Two against Hitler: Stealing the Nazis' Best-Kept Secrets

Two against Hitler: Stealing the Nazis' Best-Kept Secrets

Two against Hitler: Stealing the Nazis' Best-Kept Secrets

Two against Hitler: Stealing the Nazis' Best-Kept Secrets

Synopsis

During World War II, the United States benefited greatly from the espionage collaboration between a well-connected ex-professor of economics, Erwin Respondek, and his contact at the U.S. embassy in Berlin, Sam Woods. The intelligence gathered by Respondek and passed on to the U.S. government included the first detailed and accurate warning about the Germans' plans to invade the Soviet Union in 1941. It also included valuable information about German atomic research, military operations, and "secret weapons." This espionage work--here described for the first time--forms an intriguing chapter in the history of U.S. intelligence operations during the war.

Excerpt

Two days before Christmas 1971 a frail, white-haired, seventy-sevenyear-old man was quietly laid to rest in a wintry West Berlin cemetery, beside the graves of two of his children. Although he had served highranking German politicians as far back as the Weimar days, no flowers from the West German government adorned his coffin. Although he had advised industrial giants like Carl Bosch and Carl Friedrich von Siemens, no representatives of the German business community stood respectfully at the graveside. Although he had helped dozens of Jews to flee Hitler's Third Reich and saved the fortunes of many more, no note of his passing was made in Israel or by Jewish organizations elsewhere. Although he had pulled off some of the most daring and important espionage feats for the United States during the Second World War, not a single American newspaper recorded his death and no official from the U.S. government sent condolences.

Indeed, only a few relatives and close friends gathered in the Parkfriedhof on this cold December day to pay their last respects to this man, who had died in his bed of a heart attack a few days before, virtually penniless and intestate. the simple dignity of the Roman Catholic service reflected both the wishes and the circumstances of his family. But it was also an ironic farewell for a man who had struggled stubbornly, heroically, and against great odds to free his country from the Nazis, who had seen his efforts ultimately prevail, but who then, in the hour of his triumph, had faded into obscurity.

In the end, history simply forgot him and marched on. the United States--the country he had helped so much, at such great personal risk-- did not know the debt it owed him. in Germany, most of his fellow . . .

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