The so-called Gehlen Organization or
‘Org’ was founded under the control of the United States Army
1n 1948, complete control passing to the CIA in 1948,
.A very significant number of the
German nationals belonging to the Gehlen Organization have been
discovered to have belonged to either the Gestapo or the RSHA, the
Reichssicheitshauptamt. This was the blanket organization
for all German State and Party intelligence and
The fact that an indivual was assigned
to the RSHA does not mean that they were involved in anything more
sinister than clerical work in an office. But included in this
list are a number of individuals whose wartime record indicates
their activities were of a such a nature that their inclusion in
any U.S. sponsored and controlled agency has no justification
American members of this group (the Gehlen Organization was entirely
controlled by the U.S. CIA from 1948 through 1956) will be
included in a subsequent volume. The listing here of some, and it
must be emphasized that this treatment covers only the most
serious offenders, is alphabetical and not by rank.
Emil Augsberg, SS No. 307 925. Born May 1, 1905. Subject was a
member of the RSHA, the adjutant to SS-Gruppenführer
Globocnik who was SS and Police Leader in the Polish district of
Lublin. He was the head of the concentration camps of Treblinka
and Belzec. Augsburg later was a member of the Wannsee Institute
in Berlin where he was a specialist in Polish problems. He ended
the war on the personal staff of Heinrich Himmler.
Dr. Fritz Baader, SS No. 278 278. Born April 9, 1909. Dr. Baader
was on the staff of the Senior SS and Police Leader in Hungary.
Otto Barnewald, SS No. 6 469. Born January 10, 1896. Subject was
on the staff of the Concentration Camp, Buchenwald.
Ernst Biberstein, SS No. 272 692. Born February 15, 1899.
Biberstein was a member of the RSHA. He also commanded Einsatzkommando
6 of Einsatzgruppe C. The Einsatzgruppen were
composed of RSHA personnel and operated behind the front lines in
warfare against partisans. The activities of these groups often
far exceeded their briefs and many of them were responsible for
dreadful atrocities against partisans, civilians and Jews.
Biberstein’s activities were such as to secure a death sentence
by an Allied court after the war, a sentence that was commuted in
1951, permitting him to work for the Gehlen organization.
Ludwig Boehme, SS No.249 802. Born August 21, 1898. Subject was on
the staff of the Concentration Camp at Auschwitz.
Christoph Diehm, SS No.28 461. Born March 1, 1892. Diehm was chief
of staff of the Kaminiski Brigade. This unit was commanded by a
Russian named Kaminiski and was involved in fighting partisans on
the East Front. The unit took part in the fighting in Warsaw in
1944 where its behavior was so brutal that it was ordered
disbanded and its leader shot.
Karl Döring, SS No 67 310. Born February 5, 1903. Subject was on
the staff of the Concentration Camp at Dachau. He was later the
postwar West German Ambassador to the Cameroons.
SS-Sturmbannführer Dr.Max Eberl,
SS No. 680 352, Born December 26,1892. Dr. Eberl was a member of
the RSHA and was involved with euthanasia at Treblinka
Concentration Camp under Globocnik.
Hans Eichele, SS No. 21 640. Born May 1, 1901. Eichele was Standortkommandat
at the Concentration Camp, Dachau
Huppenkoethen, SS No.126 785. Born December 31, 1907.
Huppenkoethen was a member of the RSHA and Commanding Officer of
the SD & Police in Lublin and Cracow (Poland). He was tried
after the war for his activities.
Dr. Erich Isselhorst, SS No.267 313. Born February 5, 1906.
Subject was Commander of the Police and SD at Strassburg and also
Inspector of the SD, Stuttgart . He was also Commanding Officer of
Einsatzkommando 8 of Einsatzgruppe A.
Oswald Poche, SS No. 267 316. Born January 28, 1908. Poche was
commanding officer of the Security Police and SD, Tromsö, Norway.
Albert Rapp, SS No.280 341. Born November 16, 1908. Subject was
Inspector, Security Police and SD, Braunschwieg and commanding
officer of Einsatzkommando 7, Einsatzgruppe B.
Walter Rauff, SS No. 290 947. Born June 19, 1906. Rauff was a
member of RSHA and with Senior SS and Police Commander, Italy
(Karl Wolff). Rauff was responsible for the construction of the
gas vans and eventually had to move to South America to avoid
Franz Six, SS No.107 480. Born August 12, 1909. Dr. Six was a
member of RSHA, and Commanding Officer of Einzatzgruppe
Vorkommando Moscow. Six was an early member of the Gehlen
Organization, but was finally arrested and tried for his
activities in 1948. He was sentenced to life in prison, but
released in 1951. Six worked for Porsche and Gehlen after his
Eugen Steimle, SS No. 272 575. Born December 8, 1909. Subject was
a member of RSHA and commanding officer of Einsatzgruppen B
and later C. He was subsequently convicted by an Allied
court and sentenced to a long term in prison, but released in
Thaler, SS No.347 142. Born November 28, 1909.
Subject was a member of RSHA and was Senior SS & Police
Dr. Ernst Weimann, SS No. 263 985. Born August 5, 1906. Commanding
officer, Security Police & SD, Bergen, Norway
Kurt Weisse, SS. No. 563 159. Born October 11, 1909. Subject was a member of SS Regiment
Dirlewanger. Oscar Dirlewanger was a convicted child molester
and friend of Himmler. His unit was made up of paroled convicts
and used to fight the partisans. Like the Kaminiski unit, their
record was so appalling that they were withdrawn from combat by
Hitler’s order. Dirlewanger vanished at the end of the war
Wenner, SS No. 200 581. Born November 15, 1912. Wenner was a
member of RSHA and was with the Senior SS and Police Commander,
Wiebens, SS No.16 617. Born March 17, 1906. Subject was a member
of RSHA and Commanding Officer of Einzatzkommando 9 under Einsatzgruppe
These names represent only a small
percentage (less than 4%) of the names found on a listing of all
personnel of the Gehlen Organization from 1945 onwards. These are
only the names of higher ranking officers in the SS/SD and Police.
The names of many lower rank SS/SD and Police members are still
being verified as of this writing, but the names of thousands of
Croatians, Slovenes, Balts and Russians are impossible to locate
in existing files so they are excluded from this study.
The international uproar attendant upon
the discovery that Klaus Barbie was gainfully employed by the U.S.
CIC after the war, even after it became well known that Barbie was
wanted for his Gestapo activities in Lyon, France, would pale to
insignificance when the full impact of the Gehlen Organization’s
complete list becomes a matter of public record.
The Gehlen group was controlled
completely by the U.S. Army from 1945 until 1948. It was then
taken over and controlled directly by the Central Intelligence
Agency until 1955-56, when the group was taken over by the Federal
Government of Germany and renamed the Bundesnachrichtendienst
(BND) or State Intelligence Service.
The excuse will doubtless be offered by
all controlling parties that they had no way of knowing that their
ranks contained such a significant number of Gestapo and SD
officials, and many who were on the wanted lists called CROWCASS.
This acronym stands for Central Registry of War Crimes and
Security Suspects instituted by U.S. Intelligence in May of 1945,
and eventually discontinued in 1948. These lists were contained in
a total of forty books and were responsible for the apprehension
of many wanted war criminals. It should be pointed out, that from
1945 until 1948 when the control of the Gehlen Organization passed
to the CIA, it was mandatory that all German nationals who were
employed by U.S. authorities in occupied Germany had to be checked
both through CIC Central Registry as well as the CROWCASS lists!
There is absolutely no possibility
that a valid claim of ignorance of the makeup of the Gehlen group
can be made at this point in time. In fact, in 1948, all of the
CROWCASS files were turned over to Gehlen and the CIA, very
effectively blocking any possible inquiry into the makeup of the
German-American spy network.
Because Gehlen had no knowledge of the
inner workings of the Soviet Union, and being limited in his
wartime duties of establishing Soviet order of battle, it was
necessary for him to seek the services of German, Croatian, Baltic
and Russian individuals who had a much broader background in
During the Second World War, Reinhard
Gehlen was in charge of the German Army’s Foreign Armies East (Fremde
Heer Ost) branch of the High Command. In retrospect, his
projected views of Soviet military moves were more often wrong
than right, but Gehlen was both ambitious and egocentric, a
combination which effectively precluded him from considering any
views other than his own. Hitler eventually fired him for gross
The American military had very little
knowledge of the inner workings of the Soviet state because during
Roosevelt’s reign they had been strictly forbidden by the
President to conduct any intelligence activity against his
ideological friend and ally, Josef Stalin. Soviet agents, on the
other hand, ran rampant in the United States, spying on every
important part of the U.S. government and military establishment.
In this, the Soviets were eagerly assisted by a host of American
communists who did not view their treachery as such, but rather as
their sacred duty to the Soviet Union to whom they owed their
The defense made, after the fact, by
American intelligence agencies to charges of the unrestrained use
of foreigners whose activities during the war were brutal in the
extreme, was that the U.S. needed as much information on their new
enemy as they could develop. Also, the backgrounds of many of
their intelligence resources were secondary to their task of
developing this intelligence.
Many of the individuals hired by Gehlen
had very little experience in the intelligence field, but much in
the area of partisan warfare. This combat experience consisted of
engaging Soviet partisan and irregular units in warfare with the
intention of liquidating them, the same goals, it ought to be
pointed out, that the partisans themselves adhered to.
There is also the concept that Gehlen
was used by elements in the United States government and military
as a foil to convince a reluctant President Truman and the
American Congress that Stalin was planning to launch an attack on
western Europe. To forestall this attack, these elements urged, it
was vital that the United States halt the demobilization of their
military and the downsizing of American industry, and reverse the
Gehlen’s reports prepared at the
behest of his American controllers have proven to be as inaccurate
as the ones he prepared for Hitler’s High Command. But in the
former case, Gehlen did what he was told to do while the latter
case was more an example of ego than mendacity.
Probably the most significant former
Gestapo officer under the employ of the Gehlen Org and later, the
CIA, was SS-Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller, once head of
the Gestapo. Before moving to the United States, Müller worked
for Colonel Critchfield, head of the Gehlen group, while living in
and working for Switzerland.
Most professional intelligence
practitioners would agree, many with reluctance, that the use by
either the United States or Great Britain of a superb
counterintelligence personality such as Heinrich Müller would be
fully justified considering Müller’s expertise in the
machinations of the Kremlin and its leaders.
Almost no one, except for bureaucratic
types, could justify the use by Gehlen and his controllers, the
U.S. Army and later the CIA, of such men whose names are now
identified with membership in his organization.
Every nation in modern times has
special military or paramilitary organizations at their disposal
to enforce their will by ruthless and morally indefensible
methods. The Germans had their Einsatzgruppen, their Geheime
Feld Polizei and their Jagdverbände, the British their
SAS, the U.S. their Special Forces and SEALS, and the Soviets
their Speznatz units. All of these units were and are being
trained in the techniques of control through terror and what, in
the end, amounts to the control, repression and often the physical
liquidation of the civilian populations of their military
It should be noted that the CIA was not
alone in its hiring practices. Through documents released under
the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it is discovered in a CIC
report dated March 1951, that a certain Dr. Wilhelm H. Schmitz was
in the employ of that agency. During the course of the Third
Reich, Dr. Schmitz was an SS-Sturmbannführer (as of April
20, 1941) and the head of the Gestapo bureau, IV E 6. This section
was called “Counterespionage Section South” and covered
Czechoslovakia, the Balkans, Hungary, Italy, Spain and South
When the British murdered RSHA chief
Reinhard Heydrich in 1942 in Prague, the leadership of the Reich
was in an uproar and Himmler went at once to the Czech capital
along with Müller...and Dr. Wilhelm Schmitz. Dr. Schmitz, acting
under Müller’s orders, was responsible for the actions taken
against the Czechs, including the destruction of Lidice and the
shooting of over three thousand Czechs, some of whom were actually
connected with the plot or were found to be British agents.
After the war, Schmitz, whose
background was known to his employers, worked in Prague as a
double agent. Schmitz was one of the architects of the CIA-created
cover legend that Müller was working for Czech intelligence. The
main architect of this delightful fable was the former chief of
the Gestapo himself, who greatly enjoyed pulling the legs of his
employers, but always, it must be added, with great care.
The CIC later discovered that they had
been hoaxed and other documents recently released indicate that
the perpetrators of the Müller-Czech stories were ordered to be
terminated at once. This phrase is usually considered an official
euphemism for assassination.
The hiring by Gehlen of highly
undesirable individuals, many of whom were not German SS men, but
equally as unpalatable, generally was overseen by Willi Krichbaum,
his chief recruiter. Krichbaum, who had been Müller’s chief
deputy in the Gestapo and head of the dreaded Geheime Feld
Polizei (GFP), filled the ranks of the Gehlen organization
with a mixture of ferocious individuals who had the potential to
cause terrible problems for the ultimate authority over them.
1945 through 1948, this authority was the U.S. Army and between
1948 and 1956, the CIA. What happened later was that the ranks of
the newly-constituted Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND, of
the West German government, were swelled with a significant number
of former Gestapo and SD people who had the added liability of
working for Soviet intelligence.
Following the revelations that British
intelligence agencies had been equally infiltrated with Soviet
spies, both countries suffered from a drastic and permanent loss
of confidence by the United States.
The use by the American intelligence,
and governmental communities, of Germans with some expertise on
the subject of the Soviet Union is pragmatically understandable.
The only reason that Great Britain didn’t make more use of
former RSHA personnel is that they could not outspend the
Americans, and further, England was so full of Soviet sympathizers
and agents that the subject of utilizing the late enemy was
anathema to them.
The individuals listed here had very
little expertise in Soviet internal affairs, with a few
exceptions, and their employment at any level is completely
The foregoing study is not meant to
show that U.S. Intelligence agencies actively sought to employ
Germans who were accused of the commission of serious crimes. It
does mean, in every sense, that such persons were knowingly
employed by the intelligence agencies as an expedient.
All bureaucracies in all periods
encounter the same problems: Maintenance. The actual secrets of
the world are so few that one could carry them on small slips of
paper in a back pocket. In order to justify acres of buildings
filled with tens of thousands of employees, office equipment,
telephones, code machines, shredders, computer systems, plastic
passes, executive dining rooms, travel expenses and, finally,
salaries, all intelligence agencies have to at least give the
appearance of performing vital functions for the security of their
state. No agency or bureaucracy has ever voluntarily reduced
itself, but every one of them finds it necessary to expand itself
to acquire more power, more employees, more parking space, and
most importantly, larger budgets to be approved by those set above
Communism and Soviet expansionism
proved to be as vital to the maintenance and growth of the U.S.
intelligence and counterintelligence agencies, as capitalism, and
U.S. expansionism was to Soviet intelligence and
counterintelligence. These massive entities represent the upper
and the nether millstone and what is ground between them are those
who pay for the follies, the vices, and most important, the bill.