A Window into the Minds of Abwehr Officers - Die Nachhut

Over the course of the last year, I've written a few blog posts in which an Abwehr officer named Walter Schulze-Bernett played a role.

From June 1940 to June 1941, Schulze-Bernett was head of Gruppe I, Ast Netherlands in The Hague, a key period when Germany was throwing spies at the UK in preparation for Operation Sealion. Whilst researching the blog on Harm Knol Bruins, I came across an article written by Schulze-Bernett on the Venlo Incident entitled: Der Grenzzwischenfall bei Venlo/Holland (The Border Incident near Venlo/Holland).

The article is reproduced on a site devoted to George Elser, a German worker who organized the the Bürgerbräukeller assassination attempt on Hitler on 8 November 1939 in Munich. The author of the site, Peter Koblank, also has a sub-page devoted to the Venlo Incident, on which is the link for Schulze-Bernett's article.

The most intriguing thing about Schulze-Bernett's article is its provenance. According to Koblank, the article was published in a magazine called "Die Nachhut" [The Rearguard].

Quelle: Walter Schulze-Bernett, Der Grenzzwischenfall bei Venlo/Holland, in: Die Nachhut, Nr. 23/24 vom 15.5.1973, München 1973; Schreibfehler, auch bei Personen- und Ortsnamen, wurden originalgetreu übernommen sowie einige [Kommentare] eingefügt. [Spelling mistakes, also with personal and place names, were copied true to original as well as some [comments] inserted.]

Die Nachhut - cover
image is of the 3 Wise Monkeys
(hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil)
(from Google Books)
Die Nachhut
I did bit of research.... and Die Nachhut was a publication of AGEA (Arbeitsgemeinschaft ehemaliger Abwehrangehöriger - essentially "Working Group of former Members of the Abwehr").

From 1967 to 1975, the group published 32 editions of Die Nachhut in pamphlet form. Articles came from various former members of the Abwehr scattered in cities throughout Europe. Contributions included reviews of intelligence books, articles as well as tables including death dates for former members of the Abwehr.

The periodical sounds quite fascinating and initially I thought that it was only available in libraries/archives in Germany but the AG der GedenkstättenBibliotheken (AGGB-Katalog) notes that The Wiener Library for the Study of the Holocaust & Genocide in London has a complete set!

It would be intriguing to examine the 32 editions and see if any of the key Abwehr personnel from Ast I in Hamburg had offered contributions. At the very least, Die Nachhut might list the death dates for some of these individuals.

I'll be taking a blog posting hiatus over the holidays - back with a post on 8 January 2020...

Mythos Elser site - devoted to Georg Elser
Wikipedia - AGEA
AGGB Katalog site - lists libraries/archives holding Die Nachhut


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