Otro complot para matar a Hitler frustrado

Otro complot para matar a Hitler frustrado



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El 21 de marzo de 1943, fracasa el segundo plan de conspiración militar para asesinar a Hitler en una semana.

En el verano de 1941, el mayor Henning von Tresckow, miembro del Grupo de Ejércitos Centro del general Fedor von Bock, fue el líder de una de las muchas conspiraciones contra Adolf Hitler. Junto con su oficial de estado mayor, el teniente Fabian von Schlabrendorff, y otros dos conspiradores, ambos de viejas familias alemanas que también creían que Hitler estaba llevando a Alemania a la humillación, Tresckow había planeado arrestar al Führer cuando visitó el cuartel general del Grupo de Ejércitos en Borisov, en la Unión Soviética. Pero su ingenuidad en tales asuntos se hizo evidente cuando Hitler apareció, rodeado de guardaespaldas de las SS y conducido en uno de una flota de automóviles. Nunca se acercaron a él.

Tresckow volvería a intentarlo el 13 de marzo de 1943, en una trama llamada Operación Flash. Esta vez, Tresckow, Schlabrendorff, et al., Estaban estacionados en Smolensk, todavía en la URSS. Hitler planeaba volar de regreso a Rastenburg, Alemania, desde Vinnitsa, en la URSS. Se planeó una escala en Smolensk, durante la cual un oficial involuntario entregaría al Führer un paquete bomba, pensando que era un regalo de licor para dos oficiales superiores en Rastenburg. Todo salió según el plan y el avión de Hitler despegó; la bomba estaba preparada para estallar en algún lugar sobre Minsk. En ese momento, los co-conspiradores en Berlín estaban listos para tomar el control del gobierno central ante la mención de la palabra clave "Flash". Desafortunadamente, la bomba nunca explotó porque el detonador estaba defectuoso.

Una semana después, el 21 de marzo, en el Día de los Caídos de los Héroes, (un día festivo en honor a los alemanes muertos en la Primera Guerra Mundial), Tresckow seleccionó al Coronel Freiherr von Gersdorff para actuar como terrorista suicida en el Museo Zeughaus de Berlín, donde Hitler iba a asistir a la dedicación conmemorativa anual. Con una bomba colocada en cada uno de los dos bolsillos de su abrigo, Gersdorff debía acercarse sigilosamente a Hitler mientras revisaba los monumentos y encendía las bombas, eliminando al dictador, junto con él mismo y con todos los que se encontraban en las inmediaciones. Schlabrendorff suministró bombas a Gersdorff, cada una con una mecha de 10 minutos.

Una vez en la sala de exposiciones, se le informó a Gersdorff que el Führer debía inspeccionar las exposiciones durante solo ocho minutos, tiempo insuficiente para que las mechas se fundieran.

LEER MÁS: La trama de julio: cuando las élites alemanas intentaron matar a Hitler


Otro complot para matar a Hitler frustrado - 21 de marzo de 1943 - HISTORY.com

SP5 Mark Kuzinski

En este día, el segundo plan de conspiración militar para asesinar a Hitler en una semana no se concreta.

En el verano de 1941, el mayor general Henning von Tresckow, miembro del Grupo de Ejércitos Centro del general Fedor von Bock, fue el líder de una de las muchas conspiraciones contra Adolf Hitler. Junto con su oficial de estado mayor, el teniente Fabian von Schlabrendorff, y otros dos conspiradores, ambos de viejas familias alemanas que también creían que Hitler estaba llevando a Alemania a la humillación, Tresckow había planeado arrestar al Führer cuando visitó el cuartel general del Grupo de Ejércitos en Borisov, en la Unión Soviética. Pero su ingenuidad en tales asuntos se hizo evidente cuando Hitler apareció, rodeado de guardaespaldas de las SS y conducido en uno de una flota de automóviles. Nunca se acercaron a él.

Tresckow volvería a intentarlo el 13 de marzo de 1943, en una trama llamada Operación Flash. Esta vez, Tresckow, Schlabrendorff, et al., Estaban estacionados en Smolensk, todavía en la URSS. Hitler planeaba volar de regreso a Rastenburg, Alemania, desde Vinnitsa, en la URSS. Se planeó una escala en Smolensk, durante la cual un oficial involuntario entregaría al Führer un paquete bomba, pensando que era un regalo de licor para dos oficiales superiores en Rastenburg. Todo salió según el plan y el avión de Hitler despegó: la bomba estaba preparada para estallar en algún lugar sobre Minsk. En ese momento, los co-conspiradores en Berlín estaban listos para tomar el control del gobierno central ante la mención de la palabra clave "Flash". Desafortunadamente, la bomba nunca explotó, el detonador estaba defectuoso.

Una semana después, el 21 de marzo, en el Día de los Caídos de los Héroes, (un día festivo en honor a los alemanes muertos en la Primera Guerra Mundial), Tresckow seleccionó al Coronel Freiherr von Gersdorff para actuar como terrorista suicida en el Museo Zeughaus de Berlín, donde Hitler iba a asistir a la dedicación conmemorativa anual. Con una bomba colocada en cada uno de los dos bolsillos de su abrigo, Gersdorff debía acercarse sigilosamente a Hitler mientras revisaba los monumentos y encendía las bombas, eliminando al dictador, junto con él mismo y con todos los que se encontraban en las inmediaciones. Schlabrendorff suministró bombas a Gersdorff, cada una con una mecha de 10 minutos.


Película alemana cuenta la historia real de una trama que casi mata a Hitler

¿Y si Hitler hubiera sido asesinado poco después de que sus ejércitos invadieran Polonia para comenzar la Segunda Guerra Mundial? ¿Cómo se habría desarrollado la historia global y judía?

La pregunta no se responde directamente en la película alemana "13 Minutes". Pero la película, basada en una trama real de un lobo solitario para matar a Hitler que casi tuvo éxito, es tanto un thriller clásico, que enfrenta a un hombre contra el sistema, como una exploración de cómo las circunstancias diminutas pueden afectar el destino de millones.

"13 Minutes" está dirigida por Oliver Hirschbiegel, quien quizás es mejor conocido por su remake de 2007 de "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" con Nicole Kidman y Daniel Craig, así como "The Downfall", que recrea los últimos días de Hitler en un búnker de Berlín.

La película se estrena el 7 de julio en el Área de la Bahía.

En el corazón de la trama de la película está Georg Elsner (interpretado por Christian Friedel), un carpintero y manitas de 35 años de un pequeño pueblo de Suabia que tocaba en la banda de la ciudad y era popular entre las chicas locales. Es un simpatizante comunista, pero no miembro del partido, que observa con creciente preocupación cómo su aldea se transformó gradualmente durante los primeros años del gobierno nazi.

Elser ve a una conocida que se ve obligada a sentarse en la calle, rodeada de camisas pardas y gente del pueblo, con un letrero alrededor del cuello que dice: "En el pueblo, soy el mejor cerdo y sólo me relaciono con judíos". Asiste a la proyección de una película de propaganda en la que Hitler proclama que, bajo su gobierno, todos los alemanes tendrán una radio, luego un lujo, y los caminos llenos de baches del pueblo estarán pavimentados e iluminados.

En un momento en que los estadistas "expertos" sostenían que Hitler representaba una aberración temporal o que podría apaciguarse, Elser se convence de que el Führer hundirá a Alemania en la guerra, y que si nadie más detiene al dictador nazi, él debe hacer el trabajo. él mismo.

Elser sabía que Hitler se dirigía a sus seguidores en la cervecería más grande de Múnich cada 8 de noviembre, fecha de su frustrado golpe de Estado de 1923 para tomar el poder en la ciudad bávara como base para derrocar a la República de Weimar.

Entonces, a partir de fines de 1938, visitó repetidamente la cervecería, tomando medidas cuidadosas de las columnas que flanqueaban el podio del orador. Elser tomó un trabajo en una fábrica de armamento y sacó de contrabando explosivos, cartuchos de dinamita y detonadores.

A medida que se acercaba el 8 de noviembre, Elser trabajó noche tras noche de rodillas, sosteniendo una linterna en la boca, para insertar la bomba casera en una columna. Conectó la bomba a dos relojes programados para activarse durante la típica y larga diatriba de Hitler.

La noche del aniversario del golpe, Elser tomó un tren hasta la frontera suiza para esperar noticias de la muerte de Hitler. En cambio, sin embargo, se enteró de que el Führer había interrumpido inesperadamente su discurso.

Exactamente 13 minutos después de que Hitler dejara el podio, la bomba explotó en el lugar preciso donde había estado parado Hitler. La explosión mató a siete funcionarios nazis y, para pesar de toda la vida de Elser, a una camarera inocente.

Cuando Elser intentó cruzar la frontera hacia Suiza, algo en su comportamiento despertó las sospechas de un guardia fronterizo alemán, que arrestó a Elser y lo envió, bajo vigilancia, a una prisión de la Gestapo en Berlín.

Hitler estaba convencido de que Elser no era más que una herramienta en una vasta conspiración orquestada por el primer ministro británico Winston Churchill y exigió que Elser fuera torturado hasta que revelara a los autores intelectuales detrás del intento de asesinato. Pero incluso bajo la tortura más brutal, Elser se negó a dar incluso su nombre y fecha de nacimiento. Solo después de que la Gestapo arrastra a su amante de toda la vida, que está embarazada de su hijo, reconoce la trama, siendo él mismo el único autor.

Nadie creyó la historia de Elser, pero en lugar de ser ejecutado en el lugar, fue enviado a varios campos de concentración y terminó en Dachau.

Sin embargo, en abril de 1945, cuando el sueño de Hitler de un Reich de mil años se derrumbó, el Führer recordó a Elser y ordenó que lo ejecutaran con un disparo de pistola en el cuello. Dos semanas después de la muerte de Elser, las tropas estadounidenses liberaron Dachau.

"13 Minutes", lanzado en Alemania en 2015 con el título "Elser - Él habría cambiado el mundo", fue bien recibido por la crítica y el público alemanes, aunque obtuvo una puntuación baja en Metacritic.com.

La influyente revista Der Spiegel señaló que gracias a la película, Elser fue reconocido como "un verdadero héroe alemán" después de haber sido ignorado en gran medida por los historiadores.


La trama de Henning von Tresckow

En marzo de 1943, Henning von Tresckow y su socio Fabian von Schlabrendorff tramaron un plan similar, con explosivos plásticos. Hitler debía visitar el puesto de Tresckow en Smolensk el día 13. El presunto asesino le pidió a uno de los miembros del personal de Hitler que agarrara un paquete con dos botellas de licor. ¿Qué había realmente ahí? Explosivos, conectados a un fusible de 30 minutos. Sin embargo, el plan fracasó, cuando los dos se enteraron de que la bomba no explotó resultó ser un fusible defectuoso.


Ocho intentos fallidos más notables de matar a Hitler

La película de 2008 de Tom Cruise & # 8220Valkrie & # 8221 cuenta una historia sobre cómo un grupo de conspiración militar liderado por el coronel Claus von Stauffenberg planeó asesinar al dictador y fascista alemán Adolf Hitler. Este intento no fue el primer complot para matar a Hitler. Estas son algunas de las tramas más notables.

La película de 2008 de Tom Cruise & # 8220Valkrie & # 8221 cuenta una historia sobre cómo un grupo de conspiración militar liderado por el coronel Claus von Stauffenberg planeó asesinar al dictador y fascista alemán Adolf Hitler. Este intento no fue el primer complot para matar a Hitler. Según National Geographic, se descubrieron 42 complots para matar a Hitler y ninguno tuvo éxito. Estas son algunas de las tramas más notables.

Maurice Bavaud (Munich, 9 de noviembre de 1938)


Siendo ciudadano suizo-romano Chatolic y habiendo asistido al Seminario Saint Ilan en Bretaña Francia, Bavaud creía que Hitler era un hilo conductor para la humanidad y lo más importante para la iglesia Chatolic en Suiza y Alemania. Bavaud se obsesionó con la idea de matar a Hitler y planeó cometer el asesinato él mismo.

Bavaud planeaba disparar contra Hitler cuando marchaba en un desfile llamado “Reichskristallnactht” en la ciudad de Munich el 9 de noviembre de 1938. Haciéndose pasar por un reportero suizo, Bavaud logró obtener un asiento VIP. Inesperadamente, Hitler cambió su posición de marcha hacia el otro extremo de la calle en lugar de hacia el medio. Bavaud trató de sacar su arma del interior de su bolsillo, pero justo cuando Hitler pasó a su lado, todo el espectador extendió los brazos para saludar a Hittler, lo que impidió que Bavaud disparara. Pero incluso si hubiera disparado, habría fallado de todos modos, ya que la distancia entre él y Hitler era demasiado amplia para que el disparo fuera mortal.

Después de su primer fracaso, Bavaud intentó seguir el movimiento de Hittler para acercarse lo suficiente a él. Sus intentos nunca tuvieron éxito. Finalmente se quedó sin dinero y tomó un viaje en tren a París sin comprar boleto. El conductor lo entregó a la policía. Tras el descubrimiento del arma entre la pertenencia de Bavaud, la policía lo entregó a la Gestapo. El gobierno suizo no había hecho nada para salvarlo. El 14 de mayo de 1941, Bavaud fue decapitado por guillotina.

Georg Elser, (Burberbraukeller, Munich, 8 de noviembre de 1939)

Elser era un ciudadano alemán que temía que Hitler trajera devastación a Alemania. No tenía motivos religiosos, sino que se preocupaba principalmente por cuestiones laborales. Elser despreciaba la libertad restringida de los trabajadores, las malas condiciones laborales y los bajos salarios. Su habilidad como carpintero y su experiencia laboral previa en una fábrica de relojes le permitieron construir una bomba de relojería de madera.

Elser planeaba asesinar a Hitler cuando pronunciaba un discurso anual en Burberbraukeller, una gran cervecería en Munich, que era uno de los lugares de reunión del Partido Nazi. Elser tuvo esta idea cuando asistía a la reunión nazi de 1938 en ese lugar y notó que el evento estaba mal vigilado. En noviembre de 1938, Elser llegó a Munich y logró permanecer dentro de Burberbraukeller. Todas las noches se metía en un espacio vacío detrás de una columna donde Hitler daría su discurso. Su bomba fue hecha con mucho cuidado. Hasta el día de hoy todavía se considera una obra de arte. El 5 de noviembre de 1939 se instaló por completo la bomba de 50 kg. Elser puso la bomba para que explotara a las 21.20 horas del 8 de noviembre de 1839.

Inesperadamente, en el último momento, Hitler decidió tomar el tren nocturno para regresar a Berlín ya que el aeropuerto de Múnich estaba cerrado debido al mal tiempo. En consecuencia, tuvo que terminar su discurso a las 21.07. Trece minutos antes de lo previsto. Exactamente a las 21:20, la bomba explotó matando a 8 personas e hiriendo a más de 60. El plan de asesinato de Elser que habría cambiado la historia fracasó. En el momento de la explosión, Elser ya se dirigía a Suiza. Fue detenido por la policía cuando intentaba cruzar la frontera. Elser fue trasladado a Munich e interrogado por la Gestapo. Finalmente confesó. Fue asesinado a tiros en 1945 solo tres semanas antes del final de la guerra en el campo de concentración de Dachau.

Ejército polaco (Varsovia 5 de octubre de 1939)

En septiembre de 1939, las tropas de Hitler invadieron Polonia. El ejército polaco, sin embargo, logró continuar su actividad clandestina durante la guerra. El ejército clandestino planeó asesinar a Hitler durante un desfile de la victoria en Varsovia colocando una bomba en la plaza Charles de Gaulles. La bomba no explotó.

Inteligencia soviética (década de 1940)

El soviet reclutó como espía a Olga Checkova, una actriz nacida en Rusia que huyó y ganó reconocimiento en Berlín. Checkova fue reclutada debido a su buena relación con Hitler. La inteligencia soviética le pidió a Checkova que presentara a Hitler a dos asesinos. El plan fue abandonado cuando los rusos comenzaron a ganar la guerra.

Operación Foxley (1944)

El gobierno británico a través de su Ejecutivo de Operaciones Especiales (SOE) también planeó asesinar a Hitler. El SOE primero planeó poner bombas en el tren en el que viajaba Hitler. Este plan fue abandonado porque el horario de trenes de Hitler nunca fue predecible y demasiado irregular. El segundo plan era envenenar la comida y la bebida de Hitler mientras viajaba en tren. Una vez más, este plan fue abandonado ya que el SOE requeriría un hombre interno. El tercer plan que se consideró el más aceptable fue asignar un francotirador para disparar a Hitler.

De un prisionero de guerra que había sido parte de la guardia de seguridad de Hitler, el SOE obtuvo información de las actividades de Hitler en el Berghof, un lugar vocacional visitado regularmente por Hitler. Se reveló que a las 10 de la mañana todos los días, Hitler daba su paseo privado por el bosque, sin vigilancia y fuera de la vista de los puestos de centinela. Cada vez que Hitler estaba allí, se colocaba una bandera nazi visible desde un café cercano. El SOE planeaba enviar en paracaídas a 2 hombres vestidos con uniforme alemán al área que rodea el complejo.

Aunque Churhill favoreció el plan, no todos los ejecutivos de SOE lo apoyaron. Muchos todavía creían que con la guerra casi terminada, no sería una buena idea asesinar a Hitler. Matar a Hitler lo convertiría en una especie de mártir para algunos alemanes y probablemente el nazismo seguiría vivo. No se tomó ninguna decisión y el plan nunca se ejecutó.

Henning Von Tresckow (1941-1944)

Tresckow procedía de una familia noble prusiana con una larga tradición militar. No le gustó la crueldad mostrada por el régimen de Hitler en particular cuando Hitler inició el tiroteo masivo contra mujeres y niños judíos. Tresckow hizo numerosos intentos de matar a Hitler entre 1941 y 1944.

En agosto de 1941, Tresckow y su primo Schlabrendroff planearon secuestrar a Hitler cuando viajaban a Heeresgruppe Mitte. El plan fracasó debido a la alta seguridad. En marzo de 1943, Tresckow ocultó una bomba de plástico en un paquete que supuestamente contenía botellas de coñac y trató de colocarla en el avión Condor de Hitler. La bomba no explotó porque el maletero donde se encontraba el paquete no estaba calentado. La baja temperatura había impedido que la bomba detonase. Schlabrendroff recuperó el paquete del avión para evitar el descubrimiento de la trama. Una semana después de este complot fallido, Tresckow hizo otro intento de volar a Hitler. Esta vez, la ejecución del plan estuvo a cargo de Gersdorff, el amigo y aliado de Tresckow.

Rudolf von Gersdorff (marzo de 1943)

Gersdorff tenía la intención de realizar un atentado suicida. Llevaba una bomba C2 de 8 onzas y la escondió en su bolsillo. Era un guía turístico cuando Hitler visitó el Zeughaus de Berlín para inspeccionar las armas capturadas por los soviéticos. Su plan era lanzarse alrededor de Hitler después de que Hitler pronunció su discurso y estalló la bomba que seguramente los mataría a ambos. La bomba estaba programada para explotar dentro de los 10 minutos posteriores a la activación del detonador. Inesperadamente, Hitler terminó la gira antes de lo esperado. Probablemente porque sintió la ansiedad de Gersdorff. Gersdorff logró difundir la bomba en un baño público. Eludió las sospechas y se convirtió en uno de los pocos conspiradores militares alemanes contra Hitler que sobreviven a la guerra.

Claus Von Stauffenberg (20 de julio de 1944)

Fuente de imagen : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henning_von_Tresckow
Nacido en una familia católica aristócrata, Stauffenberg se sintió incómodo por el maltrato de Hitler a los judíos. Finalmente, su sentido personal de la justicia y la moral religiosa le hicieron volverse contra Hitler.

Stauffenberg llamó a su plan de asesinato "Operación Valkrie". Este es quizás el complot más famoso para matar a Hitler. Stauffenberg planeaba esconder dos bombas en un maletín y colocarlo en la sala de reuniones en Wolfsschanze, una de las oficinas centrales de los nazis, cuando Hitler celebró una reunión allí el 20 de julio de 1944, porque no había tiempo suficiente para armar la segunda bomba antes de que comenzara la reunión. , solo una bomba fue llevada con éxito a la sala de reuniones. Stauffenberg colocó el maletín lo más cerca posible de Hittler y se disculpó apresuradamente. Inesperadamente, después de salir de la habitación, el coronel Brandt apartó el maletín de su posición prevista.

La bomba estalló. Stauffenberg observó la explosión y se convenció de que nadie podría haber sobrevivido a la explosión. Él estaba equivocado. Estaba en Berlín para iniciar un golpe militar contra los líderes nazis cuando escuchó la noticia de que Hitler sólo sufrió heridas leves. El científico cree que la existencia de ventanas en las paredes de la sala de reuniones había reducido el poder de explosión. Además, la colocación incorrecta de la bomba provocó que una mesa de conferencias de roble macizo y pesado formara un escudo que protegiera a Hitler. La simulación por computadora moderna muestra que si solo se hubiera usado la segunda bomba, la explosión habría matado a Hitler. Stauffenberg fue asesinado a tiros.

Además del intento anterior, todavía existen numerosos complots para matar a Hitler, desde bombardeos hasta envenenamientos. Aunque todos han fallado, muestra al mundo que no todos los ciudadanos alemanes o sus militares apoyaron la conducta y la ideología de Hitler.


A principios de la década de 1970, Karl Wolff, ex líder supremo de las SS y de la policía en Italia, promovió la teoría de un supuesto complot. La mayoría de las otras acusaciones de tal complot se basan en un documento de 1972 escrito por Wolff que Avvenire d'Italia publicado en 1991, y en entrevistas personales con Wolff antes de su muerte en 1984. Wolff sostuvo que el 13 de septiembre de 1943, Hitler dio la orden de "ocupar la Ciudad del Vaticano, asegurar sus archivos y tesoros artísticos, y llevar al Papa y la Curia al norte ". Hitler supuestamente no quería que el Papa "cayera en manos de los Aliados". [1] La confiabilidad de Wolff ha sido cuestionada por historiadores del Holocausto, [2] como István Deák, profesor de historia en la Universidad de Columbia. [3] Revisando Una misión especial por Dan Kurzman, un promotor de la teoría, Deák señaló la "credulidad" de Kurzman y que este último "acepta acríticamente la validez de documentos controvertidos y cree sin cuestionar en las declaraciones que le hizo su principal interlocutor alemán, el ex general de las SS Karl Wolff" . Además, criticó la "modesta documentación" del libro que contiene "un gran número de referencias vagas o inexactas". [4]

Anterior General mayor Erwin von Lahousen, en su declaración en los Juicios de Nuremberg el 1 de febrero de 1946 (Warnreise Testimony 1330-1430), dijo que Hitler había ordenado al Reichssicherheitshauptamt idear un complot para castigar al pueblo italiano secuestrando o asesinando a Pío XII y al rey de Italia. [5] Pero, dijo Lahousen, el almirante Wilhelm Canaris, jefe del servicio de contrainteligencia alemán, informó a su homólogo italiano, el general Cesare Amè, durante una reunión secreta en Venecia del 29 al 30 de julio de 1943. Lahousen y el coronel Wessel Freytag von Loringhoven fueron también presente en esta reunión. Según Lahousen, Amè aparentemente difundió la noticia y el complot fue abandonado. [5]

Rudolf Rahn, el Plenipotenciario alemán de la República Social Italiana (RSI), envió una carta a Robert A. Graham (uno de los editores de la ADSS) en la década de 1970, que fue publicada por la revista italiana 30 Giorni en 1991, afirmando que tal complot existía pero que todos los documentos relacionados con él habían sido destruidos o perdidos. Rahn murió en 1975 [6].

John Cornwell Modificar

De John Cornwell Papa de Hitler (1999) suscribe la existencia de tal trama. [7] La ​​única fuente que cita el relato de Cornwell es "Teste manuscrito, 822ff, en custodia de la Curia jesuita en el Borgo Santo Spirito en Roma. "[8] La versión de Cornwell se centra en Wolff, pero, a diferencia del relato de otros autores secundarios, no afirma que el asunto no deba ser puesto por escrito, de hecho, Cornwell afirma que Wolff "envió entre seis y ocho informes de personal". [9] Al igual que con el propio relato de Wolff, Cornwell presenta a Wolff como el héroe, cuyo "propósito" era "impedir la deportación del Papa. "[9] Según Cornwell, Wolff pudo persuadir a Hitler de que abandonara el plan. [10] En opinión de Cornwell:" todos los hechos indican, por lo tanto, que un intento de invadir el Vaticano y sus propiedades, o apoderarse del Papa en respuesta a una protesta papal habría obstaculizado seriamente el esfuerzo de guerra nazi. Y así, incluso Hitler llegó a reconocer lo que Pacelli parecía ignorar: que la fuerza social y política más poderosa en Italia en el otoño de 1943 era la Iglesia Católica, y que su margen de incumplimiento con la disrupción era inmenso "[11].

El valor histórico de Cornwell's Papa de Hitler ha sido cuestionado con respecto a su tratamiento del Papa por muchos otros autores, como Kenneth L.Woodward, quien escribió en su reseña del libro en la edición del 27 de septiembre de 1999 de Newsweek que "Errores de hecho e ignorancia del contexto aparecen en casi todas las páginas". El doctor Peter Gumpel, SJ, un experto en el período de guerra del papado del Papa Pío XII, publicó una refutación punto por punto, que incluía señalar que "Antes de la publicación del libro [" El Papa de Hitler "], apareció un artículo en el Sunday Times, en el que Cornwell (que no tiene títulos académicos en historia, derecho o teología) dijo que era la primera y única persona a la que se le concedió permiso para visitar el archivo de la secretaría de estado del Vaticano, había trabajado allí durante meses en final, y descubrió una carta desconocida y altamente comprometedora escrita por Pacelli el 18 de abril de 1917, que, según él, había permanecido escondida como una bomba de tiempo. Todas estas declaraciones son falsas y fueron declaradas como tales en un oficial y autoritario. declaración emitida por el Vaticano en l'Osservatore Romano el 13 de octubre ". [12] Otro estudioso que abordó la publicación de Cornwell fue el Prof. Ronald Rychlak, con "Hitler, la guerra y el Papa" y luego apareció "La guerra de Pío: Respuestas a los críticos de Pío XII", una importante antología. Además, el rabino David Dalin escribió "El mito del Papa de Hitler".

Dan Kurzman Modificar

Dan Kurzman, ex corresponsal extranjero de El Washington Post '', mantiene en Una misión especial: el complot secreto de Hitler para apoderarse del Vaticano y secuestrar al Papa Pío XII (2007) que el secuestro planeado era real y que las entrevistas que realizó "dejan pocas dudas de que la trama era grave". [13] El libro de Kurzman ha recibido atención de organizaciones de defensa y fuentes de noticias católicas y cristianas. [14] [15]

Kurzman reconoce que no hay documentos oficiales alemanes que se refieran a la trama, alegando que Hitler prohibió que la trama se pusiera por escrito, y basa su libro en entrevistas personales con funcionarios alemanes y vaticanos. [13] La fuente principal de Kurzman es Karl Wolff, después de su liberación de la custodia de los aliados, Kurzman reconoce que Wolff fue demostrablemente falso en muchos aspectos de su testimonio. [16] Los otros entrevistados de Kurzman incluyen: Rudolph Rahn, embajador alemán ante el RSI, Eitel Mollhausen, el adjunto de Rahn, Albrecht von Kessel, el adjunto de Ernst von Weizsäcker, el coronel de las SS Eugen Dollman, el enlace de Wolff con el mariscal de campo Albert Kesselring y Peter Gumpel , defensor del Vaticano de la canonización de Pío XII. [16] Gumpel ha afirmado que Pío XII hizo planes para dimitir en caso de secuestro. [17]

Owen Chadwick Modificar

Owen Chadwick, profesor de historia en Cambridge, después de haber estudiado los documentos de D'Arcy Osborne, el embajador británico en el Vaticano durante la guerra, argumentó que el British Political Warfare Executive (PWE) "encontró una excelente propaganda para expresarlo. Hitler estaba a punto de secuestrar al Papa ". [18] La oficina de propaganda británica fabricó al menos dos transmisiones inalámbricas alemanas en apoyo de la teoría, basándose en un "rumor" preexistente. [18] Primero, el 9 de octubre de 1943, los británicos lanzaron una transmisión falsa en alemán afirmando que se habían hecho todos los preparativos para tal secuestro. [18] Luego, dos días después, otra transmisión falsificada declaró que el castillo de Lichtenstein en Württemberg estaba listo para encarcelar al Papa ya los cardenales. [18]

El propio Osborne consideró que las probabilidades de un secuestro de este tipo eran increíblemente improbables, ya que la presencia del Papa en el Vaticano impidió que los británicos bombardearan el centro de comunicaciones clave del ejército alemán en el sur de Italia, que era adyacente. [19] Weizsäcker, el embajador alemán, ya se había asegurado de que el Vaticano no sería ocupado por los alemanes cuando ocuparon Roma después del colapso del gobierno de Mussolini. [20]

Álvarez y Graham Editar

David Alvarez y Robert A. Graham, uno de los sacerdotes-historiadores jesuitas elegidos por el Papa Pablo VI para editar el ADSS, coinciden con Chadwick, concluyendo que "la evidencia sobre un supuesto complot para secuestrar al Papa es, en el mejor de los casos, mixta". [21] Al notar que tal secuestro habría indignado a los católicos de todo el mundo y desestabilizado seriamente la ocupación del Tercer Reich de naciones mayoritarias católicas, Álvarez y Graham argumentan que los propagandistas aliados "no rehuyeron la oportunidad" de reclamar tal complot. [21]

Álvarez y Graham citan las fabricaciones de PWE mencionadas por Chadwick, pero también piezas de propaganda de PWE anteriores que presentan varias afirmaciones sobre que el Papa contemplaba abandonar el Vaticano debido a las amenazas del Eje. [21] Aunque tales rumores fueron recogidos incluso por diplomáticos alemanes, Álvarez y Graham concluyen que "el rastro probatorio más claro en la maraña de rumores, recuerdos y ficción que rodea el supuesto complot para secuestrar al Papa es el que conduce de regreso a Londres en lugar de Berlín ". [22] Álvarez y Graham van más allá al acusar la erudición de aquellos que afirman un complot:

Los historiadores aún tienen que descubrir una sola pieza de evidencia contemporánea que indique que Hitler, Himmler, Bormann o cualquier otra autoridad tenían alguna intención seria, y mucho menos un plan, de invadir la Ciudad del Vaticano y llevar a cabo al Papa Pío XII. En cuanto a todo el humo, los recuerdos son de posguerra y sospechosamente egoístas los rumores y advertencias de segunda y tercera mano los supuestos planes y concentración de fuerzas indocumentadas. Las pocas pruebas creíbles que existen sugieren que, de hecho, no había ningún plan para actuar contra el Papa. [23]


La historia interna de cómo se frustró un complot nazi para sabotear el esfuerzo bélico de EE. UU.

los New York Times El titular del 4 de julio de 1942 era casi jubiloso, un regalo del Día de la Independencia a un país en plena guerra: & # 8220 Saboteadores nazis se enfrentan a la severa justicia del ejército. & # 8221 El artículo describía un complot frustrado y un FBI que estaba atento a las amenazas. a la seguridad pública. Incluía un dibujo de J. Edgar Hoover en una importante llamada telefónica.

El artículo también fue aterrador. Ocho agentes de la Alemania nazi estaban bajo custodia, atrapados en suelo estadounidense con planes detallados para sabotear infraestructura clave y sembrar el pánico. A fines de junio, dos escuadrones de saboteadores alemanes habían aterrizado en playas estadounidenses, transportados por submarinos a Long Island y la costa de Florida. Los saboteadores tenían suficientes explosivos para dos años de caos, con planes inmediatos para volar un puente ferroviario crítico, interrumpir el suministro de agua de Nueva York y sembrar el terror. Fueron detenidos en el último momento.

La realidad era incluso más aterradora que la Veces informó, y sorprendentemente diferente de la historia presentada por el FBI: un sistema de defensa tomado por sorpresa, conspiradores que eran meramente humanos, y una confesión que la agencia casi falló.

Si bien Hoover y su FBI describieron los arrestos como un gran golpe, de hecho fue una mera casualidad lo que sacó a la luz el complot nazi.

Eso no quiere decir que la tripulación de Hoover y la tripulación no estaban buscando nazis. El FBI había estado alerta a los esquemas en suelo estadounidense desde que el ataque de Pearl Harbor sacudió el sistema de defensa de la nación. La agencia incluso se había infiltrado en una red de espías nazis con base en Nueva York y los arrestó el año anterior, en 1941. Esa red estaba dirigida por un hombre llamado Frederick & # 8220Fritz & # 8221 Duquesne, un sudafricano que había vivido en Nueva York durante más de 30 años. Con un negocio fantasma en Manhattan y pedidos desde Berlín, Duquesne reunió una red de operativos, incluido uno que obtuvo información sobre los objetivos de envío y estaba preparando una bomba de mecha. Otro trazador diseñó plantas de energía para empresas de servicios públicos en Nueva York. Para el otoño de 1940, estaban mapeando objetivos industriales en el noreste. Los arrestos de Duquesne y su anillo en junio de 1941 habían sido una ganancia inesperada para la publicidad de Hoover y una llamada de atención para la nación.

El problema fue que después de Pearl Harbor, el FBI estaba buscando saboteadores en muchas direcciones equivocadas, incluido un esfuerzo de red de arrastre equivocado contra familias inmigrantes en ambas costas.

Este nuevo grupo de saboteadores, todos residentes de EE. UU. Desde hace mucho tiempo, fueron entrenados para su misión en Alemania en una finca llamada Lago Quentz en las afueras de Berlín. Los generales de Hitler habían estado clamando por operaciones de sabotaje y esa presión se redujo a Walter Kappe, un teniente del ejército que había vivido en Chicago y Nueva York en la década de 1930 antes de regresar para servir al Reich. Kappe began recruiting in 1941 from among other Germans who had also repatriated from America. Leading the group was the oldest, George Dasch, age 39, a long-time waiter in New York who had served in the U.S. Army. Others included Ernest Berger, who had gone so far as to obtain U.S. citizenship. Kappe’s plan was to send the team ahead to settle in before he arrived in Chicago to direct sabotage operations. They would be paid handsome salaries, be exempt from military service, and receive plum jobs after Germany won the war.

George Dasch, lead saboteur (Public Domain)

All the agents Kappe selected had lived in the United States for years – two had U.S. citizenship. Their training was rigorous and they practiced their fake identities, rehearsing every detail. There was even a built-in protocol to protect the operation from the temptation to defect, as William Breuer notes in Nazi Spies in America: “If any saboteur gave indications of weakening in resolve… the others were to ‘kill him without compunction.’”

Their operation was dubbed Pastorius, named for the founder of the first German settlement in America (Germantown, later absorbed into Philadelphia). The eight secret agents would sail in two groups from a submarine base in Lorient, France. The first group boarded the night of May 26 and U-201 submerged for the voyage. U-202 followed two nights later, less than six months after the U.S. and Germany declared war on each other.

On the beach of Long Island’s south fork on June 12, the night of the Pastorians’ arrival, was not the FBI but a young Coast Guard recruit named John Cullen, strolling the sands near Amagansett. Cullen was understandably stunned when he spotted four men in German uniforms unloading a raft on the beach. Cullen, 21, was unarmed. Wearing the fatigues was a tactical choice: If the men were captured in them, they would be treated as prisoners of war rather than spies subject to execution.

He rushed toward the group and called out for them to stop. Dasch went for the young man and grabbed his arm, managing to threaten and bribe him at the same time. Dasch shoved a wad of cash into Cullen’s hand, saying in clear English, “Take this and have a good time. Forget what you’ve seen here.” The young man raced off back in the direction of the Coast Guard station, while Dasch and his team quickly buried their uniforms and stash of explosives and detonators to retrieve later. When Cullen returned to the beach at daylight with several Coast Guard officers, they found footprints that led to the cache.

But the Germans had gotten away. At Amagansett they boarded a Long Island Railroad train into the city. Dasch bought four newspapers and four tickets, and the saboteurs blended into the Manhattan-bound commuters on the 6:57 a.m. train. When they reached the city they split into two groups: two agents checked into a hotel across from Penn Station, and the other two headed for a second hotel.

A few days later, on June 17, off the Florida coast just below Jacksonville, U-201 surfaced and deposited the second quartet of saboteurs before dawn. Following procedure, they buried their explosives and uniforms near the beach, walked to nearby Highway 1, and caught a Greyhound for Jacksonville. Within a day, two were bound for operations in Chicago, and the other two headed for Cincinnati. Their list of targets included the complex systems of canal locks in Cincinnati and St. Louis at the heart of commerce on the Mississippi and aluminum factories in Philadelphia.

Operation Pastorius appeared to be on track.

The New York plotters chose their targets for maximum suffering and symbolism. The Hell Gate Bridge carried four vital rail arteries – two for passengers, two for freight – across the most densely populated and economically important passage of the Northeast. The bridge was also an icon of American engineering. Other transportation targets were Newark Penn Station and the “Horseshoe Curve” on the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad at Altoona, Pennsylvania. Another big target was the New York water supply, a gem of public utilities and health. The state’s Board of Water Supply, aware of the vulnerability, had boosted wartime security for the system to include 250 guards and more than 180 patrolmen.

Once the plotters confirmed logistics, they would retrieve their cache of explosives near Amagansett.

When Dasch checked into the hotel with fellow conspirator Berger, though, he used the moment to tell Berger that he planned to call the FBI and expose their scheme. He told Berger he could either join his planned defection or Dasch would kill him. Then Dasch made a phone call to the local FBI office.

He never wanted to return to Germany he thought if he turned the operation in, he could stay in America and perhaps resume his life. Dasch had originally stowed away on a freighter headed for the U.S., arriving in 1922. He and his Pennsylvanian wife both pined to stay in the States. If Dasch hadn’t given himself up, would they have been successful? The odds were in their favor.

Dasch told the FBI agent who answered that a Nazi submarine had just landed and he had important information. “I’ll be in Washington within the week to deliver it personally to J. Edgar Hoover,” he said, then hung up.

The FBI had received hundreds of many prank or misguided calls since the war started, and this seemed to be one more. But when the same office got a call from the Coast Guard about the Long Island episode and the stash of explosives retrieved on the beach, the FBI took the anonymous call seriously.

Dasch soon broke free from his team in New York, however, and boarded a train for Washington, D.C. He phoned FBI headquarters when he got there. “I’m the man who called your New York office,” he said. “I am in Room 351 at the Mayflower Hotel.” He asked to speak with Hoover. He was not put through.

For the next two days, dumbfounded FBI agents interrogated Dasch in his hotel room with a stenographer taking down his story: from the sabotage training outside Berlin to the targets identified by both teams, and contacts’ addresses in America. He also handed over all the cash the German government had provided to bankroll years of chaos: over $82,000. Within 14 days, all eight saboteurs were in jail, a string of arrests from New York to Chicago.

None of the infrastructure targets were hit. Public alarm, however, skyrocketed when the news broke. Roosevelt ordered a military tribunal, as the Veces headline noted, the first time one had been called since Lincoln’s assassination. All eight defendants pled not guilty, saying they had volunteered for the operation only to get back to their families in America.

Photo from the military trial (Public Domain)

Hoover knew the only way to catch up was to manage the spin. He stage-managed the press details of the case, framing the captures as brilliant police work, when in fact Dasch had volunteered the names and addresses. In newsreels produced through the war, Hoover looked into the camera and addressed GIs overseas, assuring them that the FBI was their capable ally in the war to protect America.

Dasch hoped the risks he took to alert authorities to the scheme would get him clemency, but they were lost in accounts of a triumphant FBI. The El Correo de Washington reported only that Dasch “cooperated with United States officials in procuring evidence against the others.”

That July even Hoover reportedly wavered on executing the man who handed the case to him on a platter. In the end, Attorney General Francis Biddle requested leniency for Dasch. The military tribunal found all eight guilty and sentenced them to death. Dasch’s sentence was reduced to 30 years in prison, and Berger’s sentence reduced to life.

On August 8, the six condemned to die were taken to the District of Columbia Jail and executed by electric chair. Prison officials were concerned about the power surge – the chair was relatively untested locally. Each execution took 14 minutes. News cameras filmed the ambulances bearing the bodies away afterward.

(UPDATE, June 26, 2017: The Washington Post recently reported that in 2006, the National Park Service uncovered a clandestine memorial to the six Nazi spies.)

After serving six years of their sentence, Dasch and Berger were released. Dasch’s lawyer repeatedly applied for his client’s amnesty, and by 1948 President Truman leaned toward a pardon. Still, Hoover argued against it. Dasch accepted deportation as a condition of pardon, and both prisoners were released and sent to what was then West Germany, where they were treated as pariahs. Dasch settled with his wife in a small town and started a small business, only to have news coverage expose him. They had to flee crowds threatening vigilante justice to the “traitor” and start over in another town. A friend told him, “It’s a good thing you weren’t there. They would have killed you.” Dasch later published a memoir laying out his side of the story, but it was mostly ignored.

Hoover made sure the FBI would not pay the price of the American public’s fears. That would be borne by immigrant families caught up in the national security dragnet that swept both coasts. Within a few months after Pearl Harbor, the FBI arrested 264 Italian-Americans, nearly 1,400 German-Americans and over 2,200 Japanese-Americans. Many were never shown evidence leading to their arrest. Beyond those initial arrests, however, came a much heavier cost. Throughout the war, approximately 100,000 Japanese-Americans were forced into internment camps, and 50,000 Italian-Americans were similarly relocated.


Op-Ed: How a network of citizen-spies foiled Nazi plots to exterminate Jews in 1930s L.A.

On July 26, 1933, a group of Nazis held their first public rally in Los Angeles. As Jewish groups in the city debated how they should respond to Adolf Hitler’s persecution of Jews in Europe, L.A.’s Nazis, many of them German emigres, gathered at a biergarten downtown, wearing brown shirts and red, white and black armbands with swastikas.

The Nazis belonged to a growing movement of white supremacists in L.A. that included many American brothers in hate: the Ku Klux Klan, a group of Hitler supporters known as the Silver Shirts, and a dozen like-minded organizations with vaguely patriotic names such as the American Nationalist Party, the Christian American Guard, and the National Protective Order of Gentiles.

Some weeks ago, white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., chanted “Jews will not replace us.” Their predecessors were even less subtle: They called for “death to Jews.”

Unwilling to wait and see if any of them would act on their threats, Leon Lewis, a Jewish lawyer and World War I veteran who had helped found the Anti-Defamation League, decided to investigate the anti-Semitic hate groups. In August 1933, mere weeks after the rally, Lewis recruited four fellow World War I veterans, plus their wives, to go undercover and join every Nazi and fascist group in the city.

Leon Lewis understood that hate knows no national boundaries.

Lewis’ recruits did not know there would be another world war. And they certainly did not know a Holocaust would occur in Europe.

But once they had infiltrated the groups, they understood that they had to take the Nazi threat seriously. They repeatedly heard fellow Americans talk candidly about wanting to overthrow the government and kill every Jewish man, woman and child.

Lewis’ operatives were all Christian, save for one Jew. They regarded their mission as an American one. Their intention was to gather sufficient evidence of illegal activities by the groups, then turn it over to the appropriate government agencies, after which Lewis planned to return to practicing law. What Lewis did not anticipate is that local authorities would prove indifferent to — or supportive of — the Nazis and fascists.

Within weeks of going undercover, Lewis’ network of spies discovered a plot to wrest control of armories in San Francisco, L.A. and San Diego — part of a larger plan to take over local governments and carry out a mass execution of Jews. Lewis immediately informed L.A. Police Chief James Edgar “Two-Gun” Davis of the Nazi scheme to seize weapons and, as Lewis warned in a memo later, to “foster a fascist form of government in the United States.”

Lewis was shocked when Davis interrupted him to defend Hitler. The police chief, he noted in the memo, told him: “Germans could not compete economically with the Jews in Germany and had been forced to take the action they did.” The greatest danger the city faced, Davis insisted, was not from Nazis but from communists living in the heavily Jewish neighborhood of Boyle Heights. As far as Davis was concerned, every communist was a Jew and every Jew a communist.

Lewis got a similar response from the Sheriff’s Department and local FBI agents, many of whom were sympathetic to the Nazis and fascists. He decided he had to continue the operation, and his spies agreed.

From the summer of 1933 until 1945, while many Americans closed their eyes to the hate growing around them, Lewis’ spies and informants, who numbered close to two dozen at the height of operations, risked their lives to stop Hitler’s minions and alert citizens to the danger these groups posed.

They uncovered a series of Nazi plots. There was a plan to murder 24 Hollywood actors and power figures, including Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn, Charlie Chaplin and James Cagney. There was a plan to drive through Boyle Heights and machine-gun as many Jewish residents as possible. There were plans for fumigating the homes of Jewish families with cyanide, and for blowing up military installations and seizing munitions from National Guard armories on the day Nazis intended to launch their American putsch.

These plans for murder and sabotage failed because Lewis’ operatives penetrated the inner circles of the hate groups and foiled them. Charles Slocombe, Lewis’ ace spy, thwarted two of the most deadly plots to kill Hollywood figures, one of them by turning Nazis and fascists against one another and raising fears that they might be arrested for murder due to leaks inside the German American Bund and Silver Shirts. Slocombe stopped a second mass murder plot by convincing three of the plotters that the mastermind behind the plan, the British fascist Leopold McLaglan, was about to betray them.

Knowing their inner circles had been infiltrated, but not by whom, and unwilling to risk prison, the groups postponed their plans. Permanently.

Without ever firing a gun, Lewis and his spies managed to defeat a variety of enemies. Only after Congress declared war on Germany did government authorities finally relieve Lewis — “the most dangerous Jew in Los Angeles,” as Nazis called him — of the burden of tracking down these dangerous elements. Nevertheless, he and his operatives continued to monitor the groups throughout the war years.

Leon Lewis understood that hate knows no national boundaries. Foreign-born Nazis and American-born Silver Shirts and Klansmen gladly joined together in targeting Jews and communists. And few Americans, either inside or outside the government, tried to stop them in those early years.

He and his network of spies understood the importance of vigilance. They refused to allow their city and country to be threatened by hate. With their actions they show us that when a democratic government fails to stop extremists bent on violence, citizens must protect one another, no matter their race or religion.

Steven J. Ross is a professor of history at USC and the author of “Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America.”

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When the Nazis Tried to Exterminate Hollywood (Book Excerpt)

Decades before today’s white nationalist movement, "the most dangerous Jew in Los Angeles" fought a plan to assassinate film stars and studio heads by hanging them in the streets.

Steven J. Ross

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Thalberg and Jack Warner &mdash to a secret meeting at Hillcrest, the elite Jewish country club in Cheviot Hills. For nearly a year, Lewis had used a network of spies (including the son of a Bavarian general) to keep tabs on Nazis and American-born fascists in Los Angeles. Some in the group knew a bit about what Lewis had been up to, but few knew the full extent of his work. As the group settled into the Club Room after dinner, Lewis rose to share what he had learned: Anti-Semites had invaded their studios. Foremen sympathetic to the Nazi and fascist cause had fired so many below-the-line Jewish employees that many studios had “reached a condition of almost 100 percent [Aryan] purity.” Scarier still, Lewis told them his spies had uncovered death threats against the moguls.

He pleaded with them for money to continue his operations so they could keep track of not only how the Nazis were trying to influence the studios but also their plans for sabotage and murder in Southern California. Would the moguls help?

Thalberg promised $3,500 from MGM. Paramount production head Emanuel Cohen matched it. RKO’s David Selznick contributed and said he would canvass the town’s talent agents for additional contributions. By the end of the evening, the group had pledged $24,000 ($439,000 in 2017 dollars) for the spy operation.

Lewis was elated. The money would allow him to recruit more spies and continue his undercover operations. “For the first time,” he wrote an ADL colleague, “we have established a real basis of cooperation with the Motion Picture Industry, and I look for splendid results.”

Over the next decade, until the end of World War II, Lewis, whom the Nazis called “the most dangerous Jew in Los Angeles,” used the money raised from Hollywood to recruit World War I veterans &mdash and their wives and daughters &mdash to spy on Nazi and fascist groups in Los Angeles. Often rising to leadership positions, this daring group of men and women foiled a series of Nazi plots &mdash from hanging 24 Hollywood actors and power figures, including Al Jolson, Eddie Cantor, Charlie Chaplin, Mayer and Samuel Goldwyn, to blowing up defense installations on the day Nazis planned to launch their American putsch.

Even though Nazi plans for murder and sabotage failed, as with today, we need to take this homegrown extremism seriously. Lewis certainly did. While local and federal officials were busy monitoring the activities of communists, his operatives uncovered enough evidence of hatred and plotting to be concerned about the fate of Los Angeles Jews and American democracy. Were it not for Lewis and his spies, these plots might have succeeded.

As he paced his downtown office on Seventh Street waiting to meet his first potential recruit in late July 1933, Lewis reflected upon the events that had led him to embark on a new career as spy master. On the evening of July 26, 100 Hitlerites, many dressed in brown shirts and sporting red, white and black swastika armbands, held their first public meeting at their spacious downtown headquarters in the Alt Heidelberg building. Hans Winterhalder, handsome propaganda chief of the Friends of the New Germany, told the crowd of plans to unify the 50 scattered German-American organizations of Southern California and their 150,000 members into one body. It had been seven months since Adolf Hitler had become the Reich’s chancellor of Germany in January 1933 and five months since Berlin had sent Capt. Robert Pape to Los Angeles to build a Nazi organization in the area.

For Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, no American city was more important than Los Angeles, home to what he deemed the world’s greatest propaganda machine, Hollywood. Although many people in the U.S. and around the globe viewed New York as the capital of Jewish America, Goebbels saw Hollywood as a far more dangerous place, one where Jews ruled over the motion picture industry and transmitted their ideas throughout the world. And Los Angeles seemed the perfect place to establish a beachhead for the Nazi assault on the U.S. Not only did Southern California have a long history of anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism, but the Los Angeles port also was less closely monitored than New York (or “Jew York,” as Nazis often referred to it), which made it easier to use as the central depot for sending spies, money and secret orders from Germany.

What really frightened Lewis was a small paragraph in a Los Angeles Record story about the rally describing how Los Angeles-based Nazis had turned the Alt Heidelberg basement into a barracks for unemployed Germans who would be fed, bathed and housed at no cost other than being instructed in National Socialism. Lewis understood that this was not done out of kindness. The Nazis were raising an army from among the unemployed and discontented, especially targeting veterans, just as Hitler had done in the 1920s to fuel his rise.

There was little in Lewis’ background to suggest that the modest Midwesterner, 6-foot-1 with light brown eyes and black hair, would come to this. After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School in 1913, Lewis, committed to the Jewish idea of tikkun olam (world repair), became the ADL’s first national executive secretary. In 1923, after serving in World War I, he added the ADL’s international division to his portfolio, and keeping track of Hitler and the threat he posed to Jews became an obsession. Within days of the local Nazis’ first meeting, Lewis, convinced American authorities were too obsessed with communists to take the Nazi threat seriously, started his spy operation from his small downtown law office.

His initial recruits to his spy ring included an unlikely array of non-Jews. He wanted experienced soldiers (and their wives) who would not be prone to fear or exaggeration so government agencies could not accuse Lewis of engaging in Jewish paranoia. First to join was John Schmidt, the German-born son of a Bavarian general who had moved to the U.S. around 1903, joined the Army and been wounded in World War I. After Lewis appealed to his patriotism and promised the cash-strapped veteran a modest monthly stipend, Schmidt &mdash who operated under the code names Agent 11, 74 and Elf &mdash agreed to pose as a Nazi sympathizer, and his wife, Alice (Agent 17), joined him, becoming president of the FNG’s Ladies Auxiliary. Others followed, including Charles Slocombe, a former Long Beach KKK member who penetrated deep into the leadership ranks of the Klan and fascist groups like the anti-Semitic American National Party, Silver Shirts and the American Labor Party’s military wing, the Lode Star Legion. Lewis also enlisted Neal Ness, an engineer turned journalist turned spy who became the American right-hand man and confidant to FNG leader Herman Schwinn.

As millions of Americans prepared to welcome in the New Year on Dec. 31, 1935, Slocombe warned Lewis of an outrageous plot to assassinate a number of Hollywood’s leading figures. Ingram Hughes, a failed attorney and founder of the ANP, was working closely with local Nazi leader Schwinn to rid the nation of its “Jewish menace.” The 60-year-old fascist planned to assassinate 20 prominent Angelenos, including Busby Berkeley, Superior Court judge Henry M. Willis, entertainment lawyer Mendel Silberberg and Lewis himself. “Busby Berkeley will look good dangling on a rope’s end,” the ANP leader quipped. Hughes hoped the hangings would spark a nationwide uprising against Jews. He recruited Nazi propagandist Franz Ferenz (distributor of German films and newsreels on the West Coast), four Nazis from the FNG and several other trusted accomplices.

This was no hasty killing fantasy but a carefully planned terrorist plot. To hide their identities, he ordered the kidnappers to wear cotton gloves and heavy wool socks over their shoes. “Every man will have a perfect alibi,” Hughes explained, and “several weeks will be spent in developing the minutest details to the nth degree.” The police, Hughes’ friends on the force had assured him, “will not interfere but will give a sigh of relief.”

Lewis knew all this because Slocombe had penetrated the ANP. Lewis’ spy impressed Hughes at their first meeting when he insisted the KKK and Silver Shirts “were not militant enough” and that he “wanted to have action and not a lot of talk.” The 28-year-old Long Beach water-taxi driver soon became the fascist’s most valued assistant.

Hughes’ slaughtering of Jews did not proceed as planned. He and Schwinn suspected that Lewis’ spies had penetrated the operation they just did not know who was spying for the Jews and did not wish to risk being arrested for murder until the traitor was revealed. “We must watch our step as we proceed,” Hughes confided to Slocombe. Fearing Lewis’ reach, Hughes postponed the killings.

Another plot surfaced a year later, hatched by the British fascist Leopold McLaglan, the estranged brother of 1936 Oscar winner Victor McLaglen (Leopold changed the spelling to differentiate from his brother). The 53-year-old World War I veteran had turned to teaching martial arts to rich Californians and Nazis (he had once taught at Scotland Yard) after his brother blackballed him from acting. Schwinn’s crowd loved McLaglan not only had he built a fascist organization in England, but he was teaching Nazis and White Russians “how to kill through jiujitsu.” Soon after they met in September 1937 at the Nazi-run German Day Celebration (which attracted a crowd of 3,000), McLaglan invited Slocombe, longtime fascist Henry Allen and prominent Hollywood photographer and Silver Shirts leader Ken Alexander to dinner at his favorite restaurant, the House of Sullivan. Over Tom Collinses and scotch and sodas, McLaglan shared his “bloody good idea.” And bloody it was. To garner “worldwide publicity, we are going to have to do a wholesale slaughtering here in the city of plenty of the leading Jews.” He planned on targeting Jewish studio execs, the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League and the Christians who aided them. “I can get the Nazi boys and the White Russians who would do this for us,” he promised. White Russian leader George Doombadze, he added, has a “psycho” fellow “who does this stuff for him all the time.”

Slocombe sent Lewis 24 names on McLaglan’s killing list, which included some of the most famous people in the world, including Cantor, Chaplin, Goldwyn, Jolson, Jack Benny, James Cagney, Fredric March, Paul Muni, Joseph Schenck, B.P. Schulberg, Gloria Stuart, Sylvia Sidney, Donald Ogden Stewart, Walter Winchell and William Wyler. As they reviewed the hit list, McLaglan revealed he had spoken to FNG leader Schwinn about the assassination plot “many times.” Schwinn told McLaglan that his Nazi allies “were particularly interested in eliminating” the key leaders of the Anti-Nazi League.

Boasting that he “could get all the dynamite he needed through the police,” McLaglan would provide two dozen Nazi and Russian assassins with the bombs and the names and addresses of their targets, all of whom would be murdered on the same night. Knowing that they would likely fall under suspicion, McLaglan suggested they spend the night of the killings in Santa Barbara to have “a perfect alibi.”

The plot unraveled when Slocombe convinced Allen and Alexander that McLaglan planned a double-cross in which he would pin the murders on them. So they double-crossed first, striking a deal with District Attorney Buron Fitts: sworn statements implicating McLaglan in return for immunity. Evidence in hand, the police arrested McLaglan on Oct. 26, 1937 but instead of charging him with attempted murder, the D.A.’s office covered up police involvement in the murder plot by charging the British fascist only with extorting money from millionaire Philip Chancellor (who had hired McLaglan to conduct an undercover operation). When the trial began six weeks later, McLaglan, dressed in a dapper suit and sporting a monocle, pleaded not guilty, but a jury found him guilty of extortion. Sentenced to five years in prison, McLaglan received probation on the condition that he take the first ship back to England.

Having saved Hollywood Jews a second time, Lewis and his spies turned to getting Schwinn deported. In September 1938, armed with evidence provided by Lewis and Ness, the U.S. Department of Naturalization and Immigration began steps to revoke Schwinn’s citizenship. Nine months later, federal judge Ralph Jenny ruled that Schwinn had perjured himself by providing false information on his application for citizenship. Although Schwinn told the court he had made “an honest mistake,” the judge, insisting that the Nazi was not of “good moral character,” revoked his citizenship. Two hours later, Lewis’ informant Jimmy Frost gave him more good news: The immigration service had begun deportation proceedings against the Nazi.

Despite their success, Lewis and his spies never received the recognition they deserved. It was not until after Pearl Harbor that the communist-obsessed FBI acted against Nazi spies. In the days and weeks after the attack on Dec. 7, 1941, J. Edgar Hoover’s men received nationwide acclaim for the speed and efficiency with which they rounded up Axis spies and fifth columnists. Yet, as Lewis’ assistant Joseph Roos later noted, the Los Angeles FBI “had scant security information of their own.” Government intelligence agents simply retyped the list of suspected German agents and subversive fifth columnists sent by Lewis and claimed it as theirs. As far as the FBI was concerned, its job was done. On Oct. 3, 1942, the L.A. bureau filed what it believed was its last report on Schwinn: “As no further investigation is contemplated &hellip this case is being closed.”

The FBI may have closed its case on Schwinn and the Bund, but Lewis knew that the fifth-column movement remained alive and that hatred of Jews had grown stronger since Pearl Harbor. With the FBI focused on rounding up suspected foreign agents, it was up to him to expose any threats to the city’s Jewish community. Over the next several years, he relied on the mother-daughter spy team of Grace and Sylvia Comfort to keep tabs on &mdash and foil the plots of &mdash anti-Semites. One member of the California Women’s Republican Club told Sylvia Comfort that all Jews should be “hung from lampposts within five years,” while another complained, “that was too slow.” Knowing it would take only one crazy person to carry out these threats, Lewis and his operatives continued watching over the city with an eye to protecting Jews from Nazis and anti-Semites.

There are many ways to fight an enemy, not all of which require guns. The actions taken by Lewis and his allies require us to change the way we think about American Jewish resistance in the 1930s. From August 1933 until the end of World War II, with few resources at their disposal, Lewis and his courageous undercover operatives continually defeated a variety of enemies &mdash Nazis, fascists and fifth columnists &mdash bent on violence and murder. Without ever firing a weapon, they managed to keep Los Angeles and its citizens safe.

Lewis and the men and women who aided him were heroes who never sought glory. He died of a heart attack at age 65 in 1954 mostly unrecognized, except by a few, and what happened faded from memory.

In the wake of recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the rise of neo-Nazi activities across the country, Lewis’ story offers a guide to what happens when hate groups move from the margins into the mainstream of American society and when an American government seems complacent or, as some would argue, complicit. Lewis understood that democracy requires constant vigilance against all enemies, internal and external. He and his network of spies showed that when a government fails to stem the rise of extremists bent on violence, it is up to every citizen to protect the lives of every American, no matter their race or religion. Only in a “unified America,” he said after the war, could the nation and its citizens achieve the true “realization of the American democratic ideal.”

Adaptado de Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America. Copyright © Steven J. Ross, 2017. Published by Bloomsbury USA. Order here.

This story first appeared in the Sept. 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.


This Is How the Allies Attempted to Kill Hitler

Punto clave: They did try to do him in and there were Germans too who hated Hitler. However, he would not die until by his own hand at the end of the war.

Adolf Hitler believed in Vorsehung (providence). The German leader felt that if anything was going to happen to him, such as assassination, there was nothing he could do about it. He had been selected by fate to achieve something great he would not die, either by accident or assassination, until he had fulfilled that God-given mission.Time and time again in the past, providence, not planning, had taken care of him. In 1933, for instance, just before he became master of the Third Reich, he was involved in a terrible car crash with a truck. He emerged from the wreckage stating that he could not die yet—his mission had not yet been achieved.

This first appeared earlier in 2020 and is being reposted due to reader interest.

It was the same with assassination attempts. Hitler explained that he had many enemies and expected disgruntled Germans and others to try to kill him. But they would never succeed, especially if they came from the German working class. He used to state to his staff quite categorically, “Mil tut kein deutscher Arbeiter was” (“No German worker will ever do anything to me.”). Once, when he was advised by worried police to use the back entrance to a noisy and angry meeting of workers, Hitler snorted, “I am not going through any back door to meet my workers!”

As for those aristocratic Monokelfritzen (Monocle Fritzes, those high-born, monocled aristocrats Hitler had hated with a passion ever since the Great War), both civilian and military, whom he knew from his intelligence sources had been trying to eradicate him in these last years of the 1930s, he was confident that this personal providence would save him. And in truth, until the very end, providence did protect Hitler from all the attempts on his life, including the generals’ plot to kill him in July 1944.

Naturally, ever since Hitler’s election as chancellor in 1933, his security guards had taken secret precautions to protect him. Like some medieval potentate, all the Führer’s food was checked daily before it was served to him. Each day, his personal doctor had to report that the Führer’s food supplies were free of poison. Party Secretary Martin Bormann ran daily checks on the water at any place where the Führer might stay to ascertain whether it might contain any toxic substances.

Later, when Bormann, in his usual fawning manner, started to grow “bio-vegetables” in his Berchtesgaden gardens for the Führer’s consumption, Hitler’s staff would not allow the produce to appear on the master’s vegetarian menu. Once, just before the war, a bouquet of roses was thrown into the Führer’s open Mercedes. One of his SS adjutants picked it up and a day later started to show the symptoms of poisoning. The roses were examined and found to be impregnated with a poison that could be absorbed through the skin. Thereafter, the order was given out secretly that no “admirer” should be allowed to throw flowers into Hitler’s car. In addition, from then on, adjutants would wear gloves.

On another occasion, Hitler, who loved dogs (some said more than human beings), was given a puppy by a supposed admirer. It turned out that the cuddly little dog had been deliberately infected with rabies. Fortunately for Hitler, and not so fortunately for the rest of humanity, the puppy bit a servant before it bit him. It seemed that Hitler’s vaunted providence had taken care of him yet again.

Thereafter, plan after plan was drawn up to kill Hitler by his German and Anglo-American enemies. All failed. Although back in 1939, the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, had stated, “We have not reached the stage in our diplomacy when we have to use assassination as a substitute for diplomacy.” Prime Minister Winston Churchill decided in April 1945, however, that Hitler must die—by assassination! He gave the task to his most ruthless and anti-German commander, Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris, the head of Royal Air Force Bomber Command, whose aircrews often called him bitterly “Butcher” Harris.

Back in the summer of 1943, Harris had sworn that Berlin would be “hammered until the heart of Nazi Germany would cease to exist.” Hard man that he was, Harris had once been stopped by a young policeman and told if he continued to speed in his big American car, he would kill someone. Coldly, “Bomber” had replied, “Young man, I kill hundreds every night.” He now ordered that Hitler should be dealt with at last in his own home. The Führer had escaped, so Allied intelligence reasoned, from his ruined capital Berlin. So where could he be? The answer was obvious. “Wolf,” the alias Hitler had used before he achieved power in 1933, had returned to his mountain lair.

In that last week of April 1945, Allied intelligence felt there were only two possible places where Hitler might now be holed up since his East Prussian headquarters had been overrun by the Red Army. Either he was in Berlin, or at his Eagle’s Nest in the Bavarian Alps above the township of Berchtesgaden. Reports coming from Switzerland and relayed to Washington and London by Allen Dulles of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) stated that the Germans were building up a kind of last-ditch mountain fortress in the Austrian-German Alps, so Allied intelligence was inclined to think that Hitler had already headed for Berchtesgaden where he could lead the Nazis’ fight to the finish. The bulk of the Reichsbank’s gold bullion had already been sent to the area to disappear in perhaps the biggest robbery in history.

Luftwaffe chief Hermann Göring had gone in the same direction, followed by Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, who had taken up residence in his stolen Austrian castle. More importantly, SS General Sepp Dietrich’s beaten 6th SS Panzer Army was retreating from Hungary, followed by the Red Army, heading for Austria and the same general area. Thus, the Allied planners decided that if they were finally going to assassinate Hitler, they would find him in his mountain home—built for him over the last decade by Bormann. Prominent Nazis, the Prominenz, just like Mafia chieftains, had erected their own homes in Berchtesgaden to be close to Hitler.

Once it had simply been a rural beauty spot, with a couple of modest hotels surrounded by small hill farms that had been in the same hands for centuries. Bormann changed all that. He bribed, threatened, and blackmailed the Erbbaueren (the hereditary farmers, as they were called) to abandon their farms. He sold their land at premium rates to fellow Nazis and then, as war loomed, erected a military complex to protect the Führer whenever he was in residence on the mountain among the “Mountain People,” as the Nazis called themselves. After he completed his 50th birthday present for the Führer, the Eagle’s Nest, which Hitler visited only five times and which cost 30 million marks to construct, Bormann turned his attention to making the whole mountain complex as secure as possible, both from the land and the air.

Bormann, the “Brown Eminence” as he was known, the secretive party secretary, who in reality wielded more power on the German home front than Hitler himself, declared the whole mountain sperrgebiet (off limits). A battalion of the Waffen SS was stationed there permanently. Together with mountain troops from nearby Bad Reichenhall, the SS patrolled the boundaries of this prohibited area 24 hours a day, something the British planners of Operation Foxley, a land attack planned by the British in February 1945, had not reckoned with.

Then, Bormann turned his attention to the threat of an air attack. Great air raid shelters were dug, not only for the Führer and the Prominenz, but also for the guards, servants, and foreign workers—there was even a cinema, which could hold 8,000 people. Chemical companies were brought in and stationed at strategic points on the mountain. As soon as the first warning of an enemy air attack was given, they could produce a smoke screen, which, in theory, could cover the key parts of the area in a matter of minutes. Finally, there were the fighter bases such as Furstenfeldbruck in the Munich area where planes could be scrambled to ward off any aerial attack from the west or indeed over the Alps from the newer Allied air bases in Italy.

Whether it was because of Bormann’s precautions, the problem of flying over the Alps in a heavy, bomb-laden aircraft, or Allied scruples about bombing an enemy politician’s home, the mountain had not been seriously troubled by air raids until now. Bomber Harris was determined to end all that. If anyone could, Harris swore, he would blast Berchtesgaden off the map.


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