The International Campaign for Real History
Documents on the Silencing of Heinrich Himmler

Posted Sunday, June 12, 2005

Document: British SOE document discusses special poisons and methods of assassinating a single (unidentified) person

RESEARCHER Steve Kippax provides this document on poisons from the files of the British Special Operations Executive, part of a series on Foxleys and Little Foxleys (assassination squads); it gives background, and reveals the mindset of what was being thought at an official British level in 1944.

There are several references to both Heinrich Himmler and his masseur Felix Kersten in the Foxley files; also present is a list of Sicherheitsdienst/SS personnel (including Walter Schellenberg, Otto Skorzeny, Heinrich Müller, etc., to be liquidated as little Foxleys) There is also a reference to MI5 asking for status of 'permissions' for Little Foxley liquidations in March 1945, and some reference to recruitment of a killer either from or in the US. There is further a list of questions to put to Rudolf Hess in early 1945 about the situation in Germany and the suggestion that he be hypnotised to make him malleable. [In May 1944 the British used a truth drug on Hess, but failed to get anything out of him. See David Irving, Hess, the Missing Years].

In the file HS 6/626 a document dated March 16, 1945 lists only four authorised targets for assassination: these are Joseph Goebbels, Otto Skorzeny, Otto Ernst Remer and Bruno von Hauenschildt (no mention of Himmler).

Website comment: Such documents if found in the German files might have featured prominently in the war crimes prosecution case at Nuremberg. The toxins N and W referred to were anthrax and botulism respectively.

From PRO file HS6/623, the Foxley file; researched for this wsebsite by Steve Kippax



December 19, 1944


1. Before any final recommendation can be given on the best method of planning this operation a good deal of further detail is necessary. In particular answers are required to the following questions:

  (i) Is the use of chemicals permitted?

 (ii) Is the use of bacteria or bacterial products permitted?

(iii) Is the operation visualised as a suicide operation?

(iv) What is the general mise en scène? Is the encounter to take place in an office or in a private house? Will others be present, and if not, how far off will they be? Has access to food or clothing been considered as an alternative access to the person?

  (v) Is it desired that death, if achieved should be attributed to natural causes or to attack?

2. Until we have answers to the above questions it is impossible to make precise suggestions. I have however a number of observations which may clarify the matter.

(a) It is necessary at the outset to make it clear that the possibilities of poisons have been much overrated by popular belief and by popular fiction both now and in the past. Many of the "scientific" facts in the modern crime story are quite inaccurate, while it is not established beyond doubt that Alexander VI ever poisoned a Cardinal.

(b) We have at our disposal, nevertheless , a number of first-rate poisons for use in a variety of ways. The difficulty lies not in finding the toxic substance but in getting it to the spot where it can do its work.

The routes of administration are:

  (i) By mouth. This involves access to the victims food at some stage, not necessarily during or after its preparation for the table.

 (ii) By inhalation. We have one substance (W) very effective by this route; and (N) a bacterial substance, is lethal by this route in a minute dose (perhaps something like a millionth of a gram). This is a fruitful method if access can be gained to living quarters or clothing.

(iii) By injection. The important thing here that it is necessary to get the substance into the body, not merely to apply it to an abraded surface; thus "Borgia rings" and the like are excluded. The biggest practical use of this method is probably the poisoned bullet. By this means it is possible to make any bullet wound fatal.

 (iv) Absorbtion through the skin is theoretically possible (e.g. the poisoned glove of the Valois), but in practice no poisons are sufficiently rapidly absorbed by this route to make it worth while except in unusual circumstances. It has, however, slight possibilities if bacterial attack is not excluded. Access to the possessions of the intended victim is, of course, necessary.

(c) If the operator is likely to be searched any "gadget" had better be avoided. Guns and hypodermic syringes disguised as fountain pens are usually not a bit convincing, and are likely to lead to the death of the operator before he has had any opportunity of making his attack.

(d) There is often a tendency for the non-scientist to be rather bemused by the power of science; this may be flattering to the scientist, but it is the enemy of clear-headed planning. Let us therefore remember that a strong, determined, and properly trained man, can kill an unsuspecting adversary in a few seconds with his hands. This may prove a more profitable line of thought.

Related files on this website:

Preview from David Irving, Churchill's War, vol. iii: Mr Churchill's 1944 Planning for Bacteriological Warfare against Germany
Churchill's preparations for poison-gas and anthrax warfare against German cities. And the later controversies over this

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