major intellectual, Rudolf Pechel: Rudolf Pechel had been arrested in 1942 because of an article that had displeased Goebbels. He was born in Güstrow in 1888. He had been a naval officer before the First World War. Close to Moeller van den Bruck in the 1920s, he had later moved away from nationalism. During the war, he frequented the most active members of the German opposition (Carl Goerdeler, Wilhelm Leuschner). In 1947, Pechel wrote a book titled German Resistance (Deutscher Widerstand) in order to prove that there had been forms of rebellion in his country. He spent the end of his life in Switzerland, where he died in 1961.

journal circulated in secret: German Federal Archives, Koblenz, Rudolf Pechel file.

Golo Mann, Wilhelm Röpke: Carlo Schmid (1896–1979): major postwar Social Democratic leader, he was also an activist for Franco-German reconciliation and the construction of Europe. Golo Mann (1909–94): historian, son of Thomas Mann. Wilhelm Röpke (1899–1966): economist, one of the spiritual fathers of the “social market economy.”

been a patriotic gesture: In their democratic and pro-Western declarations of faith, Rudolf Pechel, and Ernst Kocherthaler as well, were in sympathy with the Moral Rearmament movement founded by the American minister Frank Buchman, who promoted a “world without hatred, without fear, without egotism,” and who had committed himself to a “moral and spiritual reconstruction” of Europe, with the reconciliation of old enemies, particularly France and Germany, as a priority.

acted as a patriot: “I am convinced to have acted as a German patriot in having proved to some Allied personalities I got acquainted with that even in Germany the front of goodwill has existed and still exists.” “The Story of George.”

Republic only in 1968: Article 20, paragraph 4 of the Fundamental Law of the FRG, added to the 1948 Constitution in 1968, stipulated that “all Germans have the right to resist against anyone who undertakes to remove the democratic order, if no other means is possible.”

Lisbon, Stockholm, or Madrid: Mary Alice Gallin, German Resistance to Hitler: Ethical and Religious Factors (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 1962). Hasso von Etzdorf was a conservative diplomat opposed to the Nazis during the Second World War.

aim of saving lives: Bancroft, Autobiography of a Spy, p. 195.

soldier would have done: In a speech delivered on July 20, 1964 for the twentieth anniversary of the plot against Hitler, Eugen Gerstenmaier pointed out that the Germans who resisted Nazism had had “constantly to weigh the balance between rebellion against the government and loyalty to the people and the army.” Hans-Jakob Stehle, “Der Mann, der den Krieg verkürzen wollte.” “They’ll die, that’s what they deserve,” Fritz had said to Adolphe Jung about the Germans. See Chapter 5.

were particularly compromised: Among them was Werner von Bargen, former envoy of the Reich to Belgium, who shared responsibility for the deportation of Jews from Belgium during the war. Döscher, Verschworene Gesellschaft.

was already too late: Ibid.

Berlin in April 1948: According to Richard Helms and William Hood, Fritz Kolbe received a monthly pension from the CIA starting a few years later when he settled in Switzerland in the mid-1950s. A Look Over My Shoulder. According to Peter Kolbe, Fritz also received a pension from the Foreign Ministry in the last years of his life.

employer terminated discussions: Letter from Ernst Kocherthaler to Allen Dulles, February 20, 1953, Allen W. Dulles Papers.

life and never complained: “He was not plaintive in any sense. It was just those little things that an individual lets out, that shows that you were hurt by the fact that you have been thrown aside.” Richard Helms, interview with Linda Martin for The History Channel, September 2003. “Kolbe never expressed any feelings of bitterness or regret about his post-war fate.” Tom Polgar, letter to the author, May 13, 2002.

see his son again: Handwritten document written by Maria Fritsch in October 1972. Collection of Martin and Gudrun Fritsch.

him which never came: All these details come from an interview of Peter Kolbe in Sydney, November 2001.

Hermsdorf of the CIA: Relations between Fritz and his third wife, Maria, seem to have gone through some rough times in the 1950s. In her private diaries of the time, Maria confided her romantic unhappiness. At the end of her life, she admitted never having fully penetrated Fritz’s personality: “he came from another planet,” she said. Interview with Gudrun and Martin Fritsch, Berlin, January 2002.

the language very well: Even though he has never lived in Germany, Peter Kolbe speaks unaccented German and has a slight German accent when he speaks English.

Africa in January 1954: Peter returned to Germany several times and relations with his father grew a bit smoother over time. He studied science in South Africa and Australia and became a geologist. After post-doctoral studies at MIT and a position with an American company based in Canada, he moved to Australia, where he took up a position as professor of geology and geochemistry at Sydney University, where he spent the rest of his career. With the passage of time, Peter Kolbe has inwardly reconciled himself with his father and is finally grateful to him for not bringing him back to Germany in September 1939.

cement market in South Africa: Correspondence between Fritz Kolbe and his son, September 1953. “My father sent me letters in which he asked me for stacks of information about the economic needs of South Africa: concrete poles for telephone lines, wooden ties for railroad lines…. I found this completely ridiculous and I said to myself, what a loser!” Peter Kolbe, Sydney, November 2001.

to join the Masons: Peter Kolbe joined a lodge in Durban, but set foot in it only once or twice.

on February 26, 1953: “Without Kolbe, Allen Dulles would never have become head of the CIA,” according to Mary Bancroft, former informal collaborator and mistress of Allen Dulles, in an article by Barbara Ungeheuer in Die Zeit, May 1986.

influential New York organization: The Council on Foreign Relations was established after the First World War by young disciples of President Wilson, among them Allen Dulles. The organization saw the light of day at the Hotel Majestic in Paris in May 1919, during the negotiations on the Versailles treaty. Over time, the forum became a nursery for the upper echelons of the American leadership.

the Nazi Foreign Ministry: Allen W. Dulles Papers. On the death of Allen Dulles on January 30, 1969, all the obituaries in the American press mentioned the existence of “George Wood.”

the Kappa-Wood material: Letter from General John Magruder to Allen Dulles, December 6, 1945, Allen W. Dulles Papers.

raids on German cities: Speech of President Truman reprinted in the press release from Macmillan in presentation of the book by Allen Dulles on German resistance to Nazism, Germany’s Underground (1947). Allen W. Dulles Papers.

by the United States: Among other sources, we may cite a letter from Fritz Kolbe to his son, dated May 1968, in which he criticizes Western consumer society and exhibits understanding for the rebellion of young people in France and around Europe, personal archives of Fritz Kolbe.

had never dropped him: The two men remained in touch until the death of Allen Dulles. In the 1960s, they continued to meet in Bern or in the United States whenever the opportunity arose.

Fritz secure this position: From the mid-1950s on, Fritz was not content to be merely a sales representative for a chain saw company. He also represented in Switzerland the interests of his friend Walter Girgner, owner of a large clothing company in Germany (Trumpf shirts), and accumulated assignments for sales canvassing in all areas (steel, machinery, textiles, etc.).

were infested with snakes: German Federal Archives, Koblenz, Rudolf Pechel file, correspondence with Fritz Kolbe, April 1954.

$250 a month: The contract is in the personal archives of Fritz Kolbe.

what he could do: Peter Sichel, interview, Bordeaux, December 1, 2001.


that of Fritz Kolbe: See the illustrated volume 100 Jahre Auswärtiges Amt (1870–1970), published by the German Foreign Ministry in 1970, and Widerstand im auswärtigen Dienst, published by the ministry in 1994. The names of the martyrs of July 20, 1944 engraved in marble in the ministry were (and remain) the following: Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff, Eduard Brücklmeier, Hans-Bernd von Haeften, Ulrich von Hassell, Otto Kiep, Herbert Mumm von Schwarzenstein, Friedrich-Werner Graf von der Schulenburg, Adam von Trott zu Solz, Herbert Gollnow, Richard Kuenzer, and Hans Litter, to which was added a few years later Rudolf von Scheliha. All these diplomats were executed between 1942 and 1945.

list of the “just”: Ludwig Biewer, director of archives for the Foreign Ministry.

to his friend intolerable: “The ironic result of the story is that a valiant patriot could have been considered a traitor to his country, when he really was one of the few who helped that in the decisive moments of German history a responsible American set of politicians could stop the Morgenthau policy and back Germany against Soviet Russia’s domination.” Ernst Kocherthaler, “The Background of the George Story.”

years left to live: Ernst Kocherthaler died in Bern on September 6, 1966.

suspicions weighing on him: Letter from Eugen Gerstenmaier, March 10, 1965, personal archives of Fritz Kolbe.

to me my honor: Letter from Fritz Kolbe to Ernst Kocherthaler, January 10, 1965, personal archives of Fritz Kolbe.

February 16, 1971 in Bern: “He did not die peacefully,” says his son, who was present for his last moments in a Bern hospital. His last words were to ask his son whether he “had been a good father.” His estate, inventoried by a Bern notary, included among assets 47,746 Swiss francs, a 1968 Opel Commodore GS, and a guitar. Fritz Kolbe’s personal indebtedness amounted to 7882 Swiss francs.

director of the CIA: Richard M. Helms (1913–2002) was director of the CIA from 1966 to 1973. A former journalist, he had covered the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games for United Press and had interviewed Hitler. He joined the OSS in 1943 and continued his career in the CIA after the war. He succeeded Allen Dulles as chief of American intelligence in Germany after October 1945. After his return to Washington, Allen Dulles asked him to handle Fritz Kolbe’s immigration file between 1947 and 1949. He was appointed director of the CIA in 1966 under the presidency of Lyndon Johnson. In 1977, after refusing to testify before Congress on the role of the CIA in the 1973 coup d’état in Chile, he was given a suspended sentence of two years in prison and fined $2,000. The memoirs of Richard Helms, written in collaboration with William Hood, were published in the United States in the spring of 2003, with the title A Look Over My Shoulder.

in his own country: Unused material for Great True Spy Stories (1967), Allen W. Dulles Papers.


My special thanks go to Peter Kolbe (Sydney), the son of Fritz Kolbe, who welcomed me to his home, opened his father’s archives to me, and answered all my questions. Without him, this book would not have been possible.

I would also like to thank Peter Kolbe for having made available the photographic documents, some of which are reproduced in this book.

Thanks also to: Peter Sichel (New York, Bordeaux), head of the CIA in Berlin after the war, who greatly helped me at all stages of this book.

Hans-Jürgen Döscher (Osnabrück), historian of the German Foreign Ministry, who granted me the benefit of his incomparable knowledge of the German diplomatic administration and its history.

Axel Frohn and Hans-Michael Kloth (Der Spiegel), who made me want to write this book.

Philippe Garnier (Denoël, Paris), for his patience and encouragement.

Florence and all the children: Juliette, Jean-Baptiste, Milán, Benjamin, Eléna, and Mateo, for their infinite patience.

George Holoch, for his great translation and his personal dedication to all the details.

* * *

For their invaluable testimony, I would also like to thank Gudrun and Martin Fritsch in Berlin, Sylvia and Gerald Roth in Geneva, and Marie-Christine and Frank Jung in Strasbourg. I would like to thank each of them as well for kindly making available important unpublished documents, notably some photographs reprinted here, as well as notes and diaries that were used extensively.

My thanks finally, to all those who have in one way or another made valuable contributions to the writing of this book.

Yves-Marc Ajchenbaum, Paris.

Fabrice d’Almeida, Paris.

Nickie Athanassi, Paris.

Hervé Audibert, Joinville-le-Pont.

Lucienne Bastien, Paris.

Gerhard A. Bayer, Bundesverband Deutscher Eisenbahn-Freunde e. V., Füssen-Weisensee.

Ludwig Biewer, archives of the German Foreign Ministry, Berlin.

Dennis E. Bilger, Harry S. Truman Library.

Antoine and Madeleine Bosshard, Lausanne.

Marie-Françoise Bothorel, Paris.

Daniel Bourgeois, Swiss Federal Archives, Bern.

Greg Bradsher, United States National Archives, College Park.

Pierre Braunschweig, Paris.

Jacques Bureau, Paris.

Marianne Brück, Ottobeuren.

Didier Cantarutti, Paris.

Danielle Delattre, Paris.

Micheline Delattre, Noisy-le-Roi.

Cordelia Dodson-Hood, Washington.

Louis-Marie and Nicole Duchamp, Paris.

Wolfgang U. Eckart, Heidelberg.

Bruce Edwards, Rutland, Vermont.

François Fejtö, Paris.

Louis de Fouchécour, Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Mark Fritz, New York.

François George, Paris.

Alfred Gottwaldt, Museum of Science and Technology, Berlin.

Hélène Gournay, Service pédagogique La Coupole.

Jean-Paul Guilloteau, Paris.

Peter Hantke, August Horch Museum, Zwickau.

A. Herrbach, Sélestat.

Stefan Hausherr, Winterthur.

Christine Herme, Paris.

Ronald Hermsdorf, New Boston, New Hampshire.

William Hood, Amagansett, New York.

Erika von Hornstein, Berlin.

Brigitte Kaff, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Sankt Augustin.

Peter Kamber, Bern.

Dr. Pierre Kehr, Strasbourg.

Professor Klemens von Klemperer, Northampton, Massachusetts.

Karin Kolbe, Sydney.

Ursula Kolbe, Sydney.

August von Kageneck, Neuilly-sur-Seine.

Arnold Kramish, Reston, Virginia.

Dr. Ursula Krause-Schmidt, Studienkreis deutscher Widerstand, Frankfurt.

Dominik Landwehr, Kollbrunn, Switzerland.

Linda Martin, CBS News Productions, New York.

Christof Mauch, Washington.

Gerald M. Mayer, Jr., Newbury, New Hampshire.

Fritz Molden, Vienna.

Beth Montandon, Lausanne.

Professor Dr. Rudolf Morsey, Neustadt.

Melissa Müller, Munich.

David Oxenstierna, Boston.

Anne Perfumo, Paris.

Serge Pétillot-Niémetz, Paris.

Gregor Pickro, German Federal Archives, Koblenz.

Tom Polgar, Maitland, Florida.

Norbert Prill, Strasbourg and Bonn.

Rudolf J. Ritter, Grub, Switzerland.

Constantin Roman, London.

Francis Rosenstiel, Strasbourg.

Olivier Rubinstein, Paris.

Ulrich Sahm, Bodenwerder.

Serguei, Paris.

Thomas Sparr, Siedler Verlag, Berlin.

James Srodes, Washington.