Nazi official Heinrich Himmler’s daughter worked for West German intelligence

Heinrich Himmler Gudrun BurwitzThe daughter of Heinrich Himmler, who was second in command in the German Nazi Party until the end of World War II, worked for West German intelligence in the 1960s, it has been confirmed. Gudrun Burwitz was born Gudrun Himmler in 1929. During the reign of Adolf Hitler, her father, Heinrich Himmler, commanded the feared Schutzstaffel, known more commonly as the SS. Under his command, the SS played a central part in administering the Holocaust, and carried out a systematic campaign of extermination of millions of civilians in Nazi-occupied Europe. But the Nazi regime collapsed under the weight of the Allied military advance, and on May 20, 1945, Himmler was captured alive by Soviet troops. Shortly thereafter he was transferred to a British-administered prison, where, just days later, he committed suicide with a cyanide capsule that he had with him. Gudrun, who by that time was nearly 16 years old, managed to escape to Italy with her mother, where she was captured by American forces. She testified in the Nuremberg Trials and was eventually released in 1948. She settled with her mother in northern West Germany and lived away from the limelight of publicity until her death on May 24 of this year, aged 88.

Late last Thursday, an article in the German tabloid newspaper Bild revealed for the first time that Burwitz worked for West Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) in the early 1960s. The BND continues to operate today as reunited Germany’s main external intelligence agency. According to Bild, Himmler’s daughter had a secretarial post at the BND’s headquarters in Pullach, where the spy agency was headquartered for most of its existence. The paper said that Burwitz managed to be hired by the BND by using an assumed name. In a rare public statement, the BND’s chief archivist, Bodo Hechelhammer, confirmed Bild’s allegations. The archivist, who serves as one of the BND’s official historians, told the newspaper that Burwitz “was an employee of the BND for a number of years, until 1963”, working “under an assumed name”. She was dismissed once the BND began to purge former Nazis from its staff, toward the end of the tenure of its first director, Reinhard Gehlen. Gehlen was a former general and military intelligence officer in the Nazi Wehrmacht, who had considerable experience in anti-Soviet and anti-communist operations. In 1956, in the context of the Cold War, the United States Central Intelligence Agency, which acted as the BND’s parent organization, appointed him as head of the organization, a post which he held from until 1968.

It is believed that Burwitz remained a committed Nazi until the end of her life. She doggedly defended her father’s name and insisted that the Holocaust was an Allied propaganda ploy. It is also believed that she was a prominent member of Stille Hilfe (Silent Help), an underground group of leading former Nazis, which was established in 1945 to help SS officers and other Nazi officials escape prosecution for war crimes. Several German experts on neo-Nazi groups have alleged that Burwitz continued to attend neo-Nazi events and SS reunions throughout Europe, some as recently as 2014. Burwitz is believed to have died in Munich.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 02 July 2018 | Permalink

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News you may have missed #662: UK edition

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson with Adolf HitlerBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Hacked StratFor info exposes thousands of intel officials. Customer user data obtained from StratFor by Anonymous last month includes the private details of 221 British military officials and 242 NATO staff. Civil servants working at the heart of the UK government —including several in the Cabinet Office as well as advisers to the Joint Intelligence Organisation, which acts as the British Prime Minister’s eyes and ears on sensitive information— have also been exposed.
►►Book claims MI5 tapped phones of King Edward. According to a new biography of Tommy Robertson, who pioneered Britain’s wartime counterintelligence operations, MI5 agents tapped the phones of King Edward VIII and his brother the Duke of York, at the height of the ‘abdication crisis’. Edward VIII was infatuated with –and, in 1936, gave up his throne to marry– American divorcee and socialite Wallis Simpson, who was suspected by many in the British government of having Nazi sympathies.
►►UK spy watchdog wants to stop court disclosure of state secrets. The parliamentary watchdog for Britain’s spies, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), is lobbying the government to introduce sweeping curbs that could prevent UK courts from examining intelligence material. The committee claims that its proposed new powers would ensure that intelligence obtained from foreign agencies, such as the CIA, is never publicly disclosed. This proposal clearly goes back the case of Binyam Mohamed; he was detained in Pakistan, where he was questioned by MI5, and eventually ended up in Guantánamo Bay, where he says he was tortured. In late 2009, British courts clashed with David Miliband, the then foreign secretary, over the publication of a summary of US intelligence material relating to Mohamed.

German spy agency destroyed employee files of former Nazi members

BND seal

BND seal

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Germany’s primary spy agency has admitted that it recently destroyed the personnel files of some of its employees who used to be members of Nazi-era organizations during World War II, before they were hired to spy for West Germany in the postwar era. The discovery of the destruction of the files was made by a group of German historians  appointed by the government to investigate the extent to which the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s postwar foreign intelligence agency, relied on former Nazi officials. It has been known for some time that a tenth of the BND’s postwar personnel had been members of the Hitler-era National Socialist German Workers’ Party, the Gestapo, the SS and its intelligence wing, the SD. Earlier this year, however, the BND’s outgoing Director, Ernst Uhrlau, appointed an independent commission of historians to research the BND’s attitude toward the hundreds of former Nazi officials within its ranks. Now the independent commission has told German media that, in 2007, the spy agency destroyed approximately 250 personnel files belonging to BND employees with Nazi pasts. The commission’s spokesman, Dr Klaus-Dietmar Henke, told German newsmagazine Der Spiegel that the destroyed files primarily related to people who occupied “significant intelligence positions in the SS, the SD or the Gestapo”. Der Spiegel, which described the incident as “a true historical scandal”, said that the destruction of the files “inevitably raises suspicions that agency employees have deliberately tried to obstruct […] efforts to investigate the organization’s history”. Read more of this post

British spies considered giving Hitler female hormones

Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Thanks to the tireless effort of intelligence historians, we now have a brand new revelation from spy archives that can proudly stand alongside the CIA’s acoustic kitty, and the plan to poison Cuban leader Fidel Castro with a chemical that would make his beard fall out. This latest disclosure, however, surely tops the list of lunatic covert-operation schemes. According to newly discovered documents, British intelligence planners seriously considered secretly administering small doses of estrogen into the food of Adolf Hitler, in order “to make his character less aggressive”. According to the documents, British intelligence had managed to recruit a number of agents who were close enough to the German Chancellor to have physical access to his daily meals. It would have been possible, therefore, to tamper with the Nazi leader’s food intake on a routine basis, in an effort to alter his brain chemistry, which, it was hoped, would “soften his character”. The obvious question to ask, of course, is: if British intelligence had access to the Führer’s food, and if his military policies were considered a clear and present strategic threat to Britain’s security, then why not lethally poison him altogether? According to Cardiff University Professor Brian Ford, who discovered the cunning estrogen plan, British intelligence planners knew that Hitler systematically employed food tasters; it would therefore have been close to impossible to employ food poisoning as a method of assassination. Estrogen, on the other hand, is tasteless, odorless, and —if properly dispensed— could have a subtle and gradual effect on Hitler’s brain chemistry and personality. Read more of this post

West German spy service employed former Nazis, documents show

Reinhard Gehlen

Reinhard Gehlen

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
West Germany’s intelligence service employed hundreds of former Nazi criminals from 1956 until at least 1971, according to internal documents. The links between the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND), the main foreign intelligence agency of the German government, and the remnants of the German Nazi party, are well known; even its first director, Reinhard Gehlen, was a former General of the Wehrmacht. But documents dating to the 1960s, which were leaked last week to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, show that Gehlen, who worked as a CIA agent after 1945, was aware of his officers’ Nazi past, as were his American counterparts. The Nazi connections were internally revealed in detail after 1963, when Gehlen set up an internal BND investigation office, called Unit 85, to unmask potential Soviet moles inside the agency. Read more of this post

Declassified MI5 files offer wealth of new information

Sophie Kukralova

Sophie Kukralova

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Britain’s National Archives have authorized the release of nearly 200 files from the vaults of MI5, the country’s domestic intelligence service. The release of the documents, which range from 1937 to 1955, has given rise to numerous interesting historical revelations, including an apparent effort by German Hitler Youth groups to establish personal and institutional links with Lord Baden-Powell, founder and leader of the Boy Scouts. The relevant MI5 file notes that Baden-Powell, who was “wined and dined by senior Hitler Youth figures”, responded enthusiastically to the Nazi charm offensive. Other revelations include the Soviet sympathies of Sidney Bernstein, later Baron Bernstein, who founded Britain’s Granada Theatres (later Granada Television) in 1926. Read more of this post

A terrible week for German spy agencies

BND logo

BND logo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Germany’s largest intelligence agencies are in for a challenging few days, as two spy scandals are making headlines in the country’s media. The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s foremost domestic intelligence organization, is firmly in the hot seat after it emerged that a woman it employed as an undercover informer was among seven extremists indicted for helping operate a hardcore neo-Nazi online radio station. The woman, who has been identified only as “Sandra F.”, had been hired by the spy agency to monitor the German People’s Union (DVU), a national socialist political grouping with substantial following in Brandenburg and Saxony. Read more of this post