A Time to Act: The Beginning of the Fritz Kolbe Story, 1900–1943
Spring 2002, Vol. 34, No. 1
By Greg Bradsher
"Our best intelligence source on Germany materialized in the summer of 1943, in the person of a diplomat, one who had the kind of access which is the intelligence officer's dream," Allen Dulles, the legendary spymaster wrote. "George Wood (our code name for him) was not only our best source on Germany but undoubtedly one of the best secret agents any intelligence service has ever had."1
Dulles, who would later head the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, was referring to Fritz Kolbe. Like many young people of his generation, this mild-mannered young German had rejected the old German order. But he refused, even under pressure, to join the Nazi Party in the years leading up to World War II and after the Nazis had overrun Europe.
Despite his hatred of the Nazis, the talented and hard-working Kolbe rose to responsible and sensitive positions in the German Foreign Office, where he worked diligently without suspicion and earned the trust of his superiors. This won him access to some of the Third Reich's most important military and intelligence secrets—about troop strengths and movements, supply lines, diplomatic maneuvers, and spy operations.
Kolbe eventually was able to pass on secret German information to the American Office of Strategic Services operating in Bern, Switzerland. He relayed this information, at great personal risk, during diplomatic courier trips to Switzerland as well as through messages sent by various means.
This is the story of how Fritz Kolbe came to be George Wood and how he would supply the Allies with some of their most important intelligence of World War II
The Beginnings, 1900–1939
Fritz Kolbe was born into a middle-class family in Berlin on September 25, 1900. His father, a saddlemaker, drilled into him this principle: "always to do what he thought right and never be afraid." Kolbe was also greatly influenced by the Wandervogel movement, which he joined in 1914 and which instilled in him a sense of sincerity and inner integrity that guided his personal conduct, his views about the Nazis, and the actions he would subsequently take against them.2
The Wandervogel, roughly translated as "Birds of Passage" (also "wandering free spirits"), was a middle-class youth movement begun in the late 1890s in response to the seemingly repressive system of values of the time and the industrial revolution. Discontented middle-class German youths rejected the bourgeois way of life, which to them seemed wholly dedicated to the achievement of material gains. The Wandervogel, numbering some 25,000 in 1914, wished to introduce simplicity and sincerity into the German way of life.3
The Wandervogel movement initially consisted of youth-led nature hikes and excursions, both as a means of temporarily escaping their parents' way of life and to gain a better sense of values through being in touch with nature. To look forward to a better society, the Wandervogel looked to the past. Much of the focus of the movement before World War I was on traditional German folk stories, folk songs, and folk heroes as well as poetry, art, and romantic literature.
Kolbe left school and his Wandervogel activities in October 1917, when he was conscripted as a civilian employee into the German army. He served until August 1918 with a telegraph unit and from then until the end of 1918 as a soldier with an engineer battalion.4 Later Kolbe wrote that he "regretted that so much courage and determination were diverted to destruction" and believed that such courage and determination could have better been "directed to build a better world."5
After the war, Kolbe renewed his association with the Wandervogel. The postwar period witnessed an explosion of the number of youth groups; by the end of the 1920s, German youth were involved in about two thousand groups and organizations. This renewed youth movement was a rejection of the Weimar government and society.
The Weimar-era Wandervogel was popular due to its emphasis on sports and weekend retreats that involved hiking and skiing. These postwar Wandervogel members shared the same views as their prewar predecessors, and like them, they did not take the step toward organized, focused social rebellion. They believed that the changes they wanted to make in society could not be brought about by political means but only by the improvement of the individual. They believed in sincerity and straightforwardness because "they had seen to what the cleverness and shrewdness of politicians had led their country and the world."6
Many of the youth groups were courted by the Nazis and were eventually absorbed into the Nazi youth movement. Kolbe's particular group held an anti-Nazi viewpoint and often came into conflict with the Sturmabteilung (SA), the early private army of the Nazi Party.7
Home from military service in 1919, Kolbe took an apprentice job with the German State Railways. He sought this employment because he wanted to travel abroad. While serving as an apprentice, Kolbe took evening classes and graduated from high school and enrolled for four semesters at the University of Berlin, studying economics. In 1922 he passed the exam for a civil service appointment with the railroad, and his hard work made him Germany's youngest stationmaster. But Kolbe was interested in the world outside Germany, so he studied for and subsequently passed in early 1925 the foreign service examinations.8
Joining the Foreign Office in Berlin in March 1925, Kolbe settled in at a clerical job and married a German woman that year.9 During 1925 Kolbe witnessed the rise of Nazism. "Of course," he later wrote, they would have liked him to join them as "they desired energetic men in their ranks," but he refused. He believed the Nazis "were liars who tried to fool everybody" but that they were never able fool "all the people all the time."10 In October 1925 Kolbe was assigned to the German embassy in Madrid, Spain, where he remained until January 1936. There, in 1932, Kolbe and his wife had their only child, a boy.11
With the beginning of the world depression, the Weimar Republic began to falter. In 1930 Nazi armed bands roamed the streets, terrorizing anyone who dissented from their views, and that year Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party significantly increased its presence in the Reichstag. Watching these developments from Spain, Kolbe would later recall that "Hitler understood masterfully to use the economic need and emptiness of the soul of the masses for his own purpose." In early 1933 Hitler and the Nazi Party took control of Germany. Kolbe later wrote that they had done so "by frightening old [President] Hindenburg with an alleged intention of Reichswehr [Germany Army] to conquer Berlin from Potsdam and by frightening the German well-to-do class with the threat of Bolchevism [sic]."12
Kolbe ceased his open opposition once Hitler took office.13 He must have felt as so many other German bureaucrats did: one must be loyal to legitimate authority. And Hitler had been legitimately placed in power. Very quickly Kolbe and his colleagues in the Foreign Office would learn that Hitler did not reciprocate their loyalty.
Hitler believed that he, and he alone, was responsible for the foreign policy of Nazi Germany and had little use for his foreign minister and the Foreign Office. However, Hitler and his party certainly wanted members of the Foreign Office to support their regime. During the early years of the Nazi regime, the party pushed to have Foreign Office personnel become party members and also tried to impose its voice in the appointment, training, and promotion of higher officials.14 According to Kolbe, all of his colleagues in Spain joined the party.15 On one occasion, in 1935, he was summoned by local party chiefs and interrogated about why he did not join. Kolbe played dumb, avoiding clear answers to their inquiries and engaged them in a discussion of his Weltanschauung, his philosophy of life. He was, Kolbe later recalled, "dismissed as a hopeless case."16
In late 1936 Civil War broke out in Spain, with Germany and Italy backing the Fascist forces of Gen. Francisco Franco and the Russians supporting the Spanish Loyalists. Early in the war, when German diplomatic personnel fled Barcelona, they left behind some of their records, including Kolbe's recent personnel evaluation. It was published in a newspaper, much to Kolbe's delight. The evaluation, probably done after his 1935 interrogation, noted that Kolbe had a "good character" but that he had contacts with "Marxists and Jews" and was therefore not considered for party membership. Upon reading this, Kolbe felt "a tad pleased with myself."17
After leaving Madrid, Kolbe spent two months at the German embassy at Warsaw, returning to Berlin in mid-1936 due to the ill health of his wife. She died that year, leaving him to care for their son. Kolbe worked in the political department under Rudolph Leitner, who was involved in economic matters.18
During the latter half of 1937, Kolbe was posted to the German consulate in Cape Town, South Africa, along with Leitner, who was the acting consulate general. While there, Kolbe socialized with anti-Nazis and at some point in 1938 he married a Swiss woman. With the outbreak of war in September 1939, he was ordered back to Berlin to work at the Foreign Office. His anti-Nazi friends offered to have him arrested in order to remain in South Africa, but he refused, fearing repercussions for Leitner. When he departed in November 1939, Kolbe left behind his son in the care of his former family housekeeper as well as his wife, from whom he was trying to get a divorce. He decided not to take his son because he wanted to keep him safe from the Nazi ideology in Germany and the chaos that would be taking place in Europe.19 Knowing that life might be difficult when he arrived back in Germany and that he might have to flee at some point, Kolbe left Cape Town with German, Czech, and Nansen passports; various official rubber stamps; and a pistol.20
Back in Berlin, 1939
During Kolbe's short time away, the Nazis had tightened their hold on internal affairs, increased their persecution of the Jews, and acquired Austria and Czechoslovakia. Many, if not most, Germans who had had confidence in Hitler until 1938 were now not so sure. According to Kolbe's future boss, Karl Ritter, it became evident in 1938 that Hitler was leading the country away from peace. It then became necessary for Hitler to control the people by means of terror. Ritter said from that time on, "single persons could do nothing."21 Little did Ritter realize that a single person, one who would work for him, would do something— something to assist in bringing defeat to Nazi Germany.
The Foreign Office of 1939 was quite different from the one Kolbe had left in 1937. The most important change was the new foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, who assumed that position on February 4, 1938. Ribbentrop's only concern was Hitler and trying to achieve Hitler's goals. Nothing else mattered.22
Two other changes in the Foreign Office had occurred during Kolbe's absence. The first was the size of the organization. The pre-Ribbentrop Foreign Office employed some 2,500–2,800 people. By 1941 the number was well over 10,000. This growth resulted in part because of the war and in part because of Ribbentrop's desire to make the Foreign Office as large and impressive as possible. The other change was the increased number of Nazi Party members, some of whom Ribbentrop brought with him when he assumed his position.23
Kolbe liked neither the Germany nor the Foreign Office to which he returned. "The more he saw of Nazi politics and their wickedness, the stronger he felt in his opposition" he later recalled.24
Kolbe worked initially for Minister Rudolf Leitner, who was responsible for many issues relating to the war.25 Not long after starting to work for Leitner, Kolbe was considered for assignment to Stavanger, Norway, to serve as the consulate general. Leitner urged Kolbe to become a Nazi Party member in order to assist in this promotion. Although Kolbe desired to leave Germany, he refused to join the party; the diplomatic assignment fell through.26 Even though he knew that without joining the party his chances were slim, Kolbe nevertheless did make several futile attempts to get assigned to a diplomatic post abroad.27
At the same time, Kolbe became engaged in somewhat minor anti-Nazi activities. All of the blank passports he had brought with him from South Africa were used by various Jewish refugees to escape.28 Many of his old Wandervogel comrades felt as he did about what the Nazis where doing to Germany. They knew that open revolt against the Nazi regime would have meant suicide, so they started an underground opposition effort. As a cover for their opposition activities, they formed a sports club, believing the Nazis could not protest against young men trying to keep fit in wartime. Ostensibly to prepare for their Sunday tours, they gathered in the evenings and wrote letters (in block letters to conceal their handwriting) to banks and department stores, where they could expect that dozens of people would read them before somebody would hand them over to the police. "The letters," according to Kolbe, "contained the truth about the Nazis disclosing the tricks of Hitler and Ribbentrop to fool the Germans and the foreign countries." They were quite careful in this activity, handling the correspondence with gloves in order to avoid fingerprints and posting the letters from a different quarter of Berlin each time. But his colleagues apparently were not careful enough about putting out leaflets and other covert anti-regime propaganda. Several were caught and put in concentration camps; one paid with his life.29
As the Germans conquered more of Europe, the Foreign Office became more nazified. Kolbe thought about emigrating, perhaps even escaping over the Swiss border. He discussed what he should do with his respected Benedictine friend, Prelate Georg Schreiber, head of the monastery at Ottobeuren in Bavaria, one of the leading Catholic Centralist politicians of the Weimar Republic and a declared foe of Nazism. Schreiber convinced Kolbe that he should remain in Germany and find a way to use his position in the struggle against the Nazis. Schreiber also declared Kolbe free of any oath to Hitler.30
Despite his opposition to the Nazis, his resistance activities, and desire to leave Germany, Kolbe was a good bureaucrat, though outspoken at time. Kolbe could be astonishingly frank. In the presence of a Nazi party official, he had once referred to Mussolini as a "pig," and he refused to back down upon being sternly reprimanded. Kolbe's candor was tolerated as part of his eccentricity and because, for the most part, he kept his mouth shut and did his job well. He made himself indispensable to Leitner, and though he was not a Nazi Party member, his hard work, skill, and ability was appreciated and rewarded. Sometime in the latter half of 1941, Kolbe went to work for Karl Ritter, who, like Leitner (who worked for Ritter), would also find Kolbe indispensable.31
Working for Ritter and for the Opposition
During the summer of 1941, Karl Ritter, who had joined the Foreign Office in 1921, was assigned to serve as the liaison between the Foreign Office and the Wehrmacht supreme military command, the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht (OKW). In his new capacity he would work with Gen. Alfred Jodl, the chief of operations of the German General Staff, and his deputy, Maj. Gen. Walther Warlimont, and was concerned with military as well as political matters.32 Kolbe and others believed that Ritter had been given his new assignment because his strong personality, known rudeness and rough manner, and "case-hardened intellect" equipped him to deal with and stand up to the generals.33
Beginning in the summer of 1941 and through much of the war, Hitler spent most of his time at the Wolfschanze (Wolf's Lair), his remote headquarters in East Prussia. Throughout the entire war Ribbentrop insisted on having a headquarters of his own there in order to confer with Hitler at any time. It was therefore necessary that a number of Foreign Office officials be nearby, and Ritter was generally one of them. His absence from Berlin would have a significant role in Kolbe's anti-Nazi activities.34
Kolbe had three chief duties to perform for Ritter. The first was to review incoming diplomatic cables and collect the most important for Ritter's consideration. Each day he received from 18 to 120 cables from all German embassies and consulates. These cables concerned military and naval affairs, foreign affairs, and developments in the occupied territories. His second task was to review all reports of foreign diplomats and to receive and review all memorandums of conversations held by any member of the Foreign Office with members of the diplomatic corps in Berlin. He would select those of sufficient interest or significance for Ritter. His third task was to read the foreign press and the material furnished by the news agencies and to make a collection of the more important news, marking most important items for Ritter. American press, including periodicals, arrived in Berlin via Lisbon about one month after publication. Kolbe also received at regular intervals information on U-boat stations and was responsible for destroying the copies of secret and top secret messages that came to his office.35
In this new and important capacity, Kolbe was frequently pressured to join the Nazi Party. Though he refused, he retained his position. This firm stand won the high respect of less uncompromising officials who did not sympathize with the Nazi aims and practices.36
Kolbe found it ironic that he held such a trusted position. He would later write that he had quickly become one of the best-informed civil servants in the Foreign Office. "It was like a comedy. I who, without any compromises, rejected and fought the Nazis, even hated them, had . . . ended up in their inner circle." "I did not feel good about that, especially since I had signs that due to my work for Ambassador Ritter I was under particular surveillance."37
Despite the surveillance, Kolbe discussed with his Wandervogel and some Foreign Office colleagues how best to end the war. Kolbe knew that about fifty to eighty members within the Foreign Office belonged to the "Opposition." He later recalled that everyone knew with whom to speak openly, and the only reference made was "He is one of us." One former Wandervogel comrade, Fraulein Maria von Heimerdinger with the courier service, was one of them. Although many of Kolbe's friends and acquaintances knew about his views and that he was resisting the Nazis in his own way, they rarely got into specifics with him as to what he was doing or planned to do.38
Kolbe Takes Action to Contact the Allies
Kolbe knew that his access to many of the documents and some of the information that the top Nazis saw or knew put him in a unique position to help the Allies. "From the first day I found myself in touch with Nazi secrets, I knew," Kolbe said, "I would have to find a way, somehow, to get them out." This meant treason. He thought about it and concluded that "nobody was obligated to be faithful and obedient toward Hitler's regime" and therefore, to benefit Germany, he needed to mentally transcend the issue of treason. He did and decided to make contact with the Allies. In late 1941, before Pearl Harbor, he made attempts to contact American officials in Berlin through Catholic Church intermediaries. These efforts failed, and the American embassy was soon closed once Germany declared war against the United States. Kolbe, perhaps discouraged, tried unsuccessfully at this point to get out of his position with Ritter and be sent abroad.39
During the winter of 1941–1942, Kolbe watched the war from the safety of Berlin as the military fortunes of Germany ebbed and flowed in North Africa and Russia. Millions were being killed, and undoubtedly Kolbe knew of the atrocities being committed by the Germans on the eastern front. Starting in March 1942, German cities were subjected to devastating air attacks. The German people gradually began to realize that the war might be lost.
Kolbe wanted to take action and get information to the Allies, but he knew that he had to be cautious. "Months went by without my being able to do a thing," he recalled. So during the winter and following spring, Kolbe tried to live a simple, normal life, perhaps not wanting to bring attention to himself. Increasingly, Germany was becoming a dangerous place, and not just because of the war. Under German law there had been only three capital offenses in 1939. By 1942 the number had risen to forty-six. In the Reich the number of people put to death rose from 926 in 1940 to 3,002 in 1942.40
During the spring of 1942, it became obvious to Kolbe that the only way to make a satisfactory contact with the Allies would be on neutral territory. Switzerland seemed to him the best place. He knew the country and had friends there, but to get to Switzerland, he would have to furnish a valid reason for an exit permit. That spring Kolbe asked his superiors if he could take a brief vacation, skiing in the Swiss Alps, or Italy, telling them it did not matter which country. They turned down his request.41
Kolbe's Contacts with the Opposition
Although unable to leave Germany, Kolbe continued his association with members of the opposition. Besides his anti-Nazi contacts within the Foreign Office, Kolbe also had ties to the opposition movement through Dr. Ferdinand Sauerbruch. One center of anti-Nazi sentiment in Berlin was the university hospital directed by Sauerbruch, the most famous surgeon in Germany during the Third Reich. Kolbe was engaged, pending his divorce, to Sauerbruch's secretary. Sauerbruch had initially supported Hitler and the Nazi Party and was often called upon to operate on important Nazi leaders, including Propaganda Minister Goebbels, and he even performed a throat operation on Hitler in 1940.42
At some point, probably during 1940–1942, Sauerbruch became an anti-Nazi and was involved in the resistance movement. He traveled frequently to Zurich, Switzerland, for medical meetings and talked freely to people with whom he came in contact. He was known among his medical colleagues, as well as others, in Switzerland as an outspoken critic of Hitler's regime.43
Kolbe was able to get some information out of Germany to help the Allied cause. Among the cables he read, he saw many relating to pending arrests of leaders of the French Resistance movement. For example, he read in a cable from Otto Abetz, the Nazi ambassador to Vichy, that Cardinal Gerlier of Lyon, who had saved many Jewish children, was about to be arrested. To warn him, Kolbe met an Alsatian leader of the Resistance, who, according to Kolbe, was startled when he opened the conversation with the questions, "Do you have courage? Are you daring?" After receiving satisfactory answers, Kolbe gave the Alsatian the information to warn the French.44
In the fall of 1942, a young Alsatian doctor whom the Germans had drafted, Adolphe Jung, was requisitioned by Dr. Sauerbruch to work with him. Kolbe sounded him out and found him eager to do something for Free France. Kolbe was soon using Dr. Jung's office for temporary storage of documents filched from the Foreign Office. As Dr. Jung had reason to make occasional trips to Strasbourg, where his brother or a friend could get information to the French Resistance and on to London, Kolbe was soon using this channel, particularly for warnings that certain Frenchmen were about to be arrested.45
The War Turns
During the fall of 1942 the course of the war was turning in favor of the Allies, as Rommel's Afrika Korps was defeated at El Alamein, Anglo-American forces landed in Morocco and Algeria, and the Russians mounted attacks north and south of Stalingrad. At the end of January 1943, the German Sixth Army surrendered to the Russians. These defeats, the increasing aerial bombardments, and the terror and shortages at home increased hatred of Hitler and the Nazis. This hatred would deepen with the beginning of the massive bombing campaign in the spring. Many Nazis, even die-hard ones, were changing their views about Hitler and the Nazi Party. One such person was Karl Ritter, Kolbe's boss. Increasingly during 1943, he became more interested in his own well-being than that of the Nazi Party, Foreign Office, and Hitler. Ritter, according to Kolbe, had now become thoroughly corrupt. When Ritter was questioned about his views, he evaded answer by saying, "Anyhow, we get wonderful trips out of this." Ritter began becoming more openly critical of the Nazi Party.46
In mid-February there were student-led anti-Nazi demonstrations on the streets of Munich. During February and March the military and civilian opposition contemplated the overthrow of Hitler and the party.47 Other anti-Nazis did not take action, for various reasons. After the disaster of Stalingrad, Gen. George Thomas began to "feel that nothing could be achieved any longer from the overthrow of Hitler. The war now obviously lost and could only result in a harsh peace for Germany no matter what government were in power; it seemed best to let the odium for this fall on the Nazi regime." He was especially fearful that a successful attempt to assassinate Hitler would lead to a new legend "in which he would be canonized as a martyr and the generals blamed for the collapse."48 The Allies' demand at the Casablanca Conference for unconditional surrender led many Germans to believe that the Allies would take revenge on them.49 In early April a Swiss businessman just back from Berlin informed American officials "that, if the German people could be shown that their existence would not be threatened after the war, they would overthrow the present Government without much delay."50
Another reason for lack of action was fear of reprisals from the Gestapo. Fearful of an internal overthrow, the forces of Himmler and the Gestapo were unleashed on the opposition. The first five months of 1943 witnessed thousands of arrests and executions as the Gestapo exercised a severity hitherto not seen by the German public. Student leaders were executed in late February, and a major opposition organization, the Oster Circle, was destroyed in April 1943.51
The German people were caught between a rock and a hard place in the late spring and early summer of 1943. On one hand it was next to impossible to overthrow Hitler and the party. On the other hand, because of the Allied demand of unconditional surrender, and therefore no opportunity for a compromise peace, there seemed to be no other alternative but to continue the military struggle.52
As Kolbe witnessed events in Germany during the spring, he decided once again to attempt to get to Switzerland. In his request for leave, he explained it had become necessary for him to divorce his second wife, who was Swiss, and he needed to travel to Zurich to engage an attorney for the proceedings. That could wait, he was informed. When he then volunteered as a special diplomatic courier, he was informed that there were others available.53
Nevertheless, Kolbe tried his best to assist the Allies. He learned that a spy was active in England who provided Berlin, by way of the German embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, with weather forecasts and inside information about aircraft production. Determine to stop the flow through these channels, he made contact with the British through his confidants in Alsace. They in turn got in touch with a go-between in Paris, who then dealt with British representatives. The British, according to Kolbe, were at first inclined to scoff at him but finally took him seriously when the information he gave them led at once to arresting the spy and stopping the leak.54
By the end of May 1943, the German forces had been driven out of North Africa, and the beginning of the end was in sight on the eastern front. Additionally, Germany was losing the war in the air and on the sea. In August the Allies occupied Sicily. The German navy was also suffering reversals of fortune. During the last week of July, ten U-boats were sunk in four days in the Bay of Biscay, and the Allies were effectively blocking the U-boat exit routes.
During the period July 24–August 3, 1943, the British Royal Air Force, briefly assisted by the U.S. Eighth Air Force, launched a major air offensive against Hamburg, Germany's second-largest city. Forty thousand people were killed, and tens of thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed.
On July 24 the Italian Fascist Grand Council arraigned Mussolini for mismanaging the war and exercising an arbitrary dictatorship, and the next day King Emmanuel III relieved Mussolini of his office and asked Marshal Badoglio to form a new government. The news of Mussolini's downfall affected the German public more than did the bad tidings from Stalingrad. For many in Germany, the fall of Mussolini had broken the spell of National Socialism.55 Although the morale of the German army remained relatively high during the early summer, civilian morale was in marked decline as a result of the aerial bombardments and the news from the various fronts. Most Germans realized, as the events of July and early August took place, that the war was lost and there was not a chance for a compromise peace settlement.
The Opposition, Summer 1943
Despite fear of the Gestapo, some German people, however, did speak out and show signs of protest during the summer of 1943.56 Despite the mass arrests and executions of the spring, the opposition still plotted and planned. Some Germans were "convinced that it is their duty to apply all possible expedients to end the war as quickly as possible, that is, to further the German defeat with all available means."57 Kolbe certainly shared this point of view.
During the summer of 1943 he expanded his contacts with opposition members outside of the Foreign Office, particularly with those associated with Col. Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg.58 Stauffenberg had become disillusioned about the Nazis during the Russian campaign and by 1942 was involved in the opposition movement. In early 1943 he was posted to Tunisia and on April 7 was gravely wounded. He was returned to a Munich hospital, where he recovered under Dr. Sauerbruch's supervision. While recuperating, he decided to devote all of his energies to removing Hitler at all costs. He was convinced the war was lost and was determined not to allow Hitler to destroy the army and Germany itself. During the year he would move into the inner circle of the resistance to Hitler.59
The fall of Mussolini gave the opposition plotters more hope to be able to achieve similar results in Germany and seemed to provide a propitious moment to assassinate Hitler and overthrow the Nazi regime.60 But this did not happen for a variety of reasons. First and foremost was the fear of Himmler and the Gestapo. During June, July, and August, Himmler's forces continued to move swiftly against the opposition, rendering any organized opposition impossible. Arrests and executions were common. Terror against the people had become a way of life.61 A second major reason was that the opposition's peace feelers to the western Allies did not meet with success.62
A Time to Act
Kolbe lacked confidence in the opposition methods and did not believe that their plans to kill Hitler and topple the Nazi Party would succeed. He saw only one means to bring about the downfall of the Nazis—the military defeat of Nazi Germany.63 Being well informed about international affairs, Kolbe knew it was hopeless to separate the Western Allies from Russia. During 1943 he became ever "more convinced that in order to liberate the German people from Nazi terror and corruption, some Germans had to risk their lives in combining the fight against the common enemy with the Allies."64 For Kolbe this meant getting information to the Allies—information that would hasten Germany's defeat.
Early in August Kolbe decided that it was now time for him to act—time to go Switzerland with information for the Allies. He did not believe that at this point he was under any suspicion by the Gestapo. If he were, he would not have been working in the sensitive position he held. And he believed that a friend in the Foreign Office could help him. This was Fraulein Maria von Heimerdinger, assistant chief of the courier section and one of Kolbe's old Wandervogel comrades. Kolbe told her that he must go to Switzerland to check on certain business interests of some friends and asked if it would be possible to take the next special courier's assignment. She told him a pouch would be ready for Bern in about a week's time. Kolbe received permission to go and received his exit visa.65
Kolbe Arrives in Switzerland
Kolbe went to a Berlin train station late on Sunday, August 15, to catch a train to Switzerland. The documents he intended to give the Allies were strapped to his leg. He must have been nervous; at this time, all train passengers were checked several times by Gestapo agents in the trains, in waiting rooms, and on platforms. As a diplomat, described as "Secretary of Consulates, Berlin, traveling to Bern as courier," he was not searched. The trip was uneventful, and Kolbe's train crossed over the Rhine River and entered Switzerland via Basel on August 16.66
Although Switzerland was a neutral country, in many respects it was in a war for survival, surrounded by Nazi-controlled territory. Fearful of being invaded by Germany, Switzerland had mobilized all or part of its armed forces since September 2, 1939.67
The Swiss population in 1943 was about four million people, most of who identified with the Allied cause.68 The small nation also held tens of thousands of refugees from the Nazis, internees, escaped prisoners of war, deserters, hospital cases, civilian refugees, political refugees, and emigrants. A large number of diplomats and intelligence agents resided in Switzerland as did foreign businessmen. Germany had many diplomats and businessmen in Switzerland as well as supporters among the Swiss. German intelligence and counterintelligence activities also had a presence in Switzerland. The German military intelligence organization (Abwehr) in Switzerland was headquartered at the German embassy at Bern, with substations in seven cities. Thirty members of the Gestapo also operated in Switzerland.69
Once in Bern, Kolbe remained cautious. Not only was he concerned about Abwehr and Gestapo agents, he also had to worry about the Swiss secret police. The Swiss counterespionage agents were most effective. A German officer stated that "after a certain point the Swiss counterespionage organization was considered as by far the most dangerous. It is in Switzerland that the proportion of agents put out of action was highest. Our painstakingly built networks were constantly disorganized by timely intervention of Swiss counterespionage."70 In early summer 1943, more than one hundred Germans, Swiss, and Italians were under arrest for espionage in Switzerland.71
Kolbe checked into the Terminus Hotel on the Bahnhofplatz, right in the center of town, intending to stay two or three days. He then left the hotel, found a public telephone, and dialed the number of Dr. Ernest (also Ernesto) Kocherthaler.72
Kolbe had met Kocherthaler in the mid-1930s while serving in the German embassy in Madrid and sought his assistance in making contact with the British. Kocherthaler, a German-born Jew and businessman, left Germany in the middle 1920s and went to Madrid, where he took over some of his father's business interests there and also engaged in importing Russian oil into Spain. At the beginning of the Spanish Civil War he was jailed by the Franco forces, presumably because of his Russian affiliations. He was released and in 1936 went to Switzerland, settling in Adelboden and marrying a Swiss woman. Either while in Spain or subsequently in Switzerland, Kocherthaler converted to Christianity and became quite active in religious circles. His anti-Nazi position was well known.73
Kocherthaler Meets the British
Kocherthaler came to Bern on the evening of August 16 or very early on the seventeenth. He and Kolbe talked about what could and could not be done with respect to ending the war. Kocherthaler believed Kolbe's "way of action the only reasonable one for a better German future," and he "appreciated the valiant attitude of a man, who had always been an opponent to Hitler by conviction." Kolbe gave him a document (maybe more) that he could show the British so they would be interested in meeting him and receiving more documents. Kolbe undoubtedly felt it safer to send Kocherthaler to the British embassy rather than risking going himself.74
During the day of August 17, Kocherthaler went to the British embassy and tried to meet with a diplomat named MacKillop, who was too busy to see him. He then met with a Captain Reid and informed him he had a German friend who was willing to work with the British. Being unable to present any satisfactory introduction and declining to disclose the name of his German friend, Reid dismissed him without carrying the matter further. Not giving up, Kocherthaler met with Col. Henry Cartwright, the British military attaché. Cartwright also represented MI9, the organization that helped and debriefed escapees from Germany. Cartwright's cover role was well known in Switzerland, and German intelligence had several times tried to plant an agent on him. These attempts had made Cartwright very suspicious of "walk-ins."75
Kocherthaler told Cartwright that that he could put him in touch with a German from Berlin who could provide valuable information. As evidence, he showed Cartwright one paper in German that purported to be the text of a deciphered German telegram. Cartwright did not even look at it. Kocherthaler made some vague remarks about knowing the British minister and MacKillop, but when Cartwright pressed for specifics, Kocherthaler admitted that his acquaintanceship with the minister was apparently limited to having met him at a reception. When asked why did not he try to see MacKillop, Kocherthaler said that he had tried but that MacKillop had said he was busy.76 Cartwright thanked Kocherthaler and showed him the door.
Cartwright cannot be completely faulted for thinking Kocherthaler was a plant or agent provocateur. The Venlo incident of 1939, when Gestapo agents posing as anti-Nazis in the Netherlands kidnapped two British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) officers lured to a meeting to discuss peace terms, prompted Churchill to ban any further contact with the German opposition. The British did not want to deal with anti-Nazis primarily because they were fearful that the Russians would believe they were attempting to make deals behind their backs. Thus Cartwright was simply following his country's policy with regards to possible traps and contacts with anyone representing the German opposition.77
Kocherthaler believed they needed a better introduction to either the Americans or even the British again. To obtain this, he wrote a letter, sent by express mail, to an "old established and reputable Basel banker," Paul Dreyfus, requesting either an introduction to Mr. Norton [the British minister] or a contact with the American legation.78 Dreyfus, head of a private bank in Basel, was an interesting choice for such an introduction. During the previous winter, this well-known banker had been in trouble with the British and American authorities for having been involved in buying, from Germans, exit permits to allow Dutch Jews to depart from Nazi-occupied Holland. When confronted with the possibility of being placed on the British Black List or the American Proclaimed List (thereby not being able to conduct business with an Allied individuals or companies), he signed a statement for the British diplomatic authorities in Basel indicating he would refrain from the Jewish ransom traffic.79 To follow up on this statement, he provided reports on conditions in Germany to British diplomatic officials, who supplied them to the Americans.80 Most probably, Kocherthaler knew of Dreyfus's contacts with the British and Americans and thought him a good choice to make contact with them.
Dreyfus responded to Kocherthaler and told him that he was going to arrange an introduction with Gerald Mayer, an American working for the Office of War Information (OWI) the next morning at 9 a.m. Dreyfus had known Mayer for about a year and undoubtedly knew his connections with the American legation and the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).81
Meanwhile, around 6 p.m. on August 17, the head of the Bern OSS office, Allen W. Dulles, ran into Cartwright in front of the OSS office at 24 Duforstrasse. Cartwright cryptically remarked (someone was with him at the time) that he had had been contacted by a person whose name had "tal" in it (he did not remember the exact spelling) and that undoubtedly the fellow would turn up at his shop in due course.82 Dulles probably envisioned another person trying to provide information at a price and also probably recalled the warning he had received soon after his arrival in Bern from the MI6 not to trust people claiming to be anti-Nazis.83
Allen Dulles in Bern
Cartwright was correct in his observation. The next morning Kocherthaler would meet Gerald Mayer, and soon Kocherthaler and Kolbe would meet Dulles. Dulles had arrived in Bern in November 1942 to head up the OSS Switzerland field station. He was attached to the American legation as a special assistant to the minister. "My real tasks," Dulles wrote, "however, were to gather information about the Nazi and Fascist enemy and quietly render such support and encouragement as I could to the resistance forces working against the Nazis and Fascists in the areas adjacent to Switzerland which were under the rule of Hitler or Mussolini."84
Dulles knew Bern. It was there, during World War I, that he had received his first training in the work of intelligence.85 Early in his career, he had learned an important lesson in espionage when he inadvertently passed up an opportunity to meet with an obscure Russian visitor, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. He vowed to never again disregard any source of intelligence.86
Some twenty-two years later, Dulles, then a successful New York City attorney, was back in the intelligence business and soon would be back in Switzerland. Dulles was recruited by OSS Director William J. Donovan for the OSS's predecessor organization, the Coordinator of Information (COI), and in January 1942, Dulles opened the COI New York office. His staff launched intelligence projects in every part of the world, but Dulles took a personal interest in German operations.87
Dulles arrived at the Swiss border the same day in November 1942 that Allied troops landed in North Africa, and as his train passed from Vichy France into Switzerland, the Germans closed the border.88 The Allen W. Dulles who arrived in Bern did not look like a spy—he appeared more like a diplomat or professor. After finding out what Dulles was doing in Switzerland, Mary Bancroft, an American living there who would work for Dulles, wrote "I still had difficulty believing that this cheery, extroverted man was actually engaged in intelligence work."89
Dulles rented a flat at 23 Herrengasse in the picturesque medieval section of Bern, near its cathedral and casino, and placed an inconspicuous sign outside his door: "Allen W. Dulles, Special Assistant to the American Minister." The flat had a back entrance that people could use when they came to see him at night. For those who might come to Dulles's front door in the evening, he pulled some strings and had the streetlight opposite his front door turned off for the duration of the war. That Dulles was able to pull the strings probably related to the fact that he had only been in Bern for a few weeks when one of its most respected and widely read newspapers published an article describing him as "the personal representative of President Roosevelt" with a "special duty" assignment. Most of Dulles's surreptitious important visitors were duly noted by the Swiss, and this resulted in a "great man" image that filtered down through the bureaucracy. Swiss bureaucrats treated him with some deference.90
It was no real secret that Dulles was an intelligence operative or that his home was being used for intelligence work. However, a circumspect concern for Swiss sensibilities dictated that he at least seek an office that could claim diplomatic immunity, so he set up shop at 24 Duforstrasse with Gerald Mayer, whose OWI propaganda operation had taken office space on the first floor of the building. Dulles occupied the second floor, with a very small staff.91
Because of the related nature of their work and because Dulles was badly understaffed, he very quickly "recruited" Mayer to assist him with OSS work. Mayer was the chief of the OWI Switzerland outpost. He oversaw OWI operations in Switzerland, which consisted of the disseminating OWI and United Nations material in that country and surrounding occupied territories, gathering intelligence material, and analyzing United States propaganda efforts. Mayer, of German-Jewish extraction, had spent much of his life in Europe and spoke fluent German.92
Dulles's first and most important task was to find out what was going on in Germany, including knowing who in Germany were really opposed to Hitler and whether they were actively at work to overthrow him and his regime. The sources for intelligence were abundant in Switzerland. There were spies and traitors; refugees, exiles, and expatriates; ecumenical church functionaries and German Catholic and Protestant church representatives; German, Austrian, and Italian businessmen who occasionally visited Switzerland; political and labor leaders once prominent under the Weimar Republic who had fled after Hitler came to power; diplomats of countries that were either neutral or German satellites; and opponents of the Hitler government, including German officials working in Switzerland. He obtained information from the British and the Swiss as well as members of the French and Italian Resistance.93
The rumor that Dulles was Roosevelt's personal representative was an excellent cover for his intelligence work. Dulles did nothing to counter the rumor and even fostered the impression it was true. Many of the would-be informants coming to see him were legitimate, but many were not. According to an Abwehr official with whom he worked, Dulles was particularly troubled by the flourishing guild of professional spies, the traders in espionage materials, who would visit German intelligence agents in the morning, the British MI6 in the afternoon, and Dulles's home in the evening, offering to each their carefully prepared and sensational reports.94
Dulles listened to most of those who came. According to Mary Bancroft, in a private setting Dulles "never hesitated to show his very real charm" which "so enchanted the European statesmen and politicians who made their way . . . to see him." Regardless of whether the visitor was a prominent person wanting to discuss policy or just another provider of routine intelligence information, Dulles was always interested in results. "Useful was a word that was constantly on his lips," according to Bancroft. "He judged everyone and everything by the yardstick of its usefulness in the war effort, even going to far as to wonder why one of the men at the legation was getting married—he didn't consider the girl he was marrying 'useful.'" Dulles "was first and foremost a pragmatist, who could usually tell at a glance what would or would not work and what facet of any activity could be used to further the work of his organization."95
Kocherthaler Makes Contact with Mayer
Dreyfus called Mayer about 7:30 a.m. on August 18, stating that a friend of his would call at his office at 9 a.m. Dreyfus explained that the previous day his friend had sent him an express letter requesting either a better introduction to Mr. Norton or a contact with the American legation. Mayer had known Dreyfus for about a year. He also knew about his efforts to facilitate the exodus of Jewish refugees from Axis-occupied territories and that he had immediately ceased such activities when informed by the legation that it was not permissible to trade with the enemy in this fashion.96
Mayer then contacted Dulles about the impending visit. He may have even received a call from Kocherthaler himself confirming the 9 a.m. appointment. Dulles assumed that the impending visitor, Kocherthaler, was the individual that Cartwright had told him about the previous evening.
Kocherthaler appeared at Mayer's office at 9 a.m. as scheduled. He told Mayer that he was a friend of Dreyfus's and then provided an involved explanation of his own identity and background. Mayer, like Cartwright, thought that Kocherthaler could be an agent provocateur sent by the Swiss to determine whether he was engaged in espionage work, thereby breaking the law. He also thought that Kocherthaler might be a blacklisted businessman who had cultivated an approach to the Allied cause to get some funds unblocked. Switzerland was full of such people. Mayer, regardless of what he thought, was busy and bluntly asked him to come to the point.97
Kocherthaler told Mayer of his acquaintance with a source who was prepared to contact United States officials. Kocherthaler then produced three documents and spread them out before Mayer on his desk. They were copies of cables, in German and headed "Geheime Reichssache" (state secret document), addressed to the German Foreign Office in Berlin and signed by the Nazi ambassadors in Ankara, Paris, and Prague. From Paris, Ambassador Abetz was relaying certain plans from the French Vichyites that might permit German agents to penetrate American and British lines in North Africa, via Algiers. Ambassador Neurath was reporting on Czech morale. Ambassador Von Papen was alerting Berlin on British attempts to sneak operatives into the Balkans via Istanbul.98
Mayer was excited and asked Kocherthaler where he had obtained the messages. He replied that there was more from the same source, who was in Bern. Kocherthaler added that the source worked for the German Foreign Office and that he had arrived the day before as a special diplomatic courier. "I have known him for years," he said, and "I can assure you he is one hundred percent anti-Nazi and is determined to work actively against Hitler, at his own peril. He wants to meet you, personally. As proof of his good will he sends you this data. He has much more information he wishes to give you."99
At that point Kocherthaler told Mayer that as a token of good faith he would leave sixteen telegrams for Mayer to study before deciding to see his friend. Mayer quickly looked at the documents. There were mimeographed copies of telegrams addressed to the Foreign Office from the German legations in Dublin, Stockholm, Sofia, Ankara, Rome, and Bern and seemed the usual copies that any foreign ministry must make to disseminate incoming messages. A routing stamp showed that these particular copies were intended for "Ambassador Ritter."100
Mayer asked Kocherthaler to wait in the anteroom, then dashed upstairs to Dulles's office and told him what had happened and showed him the documents. Dulles quickly grasped the extraordinary possibilities of what he had been shown. He knew that the prospect of establishing a contact in the Foreign Office, a key to top-level Nazi secrets, was too good to be true. They both thought this must be a trap. Dulles said there were three possibilities. "This could be an attempt to break our code. The Germans figure we'll bite, cipher this stuff and radio it to Washington. They monitor everything, including Swiss commercial wireless channels. . . . Or perhaps our friend is an agent provocateur. He plants the information with us and then tips off the Swiss police that we are spying. His rendezvous with us is proof and we are kicked out of the country. Still, there is just the glimmer of a chance that this man is on the square."101
Dulles hoped the unknown German would be legitimate, because OSS Bern was increasingly being pressured for more and better quality information. An opportunity to get a view of what was going on in Berlin from the vantage point of the enemy's foreign office could hardly have materialized at a better time.102
Mayer said that Kocherthaler impressed him and that he seemed genuine. He suggested they take a chance and set up a meeting. Dulles agreed, possibly thinking back to the time he passed up an opportunity to meet Lenin. Mayer returned to his office and told Kocherthaler that he was ready to meet the courier that evening. Kocherthaler said that his friend, the courier, was dining that evening with a colleague at the German legation, but they could meet them afterwards. Mayer said that would be fine and proposed a midnight meeting at his apartment in the Kirchenfeld district. He drew Kocherthaler a map so he could find his way without arousing suspicion with inquiries.103
Meanwhile Dulles made arrangements to meet Colonel Cartwright, the British military attaché, at about 11:30 a.m. Cartwright told Dulles that a man giving his name as Kocherthaler had called to see him the day before with a story that he could put him in touch with a German from Berlin who could give him valuable information. As evidence, he showed him one paper in German that purported to be the text of a deciphered German telegram. Dulles left the meeting believing that Cartwright had not even read the telegram and knew nothing either for or against his visitor except that Kocherthaler's lack of a sufficient introduction did not justify giving further attention to what he had to say.104
Dulles and Kolbe Meet
Exactly at midnight Mayer's door opened and Kocherthaler entered, followed by Kolbe. Not long afterward, Dulles arrived. Mayer poured highballs for the four of them. But nobody relaxed; the atmosphere was tense, the conversation rigidly formal. They all spoke German.105
Both Mayer and Dulles sized up Kolbe. He appeared to be 5' 6" or 5' 7" tall, round face, clean shaven, dark, typical Prussian-Slavic features, and slightly bald, with brownish hair he had clipped short. He had gray-blue eyes that made a frank expression. His ears were not large, but they stood out from his head. He was not distinguished looking but was self-possessed. He appeared unworldly or unsophisticated but seemed to have acquired some ease in conversation through his travels.106
Kolbe said he assumed the two Americans were wondering whether the dispatches were authentic and how he was able to obtain them. He said that the information came from material that crossed his desk in the Foreign Office. He explained that he worked as an assistant to Karl Ritter, the Foreign Office's liaison officer with all of the German military services. Ritter dealt not only with cables and documents from German missions abroad and documents resulting from conferences with German officials but also with war plans, secrets of submarine warfare, activities of the German air force, and moves of the army, including military government in occupied territories. His job, he said, was to sift through this information and prioritize before it reached Ritter's desk. It appears that Mayer and Dulles knew who Ritter was, and it seemed unthinkable that he would have anyone working for him but a most loyal Nazi.107
Mayer asked how long he had held his position. Kolbe said three years and that "I tried long ago to get out of Germany on a mission such as this but one has to be patient. However, I have been in the Foreign Service nearly twenty years, long before the Nazis ever came to power, and I have acquired a certain expertise." He continued, "From the first day I found myself in touch with Nazi secrets, I knew I would have to find a way, somehow, to get them out." "I tried, before Pearl Harbor, to reach certain Americans in Berlin through church sources, but this failed. One had to move like a snail. Months went by without my being able to do a thing." "It became obvious," Kolbe continued, "that the only way to make a satisfactory contact would be on neutral territory" and that "Switzerland seemed the best place." He said he knew the country and had friends there, foremost among them Kocherthaler. Kolbe explained how he had previously tried unsuccessfully to get to Switzerland and how finally, through his contacts with Maria von Heimerdinger, he was allowed to successfully volunteer for diplomatic courier service.108
Kolbe freely told Dulles and Mayer all about himself, his Wandervogel association, his career, present assignment, his pay and special confidence bonus, Leitner and Ritter, friends in the Foreign Office, his avoidance of joining the Nazi Party, how he helped to get forged passports into the hands of Jews, his apartment address and telephone number. Kolbe told them that he was not a member of the Nazi Party but did not think he was under suspicion on this account because he had been engaged in highly confidential work and had also recently been given a war service medal. He revealed to them a detailed knowledge of the German Foreign Office, the personalities, the intrigues, and cliques. He told them that there were about fifty other members of the German Foreign Office who belonged to the opposition, and all were intimately known to each other.109
Kolbe spent several hours discussing the contents of the cables, expanding on some of them, providing additional information, and making suggestions for Allied activities.110 He told Mayer and Dulles that morale in the Bern legation was bad and that the morale of the German population had worsened considerably, mainly as a result of heavy air raids rather than the setbacks of the Russian campaign. He said the fear of raids in Berlin was very great and that the audience of foreign radio programs had vastly increased in Germany, especially for "America Calling Europe" and BBC news programs.
Long-term planning had completely disappeared in the German war industry, Kolbe told them, and plans were made from day to day and subject to constant change. He discussed certain factories, their production, the results of Allied bombing on them, and how well one was camouflaged. He said that it was most important to bomb the Telefunken plant near Berlin as it produced plane-detecting devices and radio-location devices used by night fighters. Dulles urged him get as much specific information on armaments and synthetic gasoline plans as he could, and Kolbe promised to procure this information.
He talked about Foreign Office evacuation plans in terms of where certain people were to be relocated. He told them about Hitler's headquarters in Rastenburg, East Prussia, and said that Himmler and the generals lived nearby in well-camouflaged armored trains on a railway siding in the woods, protected by anti-aircraft flak units. He also identified Ribbentrop's nearby residence. He then drew a map showing the locations.
Kolbe discussed events in foreign countries. For example, he provided information about the Ploesti oilfields and the results of American bombing raids and strongly urged another attack be made as soon as possible to complete the job. He discussed Hungary and Bulgaria and pointed out that Germany regarded Hungary as the weakest point in the defense of the Balkans. He discussed Finnish diplomatic matters, German bribes to Argentina to keep it neutral, and the bad feelings between Japan and Germany.
He also discussed military matters. He provided information about the numbers of German divisions in Greece, Sicily, and along the Austrian-Italian border and where it was generally believed that the Germans would develop their defensive line in Italy. He talked about the numbers and types of military aircraft that the Germans and Russians had on the eastern front. Kolbe told them that German U-boats generally met with Japanese submarines west of Cape Point, in line with Port Elizabeth, South Africa, and this was how Indian nationalist leader Subhas Chandra Bose had been smuggled from Germany to South Africa to Japan to lead an uprising against the British in India. Kolbe explained Hitler's position against prisoner-of-war exchanges and voiced the opinion that German claims of a secret weapon were probably only a rumor.
Espionage- and communications-related activities were also discussed. The German consulate at Lourenço Marques in Portuguese East Africa, Kolbe said, provided much important information about Allied ship movements. In addition, this consulate was able to infiltrate spies, monies, and arms into the Union of South Africa. Kolbe told them that in Dublin, Ireland, the Germans had a secret transmitter that they used only on rare occasions. He also provided the names of several German spies, including one in Dublin. He also discussed the fact that German cryptanalysts had broken many Allied codes and cited from memory the substance of an OWI cable. Kolbe also provided a very detailed description of how German Foreign Service code system worked.
Kolbe made several suggestions the Allies could take. Among them were dropping arms by parachute for use by the opposition and landing parachute troops in the heart of Germany. These troops, Kolbe suggested, should be landed near concentration camps and foreign workers camps, thus securing immediate collaboration because these individuals had often made their own weapons and were willing to fight.
During the meeting, in discussing the telegrams, Kolbe made a special effort to find out which telegrams were of special interest and implicitly accepted Dulles's suggestion that the most useful would be those that had direct reference to a threat against British or American interests. During the course of the discussion, Kolbe made no attempt to lead the conversation into any particular channel.111 This was probably reassuring to Dulles, as a German plant would have done so.
After hearing his story, Dulles raised the question of Kolbe being an agent provocateur or, perhaps worse, a double agent. Kolbe tried to convince Dulles he was neither. Kocherthaler also spoke on Kolbe's behalf. Dulles asked Kolbe about his motives and whether he wanted money. He said he lived by a principle his father had drilled into him—always to do what he thought right and never be afraid—and by an ideal of inner integrity espoused by the Wandervogel. He also said that he would refuse any money for his collaboration. As for his motives, Kolbe said he believed the overthrow of the Nazis to be an urgent necessity for Germany's own sake as well as the rest of the world's, and he was doing what he could to bring it about. He also indicated that he was driven by the conviction that by helping the Americans now, Germany would receive U.S. support against an assumed Russian threat once the war ended.112
These comments prompted Mayer to ask whether Kolbe had any conditions. Kolbe said, "I hate the Nazis. To me they are the enemy. I have a similar feeling about the Bolsheviks. They both menace the world. But we are in the middle of a war and this is no time to bargain. Try to believe me that I am a patriotic German with a human conscience and that there are others. All we ask as payment for our services is help and encouragement and support after the war." "We can hardly divine now what will happen after the war," Dulles said. "It must be won first."113
It was past 3 a.m., and Kolbe and Kocherthaler believed they could not safely stay longer. They made arrangements for another meeting later that morning and settled on code names for any future contacts or communications. Kolbe and Kocherthaler departed, and Dulles and Mayer spent the rest of the night poring over the documents.114
Kocherthaler and Kolbe showed up at Mayer's apartment on Thursday, August 19, at 10:30 a.m., where they remained until approximately 2.30 p.m.115 There appears to be no record of what took place. Later that day both Mayer and Dulles wrote up their recollections of the meeting while it was still fresh in their minds.116
There was a short 8 a.m.–9:30 a.m. meeting with Kolbe on Friday morning, August 20, at Mayer's apartment, before he had to leave.117 He passed on some bits of information he had picked up the previous afternoon at the German legation. He had been informed that the German espionage service procured most of its information in Switzerland. He explained the Sicherheitsdienst (SD, the intelligence branch of the German SS) and Abwehr operations in Switzerland. The Germans, Kolbe said, had agents in every one of the enemy legations in Bern. He discussed some of the German diplomats in Bern, pointing out one was "a Nazi by necessity rather than by conviction" and was "approachable." Another man he mentioned was "also a lukewarm Nazi." Other information Kolbe passed on was an order from Hitler to immediately increase aircraft in Romania, the name of the head of the Abwehr in Stockholm, and details of German-Spanish arms negotiations. Kolbe again warned that the Foreign Office constantly received deciphered code messages of American as well as British warships at sea and also messages originating in the Cairo and Moscow legations and consulates of the Allied nations.118
At this meeting it was decided that his code name would be Georg Winter, and time was spent discussing other code names and methods of communication between Kolbe and Dulles and the Allies. Kolbe then left for the train station, leaving them with a letter addressed to his son in case he was "shot." That afternoon at 2:30 p.m., Kocherthaler came to visit Mayer at his office, perhaps to discuss Kolbe and to say goodbye before returning home to Adelboden.119
Kolbe took the train back to Berlin that morning and, though it was late in the day when he arrived, went straight to his office. He did so with the view of making things appear quite normal—Kolbe hardworking at his desk. He felt good about the trip, believing that in Mayer and Dulles he had connected with two people who realized what a valuable contribution he could make to the Allied cause. Now the questions facing Kolbe was whether or not he would be able to get back to them and how best to send them information.120
Meanwhile in Bern, Dulles had his own questions. Was Kolbe for real? Was the information Kolbe provided true but being fed to the Allies so when it was cabled the Nazis would break the code? Or was the information true and being used to entice the Allies into believing everything that Kolbe would subsequently provide? During the days after Kolbe's departure, Dulles started background checks on Kolbe and cautiously began to send Kolbe-provided information to Washington to be evaluated and used. He gave Kolbe the code name "Wood" (George Wood as he was subsequently identified) and the code number 674.121
Kolbe would make it back to Bern to meet with Dulles twice more during 1943 and twice more in each of the next two years. On many occasions he also used friends and unsuspecting colleagues as a means of getting documents, copies of documents, rolls of film containing images of documents, and information to Dulles. In all, from mid-August 1943 to early April 1945, Kolbe provided more than sixteen hundred individual pieces of German diplomatic correspondence between the Foreign Office and German diplomatic missions in thirty countries. They included reports from the military and air attachés in Japan and the Far East; data on the structure of the German secret service in Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland; and espionage activities in England and the British embassy in Istanbul. Each step in the German efforts to squeeze more raw materials and commodities from satellite states and neutral countries and to obtain more manpower from occupied countries was known by Kolbe's information. Kolbe also informed Dulles about American codes that had been broken by the Germans.122
The Americans and the British viewed Kolbe's information skeptically at first. But by the summer of 1944, everyone involved with Kolbe's information believed it to be genuine and, equally important, was willing to accept Kolbe for what he purported and appeared to be. Kolbe-provided information ended up in 1944 being sent to the White House and used by Allied military and political leaders. British cryptographers engaged in breaking German diplomatic codes used copies of the actual German documents Kolbe provided to help them in their work. In June 1945 the OSS informed President Truman about Kolbe's information and told him that the "usually skeptical and conservative British intelligence officials rated this contact as the prize intelligence source of the war."123
Kolbe's contribution to the Allied cause cannot be ascertained with certainty, but undoubtedly his actions contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Kolbe would live out his life after the war in obscurity while Allen Dulles became the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Dulles was an intelligence operative who aspired to be America's spy master. Kolbe, on the other hand, neither desired nor expected to be rewarded for his services. He was an idealistic bureaucrat who simply acted upon his father's admonition that he always do what he thought right and not be afraid. In the summer of 1943 Kolbe realized it was time to act, time to help save his Germany by assisting the Allies defeat it. He thought he was right, he was not afraid, and he did act.
Greg Bradsher, an archivist at the National Archives and Records Administration, is working on a book about Fritz Kolbe, Allen Dulles, and World War II intelligence. His previous contributions to Prologue have been "Taking America's Heritage to the People: The Freedom Train Story" (Winter 1985) and "Nazi Gold: The Merkers Mine Treasure" (Spring 1999).
1 Allen Dulles, The Secret Surrender (1966), p. 22.
2 Unsigned, undated document titled "The Story of George," p. 1 [probably by Fritz Kolbe, ca., April 1945], "Dulles Files—George Wood Case," folder 90, box 7, Entry 190C, Records of the Office of Strategic Services, Record Group (RG) 226, National Archives at College Park (NACP), College Park, MD (hereinafter cited as [Kolbe], "The Story of George"); unsigned document entitled "Wood's Story" [written in German by Kolbe], May 15, 1945, p. 1, "Dulles Files—George Wood Case," box 7, folder 90, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP (hereinafter cited as [Kolbe], "Wood's Story"); Anthony Quibble "Alias George Wood," Studies in Intelligence 10 (Spring 1966), pp. 71–72.
3 For information on the Wandervogel movement and German youth organizations see Walter Laqueur, Young Germany: A History of the German Youth Movement (1962); Peter D. Stachura, Nazi Youth in the Weimar Republic (1975); Peter D. Stachura, The German Youth Movement, 1900–1945 (1981); and Howard Becker, German Youth: Bond or Free (1946).
4 [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," pp. 1–2.
5 [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 1.
6 Ibid.; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," pp. 1–2; unsigned and unaddressed memorandum, by [Allen Dulles], Aug. 31, 1943, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP.
7 Unsigned [Dulles] and unaddressed memo, Aug. 31, 1943, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP.
8 State Department Special Interrogation Mission Report on Fritz Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 1, Department of State Central File, 1945–1949, Decimal 740.00116 EW/10-145, General Records of the Department of State, RG 59, NACP (hereafter cited as State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945); [Kolbe], "The Story of George", p. 1; unsigned [probably Gerald Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 2.
9 State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 2; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 2; unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP.
10 [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 1.
11 State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 2; unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," pp. 2, 4.
12 [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 2; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 1.
13 [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 3.
14 Interrogation, Bernd Gottfriedsen, Oct. 2, 1945, p. 11; interrogation, Andor Henke, Nov. 19, 1945, p. 9; interrogation, Heinz Truetzschler von Falkenstein, Oct. 25, 1945, p. 15, all in State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission, Interrogations of Former High-level Nazi Diplomatic and Military Officers (mission by DeWitt C. Poole), 1945–1946, Entry 1082, RG 59, NACP.
15 [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 3.
16 [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 1; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 3.
17 [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 3.
18 State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 2, RG 59, NACP; unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 1; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 4.
19 State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 2, RG 59, NACP; unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 1; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 4.
20 Unsigned [probably Allen Dulles], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP. The "Nansen Passport" was developed by Norwegian explorer and scientist Fridtjof Nansen after World War I. They were issued to refugees who were unable to obtain ordinary passports and were honored by the governments of over fifty countries.
21 Interrogation, Dr. Karl Ritter, Sept. 3, 1945, p. 3, State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission, RG 59, NACP.
22 Interrogation, Dr. Paul Otto Gustav Schmidt, part II, annex I, written and signed by Dr. Paul O. Schmidt, Oct. 22, 1945, p. 2; interrogation, Dr. Erich Kordt, Jan. 7, 1946, p. 7; interrogation, Dr. Paul Otto Gustav Schmidt, part II, annex IV, written and signed by Dr. Paul O. Schmidt, Nov. 12, 1945, p. 22; and interrogation, Dr. Karl Ritter, Oct. 10, 1945, p. 4, all in State Department Special Interrogation Mission, RG 59, NACP. "The German Foreign Office under the Nazi Regime," Report No. F-2023, p. 5, ca. 1945, based on information provided by a former official of the German Foreign Office, attached to the Protocol Section, who is now in Allied hands, file XL 10662, Formerly Security-Classified Intelligence Reports ("XL" Series), Entry 19, RG 226, NACP.
23 Interrogation, Dr. Erich Kordt, Jan. 7, 1946, pp. 4, 5, and interrogation, Andor Henke, Nov. 19, 1945, p. 15, both in State Department Special Interrogation Mission, RG 59, NACP.
24 [Kolbe], "The Story of George," pp. 1–2.
25 [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 5; unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled, report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; Quibble, "Alias George Wood," pp. 70–71.
26 Unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 5.
27 Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 72.
28 Unsigned [Dulles], unaddressed, untitled, report, Aug.19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP.
29 [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 2; Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 72.
30 State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 3, RG 59, NACP; "The Background of the George Story," by Ernest Kocherthaler, Nov. 17, 1964, p. 2, enclosure in Ernest Kocherthaler to Allen W. Dulles, Nov. 19, 1964, "Dulles Files—George Wood Case," folder 90, box 7, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP (hereafter cited as Kocherthaler, "Background of the George Story"); Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 72; memorandum "Trip of June 2–6 with George Wood, et al., to Bavaria," from Hanson to 110, Basel, Switzerland, June 9, 1945, "Dulles Files—George Wood Case," folder 90, box 7, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 6; Klemens Von Klemperer, German Resistance against Hitler: The Search for Allies Abroad, 1938–1945 (1994), p. 322.
31 Joseph E. Persico, Piercing the Reich: The Penetration of Nazi Germany by American Secret Agents during World War II (1997), p. 63; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 1; Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 72.
32 Headquarters U.S. Forces European Theater, Military Intelligence Service Center, OI Intermediate Interrogation Report (IIR) No. 1, Dr. Karl Ritter, Aug. 31, 1945, p. 3; interrogation, Karl Ritter, Oct. 10, 1945, p.2; interrogation, Col. Conrad Steinhaeuser, Oct. 24, 1945, p. 2, all in State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission, RG 59, NACP. [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 5.
33 Interrogation, Col. Conrad Steinhaeuser, Oct. 24, 1945, p. 2, and interrogation, Dr. Karl Ritter, Oct. 10, 1945, p. 2, both in State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission; State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 4, RG 59, NACP.
34 "The Organization of the German Foreign Office during the Last Year of the War," Report from Captured Personnel and Material Branch, Military Intelligence Division, U.S. War Department, Information from a German P/W, an ambassador-at-large in the German Foreign Office, Report No. 1603, p. 1, File XL 20140, Formerly Security-Classified Intelligence Reports ("XL" Series); and Third U.S. Army, Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff, G-2, Interrogation Report No. 3, May 15, 1945, p. 17, part I, The German Foreign Office, File XL 11219, both in Entry 19, RG 226, NACP.
35 State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 2; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 1; unsigned [Dulles], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, pp. 1–2, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 5; History Project, Strategic Services Unit, Office of the Assistant Secretary of War, War Department, Overseas Targets: War Report of the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), vol. 2. (1976), p. 278.
36 Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 72; State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 3.
37 [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," pp. 5–6.
38 Ibid., p. 6; unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 2, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; Report "Wood Case," Oct. 19, 1943, p. 2, attachment to memorandum, Russell G. D'Oench to Whitney H. Shepardson, Oct. 21, 1943, "Source and Methods" file, folder 4, box 445, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP; Edward P. Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," in Great True Spy Stories, ed. Allen Dulles (1968), p. 22.
39 Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," pp. 19–20; Smith, OSS: The Secret History of America's First Central Intelligence Agency (1972), pp. 218–219; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story" pp. 6–7.
40 Morgan "The Spy the Nazis Missed," pp. 19–20; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 6; Klaus P. Fischer, Nazi Germany: A New History (1997), p. 536.
41 [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 7; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," pp. 2–3; Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," pp. 19–20.
42 Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 72; Louis L. Snyder, Encyclopedia of The Third Reich (1989), p. 307; Robert Wistrich, Who's Who in Nazi Germany (1982), p. 267.
43 Snyder, Encyclopedia of The Third Reich, p. 307; Wistrich, Who's Who in Nazi Germany, pp. 267–268; Sam E. Woods, Zurich, to American minister, American Legation, Bern, Mar. 8, 1943, File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern, Switzerland, Legation, Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State, RG 84, NACP.
44 [Kolbe], "The story of George," p. 2.
45 Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 72.
46 Unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters" folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; "The Organization of the German Foreign Office during the Last Year of the War," Report No. 1603, p. 10, file XL 20140, Entry 19, RG 226, NACP.
47 Fischer, Nazi Germany, p. 538; Sam E. Woods, Zurich, to American minister, Bern, Mar. 8, 1943, File 800— Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP.
48 Interrogation, Gen. George Thomas, Nov. 26, 1945, p. 10, State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission, RG 59, NACP.
49 Maurice W. Altaffer, American consul, Zurich, to American minister, Bern, Aug. 13, 1943, File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP.
50 Report, no title, from 999, Apr. 19, 1943, File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP.
51 Sam E. Woods, consul general, Zurich to American minister, Bern, Mar. 23, 1943; report, no title, from 123, Source: Private report of a German traveler returning from Germany, Apr. 6, 1943; report, no title, from 805, Source: Conversation with a returned German Traveler, Apr. 6, 1943; report, "Germany: Testimony from Berlin," from 1168, Source: Adolf, Apr. 6, 1943; report, "Notes on German Conditions in April 1943," from 42,220, Source: Roger, May 18, 1943, ibid.; report, no title, from 1259, May 28, 1943; report, no title, from 45,600, Source: B, May 24, 1943, all in File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP. HQ, U.S. Forces European Theater, Military Intelligence Service Center, OI Final Interrogation Report (OI-FIR) No. 12 Baron Franz von Papen, Oct. 27, 1945, p. 7, State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission, RG 59, NACP. Hans Bernd Gisevius, To the Bitter End (trans. 1947, reprint 1998), pp. 473–478, 483.
52 Report "Germany: Eye-Witness from Berlin," from 1098, Source: A neutral who travels in Germany, Mar. 9, 1943; report, "Notes on the War," Walter H. Sholes, American consul general, Basel, to American minister, Bern, Mar. 10, 1943; report, no title, from 43,902, Source: Smith, July 1, 1943, all in File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP.
53 Morgan "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 20; [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 7; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," pp. 2–3.
54 [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 2; State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 2, RG 59, NACP.
55 Maurice W. Altaffer, American consul, Zurich, to American minister, Bern, Aug. 13, 1943; Appenzeiler Zeitung (newspaper), Aug. 10, 1943, translated enclosure to telegram 5897, American minister, Bern, to the Department of State, Aug. 20, 1943; and translation of a secret Swiss newsletter, enclosure to Sam E. Woods, American consul general, Zurich, to Leland Harrison, Zurich, Sept. 2, 1943, all in File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP.
56 Report, no title, from 981, Source: Andre, July 23, 1943, ibid.; Marie Vassiltchikov, Berlin Diaries, 1940–1945 (1987, paperback ed. 1988), p. 86.
57 Report, "Germany: Observations of Munich Lawyer," from 1226, Source: an important Nazi lawyer from Munich, close to party leaders, May 10, 1943, File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP.
58 [Kolbe], "Wood's Story," p. 6; State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 3; Kocherthaler, "The Background of the George Story," p. 1, RG 226, NACP.
59 Wistrich, Who's Who in Nazi Germany, p. 299; Snyder, Encyclopedia of The Third Reich, p. 307; Dulles, Germany's Underground, p. 69.
60 Dulles, Germany's Underground, p. 69.
61 Report, no title, from 987, Source: Andre, July 13, 1943; report, "Germany: General Situation," from 1340, Source: Lipski, from a former German leading statesman, July 15, 1943; report, no title, from 981, Source: Andre, July 23, 1943, all in File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP. Fischer, Nazi Germany, p. 537.
62 Kocherthaler, "The Background of the George Story," p. 1, RG 226, NACP; report, no title, from 82,999, source: B2, Aug. 20, 1943, File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP; Von Klemperer, German Resistance to Hitler, passim; Fischer, Nazi Germany, p. 537.
63 State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 3, RG 59, NACP.
64 [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 2.
65 Unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, dated Aug. 19, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters" folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 20; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," pp. 2–3; Persico, Piercing the Reich, pp. 63–64; Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 72.
66 Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 20; report, no title, from 16,475 Source: C, May 17, 1943, File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP; Report "Wood Case," Oct. 19, 1943, p. 2, folder 4, box 445, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP.
67 War Report of the OSS, vol., 2, p. 274; Stephen P. Halbrook, Target Switzerland: Swiss Armed Neutrality in World War II (1998), pp. 117–141, 189–190.
68 Background report on Switzerland, by Elinor Goodfriend, Sept. 1, 1944, p. 2, Folder Berne, Records of the Historian, Outpost Records, 1942–1946 (Entry 6J), Records of the Office of War Information, RG 208, NACP.
69 [Office of Strategic Services], X-2 Handbook Switzerland German and Italian I.S., Jan. 1, 1944, pp. 1, 59–61, Field Station Files, Bern, box 6, folder 33, Entry 124, RG 226, NACP; Jozef Garlinski, The Swiss Corridor: Espionage Networks in Switzerland during World War II (1981), p. 18.
70 Angelo M. Codevilla, Between the Alps and a Hard Place: Switzerland in World War II and the Rewriting of History (2000), p. 74.
71 Telegram 5310, Bern, American minister, Bern, to Department of State, June 11, 1943, File 800—Switzerland, General Records 1936–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP; [OSS] X-2 Handbook Switzerland German and Italian I.S., Jan. 1, 1944, pp. 69–73, RG 226, NACP. During the course of the war, the Swiss arrested some 1,400 persons for espionage, of whom 328 were sentenced to long prison terms and 33 were condemned to death for spying for Germany; 15 were executed. Codevilla, Between the Alps and a Hard Place, p. 74.
72 Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 20; unsigned [Dulles], unaddressed [probably to David Bruce in London], memorandum, Aug. 31, 1943, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, folder 4, box 445, RG 26, NACP.
73 Report "Wood Case," Oct. 19, 1943, p. 2, folder 4, box 445, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP; unsigned [Dulles], unaddressed [Bruce], memorandum, Aug. 31, 1943, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 3; State Dept. Special Interrogation Mission Report on Kolbe, Sept. 26, 1945, p. 1, RG 59, NACP; Kocherthaler, "The Background of the George Story" pp. 1–2, RG 226, NACP; British Zurich consulate general to the commercial secretariat, British legation, Bern, Sept. 5, 1945, Ernesto and Oscar Kocherthaler File, Economic Section, Safehaven Name Files, 1942–1949, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP; application for nonimmigrant visa, American consulate, Bern, Apr. 2, 1947, File 811.11 Kocherthaler, Ernesto, Economic Section, General Records, 1942–1948, 1947, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP.
74 Kocherthaler, "The Background of the George Story," pp. 1–2, RG 226, NACP.
75 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 2, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP [The date in the memorandum was August 13, but undoubtedly this was a mistake by the writer. It almost looks like the 1 and ¼ pages of material was by Gerald Mayer and the remaining 1 and ¾ by Allen W. Dulles]. Philip Knightley, The Master Spy: The Story of Kim Philby (1990), p. 121; James Srodes, Allen Dulles: Master of Spies (1999), pp. 279–280.
76 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 2, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190c, RG 226, NACP.
77 Knightley, The Master Spy, p. 106; Garlinski, The Swiss Corridor, p. 122; Von Klemperer, German Resistance Against Hitler, pp. 315–316.
78 Report "Wood Case," Oct. 19, 1943, p. 2, folder 4, box 445, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP; unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP.
79 Copy of telegram, H.M. Minister to M.E.W. Arfar No. 4510, Dec. 4, 1942, File 840.1 Ransom Procedure—Individual Cases, Dreyfus, Paul & Hochberg, Anna; and R.B. D [unreadable], commercial secretariat, British legation, Bern, to D. J. Reagan, commercial attaché, American legation, Bern, Feb. 19, 1943, file 840.1 Ransom Procedure—Individual Cases, Dreyfus, Sohne, both in Economic Section, General Records, 1942–1948, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP.
80 Report, "Notes on the War," Walter H. Sholes, American consul general, Basel to American minister, Bern, Mar. 10, 1943, File 800—Germany, Confidential File, 1940–1949, 1943, Bern Legation, RG 84, NACP.
81 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP.
82 Ibid., p. 2.
83 Garlinski, The Swiss Corridor, p. 122.
84 Dulles, The Secret Surrender, p. 12.
85 Ibid., p. 15.
86 Smith, OSS, pp. 204–205.
87 Ibid., p. 208.
88 Dulles, Germany's Underground, p. 125, and The Secret Surrender, p. 12.
89 Mary Bancroft, Autobiography of a Spy (1963), pp. 129–130.
90 Smith, OSS, p. 204; Srodes, Allen Dulles, p. 229; Dulles, The Secret Surrender, p. 15; Bancroft, Autobiography of a Spy, p. 140.
91 Srodes, Allen Dulles, pp. 229–231.
92 Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 69; Morgan "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 15; Bancroft, Autobiography of a Spy, p. 128; Background Report on Switzerland, by Elinor Goodfriend, Sept. 1, 1944, p. 1, Folder Berne, Records of the Historian, Outpost Records, 1942–1946 (Entry 6J), RG 208, NACP; Morgan "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 15.
93 Dulles, Germany's Underground, pp. xi, 125–126; memorandum for the President from G. Edward Buxton, acting director, OSS [review of OSS intelligence operations in Switzerland], June 22, 1945, folder 83, box 18, Entry 99, RG 226, NACP; War Report of the OSS, vol. 2, p. 278.
94 William J. Casey, The Secret War Against Hitler (1988), p. 40; Bancroft, Autobiography of a Spy, p. 140; Allen Dulles, The Craft of Intelligence (1963), p. 7; Gisevius, To the Bitter End, pp. 481–482.
95 Bancroft, Autobiography of a Spy, pp. 134, 140, 151.
96 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; Report "Wood Case," Oct. 19, 1943, p. 2, folder 4, box 445, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP; Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 69.
97 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 26, NACP; Persico, Piercing the Reich, p. 65; Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," pp. 15–16.
98 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 16; Persico, Piercing the Reich, p. 65.
99 Morgan "The Spy the Nazis Missed," pp. 16–17; Quibble, "Alias George Wood," pp. 69–70.
100 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 70.
101 Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 17; Persico, Piercing the Reich, p. 65; War Report of the OSS, vol. 2, p. 279.
102 Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 18.
103 Ibid., p. 17; Dulles, Germany's Underground, p. 130; War Report of the OSS, vol. 2, p. 273; Kocherthaler, "The Background of the George Story," p. 2, RG 226, NACP.
104 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, pp. 2–3, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP.
105 Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," pp. 18 –19. The account provided in this source contains a version of this initial meeting as well as what undoubtedly happened at a subsequent visit by Kolbe. Bancroft, Autobiography of a Spy, p. 141.
106 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, [Dulles], Aug. 31, 1943, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," box 1, folder 19, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; Report "Wood Case," Oct. 19, 1943, p. 2, folder 4, box 445, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP.
107 Unsigned [Dulles], unaddressed, untitled report, pp. 1–2, Aug. 19, 1943, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; Morgan "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 19.
108 Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," pp. 19–20; Persico, Piercing the Reich, pp. 63–64.
109 Unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, pp. 1–2; unsigned [Dulles], unaddressed, untitled report, p. 1, Aug. 19, 1943; unsigned [Dulles] and unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 31, 1943; unsigned [Dulles], unaddressed, untitled report, 8 pp., Aug. 19, 1943, all in "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP. Report "Wood Case," Oct. 19, 1943, p. 2, folder 4, box 445, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP; Persico, Piercing The Reich, p. 66.
110 Unsigned [Dulles], unaddressed, untitled report, 8 pp. Aug. 19, 1943, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP; Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 71.
111 Report "Wood Case," Oct. 19, 1943, p. 2, folder 4, box 445, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP.
112 Quibble, "Alias George Wood," pp. 71–72; Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 21; Kocherthaler, "The Background of the George Story," p. 2, RG 226, NACP.
113 Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 21.
114 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 1; and unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled, report, dated Aug. 19, 1943, p. 2, both in "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, R226, NACP. Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," pp. 21–22.
115 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 1, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP. In this memo Mayer indicates that the morning meeting was held on August 20, not August 19, but it was undoubtedly held on the nineteenth.
116 Unsigned [Dulles], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943; and unsigned [Mayer], unaddressed, untitled report, Aug. 19, 1943, both in ibid.
117 Unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 2, ibid.
118 Unsigned [probably Dulles; if not, Mayer], unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 20, 1943, ibid.
119 Report "Wood Case," Oct. 19, 1943, pp. 2, 3, folder 4, box 445, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP; Quibble, "Alias George Wood," p. 73; unsigned, unaddressed memorandum, Aug. 28, 1943, p. 2, "Dulles Files: Cables and Letters," folder 19, box 1, Entry 190C, RG 226, NACP.
120 Morgan, "The Spy the Nazis Missed," p. 22; [Kolbe], "The Story of George," p. 3.
121 Dulles cables to Washington 164–166 (Aug. 21, 1943), cables 651, 652, 653 (Aug. 25, 1943), 644–648 (Aug. 26, 1943), 654–657 (Aug. 26, 1943), 658, 659, 660 (Aug. 26, 1943), "Sources and Methods File," folder 2, box 463, Entry 210, RG 226, NACP.
122 War Report of the OSS, vol. 2, p. 279; Dulles, The Craft of Intelligence, p. 82.
123 Kim Philby, My Silent War (1968), p. 106; memorandum for the President from G. Edward Buxton, acting director, OSS, [Review of OSS intelligence operations in Switzerland], June 22, 1945, folder 83, box 18, Entry 99, RG 226, NACP.