Born in 1879 in Berlin, Germany.
Served in the German Navy, rising to the rank of lieutenant before retiring. Took a job as guide on a Hamburg-America ocean liner, taking the rich on cruises around the world. Left the cruise at the brink of World War I, moving to Berlin and volunteering for service in the German Navy but was sent to German Naval Intelligence, because of his ability to speak english. Was sent to England to spy on the British fleet.and provide an assessment of its size and battle-worthiness. Lody was promised that this mission would be a one-time event, after which he was free to return to his job on the cruise lines, having fully satisfied his duty to his country.Was trained in espionage and sent to Norway under the name “Charles Inglis.” He continued on to Scotland in 1914 and monitored the British fleet there, counting the number of warships and estimating their military value.
Traveling around the British territories, he continued gathering information, sketching buildings and machinery and assessing troop readiness. Eventually he returned to England, whereupon he was arrested and court-martialed. Confined in the Tower of London, he was found guilty of spying and sentenced to death. On November 6, 1914, Lody was executed by a firing squad at the Tower of London.Read More »
Born in 1879 in Westphalia, Germany, the son of a member of the wealthy Junker class.
Sent to New York City in 1915 where he worked at the German Consulate. He was assigned to act as a spymaster, overseeing agents assigned to disrupt the conveyance of military supplies from American manufacturers to Britain (the United States was a neutral party at the time while Britain was at war with Germany).
Under his direction, agents set up phony American armaments firms and contracted with Allied countries to provide them with arms. With the Allies hopelessly waiting, the agents would make excuses for continuous delays, with the arms never being delivered. Other schemes he set into place had firms buying up gunpowder in huge quantities which preventing it from becoming available for the Allies.
Papen also attempted to recruit German nationals living in the United States and persuading them to return to Germany to fight on behalf of their mother country. When this came to the attention of U.S. authorities, Papen was ordered to leave the United States.
Was assigned for a period of time to serve as a military attache in Spain where he came into contact with Mata Hari. Was later sent to Palestine where he was to aid the Turks in their war against England and especially in tracking down and crushing the insurgent troops under the leadership of T.H. Lawrence. These attempts were unsuccessful.
In 1943, was introduced to Elyeza Bazna, an Albanian working as a valet for the British Ambassador in Ankara. Bazna offered to provide Papen with secret British documents and information in return for money. Papen approved and Bazna was given the codename “Cicero.” Bazna’s information was invaluable, highly detailed and accurate, even covering meetings between U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Allied plans for the invasion of Europe.
Bazna was compromised as Fritz Kopke, a German national working as an American agent, came across his name in a message from Papen to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and passed it on to Allen Dulles who thereafter passed it on to British Intelligence head Claude Dansey.
After the war, Von Papen was arrested and tried for war crimes at the Nuremberg Tribunal. It was found that his actions were not deemed to have reached a level suffucient to rise to “conspiracy to commit crimes against peace”as he was charged. He was thus found not guilty by the Nuremberg Tribunal. He was, however, arrested by the new German government and charged with various crimes committed during the Nazi regime. He was found guilty and sentenced to eight years in prison. Upon release, he wrote an autobiography documenting his activities.
Papen died in 1979.
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Born 1888 in Dresden, Germany, the son of a protestant parishioner.
Served as a General Staff officer in the German Army during World War I. Was a member of Reichswehr, the limited German Army allowed as part of the Versailles Treaty. Served in the German War Ministry beginning in 1933, later becoming a Colonel, where he headed the Second Department of the Abwehr (oversaw records of German intelligence agents).
A man of moral character, Oster felt disdain for the Nazi movement and contempt for Nazi Fuehrer Adolph Hitler. Aligned himself with other high-ranking officers who felt the same (including spymasters Wilhelm Canaris and Erwin von Lahousen). Clandestinely aided in the escape of Jews from Germany by funneling money to them on the pretense of sending them out to spy in Switzerland.Manfred Roeder of the Reich Military court launched an investigation into Army personnel working against the Nazi Party and discovered notes indicating Oster’s involvement in helping the Jews escape as well as others which detailed attempts to negotiate a separate peace negotiation with with the German Army and the Allies (brokered through the Vatican). Canaris was forced to dismiss Oster.
Oster continued his activities, attempting to oust Hitler. He participated in the ill-fated plot to explode a bomb on a plane in which Hitler would be a passenger as well as the attempt to detonate a bomb during a meeting (both attempts failed). As conspirators were rounded up, Oster was at the top of the list and was immediately arrested.
Oster was executed on April 9, 1945 at the Flossenburg concentration camp.Read More »
Born Margaret Gertrude Zelle on August 7, 1876 in Leeuwarden, Holland.
Father Adam Zelle, a Dutch hatter and his Javanese wife Antje van der Meulen. The family was very wealthy and well to do and raised her in a very happy home with a comfortable lifestyle. After her mother’s death in 1890, she was sent by her father to live in a convent. Briefly attending a teaching school but was expelled after allegedly having sex with the school’s headmaster.
In 1894, answered a “lonely hearts club” advertisement placed by John Rudolph MacLeod, a Dutch colonial officer in the Dutch East Indies, who was 20 years her senior.
The couple married in 1895 and moved to Java where they lived until 1901. The couple’s early years were anything but ideal as she engaged in scandalous affairs and he often slept with other women in their house while she was in the next room.The couple had a son named Norman in January 1896, but the child died, believed to have been poisoned by a former house servant with a vendetta against John. They also had another child, a daughter named Jeanne. At this time, it is rumored, the couple engaged in a blackmail scheme by which Margaret would entice a wealthy landowner into her bed, whereupon John would storm angrily into the room, threatening the man with scandal and then blackmailing him for a lucrative sum (some of the details were reveal during the couple’s divorce proceedings). Despite their money schemes, the marriage was filled with quarrels and John physically abused her. The couple divorced sometime between 1902 and 1904.
With custody of her daughter, Margaret struggled financially, especially after her husband stopped ceased sending support payments. What money she did have she used on dancing lessons, learning the Oriental dances she had seen in Java. After sending her daughter to live with relatives, she embarked upon her new career, performing the mysterious dances of the god Siva. Her early efforts were unsuccessful, as she was unable to secure bookings and was alleged to have worked as a prostitute for a period of time.
When World War I broke out, Mata Hari had decided to engage in another exciting profession – espionage. Having already engaged in numerous affairs with numerous wealthy men and counted many of the most important people in the military and intelligence community as her paramours.
The Chief of the Berlin Police Department, Traugott von Jagow was one of them and he suggested to her that she include pillow talk in her meeting with her important clients, obtaining secrets as well as money from them. She was given the German code number H.21, which would prove significant years later.Traveled throughout Europe, attending embassy functions and social occasions meetings military and political contacts. Having seduced the men, she would pry information about troops and weaponry as well as political alliances and military tactics. She reported this information back to Jagow and was positioning herself neatly when the War began.
Having been granted German citizenship, she was ordered to make her way into France where she began passing secrets to the Germans. Although French agents kept her under surveillance, they were unable to collect sufficient evidence against her to arrest her. Much of her information, at this point, was vital, helping to prepare the Germans develop their strategy to overpower the French troops.
French counterintelligence officers finally grew wise to her and she was confronted by Captain Georges Ladoux. Ladoux informed her that he was going to have her deported back to Holland, whereupon she shocked him by proposing to spy on behalf of France and against Germany. Bragging that she had access to high level German intelligence, she offered that she could make it available to France. In so offering this aid, she destroyed her original alibi that she was not involved in espionage nor privy to any intelligence. Ladoux, pretended to take her up on her offer and sent her off to Brussels with the names of six French agent with whom she could make contact. Almost immediately thereafter, Ladoux received information from the British that one of the six agents had been arrested by the Germans, thus convincing him that she was a considerable security risk and ordered her arrested immediately.
German intelligence had come to find that Mata Hari had been identified and therefore compromised. She was therefore of little use to them. After offering her services to other Foreign nations, she boldly demanded from Jagow that she be paid in full for her espionage activities. Jagow ordered her to return to France where she would be paid. French authorities arrested her on February 13, 1917 and took her to the Fauborg Saint-Denis prison.
Mata Hari was tried for espionage in July 1917, represented by one of the top attorneys in France. Although much of the evidence against her was weak, French authorities were able to show that the payment she returned to France to collect was designated for German agent H.21. The “H” signified that she was an agent for Germany before World War I started. She argued that the payment was for her sexual services and not for espionage. The jury was unmoved, quickly returning a guilty verdict and sentencing her to death. On October 15, 1917 a calm Mata Hari faced a firing squad and was executed.
Historians believe that Mata Hari, despite her notoriety and name recognition was a rather incompetent and ineffective spy, caught up in the excitement of her own fascination. Most believe, as did much of the intelligence community of her time, that she was in way over her head and did not realize the ramifications of her duplicitous activities, naively believing that she could charm her way out of any situation. In later years, however, Mata Hari has gained many supporters. In 1932, the French government admitted that the evidence and therefore the case against her was negligible at best while the German government labeled her contributions to its war efforts as insubstantial.
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