“For a long time hardly anyone was aware of just how courageous and determined Fritz Kolbe was in resisting the Nazi regime. . . . [A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich] draws a fascinating picture of Fritz Kolbe as an example of quiet resistance. It shows his courage, his firm convictions, but also the tragic limits of his influence on events during the war.” Joschka Fischer, Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister of Germany
A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich
The Extraordinary Story of Fritz Kolbe, America's Most Important Spy in World War II
978-0-8021-4231-3 • $15.95 • Paperback • Feb. 2006
History (World War II)
An electrifying account, told with novelistic detail, of the German bureaucrat who worked behind the scenes to become America’s crucial anti-Nazi spy
In 1943 Fritz Kolbe, an official from the German foreign ministry, arranged to meet with Allen Dulles, then the head of the OSS in Switzerland and later the director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Kolbe was the assistant to a highly placed official, Ambassador Karl Ritter, and privately detested Nazism. He had long agonized about staying in his post, until finally, faced with the reality of the Nazi program, he reluctantly concluded that the most valuable service he could provide to Germany, if not the Party, was to assist the Allies. While Dulles was skeptical, he was soon convinced that Kolbe was a vital source of intelligencethe location of munitions factories and Hitler’s headquarters; diplomatic reports on Germany’s relations with other Axis nations like Romania and nominally neutral countries like Spain; Germany’s intelligence and who in the Allied effort was working for the enemy. Though a staunch patriot and one of the few Germans to take such risks, after the war he was viewed by many Germans as a traitor and his contributions were largely forgotten.
Kolbe was in many ways an ordinary man. The lengths to which his conviction led him were what made him extraordinary. Drawing on government documents only declassified in 1998 by President Clinton and Kolbe’s personal archives, this is the first time his story has been told. A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich is an electrifying account that captures the final years of World War II, the mood of the residents of Berlin in 1944, and the inner workings of the Allied intelligence effort. A work of remarkable scholarship that moves with the swift pace of a Le Carré thriller, A Spy at the Heart of the Third Reich is a riveting addition to the literature of espionage.