from ___ ___ ROME on 18th at 0900 hours with transport. No. X70469 and is travelling via ___ AUSCHWITS. Since the ORPO escort detachment is urgently required at this __ please ___ out times of passing through and arrange relief of escort detachment by ORPO from your ___ area.

Dr. HARSTER ___ ___ ___ and Gen. Counters___, ___ ___ ___

British intercept of a message from Theodor Dannecker to Eichmann reporting the transport of over a thousand Roman Jews to Auschwitz (Dannecker to RSHA IV B 4, 21 Oct. 1943, decode 7754, NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes).


Kappler might have taken comfort in his superiors' appreciation of his situation if he had been able to listen in on an October 16 conversation between Heinrich Muller, head of the Gestapo, and a German Foreign Office bureaucrat named Ebethatd von Thadden. Their topic of discussion was implementation of the "solution to the Jewish Question" in newly occupied territories. Thadden pointed to the escape of most Danish Jews in early October 1943. To avoid repeating that failure, he argued, future actions against Jews should be carried out with sufficient planning and force so that serious political complications could be minimized. Conceding that the RSHA had learned something from events in Copenhagen, Miiller responded that for the duration of the war it would not be possible to raise forces sufficient to carry out actions in one blow (schlagartig). The only recourse was to do as well as possible with the forces that were available. Reflecting the view of the Foreign Office, Thadden specifically argued that the influence of the Catholic Church in Italy made it important to strike tap idly there. But Muller stuck to his old approach: the purge of Jews would have to begin behind the line of battle in the south and spread to the north. There were not enough forces to do it any other way. Nonetheless, Thadden noted that Muller apparently was concerned about the planned seizure of eight thousand Jews in Rome-an action that was in progress as they spoke. Muller referred to it as an order from Hitler (Fuhrerbefehl). [49] Kaltenbrunner had given Kappler firm instructions on October 11 because the order had come from the highest possible authority.

The Allies, the Vatican, and the Jews of Rome

Could the Allies have used information obtained from the SD decodes to try to save some Italian Jews? This question is linked to a broader debate about what can or cannot be done with intelligence during a war. Every use of intelligence carried risks to intelligence gathering, but there were ways of using information publicly without revealing specific sources. Of course, few people in the fall of 1943 had access to information classified as "Most Secret."

According to author Robert Katz and more recently Michael Phayer, German Embassy personnel opposed to the deportation of Rome's Jews contacted the German ambassador to the Vatican, Baron Ernst von Weizsacker, who notified the Vatican of the impending roundup. [50] Although a number of monasteries and convents opened their gates to Jews seeking to go underground, there is apparently no evidence that the Vatican issued a warning or ordered Vatican institutions to offer sanctuary. There was no surge of Jewish sanctuary seekers before the roundup of October 16. [51]

Would anyone else warn the Jews of Rome? Almansi and Foa, the two Jewish leaders, did not do so--they hoped for the best from Kappler-but they got only misleading information from him. British intelligence was not in the practice of talking publicly about what it was gleaning from German radio messages. The anti-Nazi German diplomat Albrecht von Kessel later claimed to have warned some of Rome's Jews that they would be exterminated, but his words met only disbelief. [52]

There is nothing to suggest that Franklin Roosevelt received information about Nazi intentions in Italy in time to influence the outcome of events in Rome on October 16. The president did receive a translation of Mollhausen's appeal to Ribbentrop and Hitler, but only by way of a copy smuggled to Allen Dulles in Switzerland, some two months after the event. [53]

Winston Churchill had a better chance of gaining access to timely information about the Holocaust in Italy, but nothing in the intelligence files of the prime minister's office indicates that he learned of the plan for a Final Solution there. [54] Two days after the SD message of October 6 from Kappler to Wolff announcing Dannecker's arrival in Rome and clearly revealing Dannecker's mission in Italy, Churchill happened to discuss with his War Cabinet the idea of issuing another public statement denouncing Nazi atrocities. Perhaps if the Allies publicly committed themselves to punishing those who carried out atrocities, massacres, or killings, it would deter future crimes. Foreign Minister Anthony Eden dissented from Churchill's proposal, arguing: "I am most anxious not to get into the position of breathing fire and slaughter against War Criminals and promising condign punishment, and a year or two hence having to find pretexts for doing nothing." [55] Churchill ultimately got his way, and the Moscow Declaration of November 1, 1943 (emanating from the Moscow Conference attended by the British and Soviet foreign ministers and the American secretary of state), threatened to punish war criminals. However, the Moscow Declaration made no mention of the murder of Jews and offered no warning to those still in danger of being deported. [56]

Punishment and Responsibility

What ultimately happened to the perpetrators of the Final Solution in Italy? RSHA chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner was included among the major war criminals tried by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The prosecutors did not know, one assumes, about his order of October 11, 1943, or they would have used it as evidence against him. Nonetheless, there was enough other evidence to secure a conviction and his execution.

The fate of Theodor Dannecker, head of the deportation experts in Italy, remained obscure for some time after the war. (In 1985, Holocaust scholar Raul Hilberg was only willing to claim that Dannecker was believed to have died in U.S. custody.) [57] Actually, newly declassified documents reveal that Dannecker went into hiding to help organize Nazi resistance to an Allied occupation of Germany. Before doing so, he instructed his wife to poison their two children. (One of the children died; the other was rescued by outside intervention.) Dannecker led a small band of Nazis in the Black Forest and then migrated to Bad Tolz. Benefitting from a tip, American forces captured him, jailed him, and interrogated him. Dannecker conceded having played a role in deportations of Jews from several countries, and he admitted to being in Italy from September 1943 until February 1944. Given time to write his life history, he hanged himself in his cell in December 1945. He did not write about his Italian activities. [58]

Herbert Kappler was captured by British forces and interrogated at some length in June 1945 about his recruitment of intelligence operatives, his treatment of political prisoners, and his plans for resistance to the Allied occupation of Italy. His interrogators apparently did not ask Kappler questions about Nazi policy regarding Jews, and Kappler did not volunteer any information about it. Was this lack of attention to Kappler's role in the Holocaust the result of lack of interest or lack of familiarity with the most relevant intelligence records? Without further information, it is impossible to judge. The interrogator assessed Kappler as an intelligent, ruthless man, with the mentality and mannerisms of the "cold, correct Prussian militarist," who was prepared to justify his actions in Rome, partly blaming orders from his superiors Karl Wolff and Wilhelm Harster. It is not clear from files currently available whether he blamed them for the roundup of October 16. The interrogator, who considered Kappler's testimony reliable, suggested that it might be appropriate to try him as a war criminal. [59]

Kappler was turned over to Italian authorities and tried in 1948 by an Italian military tribunal. Published accounts indicate that the court found insufficient evidence to convict Kappler for his role in deporting Jews from Rome-though he was sentenced for extorting gold from its Jewish community. Kappler was convicted, however, for directing the execution of 335 prisoners in the Ardeatine Caves on March 24, 1944, as a reprisal against acts of sabotage by Italian partisans. Some were selected because they were Jews. Kappler had claimed that Wilhlem Harster had ordered him to include Jews among the victims, but Wolff placed blame for this decision on Kappler himself. [60] Kappler remained for many years in an Italian prison. In 1977, he escaped and made his way to West Germany, which refused to extradite him. He died not long afterwards.

Kappler was not the only one responsible for reprisals in Italy. According to Kappler, Karl Wolff arrived in Rome on the evening of March 24, 1944, and complained that the execution at the Ardeatine Caves was nor nearly enough; he wanted to blow up a section of the city dominated by Communists. Wolff's account in London in November 1946 had been quite different. According to Wolff, when he arrived, the executions had already been carried out on the basis of an order that came directly from the Fuhrer to the Fourteenth Army. Kappler had taken the initiative to reach the specified number of executions by including some Jews. Kappler was suffering so much from the psychological burden of carrying out the shootings that Wolff did not give him any trouble. [61] American intelligence officials had independent evidence implicating Wolff in other German reprisals in Italy, but never used it in any proceedings against him. [62]

Wolff had the distinct advantage of having helped to arrange an early surrender of German forces in northern Italy, and of having done so with Allen Dulles in a secret deal Dulles called Operation Sunrise. [63] Although Dulles had made no promise of immunity to Wolff, he had been impressed with the man and spoke up for him afterwards. Wolff nonetheless had a number of postwar difficulties. Around the world people were shocked by photos of corpses and survivors from concentration and extermination camps. In this climate, there was no way for Himmler's former chief of staff-one of the highest ranking SS officers to survive-to escape imprisonment. Wolff was moved from one internment camp to another and regularly interrogated. He almost was named as one of the major defendants at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, but he was ultimately passed over. [64]

In early 1946, Wolff was diagnosed as paranoid and was confined in a mental institution: he thought he was pursued by Jewish demons. In 1947, he recovered enough to testify for the defense in the American Zonal trial of officials of the SS Economic-Administrative Main Office, which had overseen the concentration and extermination camps. In the course of cross-examination, the prosecutors confronted Wolff with two documents indicating that he had helped arrange deportations of Jews to Treblinka. Afterwards, Wolff met privately with the judges in their chambers, disclaiming any responsibility for the extermination program. The next day, he reappeared at the trial and added to his previous testimony. At the end of the trial, the three judges conferred among themselves, concluding that there was insufficient evidence to indict Wolff for participation in Operation Reinhard (the code name for the extermination program under the General Government in Poland). According to an affidavit prepared in 1962 by one of the three American judges, the bench was partially influenced by the fact that Wolff had "distinguished himself inasmuch as he initiated armistice negotiations ... that led to the capitulation of the German Armed Forces in Italy and thus saved many thousands of lives of Allied and German soldiers during the last days of the war; [and] that these negotiations were initiated by General Wolff against Hitler's will ... " [65] Evidence presented below indicates that this was an exceedingly generous interpretation of Wolff's accomplishments and motives at the end of the war. [66]

Wolff was not yet home free. The British proposed to try him together with Field Marshal Kesselring. But they changed their plans and instead held a little-publicized trial in Hamburg in 1949, in which Wolff's partners in Operation Sunrise wrote affidavits or testified on his behalf He was convicted, but on appeal his sentence was reduced to the time he had already served in internment, the de facto equivalent of an acquittal. After the Eichmann trial, however, West German prosecutors turned up evidence that Wolff had helped to speed deportations of Jews to Treblinka. In 1962, he was convicted and sentenced to fifteen years, of which he served ten. [67]

Wilhelm Harster, Commander of the Security Police and SD in Italy, was captured and interrogated immediately after the war. Harster did not have to answer interrogators' questions about directing transports of Italian Jews to Auschwitz; there apparently were no such questions. [68] But Harster had earlier served as commander of the Security Police in the Netherlands. He was turned over to the Dutch, who tried him for his crimes there, convicted him, and gave him a twelve-year sentence, of which he served six. Afterwards he became a civil servant in Bavaria. [69]

For numerous prominent Nazi officials, the availability of top-quality intelligence regarding their crimes in Italy played no part in their treatment or their fate after the war. These Nazis benefited to some degree from the fact that information available to Allied intelligence analysts in 1943 was not available for postwar prosecutions because the wartime British decoding operation at Bletchley Park remained secret until the 1970s.

The SD decodes and other documents declassified in 2000 or later do not revolutionize our understanding of the Holocaust in Italy. The main reason for this is that Kappler's report of October 16 survived in paper form and became known to historians in the 1950s; evidence from the decodes fills in the picture around it. If decodes of later messages turn up, and if they contain details of how police in other cities prepared for and carried out deportations, that would be striking new information, but there is little prospect of such sources appearing.

At present, the new sources allow us to see a significant difference of opinion between the RSHA and SS authorities in Italy on one side and some German diplomats on the other. They help us to discount self-serving, exculpatory postwar testimony. In combination with other sources, they permit us to connect Karl Wolff and especially Ernst Kaltenbrunner to the Holocaust in Italy much more directly than has been done before. And they reinforce our understanding of the hierarchy involved in the Final Solution: in cases of difficulty, authorization came from the very top, Hitler himself

An important facet of the new information is that it shows how Italian public opinion-or what Kappler reported as his perception of it-related very directly to how much he tried to do. Relatively late in the war, when German forces were stretched thin, Nazi officials really needed outside help or at least a neutral environment in order to carry out the Final Solution. The climate in Italy was not favorable for an efficient implementation of this policy. With regard to Herbert Kappler, there is little reason to dissent from the assessment made by British and American intelligence analysts during the war: Kappler was a powerful figure in Italy, but he was always pessimistic. [70]

_______________

Notes:

1. Richard Breitman, The Architect of Genocide: Himmler and the Final Solution (New York: Knopf, 1991), 138.

2. Hofmann to Himmler, 17 Nov. 1941, Kunzel SS Officer File, NA-BDC, RG 242, A-3343, SSO, roll 226A.

3. Kunzel SS Officer File, ibid.

4. CSDIC Final Report on Georg Bugelsack, July 1946, NA, RG 65, 105-9666, box 156, Appendix 1 (dated 31 Aug. 1946), 1.

5. On the euthanasia program, see Henry Friedlander, the Origins of Nazi Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995).

6. CSDIC Final Report on Georg Bugelsack, July 1946, NA, RG 65, 105-9666, box 156, Appendix 1 (dated 31 Aug. 1946), i.

7. Ibid.

8. Hofmann to Schmitt, 16 Mar. 1942, Kunzel SS Officer File, NA-BDC, RG 242, A-3343, SSO, roll 226A.

9. CSDlC Final Report on Georg Bugelsack, July 1946, NA, RG 65, 105-9666, box 156, Appendix 1 (dated 31 Aug. 1946), i.

10. On Montt generally, see chapter 1.

11. The remainder of this chapter is adapted from an article by Richard Breitman, "New Sources on the Holocaust in Italy," Holocaust and Genocide Studies 16, no. 3 (2002): 402-14. Kappler's radio transmitter was later moved into the German Embassy after Germany occupied Italy and Kappler could dispense with his cover. British intelligence report "German Policy Towards Italy," undated, but apparently late October 1943, copy in A, RG 226, entry 171A, box 80, folder 891-Washingron X-2 PTS 158.

12. F. H. Hinsley, et al., British Intelligence in the Second World war: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations, vol. 3, pt. I ( ew York: Cambridge University Press, 1984),487.

13. The IWG and the National Archives opened these records in June 2000. The Public Record Office at Kew later opened the British collection of these messages, which covers a longer period of time. The first decode in the surviving American collection is from August 3, 1943. The British intelligence report cited in n. II above draws on material that is not in the American collection, and Hinsley's appendix (see n. 12) lists a longer run of decodes. What has been released in the United States is in NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes.

14. Robert Katz, The Battle for Rome: the Germans, the Allies, the Partisans, and the Pope (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2003), 61-71. At one point, Katz claims that the SD decodes support his interpretation, which is not our view. On these events and Kappler's testimony, see also the sources in note 15.

15. Meir Michaelis, Mussolini and the Jews: German-Italian Relations and the Jewish Question in Italy, 1922-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989),352-55; Richard Lamb, War in Italy, 1943-1945: A Brutal Story (New York: De Capo Press, 1996),40; Susan Zuccotti, The Italians and the Holocaust: Persecution, Rescue, and Survival (New York: Basic Books 1987), 109-11,300n7.

16. Schellenberg to Rome, 8 Sept. 1943, decode 5498; Hottl to Rome, 10 Sept. 1943, decode 5696; Kappler to Berlin, 12 Sept. 1943, decode 5763; Schellenberg to Rome, 12 Sept. 1943, decode 5797; all in NA, RG 226 entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes.

17. Copy in NA, RG 242, T-84, roll 26. Telephone log begins on frame 370834.

18. Vermerk, 12 Feb. 1944, Betr. SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Herbert Kappler; and Brandt to von Herff, 20 Mar. 1944; in NA-BDC, RG 242, A-3343, SSO roll 152A.

19. Himmler's appointment log, 15 Sept. 1943, NA, RG 242, T-84, roll 25.

20. Hottl to Kappler, 17 Sept. 1943, decode 6153; Wolff to Himmler, 18 Sept. 1943, decode 6253, both in NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes.

21. Wolff to Mussolini, 18 Sept. 1943, decode 6260; Kappler to Harster via Berlin, 18 Sept. 1943, decode 6261; ibid.

22. Rome to Berlin, 23 Sept. 1943, decode 6671, ibid.

23. Rink, Roehm to Berlin, 19 Sept. 1943, decode 6345, ibid.

24. Kappler to Berlin, 24 Sept. 1943, decode 6728, ibid.

25. Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, rev. and definitive ed., vol. 2, (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1985),669. If Kappler had not received word about the Final Solution in Italy earlier, this RSHA circular directed German officials in Italy to start at once with Italian Jews.

26. Michaelis, Mussolini and the Jews, 354-55, and Richard Lamb, war in Italy, 40.

27. Zuccotti, Italians and the Holocaust, 111. But in Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), 53ff., Zucotti states that Kappler received orders on September 25 and engaged in a policy of deception with the Jewish leaders. That later view is consistent with Breitman's, based largely on his reading of the decodes.

28. Karz, Battle for Rome, esp. 61-62, 68-70, 76.

29. Kappler to Berlin, 29 Sept. 1943, decode 6921, NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes.

30. Kappler to Berlin, 5 Oct. 1943, decode 7185; and Kappler to Berlin, 7 Oct. 1943, decode 7256, ibid.

31. This message was decoded the next day. This decode (cited in note 32 below), in combination with the decode of October 20 (cited in note 43 below) made it plain that the purpose of shipping Jews to Auschwitz was to eliminate them.

32. Kappler to Wolff, 6 Oct. 1943, decode 7244, NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes.

33. Michaelis, Mussolini and the Jews, 362.

34. Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews, vol. 2, 671-72; Michaelis, Mussolini and the Jews, 363; Bern (Dulles) to OSS, 30 Dec. 1943, and Bern (Dulles) to Director OSS, 30 Dec. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 463, folder 2-P. B. K. 1, Aug. 1943-Apr. 1944, documents 1496-97. Katz, Battle for Rome, 78-81, discussed this document in detail, indicating that it infuriated Ribbentrop and led to Mollhausen's recall.

35. Michaelis expressed bewilderment about the chronology; he thought Mollhausen had acted ten days earlier. But the newly available sources do not support that version. See Michaelis, Mussolini and the Jews, 363n1. Zucotti's chronology, in Under His Very Windows, 156-57, is more elaborate. Mollhausen tried shortly after September 25 to prevent deportations, then sent telegrams to the Foreign Ministry on October 6-7 only to receive word that he was not to get involved. Finally, he tried to work through Baron von Weizsacker, German ambassador to the Vatican, who notified the Vatican of what was impending. The decodes and other recently declassified information do not contradict Zuccotti's account, but they do not supply confirmation, either. Katz' Battle for Rome, 78-85, is based on the decodes and an earlier version of Breitman's work; the chronology matches his.

36. Nothing else is known about Morini. It is possible that this report was a garbled version of the activities of Settimo Sorani, an official of the Jewish assistance organization Delasem. Sorani sometimes used cover names. Kappler to Berlin, 10 Oct. 1943, decode 7412, A, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes. On Sorani and Delasem, see Zucotti, Under His Very Windows, 176, 181-86.

37. Hitler's appointments for 7 Oct. 1943 in NA, RG 242, T-84, roll 387. Katz's account, Battle for Rome, 61-85, omits any discussion of Wolff's role.

38. Kaltenbrunner to Kappler, 11 Oct. 1943, decode 7458, NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes. Also reprinted in Katz, Battle for Rome, 77.

39. Kaltenbrunner to Kappler, 12 Oct. 1943, decode 7512, NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes. Katz, Battle for Rome, 61, has the decoration awarded in September.

40. Rome to Berlin, 16 Oct. 1943, decode 7668, NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes.

41. NA, RG 242, Records of the Reich Leader of the SS and Chief of the German Police, T-175, roll 53, frames 2567133-34. We can compare the full German original with the British interception, cited in note 40.

42. Katz, Battle for Rome, 104-13; Zucotti, Under His Very Windows, 155.

43. Harster to Berlin, via Rome, 20 Oct. 1943, decode 7732, NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes.

44. Dannecker to RSHA IV B 4, 21 Oct. 1943, decode 7754, ibid.

45. Zucotti, Italians and the Holocaust, 123-25.

46. Kappler to Harster, via Berlin, 23 Oct. 1943, decode 7834, NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes.

47. Rome to Berlin, 26 Oct. 1943, decode 7927, NA, RG 226, entry 122, Misc. X-2 Files, box 1, folder 5-Italian Decodes.

48. John Cornwell, Hitler's Pope: the Secret History of Pius XII (New York: Viking, 1999)

. 49. Summary of the meeting dated 11 Oct. 1943 in German Foreign Office records, copy in NA, RG 242, T-120, roll 2720, frames E 420790-93.

50. Robert Katz, Black Sabbath: A Journey Through a Crime Against Humanity, (New York: Macmillan 1969), 25-27, 139; Katz, Battle for Rome, 80. Katz's latest study also has Princess Pignatelli meeting with the Pope on October 16 to plead for his intervention; see Battle for Rome, 103. Michael Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001), 99

51. Zucotti, Under His Very Windows, 175-20 I. Following Italian scholar Michael Tagliacozzo, Michaelis states that 477 Jews were sheltered within the Vatican and another 4,238 within monasteries and convents. Although he questions statistics compiled by Catholic authorities that indicate somewhat larger numbers of Jewish refugees given sanctuary, Zucotti mainly emphasizes that the demand for sanctuary increased dramatically after the round-up of October 16 and that Catholic institutions inside and outside Vatican territory acted independently and often spontaneously. There was no coordinated Vatican policy.

52. Phayer, Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 99. We found no contemporary evidence to confirm von Kessel's claim, but Karz's Battle for Rome, 52, 78-79, is persuasive.

53. See Bern (Dulles) to OSS, 30 Dec. 1943, and Bern (Dulles) to Director OSS, 30 Dec. 1943, NA, RG 226, entry 210, box 463, folder 2-P.B.K. 1, Aug. 1943-Apr. 1944, documents 1496-97. M6llhausen's cable is discussed in chapter 1.

54. Information courtesy of Stephen Tyas, who searched the intelligence files of the Prime Minister's Office available at the Public Record Office, Kew. In daily digests of information from intercepts, Churchill did receive some irems about the SD in Italy later in October.

55. Martin Gilbert, Auschwitz and the Allies (New York: Holr, Rinehart, and Winston, 1990), 158-59.

56. Richard Breitman, Official Secrets: What the Nazis Planned, What the British and Americans Knew (New York: Hill and Wang, 1998), 215.

57. Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews, vol. 3, 1093.

58. A, RG 319, lRR, entry 134B, box 669, folder XE 009228, Theodor Dannecker.

59. CSDIC Interrogation report of SS-Obersrurmbannfuhrer Herbert Kappler, 8 June 1945, copy in NA, RG 226, entry 194, Washington and Field Station Files, box 63, folder 280- London X-2 PTS 73.

60. Zucotti, Italians and the Holocaust, 300n27, and Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews, vol. 3, 1098; CSDIC Interrogation of Kappler, 8 June 1945, NA, RG 226, entry 194, Washington and Field Station Files, box 63, folder 280-London X-2 PTS 73; Voluntary Statement by PW LD 1513 Gen d. Waffen-SS Karl Wolff, 2 Dec. 1946 (London), copy in NA, RG 498, entry 47752 ETO-MIS-Y, box 127, folder 4-British/PWIS/LDC 5 Reports (Interr.) PW Karl Wolff formerly General. Katz, Battle for Rome, 223-56, offers a blow-by blow account of the events.

61. Voluntary Statement by Wolff, 2 Dee. 1946, NA, RG 498, entry 47752 ETO-MIS-Y, box 127, folder 4-British/PWIS/LDC 5 Reports (Interr.) PW Karl Wolff formerly General.

62. Wolff to Oberbefehlshaber Sudwesr, 29 Dee. 1944, NA, RG 226, entry 92 COI/OSS Central Files, box 619, folder 2-33787.

63. Operation Sunrise is discussed in chapters 5 and 12.

64. Bradley F.Smith and Elena Agarossi, Operation Sunrise: The Secret Surrender (New York: Basic Books, 1979), 189.

65. Affidavit of Judge F. Donald Philips, 11 Dee. 1962, Allen Dulles Papers, obtained through Freedom of Information Act by Max Holland. We are grateful to him for his assistance.

66. See chapter 4.

67. Brendan Simms, "Karl Wolff-Der Schlichter," in Die SS: Elite unter dem Totenkopf 30 Lebenslaufe, ed. Ronald Smelser and Enrico Syring (Paderborn: Sch6ningh, 2000), 452-53. Information on the length of sentences is from Henry Friedlander, to whom we are grateful.

68. CSDIC Interrogation of SS-Gruppenfuhrer Wilhelm Harster, 20 May 1945, NA, RG 226, entry 194, Washington and Field Station Files, box 63, folder 6-London X-2 PTS 73.

69. Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews, vol. 3, 1096.

70. OSS Report "German Policy Towards Italy" (n.d., late 1943), NA, RG 226, entry 171A Washington X-2 Personalities Files, box 80, folder 891-Washington X-2 PTS 158; British Report "The Sichetheirsdienst-Recent Developments," 9 Oct. 1943, copy in NA, RG 226, entry 108B, box 286, folder-Special Studies RIS Reports. Both report draw heavily on the British decodes of SD messages.
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Re: U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis, by Richard Breitman, No

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Part 1 of 2

4. Nazi Espionage: The Abwehr and SD Foreign Intelligence
by Richard Breitman

DURING THE WAR, the Allies viewed German intelligence as a military and political weapon that they could neutralize if they knew enough about it. At the end of the war, Nazi spies, saboteurs, and intelligence officials might have helped diehard Nazis resist the Allied occupation of Germany or prepare for a future struggle, so even in the postwar period the Allies tried to capture German intelligence personnel and to understand the structure of German intelligence organizations. British and American intelligence officials, often working together, were able to fill gaps in their knowledge.

The IWG declassified a small quantity of new Allied material about small German intelligence organizations, such as the Research Office (Forschungsamt), an interception, wiretapping, and decoding service under the nominal supervision of Hermann Goring. The Research Office monitored some of the most sensitive internal Nazi operations, wiretapping uncooperative Catholic priests and Protestant pastors who were or were going to be persecuted. Foreign diplomats in Berlin were another regular target for wiretaps. [1] British and American intelligence paid greater attention to the Abwehr, SD Foreign Intelligence, and the Gestapo. [2]

The Abwehr

Allied officials initially thought of the Abwehr as the premier German intelligence service. The Abwehr was a top-heavy and generally inefficient military intelligence organization of more than twenty-one thousand officials in 1941, not including informants and other sources. Two particularly good studies of the Abwehr have enriched our understanding of this organization, but both of them were written decades ago. [3] Documents declassified by the IWG reinforce some points sketched lightly in these studies and help to fill in details and individual case histories from the storehouse of information assembled by Allied intelligence.

A newly declassified November 1945 Allied intelligence file, "Bibliography of the GIS" (German Intelligence Service), reviewed the major types of sources used to compose "a detailed and complete picture of the Abwehr." It includes more than 200,000 deciphered radio telegrams, captured German documents, interrogations of captured Abwehr personnel, and reports from Allied agents or double agents. Shortly after November 1942, the accumulation of different Allied sources reached a critical mass so that "by the time of [the Abwehr's] dissolution and the fall of its head [Admiral Wilhelm Canaris] in the spring of 1944 there was no important activity which it directed unknown to us." [4]

One Allied breakthrough came through a stroke of luck. On November 8, 1942, Allied troops that had just landed in North Africa captured an Abwehr official, a Major Wurmann, stationed there. Convinced that Germany's war effort was already hopeless, Wurmann told his British interrogators a great deal about the structure and operations of the organization, also offering his assessments of key personalities. Since this information was relevant to American counterintelligence efforts, British officials in London passed copies to the FBI. [5] It was declassified in 2003.

Weekly reports about the activities of Abwehr officials and agents were compiled and distributed during the last two years of the war. [6 ]It is probably not an exaggeration to maintain that Allied intelligence understood the Abwehr better than its own high officials did. Apart from giving new details about specific Abwehr activities, newly declassified Allied intelligence records yield fuller understanding of the Abwehr's leaders, bureaucrats, and field operatives. They also provide some new information about the anti-Nazi resistance, a small quantity of information about war crimes, and a general sense of the relative ineffectiveness of the organization.

Wilhelm Canaris

Allied intelligence analysts in the Counter-Intelligence War Room, London, recognized that the Abwehr was never representative of the High Command of the Armed Services (OKW). One source held the German Army General Staff to be scornful, calling the Abwehr the "Canaris Family Limited Liability Company" after its chief, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. [7]

Executed in April 1945 as an alleged conspirator in the plot to assassinate Hitler, Canaris has sometimes been portrayed as a mainstay of the anti-Nazi resistance in Germany. [8] Newly declassified records, however, support a revised picture of Canaris as an experienced spymaster who was at times paralyzed or restrained by conflicting sentiments.9 One new source about Canaris is a very detailed July 1945 British interrogation of his nephew, Constantin Canaris, who himself commanded Security Police and SD forces in Belgium and northern France. In 1934 Wilhelm Canaris had told his nephew that Hitler's upbringing had made him ruthless and intolerant of established rules of law and justice, but that he might grow out of this attitude. In 1937 the elder Canaris described Hitler as a mixture of a fanatic and dreamer who could prove quite dangerous for Germany. Canaris' deputy, General Hans Oster, alerted Constantin Canaris in 1938 that Hitler intended to take Germany to war. Admiral Canaris also told his nephew that the Munich Pact would not last because Hitler was bent on war. The younger Canaris knew that Hitler had no longer wished to see Admiral Canaris during 1943, and that Himmler and Bormann were intriguing against him. (Some of the reasons are set out below.) Constantin Canaris did know that his uncle had kept a diary, and that after the arrest he heard that it reflected his uncle's "defeatist sentiments." [10]

Uncomfortable with the ideologues of the Nazi regime, Canaris lacked a clear strategy for dealing with them, other than picking a number of high-level subordinates who were equally or even more unsympathetic to Nazism. I I Such a group had practical difficulties and sometimes disagreements of principle with the SS. A number of related Office of Strategic Services (OSS) documents, newly declassified, give a clearer picture of Canaris' reaction to the Holocaust at a relatively early stage.

On November 30, 1941, Nazi forces under Higher SS and Police Leader Friedrich Jeckeln, and Latvian auxiliaries under Viktor Arajs, massacred approximately fourteen thousand Jews outside the city of Riga. Most of the victims that day were Latvian Jews marched out of the Riga ghetto to a prepared killing ground some eight kilometers from the city, but the first victims were some one thousand German Jews, who had just arrived in Riga the previous night on a train from Berlin. German and Latvian Jews alike were forced to strip and enter pits dug days earlier, where they were shot, one group after another. This horrific slaughter marked the beginning of the liquidation of the Riga ghetto.

In a 1982 study about Hitler's role in the Holocaust, British scholar Gerald Fleming unearthed several sources concerning the actions of a German army colonel named Walter Bruns, who had served on the bridge inspectorate in Riga. In postwar testimony Bruns claimed he had tried to stop the slaughter of Riga's Jews before it started. When he learned of the plans for impending liquidation, Bruns allegedly tried to persuade an administrative officer named Altemeyer to postpone them. After this failed, he then wrote a report which he submitted to the Army High Command. Fleming found some evidence, in the form of letters and recollections by associates of Colonel Bruns long after the war, that Bruns' report reached Admiral Canaris. Canaris allegedly went to Hitler to complain about the massacre, but Hitler angrily accused Canaris of getting soft: "I have to do it [mass murder the Jews]' because after me no one else will!" [12] Canaris then sent a top-secret message to Abwehr headquarters in Riga, warning that attendance at "interrogations" or "maltreatments" (euphemisms for the mass shootings) was unworthy of an Abwehr officer. [13]

Fleming's account was based on the letters and recollections of a number of different people such as Bruns' subordinate Captain Schultz-Dubois -- some as late as 1980 -- who had partial or second-hand information. Fleming did not believe that Bruns had seen the executions outside Riga -- only that his two subordinates did. Perhaps Bruns and Schultz-Dubois later claimed that they and others had done more to protest than was really the case. There were no contemporary sources to verify that Hitler and Canaris ever discussed the murder of the Jews. Neither man survived the war to give his version.

The most derailed history of the Holocaust in Latvia includes nothing about Bruns or Canaris. [14] Heinz Hahne, author of a biography of Canaris published in 1976, could not have drawn on Fleming's research, and his general portrait of Canaris was that the intelligence chief responded feebly to the fundamental political and moral issues of his day. [15] Although any encounter between Hitler and Canaris over the fate of the Jews would have to be considered noteworthy, the recent, well-researched biography of Hitler by Ian Kershaw omits this episode. [16] In general, few other historians have given Bruns' or Canaris' reported exchange with Hitler space or weight. Perhaps the sources seemed too doubtful.

Walter Bruns

Declassified documents, however, offer a better picture of Colonel (later Brigadier-General) Bruns. Captured by the British on April 8, 1945, Bruns told an interrogator a couple of weeks later about his November 1941 experience with Werner Altemeyer, staff director for the German-appointed mayor of Riga. [17] Citing an order by the Fuhrer as authorization, Altemeyer said he intended to deport Jewish men but to execute all women and children at Skirotawa, outside Riga. Bruns said he himself witnessed the mass murder of some ten thousand German and Latvian Jews, and later that day he sent out two of his officers to serve as additional witnesses. He then sent a report to headquarters about these happenings, and his officers signed on as witnesses. [18]

An even better account of events materialized the next day. Bruns was among the many German prisoners whose conversations with fellow POWs were surreptitiously tape-recorded and then transcribed by British intelligence. These transcripts contain a rich trove of information about the attitudes of German officers and soldiers and SS, especially during the last two years of the war. Candid and unconstrained expressions of opinion about Hitler, the German war effort, and the Holocaust are relatively hard to find in most German sources, but they are common in these transcripts.

In an excerpt of one such discussion that occurred on April 25, 1945, which was passed to the OSS, Bruns stated,

As soon as I heard these Jews were to be shot on Friday [that is, he heard on Friday, November 28 that they were to be shot] I said that they had made themselves very useful in the area under my command ... In short, all these [Jewish] women were employed in a useful capacity. I tried to save them. I told that fellow Altenmeyer (?), whose name I will always remember and who will be added to the list of war criminals: "Listen to me, they represent valuable man-power."

"Do you call Jews valuable human beings, sir?"

I said: "Listen to me properly, I said 'valuable man-power.' I didn't mention their value as human beings."

He said: "Well, they're to be shot in accordance with the Fuhrer's orders!"

I said: "Fuhrer's orders?"

"Yes," whereupon he showed me his orders.

. . . When I arrived those pits were so full that the living had to lie down on top of the dead; then they were shot and, in order to save room, they had to lie down nearly in layers. Before this, however, they were stripped of everything at one of the stations -- here at the edge of the wood were the three pits they used that Sunday [November 30] and here they stood in a queue 1.5 [kilometers] long which approached step by step -- a queuing up for death. As they drew nearer they saw what was going on. About here they had to hand over their Jewelry and suitcases. All good stuff was put into the suitcases and the remainder thrown on a heap. This was to serve as clothing for our suffering population -- and then, a little further on they had to undress and, 500 [meters] in front of the wood, strip completely; they were only permitted to keep on a chemise or knickers. They were all women and small two-year-old children. Then all those cynical remarks! If only I had seen those tommy-gunners, who were relieved every hour because of over-exertion, carry out their task with distaste, but no, [instead there were] nasty remarks like: "here comes a Jewish beauty!" I can still see it all in my memory: a pretty woman in a flame-coloured chemise. [19]


In the taped conversation Bruns explained that, after his own distressing experience, he had sent two of his men there because he wanted additional eyewitnesses: he had asked them to write up a report without telling them in advance what it was for. Receiving their account, he added a cover memorandum and personally took it to an officer named Jacobs at the Army High Command. According to Bruns, Jacobs said,

"I have already two complaints sent me by Engineer 'Bataillone' from the Ukraine." There they shot [the Jews] on the brink of large crevices and let them fall down into them [this was the method used at Babi Yar]; they nearly had an epidemic of plague, at any rate a pestilential smell. They thought they could break off the edges [of the ravine] with picks, thus burying them. That loess there was so hard that two Engineer "Bataillone" were required to dynamite the edges; those "Bataillone" complained. Jacobs had received that complaint. He said: "We didn't quite know how to tell the Fuhrer. We'd better do it through Canaris." Canaris had the unsavoury task of waiting for the favourable moment to give the Fuhrer certain gentle hints.


In these conversations Bruns was not trying to impress his British captors; he was speaking in some heat to fellow German POWs and, in the process, giving more details -- details that can be checked against other sources.

Image
TOP SECRET
C.S.D.I.C. (U.K.)
G.G. REPORT

IF THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS REPORT IS REQUIRED FOR FURTHER DISTRIBUTION, IT SHOULD BE PARAPHRASED SO THAT NO MENTION IS MADE OF THE PRISONERS' NAMES, NOR OF THE METHODS BY WHICH THE INFORMATION HAS BEEN OBTAINED

S.R.G.G. 1158(C)

The following conversation took place between: --

CS/1952 -- Generalmajor BRUNS (Heeres-Waffenmeisterschule I, BERLIN) Captd GOTTINGEN 8 Apr 45 and other Senior Officer PW whose voices could not be identified.

Information received: 25 Apr 45

TRANSLATION

BRUNS: As soon as I heard those Jews were to be shot on Friday I went to a 21-year old boy and said that they had made themselves very useful in the area under my command, besides which the Army MT park had employed 1500 and the "heeresgruppe' 800 women to make underclothes of the stores we captured in RIGA; besides which about 1200 women in the neighbourhood of RIGA were turning millions of captured sheepskins into articles we urgently required: ear-protectors, fur caps, fur waistcoats, etc. Nothing had been provided, as of course the Russian campaign was known to have come to a victorious end in October 1941! In short, all those women were employed in a useful capacity. I tried to save them. I told that fellow ALTENMEYER (?) whose name I shall always remember and who will be added to the list of war criminals: "Listen to me, they represent valuable man-power!" "Do you call Jews valuable human beings, sir?" I said: "Listen to me properly. I said 'valuable man-power! I didn't mention their value as human beings." He said: "Well, they're to be shot in accordance with the FUHRER's orders! I said: "FUHRER's orders?" "Yes", whereupon he showed me his orders. This happened at SKIOTAWA (?), 8 km. from RIGA, between SIAULAI and JELGAVA, where 5000 BERLIN Jews were suddenly taken off the train and shot. I didn't see that myself, but what happened at SKIOTAWA (?) -- to cut a long story short, I argued with the fellow and telephoned to the General at HQ, to JAKOBS and ABERGER (?), and to a Dr. SCHULTZ who was attached to the Engineer General, on behalf of those people; I told him: "Granting that the Jews have committed a crime against the other peoples of the world, at least let them do the drudgery; send them to throw earth on the roads to prevent our heavy lorries skidding." "Then I'd have to feed them!" I said: "The little amount of food they receive, let's assume 2 million Jews -- they got 125 gr. of bread a day -- if we can't even manage that, the sooner we end the war the better." Then I telephoned, thinking it would take some time. At any rate on Sunday morning I heard that they ...

DISTRIBUTION

BY C.S.D.I.C. (U.K.)

M.I.19.a War Office (56 copies)

Secretly recorded conversations of German POWs, such as the translation above, yielded information about the Holocaust not found in other sources [CSDIC (UK) G. G. Report S. R. G. G. 1158(C), 25 Apr. 1945, copy in NA, RG 226, entry 108A, Washington Registry 51 Branch Field Files, box 145, folder S. R. G. G. 1129-1245].


Bruns explained that his report had some repercussions in Riga, even though it did not stop the killing. After about two weeks Altemeyer triumphantly showed him an order prohibiting mass shootings on that scale in the future -- future killings were to be carried out more discreetly. We do not know exactly what order Altemeyer received from whom, but independent sources confirm the thrust of Bruns' comments. In a radio message on December 1, 1941, Reichsfuhrer SS Heinrich Himmler summoned Higher SS and Police Leader Jeckeln to meet him in his East Prussian headquarters. After the war Jeckeln testified that at this private meeting Himmler told him that shooting was too complicated an operation -- it was better to use gas vans. [20] Bruns' report had raised problems that reached Himmler's level. [21]

Did Admiral Wilhelm Canaris take Bruns' complaint directly to Hitler? Without any direct contemporary record of a conversation, the historian seeks other indications. Did Canaris subsequently act as if Hitler had rebuked him and prohibited any interference on the Jewish question? Another document in recently declassified OSS records, a translation of a captured German document, suggests that he did.

On December 10, 1941, Canaris gave a lecture in Berlin to the heads of Abwehr field offices. (The same lecture was apparently read again at an unidentified officers' conference ten days later.) Point number five read:

Abwehr has nothing to do with persecution of Jews. The Ast's [Abwehtstelle's] duties are to be carried out in a humane, respectable, correct and soldierly manner. Activity against Jews is no concern of ours. We have nothing to do with it, hold ourselves aloof from it, do not criticize. [22]


On the one hand, Canaris did not want to get his organization involved -- implicated -- in mass murder. On the other hand, criticism or open opposition to Nazi policy against Jews would only bring trouble for the Abwehr, because Hitler himself was the driving force behind this policy. It seems highly likely that Canaris was drawing upon direct (and very recent) experience in giving these instructions. So this speech and this document may be seen as supporting evidence for Bruns' remarks and, to a lesser extent, for Fleming's reconstruction of the encounter between Canaris and Hitler.

It certainly took some personal courage for any German official to raise doubts with Hitler about Nazi policy toward the "Jewish question." Canaris was also willing to quietly approve when certain Abwehr officials assisted individual Jews. [23] But as much as he disliked Nazi killings of innocent civilians, knowledge that the Nazi regime was engaged in mass murder did not shake his allegiance to his country or to the regime. In the same speech on December 10, 1941, he encouraged Abwehr officials to work loyally with the Gestapo and SD on intelligence matters and urged every man to "stick to his guns for victory." [24] A later conference between Abwehr and Security Police officials in Prague tried to work out joint arrangements for efficient handling of cases of suspected espionage against Germany. [25] In other words, Canaris managed to separate his aversion to what we have come to call the Holocaust from his commitment to the German war effort. We have a better grasp of his attitude and behavior as a result of these new documents.

Anti-Nazi Dissidents in Abwehr

A good number of anti-Nazi dissidents were able to find cover in the Abwehr. Some enjoyed the protection of men such as General Oster, but others simply found their way into niches through their own personal contacts or happenstance. Although these men were not typical of Abwehr officials, their activities partially redeemed the Abwehr for some Western intelligence officials. In other cases, the Abwehr seemed only marginally different from its more sinister counterpart, SD Foreign Intelligence.

One unusual Abwehr story concerns defector Otto August Walter John, interrogated in November 1944 by MI-5, the British equivalent of the FBFG Whatever his achievements during the war, John became quite important after the war. Appointed the first head of the West German Office for the Protection of the Constitution, (1950-1954), John claimed to have been kidnapped by East German agents in 1954; he returned to West Berlin in December 1955. Others charged that he was actually an East German agent, and he was tried and convicted of treason in West Germany in 1956. r Although John later wrote extensive memoirs, he hardly cleared up the many questions about his past. The 1944 interrogation, declassified by the IWG, represents his first detailed account of his path to the anti-Nazi resistance and to the British. It also offers the earliest test of his credibility.

Born in 1909 in Marburg, John came from a well-to-do and well-connected Protestant family. He studied law and originally hoped to become a diplomat, but his refusal to join the Nazi Parry made a diplomatic career seem unlikely. He took some additional training in air law and then was appointed as a counsel to Lufthansa, where he was named assistant to the general manager. He soon became friendly with Klaus Bonhoffer, whose brother Dietrich, a distinguished theologian, was an early organizer of anti-Nazi resistance. In 1942, John became the principal legal representative of Lufthansa and one of its chief administrators. In the fall of 1943, John was on the point of being drafted into the military, but his contacts in the Abwehr managed to get him appointed to the Abwehr field office in Stettin, which protected him.

John claimed that by 1938 he had become a close collaborator of Klaus von Dohnanyi, brother of Dr. Hans von Dohnanyi, a judge and high official (and strong anti-Nazi) in the German Justice Ministry. John said that he persuaded the Dohnanyis that the conservative military and political elements opposed to Nazism needed support from the former Social Democratic Parry and trade unions to govern in a post-Nazi Germany. The key to John's utility in the anti-Nazi resistance seems to have been his friendship with Prince Louis-Ferdinand Hohenzollern of Prussia, second son of the Crown Prince and grandson of the former Kaiser Wilhelm II. John, in effect, became an intermediary for the restoration of the monarchy, a goal to the liking of conservative politicians such as Carl Goerdeler, former mayor of Leipzig, and anti-Nazi officers led by General Ludwig Beck, former chief of the Army General Staff. At the same time, he retained links with the left.

In late 1944, John accurately identified to MI-5 many people known today to have been involved in resistance to the Nazi regime, [28] but MI-5 was not at all impressed, let alone satisfied, with John's testimony. Although John had contacted British officials on business trips to Madrid and Lisbon and passed along messages from Goerdeler, he had never delivered any intelligence to Britain that gave it military or political advantages. After his relations with British contacts deteriorated, John claimed that Goerdeler gave him the task of contacting General Eisenhower, but no one at the American Embassy in Madrid would vouch for his efforts to do so.

John made an unfavorable impression on his British interrogator, a Captain F. Basett, who thought that a barrister surely should have been able to do better. A muddled account was a sign of lack of candor. The interrogator also saddled John with the failings of the conservative anti-Nazi group within the government and military, whose nationalism made them unwilling to break completely with the Nazi regime or accept the Allied terms of unconditional surrender. John claimed that he had tried to convince Goerdeler to abandon the notion of negotiating a compromise settlement with the Allies and instead to throw himself upon their mercy, but there was no independent evidence to verify his disagreement with Goerdeler. Basett left open several disquieting possibilities: (1) John was actually an SD agent; (2) the SD, which might have penetrated the resistance, allowed John to develop contacts with the West to see whether he and his sponsors could get the Allies to make any concessions; and (3) John had actually done much more for the Abwehr than he admitted.

Despite these suspicions, gifted radio propagandist Sefton Delmer, director of a British program designed to subvert German morale, soon found use for John in the British Political Warfare Executive. After the war ended, John testified in one of the American zonal war crimes trials and then found himself proposed as a compromise candidate for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's first West German government. He apparently had neither too much nor too little intelligence experience. [29]

Other anti-Nazis in the Abwehr, such as the very well-informed Hans Bernd Gisevius, contacted American intelligence during the war. Gisevius worked with Allen Dulles and Gero von Gaevernitz. The native German Gaevernitz had personal or professional ties with a number of figures in the Abwehr. Gaevernitz thought highly of one of Gisevius' collaborators, Eduard Waetjen, a lawyer who had served in the Abwehr and whose sister had married into the Rockefeller family.

Waetjen's legal practice in Germany had involved salvage cases for German Jewish businessmen facing near complete expropriation during the 1930s. In one case of an airplane manufacturer imprisoned and forced to sell his business, Waetjen went to a "fixer," a Romanian national named Izadore Lazarus who passed himself off as an American named Lane. Lazarus paid at least RM 40,000 to Hermann Goring; the manufacturer was released and got approximately half a million marks as compensation for the loss of his business. [30]

If Waetjen seemed out of sympathy with fundamental Nazi goals during the 1930s, he later became actively anti-Nazi and supplied OSS in Bern with a series of reliable intelligence reports. [31] Since his track record was good, Gaevernitz later suggested Waetjen might be useful for postwar American intelligence purposes:

Even before the war Waetjen worked with anti-Nazi resistance forces and was in touch with the Gordeler group. During the war Waetjen collaborated with the group in the German Abwehr under General Oster, which became sort of a clearing house for anti-Nazi activities. As early as 1942 Waetjen established contact with the O.S.S. in Switzerland. He traveled repeatedly, under great personal risk, from Germany to Switzerland and back and during the years 1942-1945 rendered very valuable services to the Allied cause.

He has numerous connections in the business world in Europe, especially Germany, Austria, Italy, and in the Near East, particularly Turkey. Through his Turkish connections he is in conract with certain anti-Russian groups in Persia, Georgia and Turkestan. His connections might be of use. [32]


There is no evidence that the OSS' successors recruited Waetjen, but they found others.

In the second half of 1945, American intelligence officials in Germany and Austria not infrequently used cooperative ex-Abwehr officers for counterintelligence purposes. Both the counterintelligence branch of the OSS (X-2) and the U.S. Army's Counterintelligence Corps selected some Abwehr men to uncover subversive activities or continued intelligence work by Nazi loyalists; some also reported on Communist activities. An Abwehr officer code named "Java," who had worked on mail censorship and had been arrested for disloyalty to the Nazi regime, was a good source on Abwehr personalities and potential hideouts. "Culprit," who had worked in Stuttgart and Budapest, was allowed to reestablish a textile business in Feuerbach, where he was assigned to investigate reports about continued intelligence work by his former colleagues. "Zigzag," who had done Abwehr counterintelligence work in Berlin, now found twenty-four surviving members of the Abwehr and RSHA: nine were held by the Russians; one was already a prisoner of the United States; twelve were living in Berlin; two lived outside Berlin. The U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps made two arrests as a result of Zigzag's research, which was then extended to higher SS officers. [33]

A subsequent document noted Zigzag's background without qualms:

Zigzag is a man of long Abwehr and Gestapo experience who has been an outstandingly successful penetration agent here in Berlin since September 1945. He was recruited from a POW cage near Heidelberg and today may be considered a reliable agent. We might add [that] Zigzag is a lawyer by profession, and always worked with the Abwehr III or counterintelligence staff ... [34]


In general, Abwehr veterans were not disqualified for postwar American intelligence employment, as long as they had the right political views or powerful sponsors. Would the same latitude be extended to former members of the SD and Gestapo?

SD Foreign Intelligence

The SS Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst or SD) dabbled in foreign intelligence during the mid-1930s, [35] but SD Foreign Intelligence -- the SS' main espionage weapon -- was formed just before the war broke out. The first head of SD Foreign Intelligence, Heinz Jost, was ineffective. He tried to work with other government agencies such as the Propaganda Ministry and the Economics Ministry, but their cooperation was grudging. Jost sent representatives into various neutral countries to recruit informants there, but did not accomplish much else. In July 1941, Reinhard Heydrich, head of the RSHA, arranged for a young and ambitious lawyer, Walter Schellenberg, to become deputy chief under Jost. By one account, Schellenberg gained Canaris' support (as well as Heydrich's) to take over from Jost, who left in September 1941. Schellenberg gained full title to the office only after Heydrich's death. [36]

Schellenberg is best known today through his postwar book The Labyrinth, a skeletal autobiography -- part espionage tale, part insider's history of Nazi Germany. [37] Schellenberg apparently wrote it to distance himself from Nazi crimes, portraying himself as a moderate on the war and as a mere intelligence specialist and indicating that his expertise could be useful to Britain and the United States in the postwar period. A combination of older documents and new ones declassified by the IWG allows historians to perceive his real wartime course.

Schellenberg had a significant career in the Nazi movement well before the war. He had entered the Nazi Party and the SS in 1933, quickly earning attention as an SD ideological instructor, a function close to Himmler's heart. [38] Schellenberg also served a stint in the Gestapo, where he rose to head of its counterintelligence section and also served as legal advisor and adjutant to Heydrich. [39] His counterintelligence work involved liaison with the Abwehr, giving him experience he soon applied within SD Foreign Intelligence.

In late 1941, Schellenberg reorganized SD Foreign Intelligence and brought in much new blood -- nearly a complete turnover. There is a newly declassified, unconfirmed report that Martin Bormann was friendly with Schellenberg and saw SD Foreign Intelligence as a more suitable intelligence vehicle than either Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop's special bureau or Rudolf Hess' special service -- the latter completely discredited after Hess' flight to England in May 1941. But it seems that Schellenberg had only a short period to produce results or Himmler might simply have abolished the organization. [40]

Despite Hitler's minimal regard for intelligence reports, Schellenberg's timing was favorable. Up to that point Nazi Germany had been able to prevail through diplomacy, intimidation, and military force, but irs years of complete military domination were at an end. Acquiring and using accurate information about Germany's enemies, spreading disinformation, and carrying out sabotage behind enemy lines became necessary weapons in a long world war.

Schellenberg showed talent in maneuvering through Nazi Germany's bureaucratic jungle. He managed to bring about a truce with the Foreign Office and other government agencies and acquired more resources: SD Foreign Intelligence expanded substantially. The assassination of Heydrich in May 1942 brought Schellenberg into more frequent personal contact with Himmler, who took over leadership of the RSHA for a six-month period after Heydrich's death. [41] Schellenberg used proximity to his advantage. He arranged for important incoming signals intelligence and despatches to go to Himmler. They were passed on to the Foreign Office only after Himmler had read them and decided whether or not to withhold them. [42]

It is possible that British intelligence was better informed than Ribbentrop. They intercepted and deciphered an estimated ten percent of SD intelligence reports and some related Abwehr messages. British intelligence analysts were aware, in any case, that Himmler was much attached to SD reports. A September 1943 British analysis of the SD, based largely on intercepts of SD messages, stated:

Reports are passed to [Himmler], and assignments received from him on a surprising variety of subjects ... In January 1942 a report on Salgado and the Green Shirt movement is passed to him for a decision; in December 1942 it is "considered essential" that he should be informed of the Cossack question: he received constant reports on the development of the SD's Persian enterprise; he is asked for a decision about the German minority in Hungary: he demands an urgent interim report on the invention of a new gas incendiary bomb: on the success of sabotage in North Africa. In addition, whenever there is an important development of a more obvious kind, the SD is required to furnish an immediate report for the Reichsfuhrer: a governmental change in Spain in August 1941, the French crisis in November 1942, the murder of Darlan, the murder of General Lukoff in Sofia ... His personal interest in the SD's work is a subject of comment in Abwehr circles. [43]


Another British analysis, based on intercepted and decoded SD messages between Rome and Berlin, mentioned that SD headquarters had insisted: "more important than any practical task is a constant supply of immediate reports to Himmler." Himmler, in a telegram to Schellenberg (not intercepted by the British), commented proudly that the Fuhrer was very satisfied with SD Foreign Intelligence reports. [44]

Under such circumstances, SD Foreign Intelligence could hardly divorce itself from the goals and methods of the SS. An undated British intelligence report, probably mid-1943, described the SD as organically linked to German police forces and chiefly concerned with police work and politics. [45] That description may have been too narrow, but it caught a good part of the reality, even for SD Foreign Intelligence.

Having moved from the Gestapo to SD Foreign Intelligence, Schellenberg saw nothing amiss with taking in others from the same background. At the start of 1944 he appointed Dr. Martin Sandberger, a lawyer who had served as chief of one of the Einsatzkommandos operating in the Baltic States during 1941-42, as his chief administrator. Sandberger was something close to Schellenberg's deputy chief, a position that did not formally exisr. [46]

Other SD men in Italy carried out functions that involved "police work." Guido Zimmer, an official in SD Foreign Intelligence, went to Genoa in the fall of 1943, where he tracked Jews down, and then did much the same in Milan. He also obtained political information from abroad and built a network of agents who could supply Germany with intelligence if the Allies overran Italy. [47] In German-occupied countries there was not much separation between intelligence work and policies directed at Germany's perceived racial enemies. The very structure of the RSHA, which encompassed both the Gestapo and SD Foreign Intelligence, made it easy for officials to be shifted from one function to another. High security police positions outside Germany normally involved authority over the SD as well.

By early 1943, SD Foreign Intelligence consisted of about two thousand people -- a substantial force. Schellenberg appointed his own personal representatives in each of the major countries where the SD operated. [48] He recruited an inner circle of advisors with considerable intelligence experience, perhaps to give him different perspectives on what his increasingly large team produced. A key figure was the World War I spymaster and Far Eastern specialist Kurt Jahnke, known for independentviews.49 According to his postwar testimony, Schellenberg found that Jahnke had worked to prevent war with England, that the Gestapo had suspicions about him, and that he considered Ribbentrop (for whom he had worked) an idiot -- near perfect credentials! Schellenberg arranged for Jahnke to receive a monthly salary of RM 2,000 and privileged access to rationed goods. [50]

During 1943, SD Foreign Intelligence became more of a factor in the major issues of Nazi policy. In June 1943, SD agents in Argentina were told in a coded radio message (newly declassified by the IWG): "please consider penetration Brazil, Panama, USA, and Canada, with all means and by all routes, the main tack in order to receive political and military reports about the conditions and intentions of the enemy powers." [51] Berlin subsequently asked agents to gather information about whether President Roosevelt and his partisans wanted a long war to aid his reelection in 1944, and whether American morale was adequate to the burden of several more years of war. At the same time, Berlin was interested in whether "authoritative circles in the USA have any thought at all of an understanding with Germany within a reasonable time. Such a possibility would be given, for example, after the breakdown of a last attempt for an American-Russian understanding or after the successful repulsion of an Allied invasion attempt." This was one of many "questions" posed by Berlin about disagreements among the Allied Powers and differences of opinion within the American public that might impair FDR's foreign policy course. [52] These guidelines and inquiries reflected Schellenberg's own assessment of Allied vulnerabilities.

SD agents in South America responded to such prodding with optimistic assessments that bore little correspondence to reality. They reported Argentinian diplomats' views that General Eisenhower would seek peace if reassured that German claims were restricted to Europe -- if Germany would waive claims to Africa. Eisenhower also reportedly believed that an Allied military campaign against the Nazi "fortress Europe" would be too costly. [53] Another report attributed political significance to the fact that Eisenhower was supposed to have been friendly to captured German officers; the agent declared him anti-Semitic as well. [54] Such intelligence was worse than useless: it only strengthened illusions in Berlin that Germany could avoid or escape the vise beginning to tighten on both sides.

If SD Foreign Intelligence failed to grasp Germany's real situation, the German Foreign Office was worse. Foreign Minister Ribbentrop made obvious blunders, such as ignoring a report in September 1942 that the Americans and British would soon land troops in North Africa. This misstep was reported to Hitler after the prediction turned out to be accurate. Some high Foreign Office officials believed that their boss was incompetent and arrogant. When Foreign Office State Secretary Martin Luther said as much through an intermediary to Schellenberg, he passed Luther's comments along to Himmler, who brought about Luther's arrest. Luther's Germany Division within the Foreign Office was dissolved, and Ribbentrop appointed a weaker man as state secretary. [55]

Schellenberg's would-be foreign policy was more flexible and experimental than Ribbentrop's -- or Hitler's. He understood that the risk of failure in extended war on two fronts was unacceptably high. He was willing to strike a bargain with either the West or the Soviet Union if the terms were right. He managed to meet an American businessman turned intelligence official in Stockholm in November 1943, where he cautiously (and apparently without authorization) offered Himmler's support for a compromise peace. If Schellenberg could strike a deal with the West, fine; then he could try to sell it to Himmler. If not, he hoped to use the evidence of bargaining with the West to turn the Soviet Union against the West. Schellenberg invited the American, Abram Hewitt, to come to Germany for further negotiations. Nazi propagandists could have used a captive American negotiator very effectively. High OSS officials wisely ordered Hewitt to decline, and Hewitt was forced to leave Stockholm as a result of his unauthorized contact with an unsavory Nazi officia1. [56]

To prove his bona fides, Schellenberg also gave Hewitt another message for Washington: the Gestapo was "onto" Allen Dulles' espionage work in Bern. They were feeding him false information from informants, and they had broken his codes. [57] Both items turned out to be essentially false -- apparently designed to disrupt Dulles' effective operations. Dulles made little secret of what he was doing, but he was good at separating valuable informants from Nazi plants, and his codes were never broken. He recognized Schellenberg's ploy. [58]

Schellenberg and the Abwehr

Himmler initially was willing to take intelligence from wherever he could get it. Over time Schellenberg persuaded him that the Abwehr was riddled with problems. Himmler initially shied away from confrontation with the High Command of the Armed Services, which protected Admiral Canaris, because Himmler was not sure that Hitler would support him if the two intelligence organizations came to blows. But signs of the Abwehr's vulnerability began to accumulate.

One significant weakness was evidence that Canaris' deputy General Oster and some of his subordinates had rescued seven Jewish families by listing them as agents, sending them to Switzerland, and even salvaging $100,000 of their assets by cloaking it as financing for intelligence activities. The Abwehr's paymaster protested, but Canaris backed Oster. According to one well-informed, newly declassified British intelligence report, this incident was the primary reason for Oster's downfall. [59]

In April 1943, Hans von Dohnanyi was arrested; he had worked under General Oster in the Abwehr, and Oster tried to protect Dohnanyi, a fellow member of the anti-Nazi underground who was of part-Jewish ancestry. Dohnanyi, too, was implicated in the transfer of the seven Jewish families to Switzerland. First, Oster was placed under house arrest; then his access and responsibilities were curtailed. [60]

While the Gestapo conducted surveillance of Oster, other problems in the Abwehr surfaced. Several Abwehr officials in Turkey defected to the Allies in late 1943 and early 1944. An enraged Hitler gave the Abwehr to Himmler, and Himmler decided to incorporate it into SD Foreign Intelligence. Details were worked out in a series of high-level conferences in March and early April 1944. Schellenberg, in effect, got a separate Military Office staffed by Abwehr personnel within his organization. He then imposed SD control at various levels. [61]

Schellenberg's Foreign Policy

Himmler continued to believe that expansion of the SS and police empire would solve many of Germany's problems. In early 1944, after he had brought about the SD's absorption of the Abwehr, Himmler reportedly said to Schellenberg: "I feel like a big snake which has just swallowed an ox and is still working it down his throat [i.e., Admiral Canaris], and now all I have in front of me is a rabbit [Ribbentrop] whose turn will come as soon as I have digested the ox." In his inner circle Schellenberg raised the idea of extracting the intelligence service from the RSHA, where it lay within chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner's jurisdiction and where it suffered from the stigma attached to the Gestapo. One option was to move foreign intelligence into the Foreign Office, but only if Ribbentrop were removed. [62] Some knowledgeable officials began to speak about Schellenberg as Ribbentrop's successor. [63] But Ribbentrop managed to hang on, in part because he aligned his own views so closely with Hitler's.

Himmler reportedly had one area of flexibility in plotting the course of the war. According to former Abwehr official Eduard Waetjen, Himmler's foreign policy strategy in early 1944 was to intensify the struggle against the Soviet Union, if possible, through a joint operation with the Japanese (who had not attacked the Soviets) and to convince the West that weakening or destroying the Soviet Union was in their interest. The West might then agree to a compromise peace. Waetjen also said that Himmler was still faithful to Hitler, but hoped to succeed him. High OSS officials, drawing upon a range of other sources, thought Waetjen's analysis of Himmler and the Nazi political situation had "the ring of truth." [64]

Schellenberg acted as though Himmler would accept something along these lines. Schellenberg assumed that the alliance against the Axis powers could not hold together indefinitely. One side or the other would abandon the declared Allied policy of unconditional surrender by Germany and its allies, given the right encouragement. He also thought he could probably entice the West to negotiate with Himmler (and vice versa). Neither assumption turned out to be accurate.
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