Posts

Showing posts from November, 2019

The Tarnished Career of Johann Hans Wolpe

Image
Introduction
A few weeks ago, I posted several blogs about one of the individuals involved with Jürgen Ziebell in an Irish naturalisation scheme. Johann Hans Wolpe was a Jewish financier who had left Berlin under suspicious circumstances, bumped around Paris for a few years and then ended up in Holland, from whence he was eventually deported to a concentration camp and murdered.

I had found some intriguing references to Wolpe in a book about Aleister Crowley which included an Appendix about Leon Engers Kennedy. Engers was the brother-in-law of Wolpe and Frank van Lamoen, assistant curator at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, had conducted extensive research into Engers life.

Lamoen noted that in 1925, Beatrice and Johann Wolpe moved their family from Berlin to Paris. That same year, Wolpe and Fritz Klekottka were accused of a swindle. In 1935, Wolpe, while living in Paris tried to sell forged shares. In 1938, Beatrice and Wolpe moved to The Hague but by 1939, they couple was divorced.

I re…

Book Review - Ghost of a Hurt - Bella in the Wych Elm - Rik Rawling (2008)

Image
During my research into the Bella story, I've come across repeated references to a booklet published by Rik Rawling entitled Ghost of a Hurt. Unable to find a copy online, I reached out to Pete Merrill (co-author of another book on Bella) and got Rawling's contact info. Rawling was kind enough to send me a copy of his booklet in Word format, the published versions all being long since dispersed. The booklet was part of a set which included a compact disc and cassettes.

The document is about 15 pages long and the first third is taken up with Rudolf Hess and his mission to England. In the later two thirds of the booklet, Rawling examines the Bella mystery and suggests there may be a connection with Rudolf Hess - that Bella may have been a German spy sent to Britain in late 1941 to escape the Aktion Hess (retaliation against astrologers in Germany). In the final few pages of the booklet, Rawling examines some other, more recent events surrounding Hagley Wood (abductions, rapes, …

The Spy in the Tower - Reviews and a Request

Image
The Spy in the Tower has been published for just over six months now and I've received some feedback from a few people, including a maternal uncle who thought he was ordering a "pamphlet" and received a "tome", much to his surprise! It certainly isn't an overnight read but I was hoping that a few people may have had a chance to read through it.

The granddaughter of Lily Knips posted this kind review on Amazon.co.uk:I am declaring an interest' as I'm mentioned in the book as is my grandmother Lily Knips who formed a relationship with Josef Jakobs 'the spy in the Tower' before finding safety in England as a refugee in 1938 from Nazi Germany.

Giselle Jakobs contacted me a few years ago and brought this extraordinary story to my attention and I was able to help with some aspects of her research.

Over the past five years she has worked tirelessly to create an absorbing book exploring the fate of spies sent over to spy for Germany-in this …

Geheimisse des Towers: Spione und Kronjuwelen - ZDF (2019) - in German

Image
A cousin of mine in Germany made me aware of a German documentary that broadcast on 11 June 2019 in Germany. The show was a four part series on Geheimnisse des Towers (Secrets of the Tower [of London]):
Geheimnisse des Towers: Spione und Kronjuwelen (Spies & Crown Jewels)Geheimnisse des Towers: Verschwörer und Verräter (Conspirators & Traitors)Geheimnisse des Towers: Könige und Henker (Kings & Executioners)Geheimnisse des Towers: Prinzen und Rebellen (Princes & Rebels) I watched the episode on Spies and Crown Jewels shortly after it aired via the web and thought they did a fair job of telling the story of Josef Jakobs. They had a nice little piece in which they interviewed Bridget Clifford, curator of the Armouries at the Tower.

I wanted to watch the episode again before writing this blog post but... it is no longer available online. I wrote an email to the broadcasting company (ZDF - Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen - public broadcasting company) and asked for a digital co…

The Mystery of Le Touquet Syndicate and Josef Jakobs

Image
There are a few mysteries in Josef's MI5 files, and one of them lies in folder KV 2/25, folio 87a - a memo on 30 May 1941 from H.P. Milmo (B2c) to Mr. Hunter (B6)
First off, it's important to note that the memo has Josef's Personal File number on it (P.F. 55039), which means it is definitely connected to his case file.

In the memo, Milmo requests particulars of the directors of the "Le Touquet Syndicate Limited". On 4 June 1941, Hunter sends the memo back with an added note to see the attached particulars from Somerset House.

The particulars comprise two pages of information on Le Touquet Syndicate, although the official scanned pdf from the National Archives only includes the first page. The photocopy of the file I obtained in 2003 has the second page, see below.

Briefly. Le Touquet Syndicate Ltd. was a company registered on 9 May 1903 with a nominal capital of £50,000 divided into £1 shares. The object of the company was to acquire the land known as Le Touquet …

Book Review - Shanghai Remembered - Bert Faulbaum (ed.) (2005)

Image
The Book
Shanghai Remembered: Stories of Jews who escaped to Shanghai from Nazi Europe. Bert Falbaum (ed.). Momentum Books. 2005.

Summary

I came across this book while researching the stories of the German Jews who got caught up in Niska and Ziebell's passport business.

The book is composed of chapters written by individuals whose families escaped Nazi Europe to Shanghai, one of the only "open" places in the world for desperate Jews. About 20,000 Jews survived the war in Shanghai, although conditions were often quite horrific, particularly after the Japanese entered the war and sequestered all of the European Jewish refugees in the Hongkew Ghetto.

One of the chapters is written by the daughter of Martin Goldstein, the man who acted as a connector between Niska and Ziebell.

The stories are all fascinating, tragic and hopeful. When so many Jews stayed behind in Germany and Austria, reluctant to travel to the notorious Paris of the Orient, a brave few took their lives in thei…