The telephone rang shrilly. Alfred groped for the bedside light, pressed the switch and groaned. The little black travelling clock said twenty to four. He picked up the receiver, dropped it, swore, and grunted a hello.
"Naujocks, get down here right away. I've just had Himmler on the line. It's urgent." The phone clicked, and he put the dead instrument back with a feeling of annoyance.
Schellenberg. Had it been anyone else he wouldn't have minded so much. But that namby-pamby, pasty-faced little man was just the sort to ring you up in the middle of the night for a joke, "keep you on the qui vive, you know, old boy." He wouldn't really, he supposed, but he gave you the impression he would.
Schellenberg during his early years in the Party served the SD as an Intelligence agent, writing reports about his fellow-students. He himself studied a little of everything - mainly languages, history and a little medicine. Later he changed over to law. Now, in 1939, he was one of the "scientific boys" of the SD - a half-educated man of 29 among other pompous Party members. Later he was to become chief of combined Intelligence services.
Sticking one leg into the cold air, Alfred wished for the hundredth time that he hadn't come on this job. It was too damned complicated, and it all seemed a bit pointless anyway. But that was the trouble with Schellenberg. The more complicated and devious the scheme, the more it appealed to him, and the less it appealed to Alfred. Others dreamed up the ideas; Alfred had to do the work.
He dressed untidily, and splashed cold water on his face. Two minutes later he was tapping at the door of ex-student Schellenberg on the floor below, and walked in to find the man in bed. It was unfair, and Alfred looked as if he thought it was.
Schellenberg, in scarlet silk pyjamas, was sitting up, smoking. He slid a gold case across the glass-topped bed-table, and Alfred took a cigarette.
"Sorry to bring you down, but Himmler has just called from the Führer's special train. It seems there was an assassination attempt in Munich." He spoke quite calmly, but Alfred could see that he was concealing an inward excitement. "It alters our plans quite a lot. We now have to arrest those two tomorrow and take them to Berlin. Hitler thinks they had something to do with it."
Alfred raised his eyebrows. "My God! What was it? Bomb, gun or dagger?"
"Bomb. It exploded in the beer cellar - but fortunately some time after he had left. I haven't had much of a report, but there are quite a few casualties. It was a hell of a bang, apparently; it exploded within a few feet of where the Führer had been standing."
Last year, when reading a newspaper report of the speech by Hitler in the cellar where the Nazi Party had been born in 1923, it had struck Alfred that it was a dangerous thing to do, to go to the same place, every year, on the same date and at the same time. Even if it was a very special anniversary, it crossed Alfred's mind that it must give the security boys a headache. Now they had slipped up. It was through no brilliance of theirs that Hitler had escaped. Someone, he thought grimly, was for the high jump.
Major Stevens, Captain Best, Lieutenant Klop
"However," Schellenberg was saying, "that's no concern of ours - yet. What we have to work out is a scheme to kidnap Best and Stevens. Frankly, I hate the idea. A, I don't think they had anything to do with the bomb. B, we have an opportunity to pull off something really sensational, if we're not interrupted, and C, the British aren't fooled easily. To kidnap two of their Secret Service men in broad daylight, in a neutral country, is a bit dangerous, to say the least. But it's an order from Himmler - and that means Hitler. So we'd better start thinking, now. Pull up a chair."
Alfred dragged towards the bed a small, comfortable arm-chair and sank into it gratefully. Throwing his legs over the arm he closed his eyes and considered the whole situation. He knew his silence was annoying Schellenberg, but he didn't care.
Alfred Naujocks (links) mit Reinhard Heydrich, 1934 Quelle: Bildarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz
It was two months since Gleiwitz. He had had two weeks leave, two weeks back in the Dellbrueckstrasse and a week as a guest in an espionage school near Hanover, discussing current technical problems. Then, nothing. Until a week ago, when Heydrich had told him the outline of an incredible operation which was being handled by Schellenberg. It appeared that for some months, a German agent in Holland had been in contact with the British Secret Service, feeding them with false information which it was impossible to check, and genuine Intelligence that could be checked. In this way he had patiently, painstakingly won their confidence.
Act II brought that agent into deeper waters. He pretended that he knew of the existence of a military junta anxious to get rid of Hitler; a group composed of generals and high-ranking OKW officers who were waiting for an opportunity to seize power and come to an arrangement with the Western democracies.
His story was quite plausible. It was well-known in diplomatic circles that the generals disliked Hitler's "intuitions" which always led to interference in their plans. But who were the leaders of the opposition, and were they strong enough to be successful? That was the question to which the British wanted an answer. And that led them to react sharply to F479's coy pretence that he had some inside knowledge. They pestered him so much, in fact, that he asked Berlin for special help. The British were talking about treaties, and Lord Halifax and Downing Street, and leaping to all sorts of conclusions; it was a bit overwhelming.
Schellenberg took over at this point. He was obviously the man to take advantage of this situation. Posing as an SS Hauptmann, he met Captain Best and Major Stevens, of Ml 5, at Zutphen, near the Dutch-German border, on 21st October. The meeting was arranged by the SD agent, and was completely successful. Schellenberg convinced them that he represented the underground opposition, and arranged further meetings, at one of which Best presented him with the latest type of secret radio transmitter - a gift which delighted Alfred when he saw it.
Alfred Naujocks um 1940
Using the call-sign ON-4, they made frequent transmissions to a receiving station at the Hague, passing on in simple code messages reporting the progress of discussions in Germany. In return they received messages of encouragement and support from Whitehall.
Schellenberg next produced a "general" for them to talk to, and overnight the already highly-charged situation took an even more dramatic turn. The German agents were invited to London to discuss developments at top level. Heydrich then invited Alfred to join in the game, but began by voicing his fears.
"It all seems a little too good to be true," he said. "I can hardly believe that this isn't a trap, though Schellenberg insists that there is no possibility of that. But he gets carried away by this sort of thing. If he was arrested in London there would be hell to pay, and we would all look fools. Still, this scheme is his responsibility; he's got a free hand. What I am interested in mostly is making quite sure that nothing happens to him in Holland at the next meeting. It will be an important one, and I have a hunch that if there is to be any funny business, it will take place then. I want you to protect him. Take a dozen men - pick them yourself, of course - and stand by at the border for trouble. Use your own discretion, and if things look suspicious, do whatever is necessary. The meeting will be in the Venlo area, but see Schellenberg for the details."
So Alfred called up SS men who had worked with him before, told them to report in civilian clothes, and drove in two cars to Dusseldorf, where the SD men were living in a house which Alfred himself had equipped as a Secret Service headquarters seven months before. Disguised as a boarding-house, it had several bedrooms, comfortably furnished offices, a radio room, hidden tape-recorders, photographic equipment and a direct line to the Prinz Albrechtstrasse. A teleprinter was being installed, too.
When he had first told Schellenberg of his mission, he had been received with annoyance. His colleague obviously felt that this was an unnecessary precaution, and a slur on his capabilities as an agent. Had he not repeatedly assured Heydrich that the British were swallowing the deception hook, line and sinker?
Alfred, sensing this, and not wishing to make his own job more difficult by having an unwilling chicken under his wing, stressed that Heydrich was merely looking after the million-to-one chance; the department could not afford to suffer the remotest possibility of a slip-up with (he hinted) such an important person. Schellenberg was mollified. Not everybody was worth a bodyguard of twelve hand-picked SS men.
Relations between the two were now most cordial, though Alfred was a little puzzled at Schellenberg's intentions. He did not know the whole background, admittedly, but what exactly was the point of going to London, anyway? He had not been told this, and he half-suspected that Schellenberg himself did not really know. Still, Hitler would no doubt be most impressed.
This new development - the assassination attempt - was distinctly disturbing. If Hitler had it in his mind that his would-be killers were Best and Stevens, or if he thought that they had organized it in some way, then God help Alfred Naujocks if they got away. And Walter Schellenberg too. Tomorrow night - no, tonight, it was 4 a.m. - those two had to be in Berlin. He opened one eye.
"This cafe," he said. "Have you been there before? Do you know the lay-out of the place?"
Schellenberg, who was now lying back on the pillows, staring at the ceiling, shook his head. "I've seen it, of course, but I haven't used it. It's a single-storey place, not much different from dozens of others you find on the main roads. It stands by itself and has a pretty big car-park at the back, with a wide entrance on both sides of the building."
Alfred nodded. "I know the one. It's only a hundred or so yards from the frontier post. Are you sure they'll stick to that as a rendezvous?"
Schellenberg thought for a moment. "They could change it, of course - they have done before at the last moment - but that was in the beginning, when they were suspicious of me. They're not now, I'm certain."
"The only trouble is," Alfred said thoughtfully, "that today the Dutch doubled their frontier guards." Schellenberg looked up sharply. "Why?" Alfred shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine. But with at least a dozen men now to deal with, plus any stray onlookers who might like to interfere, we need surprise, and a lot of luck. If we wait until you've met Best and Stevens and are actually inside, we'll have the devil's own job to get them out. Besides, there is almost bound to be shooting, and in a confined place that's bad."
His chief sat up suddenly. "Himmler said, by the way, that any violation of Dutch territory doesn't matter; if any Dutchmen get in the way, shoot them."
Alfred gave a grim smile. "Well, well, that's nice to know. How we could do this job without violating Dutch territory and probably shooting a couple of them I would be interested to hear." He felt he had maybe been a bit too cheeky about the Reichsführer, but Schellenberg let it pass.
'Now, to bring about the greatest surprise and cause the least damage, it would be ideal to force the British car to drive straight on, through the frontier, but as that is impossible unless we had a man in the car with a gun at the driver's back, we shall have to do the next best thing - grab them both when they stop, before they can get out. We shall have to be hidden in our cars somewhere nearby, and that's a problem, too." He paused and thought hard, staring at the buming end of the cigarette he was holding.
Suddenly he got The Idea, and he rapidly outlined it to a man who was beginning to be thankful that he had this young officer to look after him.
One thing that worried Alfred in working with Schellenberg was Schellenberg himself. There was no doubt that he was a clever diplomat, a master of deception, a man with a brilliant mind. But those arts, airs and graces would not help much when you found yourself at the wrong end of a Luger.
He was flabby; soft through good living that he had never been without. He looked as though he had never missed a meal in his life. Alfred knew through experience that such men do not make the best companions when bullets are flying. Still, he was the boss, and he had to admit that up to its rather puzzling present, the Venlo job had been carried out superbly. But no violence had been involved. Anyway, with the plan as it stood, Schellenberg would be the first to escape. Unless he panicked, he would be all right. But, I bet, he thought sourly, I bet something goes wrong.
The 9th of November dawned dull and cold. In the east hung black curtains of icy rain, and when the alarm rang at 7.30 Alfred was most reluctant to get out of bed. He rang the bell for some coffee; to complete the disguise as a boarding-house, there were two chambermaids and a cook supplied by the SS. When it came the coffee was cold. The SS would never get a reputation for coffee-making. He remembered the conversation he had had an hour or two ago, and began to have qualms. Getting up he stubbed his toe, and while shaving he cut himself. This was going to be a day, all right.
He was feeling pretty savage at breakfast, and none of his men dared speak to him. Four of them had slept out, there wasn't room for everyone in the small house. As he chewed his stale roll and refused the heated-up coffee, Alfred, too, would have liked to have spent the night elsewhere.
Briefing at nine o'clock was a short, sharp affair. There were no questions.
Schellenberg left the building at lunch time to drive to the border, an hour away. On his way he was collecting F479 and the bogus "general." Before his departure he had insisted on meeting and talking to each one of his "bodyguard" because, he said, Captain Best was of a similar height and build to himself. Alfred thought this was carrying safety precautions a bit far, but said nothing. He wished him good luck, and waited nearly an hour before following with his two carloads.
On the way he lost some of his bad temper, but not much. He was not used to handling such large parties; he preferred to work on his own, or with one other. Twelve men presented problems. They gave him one now, as he sat squashed against the door by the broad shoulders of two front-seat companions: how to drive. Somehow the car seemed to be filled entirely with hats, raincoats and muscles.
He drew off the road fifty yards behind the German frontier post, with its black and white barrier. They stopped in front of a shop that sold temporary insurance to travellers taking their cars abroad. He wondered what the salesman would quote him as a premium for his little trip. His best insurance, he decided as he strode, alone, towards the concrete guardhouse in the middle of the road, was the boot full of tommy-guns.
He showed his credentials to the elderly captain in charge, and told him as little as possible. As he walked back to the car, he heard the long pole creaking up into the air. It stayed there, swaying slightly, and twelve men settled down to wait, staring up the broad concrete road into Holland.
Café Backus (links), deutsche Grenze (Hintergrund rechts) Quelle: Rijksinstituut voor Oorlogsdocumentatie Amsterdam
They could just see the cafe, with a lone figure on the veranda. A little girl with a black Labrador wandered on to the road. A shopkeeper stood in his doorway, smoking his pipe. An elderly French Renault puttered to a halt under the raised barrier, but was waved on. A young man on a bicycle came from the Dutch side, and called out familiarly to a guard without stopping. It was all very peaceful and very ordinary. There were a few ominous signs, coils of rusty barbed wire lined the ditches and a long stretch of iron poles and concete tank blocks marked the border, but there was nothing to make the scene any different from that of any little frontier post anywhere in Europe that November morning. Only the guard captain was nervous. The other twelve men who knew just sat and watched.
Down the road, at Venlo, the Dutch frontier post bristled with machine guns, and gangs of workmen and military were building tank traps all around it. The sentries carried submachine guns; they looked very solid soldiers, those Dutchmen. The duty officer answered the phone. "A black Buick, left-hand drive . . . 3.15? right." He replaced the receiver, and spoke to
his NCO1. "VIPs" he said, briefly, showing him the note he had scribbled on a pad. "Not to be stopped."
Schellenberg tried hard not to stare at the two cars in the distance, but he couldn't help it. He seemed to be out on a limb here, sitting by himself in this isolated spot on the veranda of the cafe. Naujocks and his men represented safety, but they could be a million miles away. They were, indeed, in another country.
Schellenberg's fingers nervously twisted the aperitif glass on its mat. He wanted to get up and walk about, but couldn't, in case Naujocks read something into the gesture. He knew they were watching him like hawks.
The excitement of the previous meetings was gone. Then, it had been a battle of wits. Now, any minute there would be shooting, casualties, dead bodies perhaps. Success or failure depended on accident, or luck, according to which side you were on. He never had liked strong-arm operations.
Idly he watched the little girl and her dog. He hoped she would get out of the way in time.
Naujocks glanced up at the sky. The rain would hold off. Not that it mattered, but it would look odd, taking the hood down in order, it would seem, to soak the occupants. At a signal, one man got out with him and together they folded down the canvas roof. It was just like opening a tin of sardines. The men inside did not take their eyes off the road and the cafe for a second as they were slowly exposed to the chilly wind.
The hood stowed away and the cover buttoned on Alfred leaned inside and started the engine. Casually he walked to the car behind and spoke to the driver. The six men climbed out and grouped themselves around the first vehicle. There were three men on each side, and they each had one foot on the running-board. Alfred stood six feet away and looked at his watch, 3.15. They were late. He suppressed his first smile of the day, an involuntary one, as he caught sight of the tableau his SS men made. A big bunch of big men, all trying to look casual and inconspicuous, yet obviously just about to hold up a bank. He hoped that the big Ford would stand the load. He wandered back to the car and sat in the driving seat, very conscious of the wall of men around him and the now openly-curious stares of the guards and two or three onlookers.
The minutes ticked by. Best and Stevens should have been here ages ago. What if no one turned up? What an anticlimax! A big car sped down the road towards them and his fingers tightened on the wheel, but it turned off before reaching the cafe. He did not relax again, but twisted round in his seat to look at the open suitcase on the floor behind. The three sitting passengers had their legs pressed hard together, to allow uninterrupted access to the guns. He looked up into the faces of the men and grinned faintly. There wasn't much response.
This waiting about was bad for the reflexes.
Everything else was perfect. They could see Schellenberg, and he could see them. They were on the right side of the frontier and would stay there until the last possible moment. There were no suspicious characters watching. The barrier was up for them, and he reckoned that it would take no more than a minute and a half at top speed to reach the cafe. Best and Stevens' car would have to approach around a curve, so its occupants would not see the waiting reception committee parked by the guardhouse until they were almost at the cafe, and then it was up to Schellenberg to make sure they looked at him, not the car across the border. When Schellenberg stood up, that was to be their signal.
At exactly twenty past three, Schellenberg stood up.
The long, low Buick swept round the slight bend very fast, then suddenly slowed as the driver caught sight of the figure in front of the cafe. Schellenberg waved and leaned over the wooden railing. For a fleeting moment, he frowned. There were four men in the car, not two. By now it was abreast of him, and he pointed to the car park behind.
A Dutch driver was at the wheel, and he swung it into the driveway, saying something to the stranger next to him. Best and Stevens were sitting in the back.
Alfred banged in the clutch with a jerk that sent the men on the running board snatching at the sides for support. For the first two or three seconds, the car was sluggish, then the eight cylinders shouldered the tremendous weight and gave of their best. Astonished guards stood rooted to the ground as the big vehicle, almost invisible under its load of twelve men, shot past them.
Within seconds every man had a gun in his hand, as if he had plucked it out of the air.
Now they were scorching down the road, and the Buick was almost out of sight, in the car park. One of the men standing up fired his pistol in the air, and Alfred swore terribly at him. He was concentrating on the figure of Schellenberg, who, thank God, had not turned round at the sound of the shot. His foot slipped from accelerator to brake and, judging the distance very nicely he stamped on it, hard. The tyres screamed, and Alfred, still travelling too fast for comfort, wrenched the wheel first to the left, then to the right, drifting in behind the Buick in a cloud of dust and a smell of rubber.
Before the car came to rest, the SS men were off, running and shouting beside it. Alfred found the door opened for him and he scrambled out, annoyed because he had to fumble in his raincoat pocket for his gun. As his feet touched the ground there was an explosion in front of him and a blast of hot air seared his cheek. The windscreen shattered, and he jerked round to see where the bullet had come from. A man was crouching and running towards the road, firing as he went. There was a burst of machine-gun fire from above Alfred's head and the man crumpled up. Next moment everything was confusion.
Heads appeared in the cafe windows, frightened faces trying to look everywhere at once. SS men rushed over to the body, bumping into those running towards the Buick. Someone with a machine gun was firing. A whistle blew frantically.
In all this, Alfred tried to remain calm. He could see two heads inside the car, and hoped they were Best and Stevens. They were. In English, he said through the open window to the backs of their necks: "Hands up. You have no chance."
They both sat still for a moment, not knowing whether to remain inside or climb out. They raised their hands and, after being prodded by a pistol, slid across the front seat to the door. Two men produced handcuffs, and these were snapped on. A new sound was heard: a car being started up. They all froze and looked across the car park. It was Schellenberg. His white face was even whiter as he roared off through the other entrance. A second, and he flashed past behind them, on the road towards Germany. Alfred wanted to smile but could not in front of his prisoners.
"Right, march!" he called, "hurry up!"
The whole contingent, with Best and Stevens in the centre, moved off at the double, but he called the last man back. Pointing at the Buick, he ordered: "Take it to the frontier." He swung into his own car and, after a last look round, reversed out. As he drove past he caught a glimpse of the little girl, her arms round the black dog, cowering in a garden.
The lightning raid was over. One of the British car's occupants had been injured, but the two men they had gone to get were prisoners, unharmed. The road on either side of the barrier - down, firmly down now - was crammed with people; civilians, military, police. It was a strangely silent crowd.
People hung about in groups, unashamedly curious to catch a glimpse of the prisoners through the big glass windows of the customs office. They were like people who had just witnessed a disaster; a little frightened, a little awed, a little excited. Mothers took their children indoors, then returned themselves to have another look. The artificial quietness was disturbed by shouts from the Dutch side. Alfred caught the words "thugs" and "murderers." He turned his back on them and, stony-faced, went into the little building to talk to the two captives.
The elderly commanding officer of the guard drew him on one side and said in a low voice: "It looks as if there might be trouble; could you get rid of all your people as soon as possible, please. We are in rather a vulnerable position, as you will understand."
Alfred nodded, and moved away, to be blocked by Baer, his NCO1. We picked up another prisoner, sir," he reported.
"His name is Lemmens, and we found him hiding in the hedge between the cafe and here. One of the men saw him running from the car with the other one." He added slowly:
"I'm afraid that one is badly hurt. He's been wounded in the chest and is bleeding badly."
"All right, put him in the car - the Buick. We're leaving right away. Where's Lemmens?"
"In there, sir, with the two Englishmen."
Alfred entered the little customs hall packed with SS men and guards. Forcing his way through, he found the three prisoners facing the wall, a few feet apart, with three sub-machine guns at their backs.
"Come on, come on, everybody outside; this isn't a railway station," he shouted above the chatter. There was silence, and he continued: "Bring the cars across and see if a doctor can be found." To the three victims, he said: "Turn round." They did so, slowly, and he looked them up and down in turn.
Best was tall, grey-haired, with a monocle, very erect and with a hint of contempt playing around his thin lips. He'll be a difficult customer, he thought; I didn't know they bred them like that outside Prussia. Stevens was darker, more thick-set, with a black moustache and what was probably an old school tie. He didn't like the look of either of them, but of the two he preferred Stevens.
Lemmens was a rather pathetic looking character. Standing miserably between the two British officers, he shifted from one foot to the other, his honest Dutch face pale and glistening with sweat. Alfred guessed that he was probably a driver or guide.
"Who's your friend - the one who tried to get away?" he asked quietly.
"Find out," came the sharp reply - from Stevens.
"Excuse me, sir, could you step outside for a moment?" The voice behind him was the NCO1 again. Alfred followed him from the room, and waited. "The other one, sir - he's not British. His papers show that he is a Dutch officer. Here they are." He pulled a sheaf of letters, papers and a paybook from his inside pocket.
Alfred took them automatically. The sooner they got out of here the better. A Dutch officer! Britons were legitimate game, but they weren't officially at war with Holland yet. This would no doubt cause someone an outsize headache.
He stuffed the documents in his raincoat and said quickly:
"Get them out of there, into the cars. We're off."
A moment later a convoy of three cars sped away, each one packed. Alfred sat in the back seat of his own, between Best and Stevens, who both complained about the hood being down. Lemmens was in front with the driver and another SS man. After ten minutes, they lapsed into silence. The journey to Düsseldorf was very fast and quite uneventful.
After delivering his charges, Alfred changed and went to the Grand Hotel for a drink. On the way his eye was caught by newspaper posters, and his mind was jolted back to his talk with Schellenberg during the night. "Hitler Assassination Attempt," they screamed. He bought one, and read it slowly over a large brandy. A man had been arrested, apparently, while trying to escape into Switzerland. The bomb had been planted in one of the wooden pillars of the beer-cellar with a seventy-two-hour fuse worked by an alarm clock. The paper gave no clue as to the man's identity, but hinted that he was a foreign agent.
Schellenberg filled in a few more details when he saw him later that evening. By now, Alfred was curious to know whether his prisoners had been connected with the bomb attempt. "I'm sure they weren't," Schellenberg told him. "But things have been complicated now by the fact that the fellow we arrested, George Elser, says that two foreigners promised him refuge abroad if he got away. He insists that he doesn't know who they are and that they were going to contact him at a rendezvous in Switzerland. Hitler is positive that the two foreigners are Best and Stevens. He's very excited at their capture, incidentally. I must add my congratulations to his, Naujocks, it was a splendid job."
The Dutch officer, Lieut. Dirk Klop, died that night.
Schellenberg and Alfred drove to Berlin the next morning, with a personal report for Himmler. In the Prinz
Albrechtstrasse they separated, Schellenberg to a mysterious conference, Alfred to his own office. He was surprised
to and that the story of the Venlo incident had preceded them almost every detail. The office girls stared at him
in open admiration, several SS officers whom he hardly knew shook his hand. It was all rather pleasant and unexpected.
But the biggest shock came later, when a jovial colonel put his arm across his shoulders and whispered conspiratorially
in his ear: "Dress uniform, immediately, my boy. There'll be a staff car outside in twenty minutes."
1945 in US-Gefangenschaft v.l.n.r.: Alfred Naujocks, Viktor Zeischka, Wilhelm Höttl, Walter Schellenberg
Alfred looked at him blankly, but the colonel only winked and chuckled: "A very important person wants to see you, Naujocks. Hurry up. He hates people being late." And he bounced away.
What was this all about? Hitler? Himmler? Well, if that objectionable man was any guide it didn't sound as if he was in trouble. He went upstairs to change.
It was the first time he had been in the Reich Chancellery. He felt very small, standing there with scores of eyes on him, frowned upon by great portraits of Bismarck and Hitler, hanging on the high, tapestried walls. Everything was massive. The Thousand Year Reich, he thought absently. In such a room as this one could believe in it.
He felt the touch of fingers, of the fingers of the Führer himself, on his breast pocket, then the tiny, tiny click of the pin as it snapped shut. A short, vibrant speech. This was the first occasion the Secret Service had been honoured in this way. The first time in its history. I am proud of you ... or me. Yes. Me!
Alfred never was a man for sentiment, but he was rather proud of his Iron Cross.
Quelle: Günter Peis, The Man Who Started The War, London, 1960
Alfred Helmut Naujocks (* 20.9 1911 in Kiel, 4.4.1966 in Hamburg), SS-Sturmbannführer,
trat 1931 in die SS ein. Von 1934 bis 1941 war er Mitarbeiter beim Sicherheitsdienst (SD), dem von
Reinhard Heydrich geleiteten Geheimdienst der SS.
Im Januar 1935 schaltete er in der Tschechoslowakei einen illegalen Radiosender der "Schwarzen Front" aus.
Dabei kam Rudolf Formis, ein Mitstreiter von
im Záhoří Hotel in Slapy ums Leben.
1936 fälschte er Unterlagen, die den sowjetischen Marschall Tuchatschewskij belasteten, und löste damit
einen Säuberungswelle in der Roten Armee aus. Stalin ließ tausende Offizieren wegen "Sabotage und
Verschwörung" liquidieren. Tuchatschewski wurde am 12.6.1937 erschossen.
Er war für den inszenierten Überfall auf den Sender Gleiwitz am 31.8.1939 verantwortlich, der den
deutschen Einmarsch in Polen begründen sollte. Nach dieser und parallel dazu durchgeführten
Aktionen konnte Hitler am nächsten Morgen verkünden: "Seit 5:45 Uhr wird zurückgeschossen!"
Er hatte die Idee, die britische Wirtschaft mit gefälschten Banknoten zu überschwemmen. Zwischen 1942 und 1945
wurden über 100 Millionen gefälschter Pfundnoten hergestellt und in Umlauf gebracht. Die
Fälschungen waren so perfekt, dass sie fast nicht vom Originalgeld unterschieden werden konnten, die Bank
of England rief nach dem Krieg alle 50-Pfund-Noten zurück und ersetzte diese durch eine neue Serie.
Anfang 1941 wurde Naujocks aus dem SD entlassen, weil er sich mit Heydrich überworfen hatte. Er wurde degradiert
und kam im Februar 1941 als Mitglied der Waffen-SS an die Ostfront.
Ab September 1942 arbeitete er in der wirtschaftlichen Abteilung der Militärverwaltung von Belgien.
1944 desertierte er, ergab sich am 19. Oktober 1944 den Amerikanern und sagte später bei den Nürnberger
Naujocks ließ sich nach dem Krieg in Hamburg nieder, wo er unbehelligt bis zu seinem Tode als Geschäftsmann lebte.
Günter Peis (links) mit Alfred Naujocks
1960 veröffentlichte der österreichische Journalist Günter Peis
die Memoiren von Naujocks unter dem Titel
'The Man Who Started The War'.
Peis hatte Naujocks bereits bei den Nürnberger Prozessen kennengelernt und dessen
Aussage zunächst für eine
Propagandalüge der Alliierten gehalten. In den folgenden Jahren suchte er Naujocks in allen Besatzungszonen Deutschlands.
1952 spürte er ihn in Hamburg auf, wo Naujocks unter falschem Namen lebte.
Peis arbeitete zwei Jahre lang gemeinsam mit Naujocks an dessen
Memoiren, erstellte Exklusiv-Interviews und recherchierte Hintergründe. Die Biografie erschien zunächst in London in
englischer Sprache, wurde aber auch in USA, Kanada, Frankreich, Südamerika und Japan ein Verkaufserfolg. Für eine
deutsche Ausgabe dieses Zeitdokuments hat sich bis heute kein Verleger gefunden.
1) NCO = non-commissioned officer. Militärische Führungskraft der unteren Ebene, üblicher
Weise im Rang eines Corporal oder Sergeant, erkennbar an ein, zwei oder drei Winkeln am Ärmel. Dies entspricht
deutschen Dienstgraden zwischen Hauptgefreiter und Hauptfeldwebel.