Archive for the ‘Nazis’ Category

 

By Marcel Fürstenau

Deutsche Welle, November 11, 2012

How much influence did former Nazis wield in establishing and operating Germany’s postwar democracy? That’s what parliament debated. But tackling the issue was not easy, since many files still remain classified.

It almost seems a bit antiquated. More than six decades after the end of the murderous Hitler regime, members of the German parliament debated to what extent federal ministries and public offices in the country have dealt with their Nazi past. It comes after the opposition Left Party’s parliamentary group submitted a formal request to the government for information about the post-war era.

The parliamentary debate coincided with a separate event – prosecutors bringing formal charges against supporters and the sole surviving member of a neo-Nazi cell suspected of committing ten murders between 2000 and 2007.

The revelations about the neo-Nazi gang, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), are a hugely pressing and current issue. By comparison, the debate about postwar Germany’s Nazi past seems so outdated. But the past is constantly catching up with Germany as it struggles to find out how the neo-Nazi cell could have evaded authorities for more than a decade.

The charges against NSU member Beate Zschäpe mark a decisive phase in long-running efforts to shed light on the group’s suspected racially-motivated killing spree.

By contrast, the question of just how far West German authorities were riddled with former Nazi party members seems nowhere near resolution.

That impression is strengthened by the government’s 85-page response to the Left Party’s request about old Nazis in the halls of power. It’s an interim summary of ongoing research conducted by historians in the archives of many ministries and federal agencies.

Shredding files not new

The debate in the German parliament was marked by constant references to the current neo-Nazi scandal that has rocked the country.

Since the NSU’s discovery, Germany’s national security apparatus has come under intense scrutiny for its failure to connect the dots and apprehend the suspects. Earlier this year, it was discovered that intelligence files on right-wing extremists had been destroyed the same month the NSU was discovered on the orders of an official in the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic intelligence service.

The shredding of important files pertaining to far-right extremism has sparked outrage and shock, raising suspicions that incriminating information was covered up and that the perpetrators may even have been protected.

But it’s not the first time it has happened. In the late 1990s, files on mass murderer Alois Brunner, a high-ranking SS officer, disappeared. The German intelligence service (BND) was said to have destroyed files containing conflicting information as to whether Brunner had worked for the BND at some point.

Adolf Eichmann lived undercover in Argentina for several years.

Brunner was a close aide and confidante of Adolf Eichmann who organized the Holocaust from his desk in Berlin. He was sentenced to death in 1961 in Jerusalem. Though the BND knew Eichmann’s location, he lived undetected in Argentina for several years.

The BND is also believed to have protected war crimes criminal Klaus Barbie who was responsible for sending hundreds of Jews in France to their death. Just like Eichmann, Barbie went underground in South America. He even worked as an agent for the BND in the mid 1960s.

Opposition calls for change

The fact that files on Barbie, Eichmann and others responsible for war crimes still remain classified has sparked anger among several German politicians and led to heated exchanges in parliament.

Wolfgang Thierse, president of the German parliament, has appealed to members of the ruling parties – the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) – to stop blocking the opening of the files.

Volker Beck, head of the parliamentary group of the opposition Green Party, said it could not be in the public’s interest to block publishing files with references to the Nazi past in order to “protect the work of our intelligence agencies.” And especially not in light of the current debate about right-wing extremism in Germany, Beck added.

Jan Korte, from the opposition Left Party, spoke of a “second guilt” of Germans, a reference to a book of that name written by Ralph Giordano, a German writer and publicist. It focuses on the denial and suppression of Germany’s Nazi past.

But not everyone sees things that way. Armin Schuster, a member of the CDU, said Korte was too one-sided in his criticism of West Germany’s Nazi past. Former communist East Germany, too, had several ex-Nazis in leading positions, Schuster added.

Foreign ministry investigation a model

The one thing that politicians across party lines agreed on, however, was that an increasing number of ministries and federal agencies have been willing to commission investigations to investigate their Nazi pasts.

One of the most high-profile efforts was undertaken last year by historians Eckart Conze and Norbert Frei who looked into Nazi involvement at the foreign ministry. The no-holds-barred report was commissioned in 2005 by then-Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

The controversial study on Nazi involvement at the foreign ministry was marketed as a bestseller.

Several ministries and agencies have followed the foreign ministry’s example and initiated research projects to dig around in their past. That includes the BND, the Federal Crime Office (BKA), as well as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).

The German government, by its own admission, says it “wholeheartedly” supports such research projects. It is important that “the results of such work lead to a critical discourse in the public sphere,” it said.

But critics, such as the Left Party’s Jan Korte, have raised doubts about the independence of the scientists and researchers commissioned for the investigations.

Korte has pointed to the conditions laid down by the government for investigating the Nazi past at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, including a ban on researchers making any public statements during the project phase. Each statement also must be discussed beforehand with the head of the project at the BfV. “That is censorship and not befitting of what’s at stake here,” Korte maintained.

http://www.dw.de/parliament-holds-heated-debate-on-nazi-past/a-16368238

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” … The underlying aspect through all of it was that they were obtaining explosives and explosives expertise, and they intended to use them to kill people in the United States. … “

RT, August 1, 2012

Authorities in Florida dismantled two white supremacist gangs this year that they say were havens for domestic terrorists readying for a race war. In both instances, agents infiltrated and even helped establish the groups before bringing them down.

In two separate cases publicized only this week, agents working out of the Sunshine State penetrated rings of racist, neo-Nazis motorcyclists who regularly constructed homemade weapons and allegedly plotted hate crimes against minorities. Investigators first began establishing a case against the white supremacists all the way back in 2007, and documentation detailing their probe has been given to the Orlando Sentinel, which they say stretches all the way through this past May.

In their original report of the investigations, the Sentinel says that agents targeted two separate sects of white supremacists and racist bikers in Central Florida, but that the FBI made their own motorcycle gang to get to the heart of their community of hate.

Through adopting a false name and alias, an unnamed officer from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department assumed the identity of a hate mongering neo-Nazi that made his way to the top ranks of the Aryan Nations, even becoming close with the organization’s leader, August Kreis III. From there the agent helped establish a phony biker gang — the 1st SS Kavallerie Brigade Motorcycle Division — that would eventually operate out of St. Cloud, Florida and attract new recruits from across the state. Not before the FBI could install their own undercover agents, though, to further infiltrate the community and assist in the investigation.

The Sentinel reports that the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force began monitoring the Kavallerie Brigade and the happenings inside of their clubhouse with the help of “enough hidden microphones and cameras . . . to stage a reality-TV show.” By watching closely, they say they were able to tie key white supremacists close to the Aryan Nations with criminal activity conducted in coordination with the phony group.

“The underlying aspect through all of it was that they were obtaining explosives and explosives expertise, and they intended to use them to kill people in the United States,” Orange-Osceola State Attorney Lawson Lamar tells the Sentinel. “We have a duty to stop what they were doing.”

In a completely seperate instance, the FBI once more got to the heart of another alleged hate group, but this time relied on only a convicted drug dealer to act as an undercover informant. In nearby Osceola County, the Joint Terrorism Task Force installed a mole within the neo-Nazis group American Front and had him file daily reports on the organization’s activities. This past May, however, the informant became concerned for his safety and told the FBI he didn’t think he could last much longer.

“If I find out any of you are informants, I will (expletive) kill you,” the mole says he recalls suspected American Front higher-up Marcus Faella warning others.

The agency began making arrests on May 4, 2012 and by June and arrested 20 individuals total from both groups.

http://rt.com/usa/news/race-war-white-fbi-526/

Related: The Role of Finance and the Multinationals in Right-Wing Terrorism

Der Spiegel bases claim on 2,000-page file compiled by German authorities, made public nearly 40 years after the attack that killed 11 Israeli athletes.

By Ofer Aderet

Haaretz. Jun.18, 2012

A neo-Nazi activist aided the Palestinian terrorists who murdered 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Munich Olympics, the German weekly Der Spiegel reported on yesterday.

The report is based on a 2,000-page file compiled by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which was made public at the request of Der Spiegel, ahead of the 40th anniversary of the massacre, to be marked this coming September.

At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, terrorists from the Palestinian paramilitary Black September organization, a wing of the PLO’s Fatah, took members of Israel’s Olympic team hostage. Two Israeli athletes were killed in the initial hostage-taking and nine were killed during a botched German rescue attempt at a Munich airport.

A document released on Sunday details a correspondence between local police in the city of Dortmund and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The correspondence reveals that seven weeks prior to the attack a man named Saad Walli, described as having “an Arab appearance,” held a suspicious meeting with a neo-Nazi activist named Willi Pohl.

Saad Walli was the alias of Abu Daoud, one of Black September’s leaders and an organizer of the Munich attack. He died in Damascus two years ago.

It seems German authorities did not act in any way to investigate Abu Daoud’s activities, or to stop them, despite this information.

According to Der Spiegel, Pohl helped Abu Daoud obtain fake credentials, including passports and other documents. In addition, he is quoted as saying that he “drove Abu Daoud around Germany, where he met Palestinians in various cities.”But Pohl, who writes detective novels under a different name, claims that he did not know he was helping the perpetrators plan what was to become the Olympics massacre.

Pohl was also reportedly linked to another planned Palestinian attack that was supposed to take place after Munich. Following instructions by Abu Jihad, then Yasser Arafat’s deputy and Fatah’s second-in-command, Pohl was to plan an abduction at the Cologne cathedral and in the city halls of several major German cities.

However, he was arrested in Munich in October 1972, and police confiscated grenades and firearms during that arrest. He was also found to be holding a threatening letter, meant to be sent to a German judge who had been in charge of investigating three of the massacre terrorists.

The police report exposed by Der Spiegel also indicates that Pohl helped the terrorists obtain weapons, possibly including those used in the massacre itself. “They originated from a very rare production line,” the report wrote of the seized arms, saying the arms included “Belgian casings and Swedish explosives, made only for Saudi Arabia.”

“Identical weapons were used by Palestinian terrorists to kill the hostages at the Olympics,” Der Spiegel added.

Pohl was sentenced to a short jail term for “unauthorized possession of firearms,” only to be released four days after his sentencing. Eventually, he made his way to Beirut.

According to Der Spiegel, German authorities feared terrorists would perpetrate an attack in order to release Pohl. Shortly after the September massacre, terrorists hijacked a Lufthansa plane, which prompted the release of three of the massacre’s planners from a German jail.

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/neo-nazi-helped-plan-1972-munich-massacre-report-says-1.436998

By Rafael Medoff

JointMedia News Service, June 11, 2012

Shmuel Zygelbojm, a Jewish member of the London-based Polish Government in Exile, played a major role in publicizing the Bund Report. Photo: Courtesy of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Seventy years ago this month America learned, for the first time, about the systematic mass murder of Europe’s Jews—but Allied officials and some leading newspapers downplayed the news.

In late 1941 and early 1942, Western diplomats and journalists received scattered information about Nazi massacres of many thousands of Jews in German-occupied Poland and Russia. But the news was difficult to confirm and sounded to many like the usual travails of war.

The turning point came in late May 1942, when a courier from the Jewish Socialist Bund of Poland reached England with a shocking report. It began: “From the day the Russo-German war broke out, the Germans embarked on the physical extermination of the Jewish population on Polish soil.”

The Bund Report stressed that the killings were not isolated outbursts, but part of a systematic plan to “annihilate all the Jews in Europe,” town by town, country by country. The report described how in villages throughout Poland and Western Russia, German troops marched the Jewish residents to a nearby forest or ravine and machine-gunned them into giant pits. The Bund also detailed the killing of Jews in the Chelmno camp in mobile death vans—trucks whose exhaust fumes were pumped back into the passenger cabin.

Some 700,000 Jews had already been murdered, the Bund Report calculated. At a follow-up press conference in June, World Jewish Congress officials in London reported that the death toll had passed one million. (The real number was already close to 2 million.)

BBC Radio devoted several broadcasts to the story, and the London Times and other British newspapers published it prominently. The response of the American press, however, was much weaker. The Chicago Tribune, for example, relegated the news to 11 lines on page 6, and reported vaguely that the Jews had perished as a result of “ill treatment” by the Germans. The Los Angeles Times gave it two paragraphs on page 3.

The coverage in the New York Times was particularly important because many other newspapers looked to the Times—as they still do—to decide if a particular story deserves attention. On June 27, the Times buried the Bund story at the end of a column of short news items from Europe. Five days later, the Times reported on the World Jewish Congress’s press conference—but the Times diluted the news by asserting that the death toll “probably includes many who died of maltreatment in concentration camps, starvation in ghettos or forced labor” rather than mass murder.

Then, on July 4, the Times tried to pull the rug out from under the Bund Report. An unsigned news analysis, published on page 4, claimed the Jewish death toll could be anywhere “from 100,000 to 1,500,000.” The Germans “treat the Jews according to whether they are productive or nonproductive,” the Times asserted. The high mortality rate among “nonproductive” Jews was due to “starvation and illtreatment” rather than mass executions. Eyewitness accounts of mass graves with 40,000 bodies at Zhitomir “appear to have been based on hearsay.”

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise, longtime leader of the American Jewish Congress and other Jewish organizations, refrained from calling on the Allied governments to take any steps to rescue European Jews.

Meanwhile, the Allies were trying to bury the story. A few weeks after the Bund Report arrived, officials of the U.S. Office of War Information and the British Ministry of Information began meeting in Washington under the auspices of their new Committee on War Information Policy. They decided to withhold news about Nazi massacres of Jews, lest it lead to “hatred of all members of the races guilty of such actions” or provoke retaliation against American POWs.

In response to the Bund Report, the American Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith and the Jewish Labor Committee organized a rally at Madison Square Garden in July 1942 that drew a capacity crowd of 20,000. But AJC president Rabbi Stephen S. Wise and the other speakers refrained from calling on the Allied governments to take any steps to rescue European Jews. The protest was limited to expressions of sorrow over the killing, and hope for a speedy Allied victory over the Nazis.

“It is somewhat difficult to put all the blame for complacency on British and American statesmen…when Jewish leaders made no visible attempt to put pressure on their governments for any active policy of rescue,” Prof. Yehuda Bauer, of Hebrew University and Yad Vashem, has written. “The Jewish leadership could hardly plead lack of knowledge.”

Bauer blames the restrained Jewish response on doubts about the news, “loyalty to President Roosevelt,” and “fear of arousing anti-Semitism if the United States were requested to act specifically in the interest of Jews in Europe.”

Prof. David S. Wyman, author of The Abandonment of the Jews, contends that Wise and other Jewish leaders “were still in shock—the news from Europe was so horrific, and so unprecedented, that it took time to understand and absorb it.” It would take several more months of such reports, and a grudging confirmation by the Roosevelt administration at the end of 1942, before Jewish leaders began proposing concrete plans for rescue—but even then, the struggle to bring about Allied action would prove formidable indeed.

Dr. Rafael Medoff is director of The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies, and coauthor, with Prof. Sonja Schoepf Wentling, of the new book “Herbert Hoover and the Jews: The Origins of the ‘Jewish Vote’ and Bipartisan Support for Israel.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/06/11/how-america-first-learned-of-the-holocaust/

” … At a preliminary hearing on October 31, a large turnout of Native  supporters lined the halls of the courthouse and protested outside to demand  justice for Dawson, who has become a symbol in the Fresno Native community of  the long history of violent crimes perpetrated against people of color. … ‘The Justice for Patty Dawson Committee learned that the owner of the vehicle  Dawson was driving has KKK tattoos on his back,’ said Gloria Hernandez, a local  activist and police watchdog who is helping to mobilize support for Dawson. … “

By Valerie Taliman

Indian Country/January 20, 2012

[UPDATED, JANUARY 20, LINK ADDED TO ORIGINAL STORY IN FIRST GRAPH AND  VIDEO ADDED AT END] FRESNO, Calif. – Despite two preliminary hearings,  Fresno District Attorney Elizabeth Egan has not yet included hate crimes in the  felonious assault case against Jennifer Davette Fraser, who attacked and beat  Patty Dawson, a Navajo and Apache nurse, on a city street in Clovis last June, then fled the scene of the  crime.

After considerable pressure from local activists, the Fresno County Sheriff  finally arrested Fraser, 27, in September – four months after the attack – though witnesses had given police a license plate number the day of the  assault.

Fraser was charged with felonious assault, defined under California law as “an attack on another individual in which the attacker uses a dangerous weapon  and seeks to cause serious harm but stops short of an attempt to kill the  victim.” Her two male accomplices have not been arrested and police have not  released their names.

At a preliminary hearing on October 31, a large turnout of Native  supporters lined the halls of the courthouse and protested outside to demand  justice for Dawson, who has become a symbol in the Fresno Native community of  the long history of violent crimes perpetrated against people of color.

Several reservations and private Native allotment land surround Fresno, and  the main health clinic that serves Native Americans is in Clovis, putting local  people in danger of harassment, threats and violence.

It is well known locally that numerous white supremacists movements have been  active in Fresno and the adjacent town of Clovis since the 1980s including  the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations, Aryan Terror Brigade, Bay Area National  Anarchists and Blood and Honour America Division, among others.

California is home to 68 active hate groups, more than another other state,  according to the Southern Poverty Law Center’s recent report, The Year in Hate & Extremism.

“The Justice for Patty Dawson Committee learned that the owner of the vehicle  Dawson was driving has KKK tattoos on his back,” said Gloria Hernandez, a local  activist and police watchdog who is helping to mobilize support for Dawson. “We  demand that the Fresno County District Attorney punish all the parties  responsible for this crime and treat them like gang members. Kidnapping charges  should be added for pulling Dawson out of her vehicle.

Hernandez said there are many active white hate groups in Fresno County  including the California Skin Heads, Holy Nation of Odin, the Creativity  Alliance and Vinland Folk Resistance. “We deal with their racism and violence  everyday, and we need law enforcement and the District Attorney to address this  matter immediately.”

At an October 31 preliminary hearing, Fraser’s court-appointed attorney told  the judge that Fraser should not be charged with a hate crime against Dawson  because Fraser had “recently learned she was part Native American.”

Fraser had no proof of her claim to Indian ancestry, and was given a  continuance to provide proper documentation at the next hearing.  Native  activists who filled the courtroom immediately denounced Fraser’s claim, saying  it was clearly a stall tactic to escape justice.

By the time the November 28 preliminary hearing occurred, Fraser was visibly  pregnant and told the judge that she was “having a baby that afternoon” and  needed another continuance on the case.  She did not provide proof of  Native ancestry, and was granted another continuance until January 23, 2012 in  Fresno District Court.

The Justice for Patty Dawson Committee is demanding that the U.S. Department  of Justice work aggressively to prevent hate crimes, and to prosecute and punish  the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.

“We cannot let them go unpunished and demand that the Fresno County District  Attorney punish all the parties responsible for this crime, treat them like you  would other gang members,” said Hernandez. “Kidnapping charges should be added  for pulling her out of her vehicle.”

No thorough investigation

Dawson and her family retraced the route she drove that day trying to flee  her attackers, and showed Indian Country Today Media Network the actual  site of the attack at an intersection where numerous businesses have  surveillance cameras mounted that should have captured the incident.

However, when several people from the Justice for Patty Dawson Committee  visited the businesses to inquire about footage from cameras, they were told  police had not questioned them or requested videotape.

“The police didn’t take a statement from me at the scene because I was  unconscious when they found me,” said Dawson. “Later I tried to give them a  statement and explained that I was traumatized so I couldn’t remember every  detail.  When I spoke with them, they kept asking what I did to provoke the  attack and that’s when I worried that they were not going to fully investigate  this fairly.”

Two weeks ago, Dawson, her family and Hernandez met with officials from the  Fresno District Attorney’s office and were told that police were relying on the  Fresno Sheriff’s report, Dawson’s brief statement to them, and two witnesses who  saw the attack.

However, police will not share any information about the witnesses or provide  copies of statements to Dawson. She is in the process of hiring an attorney once  adequate funds can be raised to help her file a civil case against Fraser.

“This is so unfair,” she said. “There are cameras that captured the attack  and people who saw it, but we can’t convince the DA that this was a hate crime.  They told me that since I couldn’t hear or remember what the attackers were  screaming at me when they chased me, that there is not enough evidence that this  was racially motivated.”

Meanwhile, Navajo Nation Vice President Rex Lee Jim has offered to intervene  and write a strong letter to the DA. Jim, a longtime human rights advocate who  helped negotiate the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous  Peoples, said this type of violence is all too common in border towns  surrounding Native communities.

“One of the outcomes of these negotiations was to create the Navajo Nation  Human Rights Commission,” Jim said. “The commission is addressing Navajo race  relations with towns and cities that border the Navajo Nation, and this is a  good example of how tribes can work to reduce racism and violence against our  people.

Article 2 of the U.N. Declaration states that “Indigenous Peoples and  individuals are free and equal to all other peoples and individuals and have the  right to be free from any kind of discrimination, in the exercise of their  rights, in particular that based on their indigenous origin or identity.”

“We want our Navajo people to feel that they’re safe when they are traveling  anywhere in the world,” Jim said. “We want them to feel that the Navajo Nation  supports them. We have to take a stand against the growing racism in this  country and we support justice for Patty Dawson.”

At the next hearing on January 23, 2011, the judge will determine if the case  will go forward based on the findings of the District Attorney.

“This is not just about me,” said Dawson. “This happens to many of our people  and I feel like it’s my responsibility to speak up to stop the violence against  our women and children.”

Here Patty Dawson explains what she recalls happened when she was attacked to ICTMN:

http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2012/01/20/hate-crimes-charges-unlikely-in-patty-dawson-case-73441

Hindustan Times, January 16, 2012

Adolf Hitler stole the idea for the iconic Volkswagen Beetle car from a Jewish engineer and had his name written out of history, a historian has said in a new book.

The Nazi leader has always been given credit for sketching out the early concept for the Beetle during a meeting with car designer Ferdinand Porsche in 1935. His idea for the Volkswagen – or “people’s car” – is seen as one of the only “worthwhile” achievements of the dictator, the Daily Mail reported.

Now, historian Paul Schilperoord has written a book titled The Extraordinary Life of Josef Ganz on the Jewish engineer to be behind the Volkswagen.

Hitler said in his design that his vehicle would have four seats, an air-cooled engine and cost no more than 1,000 Reichsmarks, the currency of Germany till 1948. Three years before Hitler described his idea to Porsche, Ganz was actually driving a car he had designed called the “Maikaefer” — or “May Bug”. Hitler’s price also matched the price Ganz said his car would cost. Ganz’s lightweight, low-riding vehicle looked similar to the Beetle that was later developed by Porsche.

Ganz had reportedly been exploring the idea for an affordable car since 1928 and made many drawings of a Beetle-like vehicle. Hitler saw the May Bug at a car show in 1933 and made similar sketches. Within days of the meeting between Hitler and Porsche in 1935, Ganz was in trouble with the Gestapo or Nazi secret service.

The journalist-inventor left for Switzerland and later died in Australia in 1967. His name is not mentioned in the Volkswagen’s corporate history nor in the Story of Volkswagen exhibition in Wolfsburg.

“So many things were the same in Hitler’s sketches. Hitler definitely saw his prototype and I’m quite sure he must have read Ganz’s magazine,” Schilperoord said.

“It’s quite clear Ganz had a big influence on how the idea was developed by the Nazis. Ferdinand Porsche drove Ganz’s prototype in 1931. I found a lot of evidence that all similar rear engines in the 1930s can be traced to Ganz,” he said. “Even the price was the same. Porsche said that doing this for 1,000 Reichsmarks was not possible but was forced to make it happen by the Nazis,” he said.

Father of Hollywood star helped Allies defeat Germany in World War II, authors say   

MSNBC – 12/27/2011  

LONDON— A British engineer regarded for decades as a Nazi spy was really Britain’s first double-agent who helped the Allies defeat Germany, according to a recently released book.

The authors of “Snow: The Double Life of a World War II Spy,” also reveal that spy Arthur Owens is the father of Hollywood actress Patricia Owens, who starred in “The Fly” in 1958 and “Sayonara” with Marlon Brando in 1957.

Arthur Owens was a Welsh nationalist, according to the book by espionage writer Nigel West (pen name of Rupert Allason) and Welsh author and film producer Madoc Roberts, The Telegraph of London reported.

The Germans recruited Arthur Owens, a failed inventor who needed money, to spy when he was on a 1935 business trip to Belgium.

Under the code name Johnny O’Brien, Owens gave the Nazis vital information about Britain’s military buildup ahead of World War II.

Later, the book claims, he agreed to become a double agent for MI5, the British spy agency. Re-dubbed Snow, Owens paved the way for a string of successful double agents and helped deliver scores of German spies to the British, the book says.

The book, which has a Facebook page, describes Owens’ cover as so deep that neither side was ever wholly confident of his loyalties, the Telegraph said. In 1941, Owens’ MI5 handlers ordered him interred in Dartmoor prison, where he gained the confidence of German inmates and fed information back to his spymasters.

“Arthur Owens was the foundation of the double-cross system which proved so vital in helping the Allies in so many areas,” West told the Telegraph. “His contribution has never fully been appreciated, but it is hard to overstate how important his role was.”

Roberts called Owens’ character complex.

“His contribution to the war effort is undeniable, but what is less certain is what his motivations were,” Roberts told the Telegraph. “Ultimately he was probably out for himself. But even if his intentions were not entirely honorable, without him the entire course of the war may have been different.”

As for his daughter, Patricia Owens never fully acknowledged who her father was, the Telegraph said, because she feared backlash from people who considered her father a traitor.

Owens’ contributions were officially revealed when documents were declassified in the 1970s, the Telegraph said, but few people took notice.

After the war, Arthur Owens lived in anonymity in Canada and later Ireland, the Telegraph said.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45800520/ns/world_news-europe/