With the Nazi spies again

Abwehr radio
Member of the Abwehr working in the Secret Radio Service. Wikimedia Commons

I telephoned Madrid 333572 and asked for Gustav Knittel – the real name of the Abwehr agent Federico –  who lived in Praça Aunos 6.

A voice answered that he wasn’t there, but now lived outside Madrid, and the person to help me was Eberhardt Kiekebusche, who lived in Calle sil 5 in the El Viso quarter of Madrid.

I had never had direct contact with Kiekebusche but, when I arrived at his house, he seemed very pleased to see me and invited me in for a meal. Kiekebusche was very Prussian-looking, had been a commander in the Abwehr and a very good friend of admiral Canaris. He had been in Spain ever since the civil war, having arrived at the same time as the Kondor Legion.

For my work for the Reich

We shut ourselves in his office and he began to show me the greater part of all the messages I had sent him;  he even produced the book which we had  used for sending objects in, which had had its centre pages cut out in order to turn it into a secret box.

He talked to me about our great task and explained to me that things were difficult for the Germans in defeat. He told me that he was running an import/export business, which was doing quite well, and offered to help me in any way he could.

He then handed me 25,000 pesetas in gratitude for all that I had done for the Reich.

He also gave me Federico’s address and told me that he was hiding in a little village in the Guadarrama mountains.

My old contact

Federico was not at all at ease when I met him. He gave me the impression that he was very frightened man. Spain was a relatively safe country for Nazi officers to hide in, but many members of the intelligence service seemed to fear that they might be kidnapped or eliminated by their opposite numbers on the Allied side.

Federico was greatly saddened by Germany’s defeat, so I continued to play my role of Nazi sympathizer and told him that better times lay ahead.

I offered my services and said that I would be glad to continue to work for him.

He fell for it completely – he believed me – and advised me to tie everything up with Kiekebusche.

No plan

I went back to Madrid and had another meeting with Kiekebusche, during which he said that all the members of the German Secret Service in Spain were either disbanded or out of touch with one another. He said that his old friend Canaris had been executed by the Nazis themselves and most of his superior officers were either dead or had been arrested.

I was therefore difficult for him to plan anything at the moment as there was no organization left; he would have to wait a while.

I told him that I was thinking of settling down in South America and he gave the Barcelona address of some people he thought I might find helpful, should I think to import Spanish goods.

Federico had been quite critical of Hitler and his conduct of the war, but Kiekebusche was much more prudent and suggested that the Nazis had been defeated by bad luck.

A well kept secret

From Madrid, I went on to Lisbon. No doubt thanks to Risso-Gill’s careful handling of the Portuguese authorities when I had left the country so precipitately in 1942, I had no difficulties with the Portuguese border police. Once in Lisbon I rejoined Tommy Harris, who took me to see Gene Risso-Gill.

Neither of them could believe that I had really just been to see my Germans contacts in Madrid; they found it utterly incredible and were amazed at my audacity.

To me it had been the final irrevocable proof that my double identity, ARABEL-GARBO, had been an impeccable kept secret right to the end.