From the Mail Box

I thought I'd tuck an extra blog post (or two) into my monthly schedule. A Friday revisit of correspondence from the week (or month). And this doesn't include my regular correspondents like Traugott V., Tony K. Nick H. Tony P. and Adrian B. I'm reporting here on new correspondents... mostly because I am always intrigued by their stories and why they reached out to me.

Johann Hans Wolpe

Linked to Jürgen Ziebell (Berlin black market passport scam) in trying to secure Irish naturalizations for Jews desperate to flee Nazi Germany. Blog post 1, Blog post 2 and Blog post 3

I actually received three Wolpe communiques within the span of two weeks!

Nov 2018 - Wolpe family at the display
of Hans Max Wolpe in the Royal Winnipeg
Rifles Museum

First up was Wayne C., a researcher at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg who was looking for information on Hans Max Wolpe (the son of Johann Hans Wolpe) who had unofficially joined the Royal Winnipeg Rifles during the Second World War. I shared some documents I had on Hans Max and Wayne in return shared a link to a display on Hans Max at the regimental museum in Winnipeg. Cool. Wayne was also in touch with Lisa W., the daughter of Hans Max Wolpe and put me in touch with her as well.

Lisa W. and I are going to have a chat sometime in the coming week.

I also got an email from Johann R., the grandson of Felix Rhodius, onetime director of the Rhodius Koenigs Handel Maatschap in Holland during the 1920s, 30s and 40s. Wolpe had a tangential relationship to the Rhodius Koenigs bank and in researching the bank's history, I had found some Nazi ties. Johann asked to see some of my research material on his grandfather, which I shared gladly. It also spurred me to do a bit more digging which yielded more information on the bank. Johann is still sifting through the material that I sent but I'm hoping we can exchange some more emails and information.

Spy Transmitters

A few years ago, when I was conducting research for the book, I had connected with Ben Nock of the Military Wireless Museum who had kindly deciphered the schematic drawings of Josef's wireless transmitter/receiver set and concluded that it was an SE 88/5.

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Thomas H. a German radio buff down in Bavaria. He personally knew Rudi S., a former radioman for the Abwehr in Hamburg (now well into his 90s!). Thomas and his cohort of radio aficionados were trying to untangle some conflicting information on the wireless sets that the LENA spies had in their possession when they landed.

I sent the schematics for Josef's set to Thomas and a few other bits and pieces from other files (Ter Braak and TATE).

After some consultation, the Thomas team think that Josef's radio (and most of the other LENA radios) was actually an SE 92/3!

I am going to have to review the material that Thomas sent and am hoping to get a blog post up some time in the near future. I don't know that I've ever done a post on Josef's radio... just a brief piece on the radios on display at the Imperial War Museum in London. I now think I might need to revamp that blog in light of the new information!

A Kind Farmer from Ramsey, Huntingdonshire

I also received an email from Miranda C. whose Godmother is the daughter of Charles Baldock, one of the farmers who found Josef lying in the potato field near Ramsey on the morning of February 1, 1941.

Miranda said that her Godmother "told my sister and I the story many times, particularly how her Dad gave Josef his jacket, I think because he was injured and cold".

I had never heard that little piece of human kindness and it touched me deeply. Even though the farmers knew that Josef had come from Germany (thanks to his German military helmet), and was an enemy, they still treated him with kindness and compassion.

Outgoing Mail

As part of my ongoing quest to track down the demise of Robin William George Stephens, I think I have tracked down his final step-child, Antonia Fletcher. It took quite a bit of sleuthing on both Ancestry and Find-My-Pasts but... fingers crossed... I think I have it. Antonia appears to have had two children and I tracked down the daughter to an address in Richmond, Surrey. I sent off an old-fashioned letter this past week. It's a long shot but... they sometimes pay off and I am hopeful. Stay tuned for more info...

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