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.