Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #768 What the Hell Does Dave Emory Mean by “Underground Reich?” Part 1: The Naumann Coup Attempt of 1953

Werner Naumann in uniform

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash drive that can be obtained here. (The flash drive includes the anti-fascist books avail­able on this site.)

NB: This description contains material not included in the original broadcast.

Listen: MP3

Side 1  Side 2

Introduction: Newer listeners may well be confounded by the frequent references  to “The Underground Reich,” an understandable reaction, under the circumstances. T. H. Tetens’ The New Germany and the Old Nazis details the coup attempt of 1953, in which SS officer Werner Naumann (propaganda minister Goebbels’ hand-picked successor) tried to seize power, with the assistance of other Third Reich alumni.

Of consummate significance in this context is the executive force behind Naumann’s attempt–a fuehrungsring that administered the “new” Germany on behalf of a Nazi government in exile in  Spain.

Taken in conjunction with the material in Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile, the disclosure that Reinhard Gehlen’s relocation of his spy outfit to U.S. intelligence was cleared with a German chain of command that had been preserved intact,  as well as the relationship between Helene Von DammOtto von Bolschwing and the Nazi faction of the GOP, the Tetens discussion of the Naumann coup permits us to view much of the structure of this Underground Reich.

Werner Naumann after the war

We also note that BND, the successor organization to the Gehlen outfit, destroyed the files of 250 executives of the organization, who had held significant positions in the SS, SD (the SS intelligence service) or Gestapo. Furthermore, BND has deliberately recruited from the families of BND personnel, thereby enabling the perpetuation of the Nazi ethos down through the generations.

Program Highlights Include:

  • Once Naumann and his fellow conspirators were released into the custody of the Adenauer government and the postwar judiciary,  all charges were dismissed.
  • The lawyers for the defendants threatened to disclose the full measure of the conspiracy and its backers–knowledge that would have been devastating to the West. That information would have played directly into the hands of the former Soviet Union and its propaganda arm. In addition, many in the non-communist world would have been genuinely appalled at the degree of collaboration.
  • The fuehrungsring was charged with initiating conspiracies in foreign countries on behalf of German cartels.
  • The Nazi underground (including the Nazi Party itself) had penetrated diverse entities, including communist organizations.
  • This information dovetails perfectly with content of The Nazis Go Underground and Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile, the latter distilled into FTR #305. Note that provisions were made for the Nazi party to go underground, with German corporations embedding war criminals and other important operatives in their overseas staffs. A recent article in Der Spiegel reinforces many of the points in this post and the T.H. Tetens text.

1. As the Third Reich was preparing to go from its above-ground phase into its underground phase, provisions were made for German industrialists to fund the underground Nazi party.

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 26.

. . . A smaller con­fer­ence in the after­noon was presided over by Dr. Bosse of the Ger­man Arma­ments Min­istry. It was attended only by rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Hecko, Krupp, and Rochling. Dr. Bosse restated Bormann’s belief that the war was all but lost, but that it would be con­tin­ued by Ger­many until cer­tain goals to insure the eco­nomic resur­gence of Ger­many after the war had been achieved. He added that Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists must be pre­pared to finance the con­tin­u­a­tion of the Nazi Party, which would be forced to go under­ground, just as had the Maquis in France. . . .

2. In addition, German corporations were preparing to “embed” prominent Nazi war criminals in their staffs abroad.

Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 27.

. . . . Dr. Bosse closed the meet­ing, observ­ing that ‘after the defeat of Ger­many, the Nazi Party rec­og­nizes that cer­tain of its best known lead­ers will be con­demned as war crim­i­nals. How­ever, in coop­er­a­tion with the indus­tri­al­ists, it is arrang­ing to place its less con­spic­u­ous but most impor­tant mem­bers with var­i­ous Ger­man fac­to­ries as tech­ni­cal experts or mem­bers of its research and design­ing offices. . . .

3. We set forth the outline of the Naumann coup attempt. Note, again, that the greatest significance of this event is the fact that “team Naumann” was being run by the Nazi government in exile in Madrid.

In the text read during the actual program, note that Naumann associate Eugen Dollman spent much time in Lugano, Switzerland. Bank al-Taqwa head Youssef Nada resides in Lugano, which was also the home of Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza.

Another of the Naumann circle was Johann von Leers, who was a mentor to al-Taqwa’s director Achmed Huber.

 The New Germany and the Old Nazis; pp. 24-33.

. . . . The next morning shortly after seven, the head of the press division of the Foreign Office, Sir William Ridsdale, distributed a communique which stated that a group of seven former high Nazi officials had been arrested in Duesseldorf and Hamburg for having plotted the overthrow of the Bonn Republic. The official announcement said that the British authorities had been aware for some time that the seven men had been involved in a plot and that the arrest had been made under the authority of Foreign Minister Eden. The ringleader of the group was a Dr. Werner Naumann, who, until the German collapse, had served as State Secretary in Dr. Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry. Dr. Naumann had been with Hitler during the very last days in the bunker of the Chancellery in Berlin, and he was the one designated by the Fuehrer in his testament to succeed Dr. Goebbels as Propaganda Minister. . . .

. . . The British reply was polite but determined. It pointed out that the occupation authorities had been profoundly disturbed when they had found evidence of an advanced plot,  instigated by a vast Nazi network  spreading from Dusseldorf to Cairo,  Madrid,  Buenos AIres,  and Malmo,  Sweden. They stated furthermore that they had had to proceed with the utmost secrecy, since the plotters had close contacts with high government circles in Bonn. According to the New York Times) the British submitted evidence to the Chancellor which “revealed a wide-spread plot with ramifications into many political parties and other influential organizations of West Germany.” Faced with the grave implications of the Naumann conspiracy, Dr. Adenauer and his Minister of Justice, Dr. Thomas Dehler, had to confirm the seriousness of the case. . . .

. . . After taking over the investigation, Dr. Adenauer admitted at a press conference “the existence of a far-flung plot” and that Naumann’s activities “had been financed with considerable sums by Nazi groups in foreign countries.” Minister of Justice Dehler told reporters that the Naumann group had developed “a most cunning and diabolic system of infiltration” and that the conspiracy represented “an acute threat to the democratic institutions in the Federal Republic.” The captured Naumann documents, he said, “gave clear proof that the aim of the group had been to fill key positions m all Rightist parties with hard-core Nazis and thereby create propaganda vehicles which later could be used for a broad neo-Nazi mass movement.”  According to the Wiesbadener Kurier of May 6, 1953, Dr. Dehler quoted from one document in which Naumann expressed the hope that, if his scheme succeeded, “the coming election might be the last of its kind.”

Soon after the British had transferred the prosecution of the case to the German authorities, the lawyers of the arrested plotters began to put pressure on the federal government to suppress the case and release their clients. The Bremer Nachrichten reported on June 15, 1953, that the Naumann lawyers had even threatened to discuss “the true background of the case openly” if their clients were not released soon.

By the end of June 1953 Dr. Naumann and his co-plotters were suddenly released, in violation of the most rigid stipulations of German law and court procedure. A year and a half later, in December 1954, in spite of the fact that the prosecutor had brought an indictment against Naumann charging conspiracy against the constitution of the Federal Republic, the highest court quietly dismissed the case without any trial or hearing. Even before the plotters were released, the British became suspicious about the handling of the Naumann case and leaked some of the incriminating material to a staunchly democratic German newspaper which had gained quite a reputation for its revealing articles on the infiltration of former Nazis into the Adenauer administration. During the early part of June 1953 the Frankfurter Rundschau published five articles dealing with Naumann’s tapped telephone conversations, notes from his appointment calendar, correspondence between the plotters, and significant excerpts from his diary. The published material gave a full inside view of the scope and character of the conspiracy. The description of the intricate structure of the plot and the background of the many people involved filled whole pages in the Frankfurter Rundschau. Here it is sufficient to state the main objectives as they emerged from the confiscated material:

1] Use the democratic constitution as a facade behind which a new Nazi movement could be organized, designed to take over the apparatus of the state when time and circumstances would make such a step necessary and profitable.

2] Let Chancellor Adenauer serve as a front, exactly as Gustav Stresemann did during the twenties, behind which a new German power could develop undisturbed without arousing premature suspicions.

3] Apply a new method of infiltration (Unterwanderung) in order to conquer the existing parties and the administrative machinery of the state from within. Avoid noisy nationalistic demonstrations, flag-waving and incidents; use the more efficient and unsuspicious procedure of working in small cells, which some day, at an opportune moment, might consolidate themselves into a broad mass organization.

The detailed plan, which the Germans soon called the “Nau-Nau” strategy, instructed former well-known Nazi leaders to stay discreetly in the background until the time was ripe for action. In the meantime the leaders were to use all their connections to bring bright and capable young Nazis, especially those trained in the Hitler Youth, into influential positions, not only in the Adenauer coalition parties but also into all other political organizations.

The Naumann documents revealed much more than a mere strategic blueprint of how to subvert a state apparatus or the existing parties from within. There was a detailed record of how Dr. Naumann had used his contacts with top industrialists and leading politicians to fill well-paid positions in the Free Democratic party with scores of young, able Nazis who once had learned the tricks of the trade in the Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry. Dr. Naumann’s most devoted collaborator in this enterprise was his intimate friend, Dr. Ernst Achenbach, a former Ribbentrop diplomat who, after the war, had become a prominent lawyer in the Ruhr district. It was reported that Achenbach and Naumann had been close friends during the war when they served together in important positions under Ambassador Otto Abetz in the German Embassy in occupied Paris. It was Dr. Achenbach who, in 1943, recommended to the Foreign Office that two thousand Jews be shipped to the East as reprisal for an attack on two Nazi officers. . . .

. . . A lengthy British white paper on the Naumann-Achenbach plot was ready to be released in August 1953, when it was suddenly “withdrawn at the last moment on Cabinet instructions, for reasons which never have been made quite clear.” There were rumors that the British had yielded under the combined pressure of Washington and Bonn.  The confiscated material disclosed that the Achenbach/Naumann group represented a so-called Fuehrungsring-a Nazi high command-a kind of political Mafia, with headquarters in Madrid, which operated by remote control through clever organizational schemes on different levels, serving various purposes. This Gauleiter group met periodically in the strictest secrecy, mainly in Duesseldorf or Hamburg.

Up to thirty former Nazi top officials assembled under false names as “old friends” in hotels, where they carried on their political scheming. Among them were the ex-Gauleiters Kaufmann,  Grohe,  Florian,  Wegener,  Frauenfeld,  and Scheel, a number of high officials from the Propaganda Ministry, some Ribbentrop diplomats, and top-ranking SS officers. According to the British correspondent Alistair Horne, the “roll calls of the ex-Gauleiters and high SS officials present read like a page from some nightmare Who’s Who of the Third Reich.” These Nazi leaders had either escaped the dragnet of the victorious Allies by false identification papers or had been released from internment after a year or two without any substantial penalty. The aim of the group was “to form the general staff of the ‘National Opposition’ ” and build “a new political party out of the existing parties of the right.”

Besides the infiltration of co-conspirators into positions of command within the existing parties and into government departments and party organizations on the middle and lower levels, another task of the Fuehrungsring was to organize and direct mass organizations, such as veterans’ and refugee associations, which one day could easily be used as instruments for political action. Other fields of activities for the group were political propaganda in foreign countries, carried out in close contact with the Nazi headquarters in Madrid, and the initiation of conspiracies in foreign countries on behalf of German industrial cartels. . . .

. . . Long before, they had captured numerous key positions in the Adenauer administration, in political parties, and in the Laender (state) parliaments. They were exuberant about their successes in one of their secret directives circulated by the Nazi headquarters in Madrid. This lengthy document, issued in September 1950, spoke  of the total failure of the Western occupation policy and pointed gleefully to the success of the “flexible and smoothly-working organization which, at the end of the war, provided the precondition for all the gains that by necessity emerged for Germany out of the chaos of the postwar period .

“. . . Five years after Potsdam, we can look back with pride at our accomplishments …. Nothing happened by chance; everything was carefully planned.” There is considerable material available which gives conclusive proof that the Nazis had made preparations long before their collapse to train an army of agents, often skillfully camouflaged as “resistance fighters.” About the successful continuation of the Nazi subversive activities, the Madrid Circular Letter had this to say: “Even after the collapse, the National Socialist party continued to work in a camouflaged way [getarnt] in dozens of seemingly innocuous societies and groups, in order to keep the national outlook of the German people alive and undiluted. Just as many small brooks go toward making a mighty stream, the various nationalistic and radical groups in the Zonen-Reich carried out, almost without exception, worthwhile and powerful propaganda. Each of these groups had its special task and had to adjust its work to certain situations and circumstances. However, it was of chief importance to direct the underlying trend of the patriotic propaganda toward the same goal. The more diverse and disconnected these groups appeared on the surface, the less they were apt to arouse suspicion that they were directed and influenced by a central organization. We  have placed our confidential agents, observers, and representatives for special assignments in all parties, even among Communist organizations and their fronts. The greater the number of organizations controlled and influenced by us, the more effective will be the results of our work.” . . . .

4. The entire text of the 1950 Madrid circular letter can be found in: Ger­many Plots with the Krem­lin by T.H. Tetens; Henry Schu­man [HC]; 1953; pp. 209-232. The same text contains numerous other documents that provide remarkable insight into the Third Reich’s remarkably successful plans for going underground.

5a. Note that the Gehlen spy organization operated as an extension of the German general staff, with the German chain of command having remained intact.

“The Secret Treaty of Fort Hunt” by Carl Oglesby; Covert Action Information Bulletin; Fall 1990.

. . . . Gehlen met with Admi­ral Karl Doenitz, who had been appointed by Hitler as his suc­ces­sor dur­ing the last days of the Third Reich. Gehlen and the Admi­ral were now in a U.S. Army VIP prison camp in Wies­baden; Gehlen sought and received approval from Doenitz too!44

In other words, the Ger­man chain of com­mand was still in effect, and it approved of what Gehlen was doing with the Americans. . . .

Note 47. . . .  As Gehlen was about to leave for the United States, he left a mes­sage for Baun with another of his top aides, Ger­hard Wes­sel: “I am to tell you from Gehlen that he has dis­cussed with [Hitler’s suc­ces­sor Admi­ral Karl] Doenitz and [Gehlen’s supe­rior and chief of staff Gen­eral Franz] Halder the ques­tion of con­tin­u­ing his work with the Amer­i­cans. Both were in agree­ment.” Hohne and Zolling, op. cit., n. 14, p. 61.

5b. We review the cur­ricu­lum vitae of Ernst Uhrlau.

“Ernst Uhrlau”; Wikipedia.

. . . . From 1996–98, Ernst Uhrlau was the Chief of Ham­burg Police. In 1998, Uhrlau was appointed a Coor­di­na­tor of the Intel­li­gence Com­mu­nity in the office of the Chancellor. [This was during the period in which German intelligence had the Hamburg cell of 9/11 plotters under surveillance.

On 1 Decem­ber 2005, he was appointed to the post of the head of the BND. . . .

6. In FTR #761, we noted that Ernst Uhlrau had an inter­est­ing cur­ricu­lum vitae. Chief of the Ham­burg police dur­ing a period in which Ger­man intel­li­gence had mem­bers of the Ham­burg cell of 9/11 hijack­ers under sur­veil­lance, Uhrlau was appointed spe­cial adviser to the Chan­cel­lor on intel­li­gence mat­ters in 1998. He became head of the BND in 2005.

Dur­ing Uhrlau’s tenure as BND direc­tor, files on BND offi­cials with SS and Gestapo back­grounds were shred­ded. Note that the indi­vid­u­als whose files were destroyed were BND exec­u­tives, not field agents, and that they has held “sig­nif­i­cant intel­li­gence posi­tions in the SS, the SD (the intel­li­gence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party) or the Gestapo.”

Accord­ing to Der Spiegel, BND offi­cers were recruited from the fam­i­lies of BND oper­a­tives, per­mit­ting a per­pet­u­a­tion of Nazi ide­ol­ogy and method­ol­ogy from the orig­i­nal Gehlen SS and Gestapo recruits!

“Obscur­ing the Past: Intel­li­gence Agency Destroyed Files on For­mer SS Mem­bers” by Klaus WiegrefeDer Spiegel; 11/30/2013.

His­to­ri­ans con­duct­ing an inter­nal study of ties between employ­ees of the Ger­man for­eign intel­li­gence agency and the Third Reich have made a shock­ing dis­cov­ery. In 2007, the BND destroyed per­son­nel files of employ­ees who had once been mem­bers of the SS and the Gestapo. . . .

. . . . Now, only one week before Uhrlau’s retire­ment, the com­mis­sion has uncov­ered what is a true his­tor­i­cal scan­dal. The researchers have found that the BND destroyed the per­son­nel files of around 250 BND offi­cials in 2007. The agency has con­firmed that this happened.

The com­mis­sion claims that the destroyed doc­u­ments include papers on peo­ple who were “in sig­nif­i­cant intel­li­gence posi­tions in the SS, the SD (the intel­li­gence agency of the SS and the Nazi Party) or the Gestapo.” They added that some of the indi­vid­u­als had even been inves­ti­gated after 1945 for pos­si­ble war crimes. His­to­rian Klaus-Dietmar Henke, spokesman for the com­mis­sion, told SPIEGEL ONLINE he was “some­what stunned” by the occurrence.

Did Agency Employ­ees Seek to Sab­o­tage Inves­ti­ga­tion? . . .

. . . . It is no secret that some peo­ple within the BND are unhappy about Uhrlau’s project. Some employ­ees are fun­da­men­tally opposed to the agency shed­ding light on its own past. Oth­ers are wor­ried about the rep­u­ta­tions of their own fam­i­lies — for many years, the BND delib­er­ately recruited new staff from among the rel­a­tives of exist­ing BND employees. . . .



One comment for “FTR #768 What the Hell Does Dave Emory Mean by “Underground Reich?” Part 1: The Naumann Coup Attempt of 1953”

  1. This should probably fall under the “horrific if late, but way better late than never” category of historical “whoopsies”:

    Associated Press
    AP Interview: Germany still untangling Nazis’ legal legacy
    Oct. 6, 2015 10:00 AM EDT

    BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s justice ministry is embarked on a wide-ranging effort to examine the influence that the Nazis had on the country’s legal system, including the role some German officials played in preventing former Nazis from being prosecuted after the war.

    The project, 70 years after the end of World War II, comes amid a fresh push to bring surviving Nazi war criminals to justice.

    Two trials of alleged death camp guards would have been impossible until recently due to legal hurdles and the existence of a network of former Nazis who worked as lawyers, prosecutors and judges after the war.

    “Too many who bore guilt covered for each other,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas told The Associated Press in an interview. “Even at the start of the 1960s, 80 percent of the judges at the Federal Court of Justice had been judges under the Nazis. That illustrates the extent to which the German justice system failed.”

    Efraim Zuroff, the head Nazi hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, cautiously welcomed the move.

    “The stakes are certainly not as high as they once were,” Zuroff told The AP on Tuesday. “Having said that, this is a very, very important historical inquiry that I think will have an important impact on the way German society views the judicial effort and the whole question of bringing Nazis to justice.”

    “There’s no question that the initial decades could be classified as a very serious failure. Not a complete failure but a serious failure,” he added.

    Among the obstacles to prosecuting former Nazis was that German law required proof of direct involvement in a killing for a murder charge — the only crime not covered by the statute of limitations.

    This meant that thousands of people who played an important role in the Holocaust weren’t prosecuted.

    That changed in 2011 when a German court accepted Munich prosecutors’ new legal reasoning in the case of John Demjanjuk. They argued that Demjanjuk was a guard at Sobibor, a death camp whose sole purpose was murder, so even if there was no evidence he participated in a specific crime he could be convicted as an accessory for helping the camp function.

    The conviction unleashed an 11th-hour wave of new investigations, even though it wasn’t legally binding because Demjanjuk, who always denied serving as a death camp guard, died before his appeal could be heard.

    “German jurisprudence took a long time to conclude that it wasn’t necessary to play a personal, concrete, active part but (that it was sufficient) if someone had worked elsewhere to make the death camp function in the first place,” said Maas. “I think that’s absolutely right.”

    Though most suspects are now in their 90s, holding them to account is important for survivors, victims’ families and the German state, Maas said.

    “It’s never too late for justice,” he said.

    After the high-profile Nuremberg trials of top Nazis and some lesser-known tribunals carried out by the victorious Allied powers, Germany’s judicial system was left to deal with other Nazi-era crimes on its own.

    Maas said it was important to convey to a new generation of law students how post-war Germany initially failed in that task.

    “The point of this project is to acknowledge the greatest mistake of Germany’s post-war legal system, which was that the justice system — which between 1933 and 1945 was nothing but a stooge of the Nazis — didn’t help to atone for the Nazi crimes after World War II in the young Federal Republic,” he said.

    Maas said several laws tinged by the past are also being re-examined.

    One is Germany’s law on murder, which was shaped by Roland Freisler, who held a senior position in the Nazi justice ministry and later became president of Nazi Germany’s People’s Court where he oversaw many prominent trials of opposition figures.

    The law, passed in 1941, has long been considered problematic because it draws on the Nazi idea that murder is a crime committed by a certain type of person, such as someone acting out of “lowly motivations” or killing someone in a “sneaky” fashion.

    This has led to cases where a man who repeatedly beats his wife, eventually killing her, was convicted of manslaughter, while an abused woman who kills her husband in his sleep is convicted of murder.

    We don’t want the language of the Nazis in our criminal code anymore, especially not in one of its central parts that deals with murder and manslaughter,” said Maas.

    Another law in the process of being changed concerns the handling of looted art. The issue gained prominence two years ago when it emerged that a reclusive art collector, Cornelius Gurlitt, had more than 1,200 valuable artworks — some of them taken from Jews persecuted by the Nazis.

    A draft law would shift more of the burden of proof to the owners of suspected Nazi loot to demonstrate they acquired it in good faith.

    “Too many who bore guilt covered for each othe…Even at the start of the 1960s, 80 percent of the judges at the Federal Court of Justice had been judges under the Nazis. That illustrates the extent to which the German justice system failed.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 7, 2015, 3:08 pm

Post a comment