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Warfare History Network » OSS Captain Frank Farrell Prosecuted Nazi Spy Ring In Postwar China

OSS Captain Frank Farrell was a journalist turned Marine turned spy who uncovered and brought to justice Nazi spies operating after the war in China.
OSS Captain Frank Farrell was a journalist turned Marine turned spy who uncovered and brought to justice Nazi spies operating after the war in China.

OSS Captain Frank Farrell was a journalist turned Marine turned spy who uncovered and delivered to justice Nazi spies working after the struggle in China.

by Colonel Richard D. Camp, Jr. USMC (Ret) and Ms. Suzanne Pool

Marine Captain Frank Farrell stood within the open door of the Military Air Corps C-47 ready for the “inexperienced mild,” the sign to leap into area, on a mission that would imply life or demise for tons of, maybe hundreds, of individuals. The strain of the mission was clearly etched within the arduous strains of his tightly clenched jaw, for he and a handpicked staff have been parachuting into the Japanese-held metropolis of Canton, China, to hammer out the small print of the Japanese garrison’s give up—solely two days after Emperor Hirohito had capitulated.

A Vanquished And Unpredictable Foe

Having served with the lst Marine Division through the Guadalcanal and Peleliu operations and as an Workplace of Strategic Providers (OSS) subject commander, he was nicely conscious of how fanatical the Japanese might be—would they obey and give up or would they disobey and struggle?

As he floated down, oscillating barely within the parachute shroud strains, he might plainly see armed Japanese forming a reception committee. Instantly upon touchdown, the staff was surrounded by bayonet-wielding Japanese squaddies who clearly didn’t know concerning the give up.

OSS Captain Frank Farrell was a journalist turned Marine turned spy who uncovered and brought to justice Nazi spies operating after the war in China.

Speaking quick, Farrell was capable of persuade their commander to take them to the Swiss Embassy, the place they stayed for 2 days whereas ready for the Japanese to type it out. Lastly capable of meet the Japanese commander, Farrell was relieved to seek out that he was going to obey the Emperor and comply with the small print of surrendering his command to Basic Chang Fa Kwai, Commander-in-Chief, 2nd Chinese language Military Group. On the time Farrell was the officer in command of an OSS Area Intelligence Middle hooked up to that Chinese language Military group.

Early Days As Tenacious Newsman

Farrell didn’t begin out as an intelligence officer, and even as a soldier. On the time of Pearl Harbor he was a 29-year-old function editor of the New York World-Telegram. Tall and movie-star good-looking, his occupation allowed him to affiliate with the higher crust of New York society, the place he earned a popularity as a women man and an “up and comer.” He was outgoing and gregarious, a person who projected a hail-fellow, well-met character. He was not a dilettante, nevertheless, for he was recognized for having ambition and drive, with a newsman’s tenacious quest for accuracy and completeness—getting the complete story.

Bodily and mentally robust, Farrell determined to go away his job for the thrill of army service. After being turned down by the Navy due to hypertension, he was capable of persuade Colonel “Wild Invoice” Donovan, head of the OSS, to make use of his affect to get him into the Marine Corps, the quid professional quo being that Farrell would assist arrange a system of coast-watcher stations within the rugged Solomon Islands to glean intelligence on Japanese actions.

After six weeks of coaching on the Quantico Marine Base, he was commissioned and ordered to hitch the seventh Marines, 1st Marine Division, for the Guadalcanal marketing campaign. His success there led to legendary Marine Lewis “Chesty” Puller calling Farrell “the best younger Marine Officer I ever knew.”

Battle-Hardened In South Pacific Jungles

Hooked up to the S-2 (intelligence part), Farrell led small models into the jungles gathering intelligence, turning into an adept patrol chief by surviving the lethal shut encounters with the bush-wise Japanese. His mentors, together with Puller, taught him nicely. Patrol after patrol hardened this younger officer, giving him the arrogance and the psychological toughness to function independently.

After Guadalcanal, Farrell took half in two extra island campaigns, Cape Gloucester and Peleliu, the place he was awarded a Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry.

The lengthy arm of “Wild Invoice” Donovan lastly caught up with now Captain Farrell, ordering him again to america for coaching in preparation for particular task. In Might 1945 he acquired orders for Kunming, China, and particular short-term obligation with the OSS as commander of the Buick Mission, a reconnaissance of Japanese forces within the coastal areas of South China, notably the strategically essential Luichow Peninsula. The mission was so profitable that Farrell was awarded a Bronze Star. With the Japanese give up, Farrell and his staff got new orders for Canton, to rearrange the Japanese give up, rescue Allied POWs, and examine instances of attainable conflict crimes.

German Spy Ring Found In China

Having accomplished their a part of the mission, Farrell’s workforce was about to catch a flight out of the town once they noticed a home with a big radio antenna—an apparent communication station. Curiosity aroused, he ordered his males to look the home and, to his amazement, they discovered proof of a serious German spy ring whose operations coated the complete Far East. This happenstance discovery led Farrell on a two-year investigation culminating within the arrest and prosecution of 21 members of the Bureau Ehrhardt, a secret intelligence company of the German Excessive Command, which continued to function in violation of their Might 1945 unconditional give up.

OSS Captain Frank Farrell was a journalist turned Marine turned spy who uncovered and brought to justice Nazi spies operating after the war in China.

For many years Germany had had an in depth business funding in China and, over the course of a few years, had cultivated wonderful diplomatic relations with the Chinese language Nationalist Authorities, led by Chiang Kai-shek. There have been pretty giant German communities within the main port cities the place they loved a excessive lifestyle. Commerce was notably inspired by the German Conflict Division, hoping to develop a supply of scarce uncooked supplies. The German Military even furnished advisers to coach Chiang Kai-shek’s military, an association that lasted till Hitler withdrew the advisers in 1938 when he was shifting his help to Japan, then at conflict with China.

Nazi Get together Tried To Win The Hearts And Minds Of Ex-Pats

The German authorities’s pursuits in China have been represented by the Diplomatic Service whose embassy was in Nanking with branches in Shanghai and Peking. Within the late 30s, the German ambassador opposed the Nazi’s pro-Japanese coverage and was recalled in 1938. In the course of the essential years that adopted there was hardly any coordination of German political affairs in China.

The embassy maintained a radio station (XGRS) that beamed propaganda in six languages. The embassy additionally supported a listening submit that monitored Allied broadcasts to be used by the Nazi Get together’s propaganda workplace, in addition to the Warfare Division’s Intelligence Bureau.

The Nazi Celebration in China had its headquarters in Shanghai however was instantly subordinate to Berlin via the Nationwide Socialist Group for Germans in Overseas Nations (AO). AO’s principal goal was to penetrate the prevailing German societies overseas, to realize management over private and non-private establishments, and to have trusted members appointed to consular and diplomatic posts. The AO and the Overseas Workplace have been in frequent battle.

Tentacles Of German Intelligence Ran Deep In China

The Nazi Social gathering exercised appreciable management over all German nationals dwelling in China. Any social gathering member who didn’t obey orders was topic to disciplinary motion. There was even an area Gestapo workplace in Shanghai, appearing beneath the direct orders of the Gestapo Chief of the Far East, Colonel Joseph Meisinger, the “Butcher of the Warsaw Ghetto.”

The Nazi Get together additionally oversaw, in Shanghai, satellites of the Storm Troopers (SA), German Labor Entrance (DAF), League of German Women (BDM), and the Hitler Youth (Hitler Jugend) organizations. There was even an offshoot of Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry, working beneath the duvet identify “German Bureau of Info (DISS),” beneath Baron Jesco von Puttkammer, an ardent Nazi and member of the German higher class. His Shanghai Park Lodge workplace turned the focus for propaganda within the Far East, even penetrating into North and South America and Europe.

An important German group to penetrate China was the Intelligence Division of the German Warfare Workplace, the Kriegorganization or KO. Its mission was to collect army and financial intelligence via using brokers appearing underneath the guise of journalists, docs, technicians, diplomats, and businessmen. Organized in 1940, its first chief, Navy Captain Louis Theodor Siefken, recruited brokers from the German group, counting on their connections to broaden operations all through China and the Far East.

Tensions Rise Between Spies And Diplomats

The principal brokers have been German however there have been additionally subagents of varied nationalities—Chinese language, Japanese, Russian, French, Portuguese, Italian—concerned within the spy community. The top of the group labored out of the embassy workplace in Shanghai, offering diplomatic “cowl” for him, however elevating the hackles of the “official” foreign-service varieties. Siefken used the embassy radio transmitter to ship reviews to Berlin, inflicting further friction as a result of he used his personal code which was undecipherable by the diplomats.

OSS Captain Frank Farrell was a journalist turned Marine turned spy who uncovered and brought to justice Nazi spies operating after the war in China.

The KO additionally established listening posts to watch Allied broadcasts. It broke one of many U.S. Coast Guard’s codes, enabling it to determine ships’ places for German submarines.

Within the autumn of 1942, the Abwehr (German army intelligence) changed Siefken with Lt. Col. Lother Eisentraeger, alias Rely Schwerin, alias Colonel Ludwig Ehrhardt, a secretive skilled spy grasp. Ludwig Ehrhardt was a devoted Nazi with a substantial amount of subject expertise, having efficiently led “Fifth Column” brokers within the Balkans. As an officer in World Warfare I, he was wounded a number of occasions. These robust military ties stood him in good stead when, within the late 30s, he was “sprung” from a focus camp the place he had been incarcerated for unspecified actions.

Ehrhardt Expands His Chinese language Empire

Formidable, conceited, and jealous of rivals, he was immediately concerned in getting his boss, Siefken, sacked on trumped-up costs of being gay. Pompous, his inflated ego introduced him into battle with the consular employees in Shanghai although he was formally accredited as one among their quantity.

The 60-year-old Ehrhardt was a considerably nondescript, balding man with a excessive widow’s peak, outstanding chin, and stern countenance, leaving one with the impression of agency authority. An extrovert, he loved “the great life” and the companionship of anybody prepared to maintain him firm and take heed to his boasts.

He established a main headquarters in Shanghai, often known as Bureau Ehrhardt, with branches in Peking (Bureau Fuellkrug) and Canton (Bureau Heise)—named after their leaders, Siegfried Fuellkrug and Ehrich Heise. Beneath his management the group flourished, recruiting brokers, increasing operations, and creating sources inside the Japanese army hierarchy.

Bureau Ehrhardt Ignores Orders To Stop Operations

By 1945, nevertheless, the German army state of affairs at residence was determined. Bureau Ehrhardt clearly understood that its state of affairs was precarious and, after repeated requests for directions went unanswered, began burning its information in late April.

On Might eight, Bureau Ehrhardt discovered from overseas radio broadcasts that the German Excessive Command had unconditionally surrendered, issuing orders to all forces beneath German management to stop lively operations, or in any other case be topic to punishment.

However Bureau Ehrhardt didn’t stop operations as ordered, preferring as an alternative to proceed its espionage actions for the Japanese, nonetheless at conflict with the Allies. On Might 12, Ehrhardt despatched a message to his department organizations ordering them to destroy their information, flip over all technical gear to the Japanese however help them in operating it, and begin a brand new bookkeeping system efficient Might 12, destroying the previous ones. He additionally “prompt” that they absolutely cooperate with the Japanese—tantamount to an order.

Fast Motion Required To Catch Spies And Protect Proof

The Japanese didn’t take over the stations as a result of all members of the employees continued working, together with the radio-intercept operator in Canton. This was the radio station found by Farrell’s group and led to the eventual uncovering of the complete Ehrhardt group.

After stumbling onto the radio transmission website and proof of German espionage, Farrell reported his findings to the Chinese language. They then appointed him a member of the Conflict Crimes Investigation Board of Chiang Kai-shek’s Army Council, Canton Department.

OSS Captain Frank Farrell was a journalist turned Marine turned spy who uncovered and brought to justice Nazi spies operating after the war in China.

Farrell realized that he needed to act shortly as a result of time was not on his aspect as he had proof that key suspects—Ehrhardt, Meisinger, von Puttkammer, and others—have been “going to floor,” in an effort to flee Allied counter-espionage efforts. Key witnesses, lots of whom have been former Japanese intelligence operatives returning to Japan, have been additionally in peril of being misplaced within the confusion of war-torn China.

So, armed with the authority of the Army Council, Farrell used the in depth assets of the OSS Counter-Espionage Part (X-2 Department) to help in finding, interrogating and, in some instances, accompanying Chinese language police to arrest suspected conflict criminals. As he and his group recognized suspects and proof of unlawful actions past the Canton-Shanghai space, different Strategic Providers Unit (SSU) Area Detachments all through the Far East have been tasked to offer help. Their investigations uncovered proof of the execution of American flyers, the mistreatment of Allied POWs, the collaboration of People and different overseas nationals, in addition to the postsurrender actions of the Bureau Ehrhardt.

Captured Japanese Rat Out Bureau Ehrhardt

Farrell shortly found that his investigation might be in comparison with peeling an onion—every layer exposing one other, including to his retailer of data on the core of German subversive actions. The interrogation of the 2 German radio operators revealed Ehrich Heise as the top of the Canton group. After being confronted with irrefutable proof of postsurrender espionage, Heise offered a chart of the German organizational construction in China, implicating Ehrhardt as the top of the KO. The testimony of Maj. Gen. Tomita Naosuka, Chief of Employees of the Japanese 23rd Military, and Shaw Dja-Moo, the Heise Chinese language interpreter, proved to be probably the most damning, as a result of each said that the Heise group continued offering intelligence after the German give up.

Heise, bald and obese, who was stated to bear a resemblance to Goring, lastly admitted that his group continued its espionage actions, on the “suggestion” of Ehrhardt, till Japan surrendered. Because of his testimony, Farrell jailed Heise, the native Nazi Get together chief, and all members of the Consulate, who have been stripped of their diplomatic immunity.

Whereas monitoring a number of of those brokers, Farrell was ambushed close to his lodge one night time by an murderer who fired one shot at a distance of 10 ft, simply lacking, however so shut that Farrell informed of feeling the spherical move his head. The flash from the gun blinded him, so he was unable to return hearth or get a great take a look at his assailant.

Farrell Performs Mop-Up Of Remaining Nazi Spies

Not lengthy after this tried homicide, an intruder broke into his lodge room, however was scared off by Farrell and one other member of his group who brandished .45 caliber pistols. The 2 assaults satisfied Farrell that he was heading in the right direction.

The Heise investigation additionally uncovered the espionage actions of the 4 members of the Bureau Fuellkrug in Peking, which had continued to ship intelligence info to the Japanese North China Military after the German give up. Farrell had the 4 chief operatives shortly rounded up by Chinese language police and jailed.

Having rolled up the Canton and Peking branches of the Kriegsorganization, Farrell and his group moved their base of operations to Shanghai in an effort to show their case towards Ehrhardt and convey him and his cohorts to justice. Utilizing the Heise organizational chart, they scoured the Shanghai space, netting operatives. A number of of the Bureau Ehrhardt have been prepared to testify towards their former boss to realize clemency from prosecution.

Witnesses Emerge With Damning Testimony

However others stonewalled, refusing to confess any complicity in postsurrender espionage. Hans Dethleffs, a Bureau member, swore, “I do know that we stopped right here [Shanghai] utterly; with the day of the German collapse; we didn’t work anymore.” One other, Rudloff, said: “I’ve sworn on the Gospel earlier than Captain Farrell that to one of the best of my information no one of the Bureau Ehrhardt labored for the Japanese after the German give up.” Heinz Peerschke stated he “merely studied languages after the give up.” Farrell, a hard-nosed skeptic, refused to consider their tales and had them arrested.

Farrell discovered that those that had been persecuted by the Nazis, notably Shanghai’s Jews, have been very happy to testify, getting even and gaining a bit retribution for previous injustices. Included on this class have been a number of diplomats who had an axe to grind due to previous mistreatment. Captain Louis Siefken, whom Ehrhardt had discredited and changed, was one of many first to testify, little question gloating over this unusual coincidence. A 3rd group, who have been merely harmless Germans, have been desperately making an attempt to get on with their lives.

OSS Captain Frank Farrell was a journalist turned Marine turned spy who uncovered and brought to justice Nazi spies operating after the war in China.

Increasing his search, Farrell hauled in former Japanese intelligence officers who provided damning proof towards Ehrhardt and the Kriegsorganization. Lieutenant Colonel Akira Mori, the senior Japanese intelligence officer in Shanghai, was advised by Ehrhardt after the German give up that “he would proceed to assist them.” Mori stated the Japanese Excessive Command was notably anxious for the Ehrhardt Bureau to proceed its efforts as a result of it was offering essential tactical info on U.S. Navy operations in the course of the battle for Okinawa.

Farrell Prepares His Case Towards Nazi Spies

A employees officer within the 23rd Military, Kobayshi Kazuo, remembered a telegram in late Might, 1945 from Shanghai stating that the Ehrhardt workplace would proceed working with the Japanese, and that Ehrhardt was paid twice, as soon as in gold. Kazuo additionally recalled a report from Heise to him stating that the Chinese language have been holding again towards the Japanese, hoarding their most succesful troops and gear for the “future unification of China.” It was a transparent indication that Chiang Kai-shek was getting ready for the struggle towards the Communists beneath Mao Tse-tung.

The Japanese Overseas Affairs Part of the 23rd Military additionally outlined its use of brokers and spies—two of whom Farrell personally tracked down to collect intelligence. One, Tam Ping Kuo, alias Bianca Tam, alias Bianca Sannino, he in comparison with Mata Hari, the infamous worldwide spy of World Struggle I. She was arrested for being a Japanese spy, collaborator, extortionist, perjurer, prostitute, and procuress. Tam, an Italian and the daughter of a extremely revered naval household, married a Chinese language officer and, after the conflict began, left him for the lifetime of a Japanese agent. In the course of the conflict Tam lived with a number of males, together with the Vichy French Consul in Canton, who was a infamous Japanese collaborator. Tam ended her relationships when the lads both ran out of cash or info. When the warfare ended, she tried to entice American officers with sexual favors to fly her out of China however as an alternative ended up in a Chinese language stockade. The opposite, Rosaline Wong, was convicted by a Chinese language courtroom of the identical offenses and executed.

Glad that he had sufficient proof for conviction, Farrell swore out a warrant and, accompanied by Chinese language Military Officers, arrested Ehrhardt and eight confederates. The arrest went with out incident, virtually a letdown contemplating the facility these males had wielded through the heyday of the Third Reich. Von Puttkammer’s arrest shortly adopted, the Baron loudly proclaiming his innocence to every one. The final, Meisinger, publicly posturing for his fellow Nazis with the basic “they’ll by no means take me alive” speech, meekly submitted when confronted with the aggressiveness of Farrell.

Justice, Medals And Farrell’s Return To His Pre-Conflict Profession

In August 1946, the USA Army Fee in Shanghai introduced the lads to trial. In all, 27 Germans have been prosecuted and 21 convicted because of Farrell’s investigation. Ehrhardt was sentenced to life imprisonment, von Puttkammer to 30 years at exhausting labor and the rest, besides Meisinger, acquired phrases from 5 to 20 years. Meisinger, the “Butcher of the Warsaw Ghetto,” was turned over the Polish authorities, discovered responsible of crimes towards humanity, and executed.

For this exceptionally meritorious service, Farrell was awarded a Legion of Benefit, usually awarded to these of very senior rank. He was additionally awarded the Breast Order of the Cloud and Banner, Seventh Grade, certainly one of China’s highest army decorations.

On March 5, 1947 Captain Frank Farrell acquired orders to demobilize and return house, having carried out one of the crucial demanding unbiased assignments of any officer of his rank and expertise within the annals of the Corps. Working independently for 2 years, he virtually single-handedly broke up and delivered to trial a serious enemy spy ring. He interrogated greater than a thousand witnesses and examined a good higher variety of paperwork in numerous overseas languages, actually masking a lot of the 5,000 Germans in China.

Arriving house, he picked up the place he left off, happening to turn out to be a star in his personal proper as a columnist with the New York World Telegram, a chat present host, and a colonel within the Marine Corps Reserves.