Posted Monday, July 8, 2002

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THE information did not take Gutierrez much further. Her husband Fritz was questioned. Gutierrez was on guard: Fritz had already concealed valuable items given him by Konrad, and Gutierrez had learned from Rudolf Meier that Fritz probably had still more.

Fritz's first words were guilty. "If you are here looking for writings," he said, "I don't have any. You have seen everything which I had. I have no gold here, either."

His story agreed with Minna's -- how they had hidden the chests in the attic, lowered down between the walls. Some chests were locked and they had been left that way. But he added: "There are supposed to be things still in Kirchberg. That statement was made by Agnes" -- Franz Konrad's wife. "Agnes said that to my wife. She complained because we here had given up everything. When she returned from Kirchberg, she said that she felt better, for Franz had some things concealed in Kirchberg too." He added about the second truckload, "The driver told me that I must be especially careful of the suitcase. The suitcase was locked. I handed over this suitcase to you. One of the suitcases which was unloaded at my place bore a label with the name 'Eva Braun.' I also turned over this suitcase to you."

Gutierrez then interrogated Franz's wife Agnes Konrad at Lietzen, on November 1. She knew nothing about anything, or so she claimed. She had visited her in-laws at Schladming twice, but they told her nothing, daß jetzt noch irgend etwas dort sein soll. As for her husband Franz Konrad, sagte sie wegwerfend, "Ich bin nicht schuld an seinem Schicksal, da muß er jetzt schon selbst sehen, wie er fertig wird."

Die Verwandten in Kirchberg waren ihr verständlicherweise sehr böse. "Von den Schriften habe ich zum ersten Male in Kirchberg gehört." She knew nothing about Schriften und Gold, was noch in Schladming sein soll. And again: "Ich habe nicht in Kirchberg gesagt, daß in Schladming noch Schriften und Gold liegt, was die nicht herausgeben. Ich weiß so etwas gar nicht."

But when Gutierrez challenged her that the relatives in Schladming had agreed that they would not hand over the Schmuck, and daß sie alle übereinstimmend sagen würden, das hätten andere Amerikaner schon abgeholt, Agnes admitted her lie: "Wenn die das jetzt auch noch verraten," she said with a sneer, "dann tut es mir leid." But: "Etwas anderes, als von diesem Schmuck, weiß ich nicht."

On the same day (November 1, 1945) Gutierrez questioned Willy Pichler, husband of Franz Konrad's sister. He recalled Franz arriving late on Saturday, April 21 or 28, knapp vor Mitternacht, with the black wood-burning truck and a driver called, he too believed, "Karl-Heinz." The truck contained 24 radios, which Franz asked him to sell, and 2 oder 3 Blechkisten und einige Koffern. Franz gave his mother two Koffer und some valuable watches, und sagte, diese soll sie aufbewahren. ("Das lege ich Dir ans Herz," his mother recalled him saying, "das gibst Du niemandem heraus, bis ich es wieder abhole.") Franz made no attempt to tell them what was in the Kisten -- sie sollten sie aber verstauen, gut aufbewahren.

The next day they took the baggage over to Fritz Konrad on a handcart. The two Koffer were in the possession of his mother: "In dem einen Koffer waren die Kleider [von Franz] und in dem anderen die Filme." In what would seemed a significant afterthought, Pichler added:

"Ich weiß, daß der Franz einen Handkoffer auf den LKW geworfen hat, als sie abfahren wollten. Das war ein heller Koffer. Ich denke, daß der Franz dieses Kästchen mit den Uhren aus dem Koffer, den er wieder mitgenommen hat, herausgenommen hat. Soweit ich mich erinnere, hatte er Schlüssel in der Hand. Ich glaube, er hat den Koffer immer wieder abgesperrt."

Questioned at Schladming the same day, Franz Konrad's mother Maria Konrad confirmed the story. To Gutierrez, this seemed hardly surprising: She lived under the same roof as her son in law Pichler. Franz had given her ein Kästchen mit den Uhren, ein Koffer mit Zivilkleidern (der Koffer war überzogen mit einem grauen Bezug mit Reißverschluß); and a Koffer mit den Filmen. On the earlier visit of the C.I.C. to Schladming on October 11 she had handed the two cases and the kleine Kästchen to Fritz's wife to surrender to them, "weil Sie beim Fritz Filme gesucht haben und weil ich die hier hatte." Sie talked of how Franz uns so ins Unglück gestürzt hat, und mentioned:

"Die Engländer haben ja auch schon Hausdurchsuchung gemacht bei uns, haben auch auch nichts gefunden. Wir haben auch bestimmt nichts mehr da. Ich möchte nur wissen, was Sie noch suchen."

Suddenly the talk was of letters, "Briefe." The old lady had heard that they were looking for einen Brief, "Ich habe aber keinen Brief hier." Gutierrez's ears pricked up. When he pressed for more information about the letters, she accused him of putting words in her mouth, daß ein Brief hier sein soll. "Nur der Fritz hat einmal gesagt, 'Die Herren suchen immer Briefe bei mir, aber es sind keine da.' Seine Frau hat dasselbe gesagt." And, reproachfully, "Sie haben gesagt, Sie suchen Schriften. Und Schriften sind doch Briefe. Das ist doch das gleiche."

Reflecting further, the old lady said a few moments later, admitting far more than she realized:

"Ich kann mir nur denken, es sind vielleicht Briefe von Hitler."

"Warum denken Sie das?"

"Weil der Franz mit dem Hitler und mit dem Fegelein doch immer zu tun hatte. Das hat der Franz selber gesagt, daß er die Briefe hat, aber hierher hat er sie nicht gebracht. Er hat auch nicht gesagt, wohin er die gebracht hat."

This was what the agents had been waiting for. They pressed her for more detail: when and how had Franz said that? "Als der Franz damals mit dem Lastauto hier war" -- am 21. oder 28. April [1945], wobei she had not seen him until 9 the next morning, Sunday --

"hat er mir gesagt, die Briefe werden wir niemals zu sehen bekommen, die trägt er woanders hin. Er hat gesagt, die Briefe von Hitler müssen veschwinden von Fischhorn. Er hat das so gesagt, als wenn er die Briefe noch dort hatte in Fischhorn. Er sagte, die Briefe werden niemals zum Vorschein kommen. Ich habe ihn nicht gefragt, wohin er die Brife bringen wollte, das interessierte mich damals gar nicht. Als der Franz mir das gesagt hat, war niemand anders dabei."

Warum habe Franz gerade ihr das gesagt?

"Ja, ich bin doch seine Mutter, mir konnte er das doch sagen."

She insisted that neither Pichler nor his wife had heard of this, and she did not believe that Fritz Konrad and his wife had heard of the letters either.

"Das von den Briefen von Hitler hat mir der Franz in meinem Zimmer gesagt. Er sagte, er hat noch die Briefe und die müssen verschwinden. Ich habe mir gedacht, vielleicht er hat die Sachgen eingeheizt. Er hat aber nicht darüber gesagt. Ich hab mir das halt so gedacht, denn wenn man etwas von der Welt verschwinden lassen will, heizt man es halt ein."

Because she herself had burned all the Büchern mit Bildern von Hitler, "man dürfte das doch alles nicht mehr haben." She recalled only how Franz had told her this at 9 a.m. that Sunday, April 29th perhaps, and had left at 10 a.m.

"Der Franz hat gesagt, was noch auf dem Auto drauf ist, nimmt er wieder mit. Es ist doch noch ein Koffer auf dem Auto geblieben. Der Koffer war zugedeckt mit einer Plane. Was in dem Koffer drin war, hat der Franz nicht gesagt. ... Es war ein kleinerer brauner Lederkoffer. ... Den Koffer hat er mit hier im Zimmer gehabt, und dann hat er ihn wieder mitgenommen. Als er sich verabschiedet hat, hat er gesagt, 'Den Koffer nehm ich wieder mit.'"

"Es kann schon sein," the old lady said, speaking out loud the thoughts that agents Gutierrez and Conner both now had, "daß in dem Koffer die Briefe waren, und daß er die wieder mitgenommen hat."

On November 3, Gutierrez was at Bruck an der Muhr, interrogating Franz Schützinger, a former landlord of Konrad and relative (NOT FATHER) of Julie Schützinger (the telephonist at Fischhorn and a friend of Franz Konrad). Franz Konrad had lived at his house for a while after the capitulation, and Franz Schützinger had seen him collect from the house a rucksack containing 100,000 RM; in fact he knew from Julie's father Martin Schützinger that Konrad was said to have 300,000 or 400,000 RM. Apart from describing S.S. Rottenführer Franz Schuller, the man whom Konrad claimed had helped him burn the money, as the closest confidant of Konrad at Fischhorn, there was little that Schützinger added to the investigation.

But Gutierrez's interrogation of Konrad's truck driver, Unterscharführer Johannes (not Karl-Heinz) Haferkamp, at the American-run PWE camp at Dachau on November 8 was more useful. This driver attached to the S.S. unit based on Fischhorn had made the two trips for Konrad to Schladming; Konrad had selected him because he was the only driver who knew how to handle the difficult woodburning trucks: on the first trip they took foodstuffs, "ten or twelve radios", liquor and two or three tin trunks (Blechkisten), of the type usually used by officers, and which Konrad had told him contained his personal effects.

"I don't remember whether there was a leather suitcase as well," said Haferkamp. Gutierrez asked him to reconstruct the events of the Sunday morning, April 29: "Later Konrad himself appeared," said Haferkamp. "He had nothing in his hands. Nothing more was loaded into the truck. -- Wait, now I remember distinctly. He was carrying his leather coat, which he hung in the cab, and a few boxes of cigarettes. I then drove with Pichler into a lumber yard where we traded the cigarettes for wood for the truck."

Gutierrez pressed him, and Haferkamp struggled with his memory. "No, I did not notice that Konrad took any kind of a suitcase into the house. I have never seen a leather suitcase of the kind you describe. We had our evening meal there. ... No, I did not notice that Konrad had any suitcase with him there. I would certainly tell you if I had; I have no interest in concealing anything from you; above all, not to protect that swine Konrad."

Did this perhaps mean that Konrad's mother and Pichler had both lied? That the locked leather suitcase was still at Schladming? Puzzlingly, the second truckload delivered from Fischhorn to Schladming, as described by Haferkamp, seemed more interesting than the first. (According to Konrad under interrogation, it had contained only Bols liquor and some albums.) According to Haferkamp the trip was on about April 30, and the cargo consisted of 40-50 cases of Bols, 2 large rugs, one or two rifles, foodstuffs, about 15 radios, two ordinary leather travelling bags (suitcases) tagged with the name Eva Braun, and one officer's tin trunk (Blechkiste).

Konrad had told Haferkamp, "If things go badly, and you are not able to get through, drive the truck over a cliff, but by all means deliver the suitcases and the trunk. Fifty years from now the suitcases will make history."

Haferkamp had looked at the heavy cases and trunk and wondered how the two of them -- he was accompanied only by S.S. Oberscharführer Max Mayer -- would carry all of that.

"When we arrived at Schladming, the people were panicky. At Pichler's, where we first stopped, the populace stole the liquor from the truck. For that reason we unloaded only the radios and the rugs there and drove over to Konrad's brother's place. There we drove up to the back of the house and unloaded everything. Konrad's brother [Fritz] and his wife took charge of the things."

The truck had been completely emptied and returned empty to Fischhorn. Haferkamp concluded by saying that Konrad had paid him 5,000 RM for making these two trips.

Since he was up at Dachau, Gutierrez questioned S.S. Hauptsturmführer Erwin Haufler again on November 8, after speaking with the truck driver. Haufler was the officer who had passed the order from Johannes Göhler to Franz Konrad to destroy the Eva Braun papers.

He repeated what he had always maintained: the letters from Hitler to Eva Braun and her replies were in a tin chest, the type widely used as an officer's trunk on maneuvers.

"This chest," he repeated, tantalizingly, "was threequarters full of letters and cards. There were at least 250 letters, and I believe many more than that. I only looked through these things for perhaps ten minutes. I looked at letters from 1944 and 1945."

There was also a loose leaf file (Leitz Ordner) bound in blue leather: "This book was a diary of Eva Braun's in which she had sketched (ENTWORFEN?) all the letters she had written. There was also a book by Mussolini there. ... I also saw some letters on cards."

Later he added: "Oh, it just occurs to me that there were also many sketches in the tin chest, sketches by Hitler. They were personal sketches, made in pencil, depicting floor plans and the like. I saw one which seemed to represent a church." He also described the 25-30 photo albums in a laundry basket (albums which Gutierrez and Conner had already recovered and submitted.) He had seen a carton containing a Leica, a record player and 30-40 Leica films; he gave this to Hans Fegelein on May 4 or 5. He too described Franz Schuller as being Konrad's closest confidant, and he recalled Konrad asking where Schuller was, "I want him to help me carry away or bury (BERGEN?) something."

Perhaps, suggested Haufler helpfully, Konrad had buried the things on the mountain slope behind Fischhorn castle -- "He was forever running about on this slope during the last days (before the capitulation.)"

Like a magpie, Konrad had certainly attempted to preserve at least one of Himmler's files from the boiler-room furnace -- perhaps the historical typescript that he had referred to in his interrogation. "I know of the following," recollected Haufler. "Konrad came into my office with a file in his hand. Later Fräulein Lorenz came in, saw the file, took it, and said, 'That must also be burned.'"

Assessing on November 22 the result of these latest investigations, Gutierrez noted that since Franz Konrad had corroborated Haufler's details of what was in the famous tin trunk, he must at one time have had the documents in his possession; and that Konrad's mother had contradicted his statements that he had destroyed them.

  • Had he taken the letters back to Fischhorn, perhaps in the leather suitcase that he loaded back on the truck that Sunday morning, perhaps deciding on second thoughts not to involve the old lady too deeply in such a dangerous concealment?
  • Haferkamp, admittedly, had seen no suitcase being loaded back on the truck; was he lying, contradicted by both Konrad's mother and by Pichler?
  • Or had they concocted a joint story to tell the Americans, since they lived under the same roof and were forewarned about the nature of the C.I.C. investigation?

Of one thing Special Agent Gutierrez was convinced, and on November 22 he repeated this conviction in a report to his superiors at Seventh Army:

"Konrad did not burn the exchange of letters between Hitler and Eva Braun, as he has maintained. The letters are either in Schladming, Austria, or in the neighbourhood of Fischhorn."

How to proceed now? He and Conner recommended (November 22): "At present Konrad is under investigation regarding this exchange of letters by the C.I.C. unit in Zell am See, Austria, at the suggestion of these agents. A plan involving work over an extended period was agreed upon. It would not have been practical for these agents to stand by and carry out such a plan, as the Zell unit was able to handle it in conjunction with its other work. Should this effort be fruitless, Konrad should be brought to USFET Interrogation Center for further exploitation. The C.I.C. unit in Zell am See should definitely be consulted before further action is taking."

We do not yet know what the ultimately successful C.I.C. plan was to get Konrad to talk. Probably it involved a long process of wearing him down by "hot and cold" methods -- soft questioning following by harsh solitary confinement techniques, coupled with the ever-present threat to let the Poles (who finally executed him) have him.

Writing from Camp Markus W. Orr on December 23, 1945, Franz Konrad was able to write this letter to his brother Fritz and (SISTER?) Minnerl. It appears to contain no clues on the search:

"Für deinen lieben Brief vom 6.12. und deiner Weihnachtsüberraschung in der Kiste die ich vollinhaltlich bekam meinen aufrichtigsten und herzlichsten Dank. Morgen, wenn wir am Abend dann die Lichter anzünden werden, kannst versichert sein, werden meine Gedanken nicht nur bei meinen Lieben in Liezen sein sondern auch ihr sind darin eingeschlossen. Zeugt doch der Baum, daß ihr in Liebe an mich denkt. Als ich die Kiste öffnete waren alle Kameraden neugierig was da zum Vorschein kommen wird und der Baum hat viel Überraschung und aber auch Freude bei allen ausgelöst, daß wir deshalb einen solchen in unserem Zimmer haben und gerade soviel Mann sind an den aufgehängten Süssigkeiten beteiligt als darauf sind. Als wie wenn du es gewußt hättest, wieviel Mann hier sind. Es sind doch die meisten hier die Familie Kind haben und Weihnachten bei ihrem Lieben, trotz des Krieges feiern könnten. Wohl ging gestern ein Teil von Kameraden nach Hause und auch für mich und alle anderen wird die Stunde kommen. Bis es aber soweit ist vergeht wohl noch einige Zeit. Jedenfalls nehme ich die Einladung zu kommen gerne an und kann mich dann auch persönlich für alles bedanken. Richte bitte an Mitzi aus, daß ich ihre 2 Sendungen ebenfalls erhalten habe. Zum Namensfeste an sie und Mutter habe ich geschrieben, und auch zum Weihnachtsfest, alles gute gewunscht und kann ich nicht alles was mich bewegt schreiben, da kein Platz ist. Jedenfalls danke ich dir nochmals für deinen Verzicht auf den Baum zugunsten mir wünsche dir und Fritz zum Weihnachtsfest nachträglich noch alles Gute und zum Jahreswechsel alles dies was ihr euch wünscht und alle diese ein neuen Jahr auch in Erfüllung gehen mögen. Nochmals alle Gute an Alle, dir aber und Fritz ein schönes Fest und recht viel Liebes von euren Franz."

On January 2, 1946, Franz Konrad was obliged to write a long report on his role in liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943. The document took six days to complete, "zum Teil belegt durch Lichtbilder", and filled sixty-seven typescript pages, a long and horrifying account über das sinnlose Wüten Stroops im Ghetto, which he claimed he had originally wanted Anfang des Jahres 1944 to send in through Fegelein to Adolf Hitler selbst, explaining:

"Mein Auffassung war die, daß der Führer diese Handlungsweise niemals geduldet haben würde und die Verantwortlichen zur Rechenschaft gefordert hätte."

It was countersigned by William F. Bradt (SIC), special agent C.I.C., Zell am See Section, Salzburg Detachment, USFA, 8 January 1946.

On February 4, 1946 Gutierrez signed an interim report on the disposal of the money and private property so far picked up, certifying, "The above is a complete list of everything recovered by this Agent while working on the case of Oberführer Wilhelm Spacil."

It did not make any mention of the correspondence of Hitler or the diaries.

The treatment of Franz Konrad was not gentle. The Americans evidently decided one last ploy: to maltreat him, prepare him for shipment to Poland, and then plant on him one Peter Holtmann, an S.S. officer now working for the Americans, to talk to him in the prison camp in confidence. Holtmann was infiltrated into the camp by the C.I.C. on July 31, 1946, "with a specific mission."

After the charade was over, a chagrined Franz Konrad would write in a submission to the prison authorities in September 1946:

"Am 5. Juni 1946 kam ich in das Lager DEFC 22 Regensburg. Am 2. Juli kam ein Beamter des C.I.C. Sonderkommandos, der meinen Fall in Sachen Devisen, Geld und Besitz aus Hitlers Eigentum bearbeitete und wollte noch mehr haben von den aus dem Besitz Hitlers stammenden Sachen die ich verbrannt habe."

(To the Regensburg C.I.C. officer Gorby, Konrad said that he recognized this agent (BRADT? GUTIERREZ? OR HIRSCHFELD?): it was the one who had arrested him at Zell am See on August 21, and to whom he had turned over statements on his activities in the Warsaw ghetto as well as one Hitler letter to Eva Braun, Hitler's uniform, and a number of photographs.)

When the C.I.C. agent who arrested him at Zell am See visited him on July 2, 1946, he insisted that Konrad turn over to him more of Hitler's belongings which he, Konrad, had stated had been burned. "Subject said that he could not give any more information," reported Gorby, on November 5, "whereupon he was locked up in Box No. 9, incommunicado, with only water and bread. After 11 days he was put on normal prisoners' rations." (NOTE PAGE 3 OF THIS THREE PAGE DOCUMENT IS MISSING!)

Konrad's submission continued:

"Ich konnte ihm keine Angaben machen, worauf er sagte, ich lasse sie bestrafen. Die Folge war, da ich im Lager in die Boxe 9 kam. Einzelhaft, Dunkel bei Wasser und Brot. Nach 11 Tagen wurde Wasser und Brot aufgehoben. In der Boxe 9 lernte ich Peter Holtmann kenne. Gleich am Anfang schlossen wir uns näher zusammen und erzählte ihm von mir. Durch die im Laufe der Zeit gepflogene Freundschaft kamen wir auf das politische Thema und ich fand heraus, da H. im Dienste der Amerikaner stehen muß. Er gab es auch zu, zumal er wußte daß ich bestrebt war und bin, ebenfalls in die Dienste der Amerikaner zu treten."

Konrad's adventure was far from finished. It now began its most dangerous phase. His usefulness as a witness was at an end, and the gallows in Poland might await him at any moment. He had been interned in PWE 22 at Regensburg, an S.S. enclosure until September 4, 1946, when he was shipped from the local railroad station in one of three boxcars -- twenty-five prisoners to a car -- to Poland: all 75 prisoners were on Polish wanted lists as war criminals. The C.I.C. undercover agent -- Peter Holtmann -- planted amongst the prisoners learned that Konrad had hatched an escape plan. Holtmann volunteered details of a "safe house" at Hofering near Amberg. In fact it was the house of a friend of Holtmann's, the Wilhelm family. Konrad duly escaped at about 9 p.m. that evening from the train, and made for the Wilhelm household, where he stayed under the old assumed name of Franz Meier. He was arrested at 7 p.m. on September 25 as he approached the Wilhelm household there.

Ultimately Konrad seemingly did reveal the whereabouts of the missing Hitler and Eva Braun letters. This is evident from an interrogation report dated later in September (quoted below.)

By September 26, 1946, Konrad was being held at Regensburg city jail (Landgerichtsgefängnis) under lock and key. It was clear that normal prison camps would not hold him: but it seemed also to the local C.I.C. that he had a lot more to tell, about S.S. Gruppenführer Stroop, about Skorzeny and other notorious S.S. leaders. He was interrogated at length again.

On that date Special Agent Ben J.M. Gorby, commanding the USFET Counter Intelligence Corps, Region V, Regensburg, wrote a report on him, and it included a startling statement:

"During the interrogation, subject revealed that he had been arrested by C.I.C. once before, namely on 21 August 1945 at Zell am See. He thought he remembered that the Commander of that C.I.C. detachment was Mr Brard or similar name. Subject stated that he turned in a lengthy report on his and other S.S. leaders' activities in the Warsaw ghetto; [and] that he handed over to the C.I.C. in Zell am See part of the correspondence between Hitler and Eva Braun as well as one of Hitler's suits."

(When was Franz Konrad held by the C.I.C. at Zell am See? Until September 13, 1945?)

In a protest handed to the Chef der C.I.C. Dienststelle Regensburg am 25. Oktober 1946, justifying his role in Warsaw, Konrad added:

"In dem am 25.9.46 an Sie abgegebenen Bericht habe ich angeführt, was ich an die Amerikaner abgeliefert habe, stammend aus dem Besitz Hitler und dem Reichssicherheitshauptamt. Bei Angabe des Aufbewahrungsortes dieser Dinge, hatte ich auch meine persönliche Sachen dort liegen, wie Garderobe, Wäsche und eine Briefmarken-Sammlung."

Between November 26, when Franz Konrad was in W.C.C., and December 18, 1946 he was handed over to the Polish authorities and subsequently hanged.

After that the U.S. Army Intelligence files run dry. There are scattered items in 1949 and 1950, as his wife Agnes appealed for the return of the stamp collection, which Franz had spent 25 years collecting. It was eventually restored to her.




Mr Irving's Robert Gutierrez dossier
Album reveals secret life of Eva Braun
What happened to Hitler's letters to Eva Braun and her private diaries?
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