Sunday, August 14, 2005

Frederick the Great

John Murphy had left the United States for Europe in June, 1945. He was a Chief Warrant Officer and political adviser to the Military Governor of Germany. He was in Paris and Frankfurt briefly and after approximately five weeks arrived in Berlin as convoy commander of classified files and documents.
Murphy lived in an area near the Zeldendorf subway station and transacted a number of purchases and barters in the area. Throughout the ruins of Berlin in 1945, motley and hungry German peddlers traded valuables to the Americans for such things as cigarettes, candy bars, and food. Murphy came by a document in this manner. He spoke no German and claimed that a peddler had come to his flat one night with a bound manuscript explaining in broken English that it was very valuable. It was signed by Frederick the Great and was written in French at Sans Souci, Potsdam. Murphy gave the peddler a footlocker full of canned food and 25 packs of vegetable seeds for the 50-page manuscript. At a time when a carton of cigarettes was worth $100, the contents of Murphy's footlocker may have been worth more than $500.
Shortly after the purchase, Murphy returned to Frankfurt and accepted military leave back to the United States. On the pretext of returning to Europe he only carried two small travel bags. One of them contained the manuscript. During his leave, Murphy contacted several old friends in Washington and as a result was released from his assignment in Europe and reassigned to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Because he was not returning to Europe, Murphy had to acquire a full military and civilian wardrobe. His belongings in Europe were eventually sent to his parents' home in Baltimore. By the time of their arrival, Murphy was attached to the Embassy staff in Argentina, where he remained for three years. After his return in 1950, Murphy married and purchased a home near Maxwell Air Base, in Montgomery, Alabama. With his new home, Murphy had space for his acquisitions from Berlin and when they arrived, he displayed his etchings, prints, Meissen china and books, but tossed his unauthenticated manuscript back into the attic.
Then in 1951, John Murphy read an article in Life magazine about a New Jersey housewife who had brought a New York appraiser six confidential letters written by Abraham Lincoln's wife, Mary Todd Lincoln. Sigmond Rothschild had appraised the letters as worth more than $100,000. The same article disclosed that a watercolor painting by Hitler had been appraised at $1,500. An American soldier had taken the painting in Germany. After reading the article, Murphy went to his attic and removed the rummaged document. Through the mail he made several offers for the sale of an original manuscript of King Frederick II.
Murphy found out that the manuscript was worth at least $6,000. This was more than he had paid for his new house. The appraiser, Rothschild, wrote back that there was a question of ownership and as a result obtained Murphy's permission to contact the Department of State. Murphy had contacted several antique dealers in the New York market and the discovery created quite a stir, with several dealers contacting the German Embassy and various U.S. Government agencies. One of the offers of the manuscript was sent to Mr. Walter Schatzki, a renowned book dealer in New York. Schatzki notified the Department of State of the offer and asked for their assistance in the matter. The publicity created by the discovery caused Murphy to write the following letter to Dr. Ernst Pozen, Professor American University in Washington, on August 19, 1951. Possibly as a protest, the complete letter does not contain a single capital letter.

i have been advised that you have acted as an informer to the state department. ... i classed it [the manuscript] in the same category as the numerous art treasures passed off on other service personnel during the war years by the ungrateful populace of europe. ... are we prepared to say definitely that it wasn't stolen by an unscrupulous underling of the german archive establishment? ...i have nothing to hide. except that i do not wish to part with it for nothing without full justification.[i]

Murphy filed a petition on August 18, 1951, with the Supervisor of Customs, Washington D.C., for remission of forfeiture and penalties as delineated by the Tariff Act of 1930. Murphy wrote that he was unaware that antiques dated before 1800 had to be declared before being offered for public sale. Intriguing as the story is, there is unfortunately no clear disposition as to the final fate of Frederick the Great's manuscript.
[i] John Henry Murphy, Letter to Dr. Ernest Pozener, August 15, 1951.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Treasure Map - Buchenwald

A hand-drawn map of buried treasures in the stone quarry (STEINBRUCH) at Buchenwald Concentration Camp. The arrows on the east, north, and south of the quarry point to the covered entrances of the tunnels to the treasures.
Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005

Fakes and Hoaxes

Click on the above page and enlarge it. Look. Is authentic or a forgery? Did it originate from the fissure of a depraved mind? On a bizarre research trek into the area of obsessed liars, I would find the enigmatic answer. This poor quality but volatile four page document (one page shown above) was faxed to me by a Florida based treasure hunter.

The four pages portray SS Generals Heinrich Müller and Odlio Globocnik, surviving World War II and working for U.S. Intelligence and in the process supplying the funds for extensive intelligence gathering using Holocaust assets. This would be front page news for every major newspaper and TV broadcast in the world. Public outcry would demand that cold war history be rewritten and everyone involved be held accountable from former President Harry S. Truman through the top military officials of the late 1940s.

Gestapo Müller and Globocnik were vile human beings and stereotypes of the Nazi inhuman brute, involved in the murder of millions of innocent men, women, and children. They both disappeared in the closing days of World War II. Müller did not have a “money trail” therefore he was not of an interest to the author. Globocnik on the other hand, based on a document faxed with the above four pages, had buried in the area of Weissensee truck loads of gold, platinum, and diamonds. The fax describes the hidden treasure: 2,100 kilos gold bars, 1,375 kilos gold jewelry, 217 kilos scrap platinum, 15,381 British gold sovereigns, 6,113 French 20 franc gold Napoleons, 4,659 French 10 franc gold Napoleons, 2,554 U.S. $20 gold coins, 23,459 German 100 Reichsmarks notes and much more including thousands of carats of diamonds.

I had to authenticate these documents. The British claimed that during his capture in southern Austria, Globocnik had taken cyanide and died. A single page, dated 15 November 1963, in his file in the National Archives states: “Globocnik did not survive the war, he was killed or committed suicide in northern Italy in early 1945”. The above four page document states that he worked for the U.S. Globocnik was rich enough to buy his way out of captivity and his body has never been identified forensically. This was a cold trail.

Now where did the documents originate? An inquiry to the treasure hunter reviled that the documents were supplied to them by Gregory Douglas. A year later, during a conversation with team members of the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets, I discussed the Globocnik documents. One of the team members told me that they were also interested in Gregory Douglas, but his real name was Peter Stahl.

Later, I had lunch with Robert Wolfe, retired Director of Military Branch of the National Archives, and told him about the Peter Stahl furnished documents. Dr. Wolfe told me he had received the documents about 10 years ago and examined then for more than two years including seeking the originals and concluded that they had been created in the mind of Peter Stahl. Afterwards, I found out the noted author, Gitta Serney, had received the same four pages on 28 December, 1983 from Peter Stahl. After 17 years she concluded that the Peter Stahl documents were false.

His lies as Peter Stahl had caught up with him, so he required a new name. Under the alias of Douglas Gregory he “sold” his story to R. James Bender Publishing and they published a series of books on the subject of Müller involvement with U.S. military intelligence. During this time the treasure hunters in Florida along with Douglas went to the Weissensee in southern Austria and searched for the buried Globocnik treasure. They did not uncover a single penny.

Disturbingly, I am left with the question of a rational explanation for such a clever forgery? Why would an individual exaggerate the untruth? Have I missed something? Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Goering's Capture

An intoxicating golden reign has ended for the distressed Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring pictured above shortly after his capture by U.S. Forces.

Since the close of World War II, there has been several “interpretations” of the capture of Hermann Göring. With the passage of time and memories fading, a few veterans of World War II allege incorrectly that they captured the highest ranking Nazi – Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring, head of the Luftwaffe.

His capture will be the subject of a PBS program, History Detectives, scheduled to air on August 29, 2005. The author will be featured on this program.

Following is what I believe to be correct. This information was taken from Brigadier General Robert I. Stack’s sworn testimony of May 20, 1945. His testimony agrees with the article published in the 36th Infantry Division’s newspaper, T Patch, on May 8, 1945.

On the evening of May 7, 1945 German Corps G, First Germany Army, and the U.S. Seventh Army had negotiated a cease-fire, and both units agreed to stop troop movements as well as to cease shooting at each other. During this time Göring sent a note to Seventh Army Headquarters in Kitzbühel, Austria, informing them that he would meet the Americans at the Fischhorn Castle at Zell am See, to surrender. At the time of his note Göring was staying at his Mauterndorf Castle, about 100 miles from the Fischhorn.

On May 8, 1945, the day of the surrender of Germany, General Robert L. Stack, Assistant Division Commander of the U.S. 36th Infantry Division, traveled to the castle with a platoon from the 636th Tank Destroyer Battalion. When they arrived at the castle, it was occupied by armed troops of the Waffen SS Florian Geyer Division. Stack and his small staff waited for about three hours while members of the SS tried to contact Göring. Stack was informed that Göring was being held up due to German roadblocks and snow on the roads.

General Stack, his aide Lieutenant Harold Bond, and a German major drove away in a jeep and staff car in the general direction of Göring. One can only imagine the surprise of the German troops as an American Army general, a first lieutenant and German major drove through German roadblocks 70 miles behind German lines in search of Hermann Göring. Regardless of the danger, Stack wanted the glory of capturing the highest ranking remaining Nazi. He was no more than 30 miles from the Mauterndorf Castle when he found the Reichsmarschall and his household stopped on a country road a few miles from Radstadt. Stack and Göring got out of their cars and walked towards each other and saluted. Stack asked Göring if he spoke English. Göring said no but that he understood it fairly well. Stack told him he had received his letter and would accept his surrender immediately and take him to Fischhorn Castle at Zell am See that night. He would be sent to Seventh Army Headquarters either that night or the next day.

It was about 8:30 p.m. as the entourage headed back towards the Fischhorn Castle. They had no difficulty passing through the German roadblocks and entered the American lines at St. Johann, arriving at the Fischhorn Castle around midnight. They were 20 miles from Kitzbühel and Stack made the decision to spend the night there. Stack ordered Göring's staff to deliver all their arms to his room. Göring expressed a concern that the SS troops at the Fischhorn might kill him because just prior to Hitler's suicide, Hitler had ordered Göring's arrest and execution. Stack allowed four members of Göring's staff to keep their pistols and sleep in the front part of the room occupied by Göring.

Stack then notified the 36th Division Commander, General John E. Dahlquist, that he had arrested Göring. The following morning Stack had the SS troops disarmed and at about 10:00 a.m. left in his staff car, followed by Göring for the trip to Kitzbühel. Göring was taken to the division command post at the Grand Hotel. He was then introduced to Dahlquist. They saluted, and then talked briefly about the size and location of Göring's staff. Generals Dahlquist, Stack, and Walter W. Hess, along with Göring, had a drink and then ate chicken, peas, and mashed potatoes for lunch, as it was "fried chicken day" for the entire staff, an act that would later lead to fraternization charges against the American Officers. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Adolf Hitler's Skull and Eva Braun's Diary

During the past 30-years, of researching countless records in the National Archives, two attention-grabbing documents that snatched my attention are the ghoulish x-rays of Adolf Hitler’s skull and Eva Braun’s diary. Finding aids for these two items follow:

Adolf Hitler’s X-Rays of his skull:
RG319 Records of the Army Staff:
Location 319/260/9/6/0 Box 2031

Eva Braun’s Diary:
RG 84 Records of Foreign Service Post of the Department of State:
Location 84/350/57/26/06 Box 6.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Treasure Map 1 of 4

The Fischhorn Castle (bottom center) was the last SS Headquarters of World War II. Many believe gold and other valuables were dumped in Zell am See lake during the closing days of World War II. The notation on the bottom of the map "possible location of Himmler's car containing gold, jewels, Etc." These 4 maps were prepared by U.S. Counter Intelligence and found by the author in Record Group 38, National Archives.
NOTE: To enlarge maps click on map and then click on expand or save map photos on your computer and enlarge for details. Posted by Hello

Treasure Map 3 of 4

This map of Alt Aussee shows the location of where three chest of gold were unearthed near the Ville Kerry Hotel. They had been buried there by Adolf Eichmann. Posted by Hello

Treasure Map 2 of 4

This remarkable map at the Blaalm a few miles north of Alt Aussee, Austria shows the location of Adolf Eichmann's missing treasure indicated by slash marks. The + mark in the fork of the road is where Eichmann's burned radio car was found. The small square boxes are shepherd huts. Posted by Hello

Treasure Map 4 of 4

Bad Ausssee and hidden treasures around the Grundlsee lake. Posted by Hello

Monday, May 30, 2005

Hitler's Library

In May 1945, a soldier of the U.S. Army Airforce, took 11 books from Adolf Hitler’s Berghof library, near Berchtesgaden.
The above book, Angriff authored by Joseph Goebbels contains on the flyleaf a one line written inscription addressed to My Führer and signed by Dr. Goebbels. Dated December ??, 1935. The inscription: “Meine Führer in admiration and gratitude Dr. Goebbels”.

The other 10 books

Aus Deutschem Schrifttum Und Deutscher Kulture authored by Peter Fröhlich has the Führer's bookplate an eagle, a swastika, and oak branches between the words EX LIBRIS and Adolf Hitler on the inside cover. The flyleaf contains an inscription praising the Führer and his work for Germany and admiration for his struggle. Signed the Professor, this apparently is Peter Fröhlich.

Un Unserm Führer zum Geburstag – Heilung ganz von selbst ohne Heilmethode rein natürlich ohne Behandlung und Selbstbehandlung, ohne Verbrauch von Mitteln und ohne Apparate. Wirkliche Verjüngung., Rich. Kirchhoff: This book “To Our Führer on his Birthday” is the cover of the book Heilung. Apparently the original cover was removed by the author and the birthday cover was bound. The book about self healing contains the Führer's bookplate an eagle, a swastika, and oak branches between the words EX LIBRIS and Adolf Hitler on the inside cover.

Im Licht by Paul Eickens, contains the Führer's bookplate an eagle, a swastika, and oak branches between the words EX LIBRIS and Adolf Hitler on the inside cover.

Wie erhalte ich meine Stimme gesund?, Guftau Rippich, contains the Führer's bookplate an eagle, a swastika, and oak branches between the words EX LIBRIS and Adolf Hitler on the inside cover.

Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler, has a badly torn dust jacket, printed in 1934.

Schönerer, Georg Ritter von: Die Entwicklung des Alldeutschtumes in der Ostmark, a Vienna 1914 publication with gold gilded pages. Schönerer was an early organizer of the Nazi Party.

Kriegs Kunst: Heute und Morgen, by Hermann Foertsch, Oberst Der Generalstabes. General Foertsch was Assistant Chief of Staff of the German Twelfth Army.

Mit Hitler In Polen, a photo book with a pigskin cover. Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann,
introduction by Generaloberst Keitel. General Wilhelm Keitel was tried and hanged at Nuremberg for war crimes.

Mit Hitler in Polen, a photo book with a plastic cover. Photo by Heinrich Hoffmann. Introduction by Generaloberst Keitel.

Hitler befreit Sudetenland A glowing review of Hitler's triumphant entry into the Sudentenland as seen and reported from inside the Nazi Propaganda Machine with an introduction by Konrad Heinlein. A number of very interesting black and white photograph credited to Heinrich Hoffmann.

I find these books of great interest. The Library of Congress has several hundred books from Adolf Hitler's Library. Posted by Hello