The story of the World War 2 Secret British Black Propaganda Operations against the Nazis

In one of his transmissions for instance, `Der Chef' denounced by name the wives of a number of high party officials in the Schleswig-Holstein area who, he said, had rushed to the clothing stores (also named) and bought up all the woollen goods and textiles to which they were entitled by their clothing coupons.

Why? Because these traitorous whores had learned from their obscenity husbands that the Fatherland's supplies of textiles were running out owing to the needs of the army in Russia, and that any folkcomrade who did not cash his clothing coupons now, would not be able to buy anything at all a little later.

Sure enough, about six weeks later when I was looking through a Kiel newspaper which had been published shortly after `The Chief's' Philippic, there it was, the report of a run on the clothing stores. And to my great satisfaction the editor made things worse by reiterating `The Chief's' most effective argument. "If everyone behaves like this," he wrote, "there will be nothing left for anyone, and the clothing coupons will be valueless."

We never attacked internationally known big shots like Goring, Goebbels, and Himmler. They were the routine targets of all enemy propaganda. To give ourselves greater authenticity as a German station we went for the lesser-known local dictators.

Our stories were peopled with Burgomasters, District leaders, Local Group leaders, and even Cell leaders, with whose goings on, both private and public `Der Chef' showed an astonishingly intimate acquaintance. We spread over them a slime of obloquy as foul as that which they themselves had spread over the Jews.

Not even the sexual extravagances of those who came under `The Chief's' microscope were safe from his detailed and truly evangelistic denunciation.

In fact, to equip our heroes and heroines with the appropriate fetishisms and perversions-beloved of German audiences -I had to do a considerable amount of research in the works of that great authority on sexual aberrations, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld. Had he been able to hear `The Chief', I believe Dr. Hirschfeld would have felt that the burning of his books by the Nazis had been avenged at least in part. And, of course, these outspoken and unabashed diatribes added enormously to the listener appeal of the station.

But Gustav Siegfried Eins was doing far more than that. With every broadcast a new legend was being drummed home: the Army is against the Party, the Army is against the SS, the Army is against the Gestapo ... It was the legend that was to be our platform, the notional justification of most of our `black' operations. And alas! in the years after the war it was to prove a most dangerous boomerang.

In the earliest weeks of Gustav Siegfried's activities the stories with which `The Chief' spiced his homilies were entirely fictitious. For some of them the ideas and material came to us from the special Rumour Committee. This was a small body of experts from the various Services and the Ministry of Economic Warfare who met in conclave once a fortnight and compiled a short list of rumours which secret agents were to put around for German consumption in such centres as Lisbon, Zurich, Stockholm and Istanbul.

Around the nucleus of one of the committee's rumours which I had selected from the list-the rumours were called `sibs' from the Latin sibillare = to whisper -we built up a detailed and colourful story.

Most of our `sibs' however, and the stories to go with them we concocted ourselves. And, unlike other writers of fiction, we took great pains that the dramatis personae figuring in them should whenever possible be genuine living persons, employed or residing at the addresses `The Chief' gave them. Also that they should be persons who, as far as rank and calling went, fitted the role ascribed to them.

How did we get these names and addresses? Out of the German newspapers and magazines. Even before Max Braun had joined us, while I was having to act as my own intelligence expert and archivist, I had begun a file of personalities, high and low. I collected them from the news columns of the German newspapers, from the announcements of births, deaths, and marriages, from the small advertisements. If I required an engine driver living in the district of Cassel, or a greengrocer's shop in Berlin's Hansa district, my files could provide them.

Often, too, newspaper articles provided the inspiration for a Gustav Siegfried story. As, for instance, when I read a feature article in one of Dr. Goebbels's periodicals which praised the blood transfusion units of the Nazi medical service and obligingly singled out for special mention, by name, certain meritorious doctors and nurses.

" I think you might have a go at these folk-comrades," I said to the Corporal handing him the magazine, "they have been guilty of criminal carelessness. As you no doubt know, they have been collecting most of their blood from Polish and Russian prisoners.

And they have been treating these Polish and Russian blood donors just as though they were good, clean Germans. Believe it or not, they have been taking their blood without first giving the fellows a Wasserman test. One of our splendid old army doctors-Simon (i.e. Max Braun) will give you a name and a hospital-grew suspicious when some of our brave wounded, who had received transfusions developed unpleasant symptoms. He made a random Wasserman test of the blood sent to his hospital and found that twelve per cent gave a positive reaction.

Our army doctor immediately notified the Parteikommune scum-these fellows in the magazine-and suggested they destroy their stocks. And what do you think they had the gall to answer? `Venereal diseases,' they said, `are not transferable by blood transfusion and there is no point in doing a Wasserman or destroying existing stocks.' And so these traitors, to cover up their negligence, are not only refusing to notify the units to whom they have sent the infected blood, but are continuing to send out more from the same sources, so that more and more infected Slav blood is being pumped into the men who have given their own clean German blood for the Fatherland. How do you like that Corporal?"

The Corporal liked it very much, and the next evening `The Chief' broadcast the harrowing tale. It was not long, however, before I began to build up a supply of intelligence from sources other than newspapers which helped us to provide a more and more suitable background for our rumour stories.

One invaluable source of the kind of intelligence essential to our work were the monitoring reports made at the prisoner of war cages. These recorded verbatim the highly interesting conversations between newly captured German prisoners of war. The prisoners, unaware that the walls of their quarters, and even the trees in the garden, contained hidden microphones, freely revealed the favourite grouses of the German servicemen and many tit-bits of gossip that came in useful.

They also gave us many new slang expressions that had come into use since the war, and enabled us to bring `The Chief's' soldier language right up to date. I found too, that abbreviations, like `Teno' for `Technische Nothiffe' (i.e. Technical Emergency Service, employed for repairing Air Raid damage and so forth), gave a particularly authentic inside-Germany sound to `The Chief's' oratory. And I therefore made a special collection of them.

To begin with I only saw these monitoring reports very occasionally. Valentine Williams had them, and when he did let me see them, I had to read them in his office at the Abbey. But soon I had succeeded in laying on my own contraband supply, smuggled to me by Colonel A. R. Rawlinson, the Deputy Director of the interrogation cages, who realised the importance of these monitoring reports to our operations. Another source were the letters intercepted by the Postal Censorship on their way from Germany to Neutral AmericaNorth, Central, and South. They were an inexhaustible mine of material. There was Genevra Wolff Limper, for instance, the young American-born wife of a Cologne industrialist, who wrote splendid gossip-rich letters to her girl friend Mrs. Ruth Stradling somewhere in Nevada.

Genevra Wolft-Limper and her husband moved in the exalted circles of Cologne's young Nazi Burgomaster, Herr Winkelkampner, and Gauleiter Grohe. And as she was full of ingenuous wonder at all that was going on around her, and described everyone she met, and the parties at which she met them, in beautifully naive `Gentlemen prefer blondes' detail, `The Chief' was able to fake up some most convincing stories about what he denounced as the sybaritic life of the Cologne Parteikommune and their goings on.

* Der Angriff 12. 10- 1943

* Ciano's Diary, page 366. * Churchill in the light of agents' reports had decided as early as the end of March, that Hitler was going to attack Russia. The Joint Intelligence Committee however, discounted these reports. While the Chiefs of Staff decided on May 31ist that an attack was imminent, the J.LC. did not concede it until June 5th.

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CODE NAME - MB - Milton Bryan 1986
CODE NAME - MB - Milton Bryan 1986

Everything at MB was the last word in up-to-dateness and efficiency. As operators for our telephone switchboard we had no amateurish war-time recruits, but three girls of established trustworthiness, who had been trained by G.P.O. London, and had served there for years before the war. Two telephones stood on my desk. One bore the coveted colour green, which meant that it was a `scrambler' and that over it I could talk to other executives on the `scrambler level' in complete confidence of secrecy, knowing that anyone trying to listen in would hear nothing but a meaningless jumble. `Black', thanks to the Admiralty, had arrived. Now it was up to us to justify expectations.

Copyright Sefton Delmer August 1962 The Valley Farm, Lamarsh, near Bures, Suffolk.