Saturday, October 5, 2013

Blunt and Philby Discuss Schellenberg

For some reason, popular culture likes to portray Nazi Intelligence chief  SS General Walter Schellenberg as a cool-headed, thoroughly competent spymaster.  Others, including myself, take a markedly less generous view (see my earlier blogpost here). According to at least one historical source, Schellenberg had a meeting in Stockholm at the very end of the war with a British intelligence officer who turned out to be Anthony Blunt, a Soviet mole and member of the notorious Cambridge spy ring.  Below is part of a chapter I wrote for GERMANIA, which ended up getting cut, in which Blunt meets with Kim Philby, another member of the Cambridge spy ring. Enjoy!

“Moonpool, you say they call it?” asked Kim Philby a few hours later.

Blunt nodded. He had taken the evening flight back to London and gone straight to Philby’s club. “Some bad news,” he told him.

Listening to Blunt’s description of what Schellenberg had told him a few hours earlier, Philby’s nimble mind was already busy coming up with plans of action. “I’d say this definitely calls for a crash meeting,” he said quietly. Moscow needs to start moving immediately before someone else gets their hands on it.”

“What else do we need to tell them?” asked Blunt.

“They’re going to want to know who else is looking for Himmler right now,” said Philby. “What can you tell them?”

“From what I understand it is a rather biggish manhunt. Though I daresay most of those doing the hunting haven’t a clue. I know the main hunt is being led by some Colonel Herzog. But he’s a tanker, turned cop.”


“Rather. His father used to be chief rabbi in Belfast.”

“Great,” said Philby, visibly not impressed.

“I’ve heard Westerby’s on it too.”

“Westerby? Jesus!” Philby let out a laugh.

“Yes, last I heard he was sneaking around Monty’s headquarters, being a thorough pain in the neck to everybody. The Americans have their boys out, but at this point it’s unclear how far they’ll get in the northern sector.”

“Aren’t there some American intelligence people attached to British 21 Army Group?”

“Yes, but I gather that at this moment they’re all probably too busy getting drunk and screwing frauleins to be any kind of real threat.”

“So you’re saying Westerby is the only one we have to worry about?”

“Yes, actually. Speaking of Jews, I saw a report the other day about a bunch of rampaging Yids, out to settle scores and kill as many Nazis as they can find. I imagine they’re looking for the gold too. They call themselves the Blood of Israel.”

Philby snorted contemptuously. “That’s pathetic,” he said. “I think this is all going to be a walk in the park. Who besides Schellenberg knows the particulars about Moonpool?”

“It appears the management is being run by one of his adjutants; a Major Steiner. It also appears that Steiner has a boyfriend with whom he’s been engaging in a lot of pillow talk.”

Philby looked impressed. “Name?”

“You’ll love this, Kim. Remember that SS lieutenant they kept asking us to find out about? The fortune teller?”

Philby had to think about it a moment. “You mean Franz Ferdinand Loerber?” Philby was nearly aghast. “Him?”

Blunt smiled.

Philby let out a huge laugh. “Well I reckon that would explain why they were so interested.”

“So I gather.”

“So what kind of a man is this Schellenberg?”

Now it was Blunt’s turn to laugh. “I have a feeling that most of what he thinks he knows about the British Secret Service came from reading a lot of cheap novels. Honestly, I’ve met Americans who had a better sense about it than he did.”
First published by Simon & Schuster in 2008, Germania is now also available on Kindle here.

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