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Showing posts from January, 2019

Media Review - Nazi Murder Mysteries - Yesterday Channel - Who put Bella in the Wych Elm (2018)

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The Yesterday Channel (UK) aired a six-part series entitled "Nazi Murder Mysteries" late last year.

The fourth episode aired in early December and was one in which I participated.

Episode 4 - Who put Bella in the Wych Elm
This episode, unlike the first three, tells a story with which I am very familiar!

In 1943, three boys found a skull in a wych elm in Hagley Wood in the West Midlands. An almost complete skeleton was recovered from the tree by the police and attempts were made to identify the 30-something woman, without success. Over the decades, many rumours, theories, and conspiracy theories have swirled around the story of Bella in the Wych Elm. The skeletal remains disappeared. The coroner's report was destroyed after 15 years. Some of the police files are missing. One can see how the story is fertile ground for speculation!

This episode of Nazi Murder Mysteries summarizes the case quite well, without getting lost in some of the more outlandish theories. Its focus …

The Hague - Vondelstraat Wireless Training Centre

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In January 1941, Josef Jakobs received wireless training in The Hague prior to being sent on his espionage mission to England. During his interrogation by MI5, he was asked many questions about the German Abwehr's activities in The Hague, most of which he could not answer. He did admit that the wireless training took place in a flat in the Vondelstraat. The exact address, however, was unclear.

When Karel Richter arrived at MI5's interrogation centre, he too admitted to being trained at a flat in the Vondelstraat. By piecing Karel and Josef's statements together, we can circle a bit closer to an exact location for the flat.

According to Richter and Josef, the Vondelstraat was a fairly broad residential street with a few green grocers and tobacco kiosks and ran west from Prinzenstraat (likely Prinsestraat) to Elandstraat. According to Josef and Richter, one side of the street had large, five story red stone apartment houses, newly built, while the other side was somewhat old…

Media Review - Nazi Murder Mysteries - Yesterday Channel - A Serial Killer in Berlin (2018)

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The Yesterday Channel (UK) is airing a six-part series entitled "Nazi Murder Mysteries".

The third episode aired in late November and was quite fascinating!

Episode 1 - A Serial Killer in Berlin
This episode, like the first two, tells a story of which I had never heard. A number of women were assaulted and murdered in Berlin in the early years of the war, generally either on, or around, the S-Bahn lines in the southeastern corner of the city. The Criminal Police (KriPo) in Berlin use some sophisticated forensic technique and good old-fashioned detective work to eventually corner the killer, Paul Ogorzow. As it turned out, Ogorzow pleaded guilty to eight murders, six attempted murders and thirty-one assaults.

What I found most intriguing however, was the side-story of one of the KriPo detectives, George Heuser, who would go on to become an SS-Obersturmf├╝hrer and participate in the systematic murder of Jews, Gypsies and Russians during the German occupation of Russia (1941-194…