Sunday, December 13, 2015

Anne Spoerry and the Mau Mau

Text: The Ghosts of Happy Valley by Juliet Barnes, pp 248-249

More unexpected Mau Mau stories emerged when I was doing some research for John Heminway, who was writing the biography of Dr Anne Spoerry.   She'd always been revered in Kenya as the legendary 'flying docor', selflessly involved in humanitarian work in Kenya until she died in 1999.  Then Heminway's article for the Financial Times had caused waves of shock and disbelief.  He'd interviewed Dr Louise Le Porz, who'd known Spoerry in Ravensbrueck.  Spoerry had been sent to this concentration camp in 1944, under the supervision of Carmen Mory, who became Spoerry's lesbian lover.  Le Porz revealed a very different side of Spoerry, a woman who'd murdered and tortured hundreds of Jewish women.

Friday, June 6, 2014

All That I Am: Anna Funder

Context:  Bizarre fiction by Anna Funder.

pp 359-361

The action had been discussed in Berlin and London.  It would have been simplest to shoot them of course, as they had Lessing and Rudi.  There was no need to kidnap Dora because they had her source already.  She just needed silencing.  But a shooting in Bloomsbury would have upset the English and the English were upset enough.  Also, she had contacts in high places.  So shooting was ruled out, and they would need five men, two on each woman and one to give the order.

They'd approached Wolf in a bakery, when he was buying his morning rolls.  He'd looked at them as if at the sudden incarnation of all his fears.  They escorted him to a seat in Russell Square to discuss a proposition.  It was hardly much to ask, they said: lend them some keys, write a letter, barely at all.  Wolf stammered something about it not being possible; at the inevitable inquest his relationship with Dora would become known and his wife would find out.  Then they mentioned his daughter, in Denmark, how convenient it was for her that she could walk to school.  They spoke of other relatives in Germany who were still free; they terrified him with what might, in certain as yet undefined circumstances, happen to them.  When he worried about having to imitate her handwriting they knew they had him.  They were in a position, they said, to ensure that Scotlan Yard would hand the note over to the German embassy for translation and graphology.  It would be 'taken care of'.  Wolf came up with the idea of using shorthand himself, as an extra protection.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Propaganda at Radio Luxembourg 1944-1945

by Erik Barnous in Film and Radio Propaganda in World War II, edited by KRM Short, page 192 -196 [Main source: Hans Habe: All My Sins; Publicity and Psychological Warfare: 12th Army Group: history, January 1943 - August 1945  (ETO, undated)]

In the spring of 1940 the German armies, sweeping westward, took possession of the station and proceeded to use it over the next four years for their own propaganda needs.  In 1944, the Allied troops drove in the opposite direction, Allied psychological warfare units were following closely behind, seizing and using any radio facilities they found intact or repairable.  They especially wanted the facitlities of Radio Luxembourg, but scarcely expected to find it in usable shape.  At the station the retreating Germans set dynamite charges, but inexplicably failed to detonate them.  It is said that Radio Luxembourg's head engineer (who had served the Germans throughout their occupation and use of the station) encouraged them at the time of their departure to destroy the transmitter tubes; his idea was to divert the Germans from more castrophic destruction.  When the Americans arrived, he dug up from the garden a complete duplicate set of tubes he had buried four years earleir for such a day.  This enabled the station to resume broadcasting twelve days after the Allied entry into Luxembourg.  On 22 September 1944, the psychological warfare unit of the 12th US Army group put Radio Free Luxembourg back on the air.
Radio Free Luxembroug now launched a variety of programming.  The  activities came under the executive supervision - generally exercised from Paris - of such luminaries as William S. Paley and Davidson Taylor of CBS and Allied counterparts, all seasoned radio veterans who had gone into uniform for psychological warfare duty.  The station's administrator was William Harlan Hale, but the propaganda strategy was the work of the remarkable Hans Habe.
Hans Habe, born Janos Bekessy in Hungary in 1911, was a prominent journalist and newspaper editor in pre-war Vienna; he claimed credit for the discovery that Hitler's name was Schicklgruber.  Bekessy fled Austria in 1939, enlisted in the French army, was captured by the Germans, managed a romantic escape through concealment in a brothel, made his way to Vichy and thence to the United States.  Then he enlisted in the American Army and  after special training was involved in psycological warfare both in North Africa and Italy.  With the steady advance towards Germany, he became the key strategist at Radio Luxembourg.  Because the name Bekessy was on a Nazi execution list, he lived under the Name Hans Habe.  At Radio Luxembourg he directed both its 'white' and 'black'.

[Frontpost, Letters undelibered, POW messages to family]
There were also grimmer features.  Two Germans in civilian clothes had been captured nearby on an espionage mission.  Radio Free Luxembourg broadcast their trial, and then interviewed the convicted prisoners en route to the prison courtyard.  ASked if they realised that the penalty for what they had done was death, the prisoners said no, their officers had not told them that.  Shortly afterwards, the radio audience was allowed to hear the click of the rifle boltsm the shouted command, the volley and the echo of the rifle fire.  Yank, the serviceman's magazine, thought this was probably the first on-the-air execution. [Yank 11 May 1945]
[Corporal Tom Jones, aka Richard Hanser New York newspaper editor PM]

The programmes mention so far were part of Radio Free Luxembourg's daytime and evening offerings as an acknowledged American voice, heard over Radio Luxembourg's regular place on the dial, with its full available power.  But the psychological warfare group also used the transmitter for an entirely different activity, which occupied the middle of the night, from 2 am to 6 am.
Using lower power, 30 000 watts, the station now purported to be an underground German station operating behind German lines.  It used a different frequency - 1,212 kilocycles - and called itself 'Twelve Twelve.'  It went on air with: 'Hello, this is Twelve Twelve calling'.  It was not overtly anti-Nazi but suggested that the German authorities were fallible and making mistakes.  On every programmme Twelve Twelve carried detailed, scrupulously accurate reports about the military situation within Germany.  Its task, at this stage, was to establish total credibility and trust.  Only a few German voices, of a regional quality to suggest a location in the Rhine valley, were used on Twelve Twelve.  The idea was to convey the image of a compact under ground group.
Much of its strategy had been planned in advance.  Music was never used - only talk.  The Twelve Twelve team was made to live in isolation, to avoid any hint of interaction with other Radio Luxembourg programming.  The group was housed in a fine villa in Luxembourg's Rue Brasseur, once the property of a German coalmine manager.  Military police guarded the premises day and night.

That the group's programmes were soon winning trust was reflected in the fact that German prisoners, when interrogated about the situation within Germany, began to quote Twelve Twelve.  But the winning of trust was only the first step.  The trust had purpose: it was a weapon, potentially devastating.  During the Moselle assault and breakthrough by Allied troops, Twelve Twelve suddenly began to create chaos with disinformation.  Among other bulletins, it reported Allied tanks near Nuremberg and Friedrichshafen, causing panic in those cities.  This confusion was its ultimate task.  Immediately afterwards, its job done and credibility shattered, Twelve Twelve vanished as abruptly as it had appear.  It had been on the air just 127 nights.

Japanese Overseas Broadcasting:  A Personal View by Namikawa Ryo  pages 319-333

Prisoners of war in South-east Asia and in the South Pacific totalled more than 100,000, and the Daihonei issued instructions to the ministries to use prisoners in seven fields of work, including propaganda.  Three Allied officers were selected and sent to Tokyo where they were assigned to the overseas broadcasting section of NHK.  They were Charles Cousens (Australian, former writer and announcer), Wallace Ince (American, announcer) and Norman Reyes (Philippino, announcer).  They wore suits and were treated the same as Japanese employees.  Many books written after the war said tehy were treated violently, but the fact is that they were subjected to no force, either physically or mentally.  Of course it may have been painful for them to be prisoners; their Japanese coworkers were sympathetic and even compassionate toward them as a result of the traditional fighting ethic of Bushido.  Some prisoners tried to affect lack of feeling in their announcing but they were genuine radio men who seemed to enjoy being in front of the microphone.  Lieutenant Commander Charles Cousens was orderd by the Chief of the Army staff of the Daihonei to coopearte in the work of overseas broadcasting.  I witnessed that impressive scene.  Tsuneishi Shigetsugu, at that time Lt Colonel of the 8th Section of the Daihonei, transmitted the official order to Cousens.  This stated, 'If you do not want to do this, you must return to the prison camp.  Think about it and decide.'  Everything went in a military way.  Cousens' attitude was extremely fine and soldierlike.  His dignified attitude never collapsed throughout the war.  His soldierly and gentlemanly manner was long the subject of talk in the NHK.
The main Japanese strategy during the war was to draw the American army to the Chinese mainland where all Japenese army forces would ambush the American forces, but that shortwave broadcasst from Tokyo performed miracle.

William L. Shirer by Steve Wick

Text:  William L Shirer and The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by Steve Wick
Comment:  Some curious anecdotes regarding reliability of journalist witnesses

page 118 - 119.  Birth of Eileen and Anschluss

After dark, Murrow and Shirer sneaked out of the building and walked to a nearby bar, where Murrow had spent the previous evening.  There, as Murrow had watched,  a man - Shirer quotes Murrow in his diary as sayin the man was 'Jewish looking' - had removed a straight razor from his jacket and dragged it across his throat.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Eastern European Attitudes to the Holocaust

Source:  Operation Last Chance:  One Man's Quest To Bring Nazi Criminals To Justice, pp 100-1

The dedication ceremony at Ponar was, in that respect, a litmus test for the intentions of the Lithuanian government in regard to a whole range of Holocaust-related issues that it, and its fellow post-Communist democracies, was forced to face, almost immediately in the wake of independence.   Under different circumstances, these issues would not have been granted priority, but several factors considered critical by these new East European states catapulted Holocaust-related subjects to near the top of the political agenda.  For fear of the Russians, all of these governments viewed membership in NATO and the European Union as their primary foreign policy objectives, and virtually all of them believed that their success in achieving these goals would be seriously influenced by their relations with the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

British Security Coordination and Forged Maps

Source: The Irregulars: Roald Dahl And The British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington.  By Jennet Conant

The BSC's anti-Nazi underground was from the start "a shoe-string operation", and relatively little had been accomplished by the spring of 1942 when Hoover moved to rein in Stephenson's activities and ordered him to curtail their defensive efforts in the southern republics.  Hoover, Bryce noted, was a man for whom " jealousies and petty rivalries meant more than great causes."  Although the FBI direction was "on good terms" with Stephenson, "he was immensely touchy at the thought of any British interference in what he regarded as 'his territory.'"  In March, Bryce alterted Lippmann to the gravity of the situation: "If you felt at all inclined to write anything about the danger to S America, I could give you any number of facts which have never been published, but which my friends here would like to see judiciously made public, at this point."

Monday, March 12, 2012

English Munitions and the July 20th 1944 Plot

Source: Luck of the Devil by Ian Kershaw.

Comment: Gestapo believed there was English involvement in assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler in 1939 (but no evidence survived the war).  This is just to record some sources regarding the use of English munitions (which is generally accepted) in the July 20 plot.

page 124-126
SS Report on the Conspiracy, 26 July 1944
Reich Chief Security Office - IV -
Special Commission for July 20, 1944.     Berlin, July 26, 1944

Report on the plot against the Fuehrer of July 20, 1944.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jews and Polish Underground Press

Source: Jan Gross, "A Tangled Web" in The Politics of Retribution in Europe ed Deak, Gross and Judt.  pp 81-82

An excerpt from an article published in the milieu of the Socio-Political Committee Pobudka (The Wake-Up Call).  It was carried by the periodical Words of Truth, published on 30 October 1943:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Winston Churchill and Claus von Stauffenberg.

Source: Hansard 12 July 1944.

Comment:  A striking feature of a number of resistance plots against Hitler was the use of English explosives/detonation systems.  While it is usually claimed that these came from captured Abwehr or Wehrmacht stocks, it is worth keeping in mind the possibility of a direct connection with British intelligence.  Von Klemperer in German Resistance Against Hitler states specifically that Stauffenberg believed he had a line of communication with Churchill (page 383).  MP Richard Stokes was an independent minded Labour member of Ipswich.  John Dugdale was also a Labour MP and Private Parliamentary Secretary to Clement Atlee.

12 July 1944 Commons Sitting ORAL ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS


HC Deb 12 July 1944 vol 401 cc1732-3
40. Mr. Stokes
asked the Prime Minister whether His Majesty's Government will make plain at once the treatment which the German people may expect to receive from the United Nations, provided they themselves overthrow the Nazi regime, thereby encouraging them to that end and diminishing the loss of life and limb to our own Forces.

SS Eyewitness at Auschwitz?

Source: (HQ BAOR, interrogation reports from No. 1 Sub-Centre, 10 Dec 1945. (D) Taped conversation held on 3 Nov 1945 between Ernst von Gottstein and Eugen Horak - Document 13 in Interrogations: Inside the Minds of the Nazi Elite, Penguin, 2001, pp. 371-74)

Comment:  Ernst von Gottstein (Hauptbauleiter OT, Gauamtsleiter fur Technik, Gau Karnten) and Eugen Horak (interpreter in Gruppe VI/C of the RSHA).  If any subsequent information about Eugen Horak's service record and how he ended up in Auschwitz has come to light, I am not aware of it.  Department VI/C was responsible for espionage and counter espionage abroad, C was responsible for Russia and Japan.


HorakI was present in Vienna when they were loading up people for one of those mass evacuations.  Hundreds were crammed into wagons, which normally took a couple of cows.  And they were thoroughly beaten up as well.  I went up to a young SS man and asked if the beating up was really necessary.  He laughed and said they were only scum anyway.  You know the whole thing was so unnecessary and one could well have got on without it ... what was the purpose of all that beating up? I have nothing at all against the gas chambers. A time can come when it is useful to the race to eliminate certain elements. Extermination is one thing but there is no need to torture your victims beforehand.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

OSS And Archaelogical Agents

Text: Skulduggery: How the Allies' archaeological schools were used as a cover for intelligence work during the German occupation of Greece. By Richard Clogg

Source: Times Literary Supplement, Feb 10, 2012, page 3.  Review of Classical Spies by Susan Heuck Allen.

Comment: Main interest is the integrity of OSS archives.

The author appears to have consulted pretty well all possible archival sources.  At times, however, she demonstrates an over-reliance on the written records and, in particular, on the self-promoting effusions of Colonel Ulius Amoss, who had worked for the YMCA in pre-war Greece.  Amoss was given to feeding Donovan with ludicrously inaccurate intelligence on the situation in occupied Greece, and to flattering him with claims of the existence of such unlikely bodies as a 500-strong Cretan guerrilla force known as "Donovan's Band", and of a group of 300 andartes in Epirus which went under the name of "The American Legion".
Included in the "controlled avalanche"  of OSS material used by Allen is one particular document that seems problematic.  Confusingly dated 10/9/99 and stamped "EYES ONLY", "DO NOT COPY", this records that Amoss, while in Cairo had "recruited, trained and launched numerous teams of assassins that carried out hits on various targets all over North Africa, Southern Europe, Switzerland, Spain and Portugal".  It is true that Amoss was removed in 1943 from the Middle East for importing a contract killer from the US to Cairo and for what was euphemistically termed "financial mismanagement", but can it really be argued that he masterminded a mass programme of assassinations?  After the war, this real-life Walter Mitty set up a private intelligence organization which was involved in a bizarre plot to kidnapp Stalin's surviving son in Moscow.
Coudl this memorandum have been inserted by the CIA, the origianl custodian of the OSS archive?  Or could it be a forgery placed in the archive by a prankster?  In my experience of working in the OSS archive in the mid-1980s, it would not have been difficult to insert such a paper in the jumble of documents, rare ephermera and fascinating photographs that bore no indication of their belonging to the OSS archive.  It occurred to me at the time that light fingered researchers could easily walk off with some of this material with no one being any the wiser.  I had naively assumed that the US National Archive and Records  Administration would prove to be object lesson in such archival excellence.  This was far from being the case, at least as far as the thousands of cubic feet of OSS material were concerned.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hoess Affidavit: NI-4434-A

Source:  Nuremberg Document NI-4434-A

Comment:  Given in Warsaw 12 March 1947


From May 1940, until 1 December 1943, I was commandant of the concentration camp at Auschwitz.  Thereafter I was Chief of Office of the Department I of Wirtschafts Verwaltungs Hauptamt.  Until 1 December 1943, one of my official functions was to inspect the use of labor (Arbeitseinsatz) of concentration camp prisoners from the Auschwitz camp and subsequently to inspect the use as labor of prisoners from all German concentration camps whenever Polh, the chief of the Main Office (Hauptamt); especially ordered me to do so.

According to my knowledge, the large scale use of concentration camp prisoners in the German private industry began in 1940/41.  The utilization increased constantly until the end of the war.

Monday, August 29, 2011

William Shirer's Berlin Diary and "Mercy Killings"

Source: Two entries in late 1940 in William Shirer's Berlin diary.

Comment:  Written or prepared for publication in early 1941 it must represent one of the earliest descriptions of "Mercy Killings" in the Allied public sphere.  Quite accurate in identification of 3 of the 6 major locations, but not accurate at all in his description of the genesis of the scheme.

Berlin, September 21 1940

X came up to my room in the Adlon to-day, and after we had disconnected my telephone and made sure that no one as listening through the crack of the door to the next room he told me a weird story.  He says the Gestapo is now systematically bumping off the mentally deficient people of the Reich.  The Nazis call them "mercy deaths".  He relates that Pastor Bodelschwingh, who runs a large hospital for various kinds of feeble-mined children at Bethel was ordered to be arrested a few days ago because he refused to deliver up some of his more serious mental cases to the secret police.  Shortly after this, his hospital is bombed.  By the "British".  Must look into this story.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Selections of Hans Joseph Graf MATUSCHKA's affidavit on the Hungarian Jews

Source: NG-2440, 26 August 1947 Nuernberg.  The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes.  Vol. 8, pp 248-254

I, Hans Joseph Graf (Count) MATUSCHKA was employed in the German Foreign Service from 1918 to 1919 and from 1934 to 1945.  From 1940 to the end of the war (1945), I was German Consul in Kaschau (Kassa), which then belonged to Hungary.  During this period, I observed the following facts related to the policy concerning the Jews; I am noting down these observations in lieu of oath according to the best of my knowledge and conscience.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Testimony of Henri Henripierre re Strasbourg skeleton collection

Source: Nuernberg Transcript of Proceedings, USA v. Karl Brandt, et all., pp 708-718.  December 18, 1946

Comment: The eyewitness who claims to have prepared the skeletons of Hirt's collection

Q. Witness -
A. Yes
Q. Your name is Henri Henripierre?
A. Yes sir.
Q.  You are a citizen of France?
A.  Yes, I am a French citizen.
Q.  When and where were you born?
A.  I was born in Lievres on the 23rd of August 1905
Q.  What was the year in which you were born again, please?
A.  1905
Q.  What is your present address?  That is your home address?
A.  My present address is 14 Rude De Lail, Strassbourg.
Q.  Will you tell the Tribunal just a bit about your personal history, what you have done and been doing up to the time you came to be a Clerk in the Anatomical Institute at Strasbourg?
A.  I should like fist of all to make it clear that I did not come here with any feelings of hatred or vengeance.  I came here solely owing to a sentiment of having to do my duty and out of justice.  I owe this to the 86 doctor victims whom we received in the month of August, 1943, I would, therefore, say before having to proceed with the preservation of the 86 victims that I made at least 250 preservations of Russian and Polish prisoners who died under the ill treatment at Mutzig.  That is enough to show that I know how to appreciate the difference between a violent death and a natural death.

Albert Hartl on Kiev

Source: NO-5384.  The Holocaust: Selected Documents in Eighteen Volumes. Vol 10, page 220-221

Comment:  Albert Hartl made a series of rather odd claims regarding Kiew.  This is one of them.

I, Albert HARTL, swear, despose and state:
1.  I was born in Roschholzen on 13 November 1904.  I attended elementary school in Hofkirchen from 1910 to 1914.  From 1914 to 1919 I attended the Latin School in Schayern and from 1919 to 1923 the Gymnasium in Freising.  Then I was at the High School there for a year and 4 years at Munich University.  I studied philosophy and theology.

2.  Early in 1934 I received an offer from Himmler to work on a scientific assignment for him.  In the year 1935 I took over the Intelligence Service concern church affairs.  Early in the year 1941 I came to Office IV.  Because I had differences of opinion with my officer chief Mueller, in which he reproached me for being too soft, Mueller as a punishment wanted to assign me to a shooting kommando in Kiev.  Since this task did not appeal to me, I went to Heydrich and complained.  Heydrich told me he saw my point of view and gave me a scientific assignment which I was to carry out in the east.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Memoirs of Field Marshal Keitel

Source: The Memoirs of Field Marshal Keitel, edited by Walter Gorlitz, 1965.

Comment: Might have interest in Brauchitsch, resistance networks and other sundry matters.

Page 87 [Speech of August 22 1939 at Berghof]
All the more remarkable was his Berghof speech delivered on 22nd August to the generals of the eastern armies ranged against Poland, a speech delivered with the finest sense of psychological timing and application.  Hitler was an extraordinarily gifted orator, with a masterly capability of moulding his words and phrases to suit his audience.  I would even go so far to say that he had learned his lesson from the ill-conceived meeting with the chiefs of staff, and had realised that trying to set them at odds with their commanders-in-chief had been a psychological error.  Other versions of this particular speech have been subjectively distorted, as the minute taken by Admiral Boehm, who must be regarded as absolutely impartial, clearly shows.
On 24th August, Hitler arrived in Berlin and on the 26th the invasion of Poland was due to begin.  The events in the Reich Chancellery during the days prior to 3rd September are of such world-wide and lasting historical importance that it will be better for me to leave their logical analysis and exact interpretation to professional historians; I myself can contribute but little from my own experience, and unfortunately I dispose over no notes or memoranda upon which to base my own recollections.

Monday, June 6, 2011

NO-508 Affidavit Dr Gerhard Schiedlausky - Buchenwald physician

Source: NO-508 Affidavit of 7 August 1945.


Freising, 7 August 1945
I, Gerhard SCHIEDLAUSKY, MD, Hauptsturmfuehrer of the Reserve of the Waffen SS, declare the following:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

NO-2429 Gustav Claussen, affidavit on Hartheim

Source: Nuremberg document NO-2429

Comment:  Claussen is wrong to suggest all who allegedly destroyed the Hartheim facilities were killed.  At least one person gave testimony


I, Gustav Claussen, born in Busum [?], Schleswig, Holstein, on 7 March, 1897, and now residing in Dachau, Germany, duly swear and state:

That from the end of 1943 till March 1945 I was a prisoner on duty in the Arbeits Einstaz in Mauthausen where the administrative work was accomplished for Mauthausen and sub-camps; that in this office I did clerical work, such as making reports, keeping records, and corresponding with firms who used prisoners in the operation of their business; that in the course of my duties I saw a secret teletype message which to the best of my memory was as follows:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anton Kaindl, Commandant of Sachsenhausen. July 16 1946

Source: Affidavit of 16 July 1946, from which NI 280 was derived.  Entered into Nuremberg Documentation Scheide 12 (Defense Exhibit Number).



Affidavit                         Nuernberg, 16 July 1944

Concerning my person:  My name is Anton Kaindl, born on 14 July 1902 in Munich.  My last rank was: SS-Standartenfuehrer of the Waffen SS.  My last position was: commander of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, from August 1942 until its dissolution.
Being duly sworn/depose and say:
Ad rem:
Section I:  Historical development of the Concentration Camp system
Staff commands and SS-Death-Head Units (Totenkopfverbaende) = SS - T - Wachsturmbann (guard unit)