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 Posted Tuesday, May 22, 2001

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Among the tens of thousands of pages, Maguire opened a Pandora's Box of vernacular conversation of a kind that has never been heard or read before
-- or had it?

Seattle USA, Saturday, October 6, 2007

Veterans of another war recall Nazi interrogations

Members of the P.O. Box 1142 program maintained decades of silence.

By Petula Dvorak
The Washington Post

WASHINGTON -- For six decades, they held their silence. The group of World War II veterans kept a military code and the decorum of their generation, telling virtually no one of their top-secret work interrogating Nazi prisoners of war at Fort Hunt, Va.

When about two dozen veterans got together Friday for the first time since the 1940s, many lamented the chasm between the way they conducted interrogations during the war and the harsh measures used today in questioning terrorism suspects.

Back then, they and their commanders wrestled with the morality of bugging prisoners' cells with listening devices. They felt bad about censoring letters. They took prisoners out for steak dinners to soften them up. They played games with them.

"We got more information out of a German general with a game of chess or pingpong than they do today, with their torture," said Henry Kolm, 90, an MIT physicist who had been assigned to play chess in Germany with one of Hitler's commanders, Rudolf Hess [Website comment: Hess was never held in the US; he was a prisoner of M.I.6 at all times, held in Mytchett Place, near Aldershot, Sjurrey, and in Wales until he was shipped to Nuremberg in October 1945].

Blunt criticism of modern enemy interrogations was a common refrain at the ceremonies held beside the Potomac River near Alexandria, Va. Across the river, President Bush defended his administration's methods of detaining and questioning terrorism suspects during an Oval Office appearance.

Several of the veterans, all men in their 80s and 90s, denounced the controversial techniques. And when the time came for them to accept honors from the Army's Freedom Team Salute, one veteran refused, citing his opposition to procedures that have been used at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba and the war in Iraq.

"I feel like the military is using us to say, 'We did spooky stuff then, so it's OK to do it now,' " said Arno Mayer, 81, a professor of European history at Princeton University. [Website comment: Mayer is the author of Why did the Heavens not Darken, a book which in part challenges modern history versions of the Holocaust].

When Peter Weiss, 82, went up to receive his award, he commandeered the microphone and stressed his point.

"I am deeply honored to be here, but I want to make it clear that my presence here is not in support of the current war," said Weiss, chairman of the Lawyers' Committee on Nuclear Policy and a human-rights and trademark lawyer in New York City.

The veterans of P.O. Box 1142, a top-secret installation that went only by its postal-code name, were brought back to Fort Hunt by park rangers who are piecing together a portrait of what happened there during the war.

Nearly 4,000 prisoners of war, most of them German scientists and submariners, were brought in for questioning for days, even weeks, before their presence was reported to the Red Cross, which didn't comply with the Geneva Conventions. Many of the interrogators were refugees from the Third Reich.

"We did it with a certain amount of respect and justice," said John Gunther Dean, 81, who became a career Foreign Service officer and ambassador to Denmark.

The interrogators had standards that remain a source of pride and honor.

"During the many interrogations, I never laid hands on anyone," said George Frenkel, 87, of Kensington. "We extracted information in a battle of the wits. I'm proud to say I never compromised my humanity."

Exactly what went on behind the barbed-wire fences of Fort Hunt has been a mystery that has lured amateur historians and curious neighbors for decades.

During the war, nearby residents watched buses with darkened windows roar toward the fort day and night. They couldn't have imagined that groundbreaking secrets in rocketry, microwave technology and submarine tactics were being peeled apart right on the grounds that are now a popular picnic area.

When Vincent Santucci arrived at the National Park Service's George Washington Memorial Parkway office as chief ranger four years ago, he asked his cultural-resource specialist, Brandon Bies, to do some research so they could post signs throughout the park, explaining its history.

Bies, Santucci and others have spent hours tracking down and trying to coax complex details from men who swore on their generation's honor to never speak of the work they did at P.O. Box 1142.

"The National Park Service is committed to telling your story, and now it belongs to the nation," said David Vela, superintendent of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

This website reports:

OF COURSE, there is nothing new whatever about these top-secret CSDIC reports of the top-secret transcripts on senior Nazi prisoners' conversations. They have been open to diligent researchers in the British Public Record office since the early 1980s. Even before then David Irving had by various means obtained genuinely exclusive access to isolated copies of these valuable reports, and they are quoted in the 1977 edition of his book Hitler's War. In 1970 Harold Wilson's government considered prosecuting Mr Irving because of his use of these secret documents.

EvansMost other historians have remained totally ignorant of this resource. Asked about the CSDIC reports in the High Court, Deborah Lipstadt's "neutral" witness Prof. Richard Evans (right, fee: $200,000 plus $1m book contract) , who claimed to be an expert on the Third Reich, admitted on Day 22, February 17, 2000, page 84 [see the trial transcripts], that he knew nothing of their existence and had NEVER worked in these files!

IRVING: Are you familiar with these CSDIC reports? Have you worked with them in any detail?
EVANS: I have not, no.
IRVING: You have not?
IRVING: There is something like 50,000 pages of these overheard conversations with top Nazis and you never used them?
MR JUSTICE GRAY: Well, come on, Mr Irving, is that helpful?

In the mid 1980s David Irving secured formal HMSO permission to prepare an edited volume of the CSDIC reports for publication in German (they are Crown copyright).

It was the summer of 1993 before Mr Irving completed work on the selection and editing of these and of the Farm Hall transcripts -- hidden-microphone recordings of the German atomic scientists held in British captivity, for the release of which he had campaigned since 1967.

When Mr Irving delivered the completed manuscript to his German publisher Langen-Müller Verlag, of Munich, who had commissioned the book, they decided to his fury not to publish it (senior editor Rochus von Zabüsnig complained that it would look like "Nestbe-schmützung", as some of the overheard remarks by Nazi prisoners like General Walter Bruns revealed unwelcome details of atrocities). This work is now published on this website in PDF format as a free download, pending publication in a print edition.

Related items on this website:

 British Bugged German POW's -- Reveals Knowledge of Holocaust Widespread
 Overheard conversation of General Walter Bruns
 Sauerbruch on Hitler
 Overheard conversations of SS officers talking about Himmler, etc.
 Free download of David Irving book: Overheard

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