Seven admit they spied against U.S. (6-30-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (June 30, 1941)


18 others deny guilt; FBI cracks ‘biggest ring’ in nation’s history

New York, June 30 (UP) –
Seven persons charged with espionage against the United States pleaded guilty in Brooklyn Federal Court today.

18 others, including two women, arrested in what authorities called “one of the greatest counterespionage efforts ever made by a law enforcement agency,” pleaded innocent.

All 25 were held in $25,000 bail each by United States Commissioner Martin C. Epstein, those who pleaded guilty for grand jury action, the others for hearing July 15.

Those who pleaded guilty were:

  • Lilly Barbara Carola Stein, a German-born artists’ model who moved in high social circles in Manhattan;

  • Hartwig Kleiss of New York;

  • Leo Waalen of New York;

  • Axel Wheeler-Hill, brother of James Wheeler-Hill, former chief aide to Fritz Kuhn of the German-American Bund, of New York;

  • Alfred E. Brokhoff of West New York, N.J.

  • Erwin Wilhelm Siegler and Franz Stigler, who had been held here since June 20 on charges of violating the Alien Registration Act.

Those who admitted their guilt pleaded to charges of conspiracy to transmit to a foreign government (Germany) information on United States defense efforts:

…with the intent that the information be used against the best interest of the United States.

They face a possible maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

The arrangement followed a round-up by agents of the FBI and the placing of espionage charges against a total of 29 persons, five of whom were already in custody on other charges. 18 of those seized over the weekend were arrested here, four in New Jersey, one in Michigan and one in Wisconsin.

Pleading not guilty

In the group which pleaded not guilty were Frederick Joubert Duquesne, 64, and two men said to have been formerly employed by the Carl L. Norden Co., makers of the famed Norden bombsight, one of the U.S. Army’s closest guarded defense secrets.

These were Herman Lang, a naturalized American citizen born in Schwarzenbach am Wald, Germany, a machinist and draftsman, and Everett Minster Roeder of Merrick, N.Y., an engineer and designer.

The FBI would neither confirm nor deny that they worked for Norden but said Roeder had once been an employee of the Sperry Gyroscope Co., makers of the Sperry bombsight recently given to Great Britain.

The suspects were said to have gathered information on ship movements to Great Britain, on United States defense production and on the development of new and secret military equipment in this country and to have transmitted their discoveries to a foreign power unnamed, but obviously Germany, since that is the native country of 22 of the prisoners.

Three of the 29 were women. In addition to the 18 arrested here, four were seized in New Jersey, one in Michigan and one in Wisconsin. Of the five in jail, four had been charged with violating the Federal Registration Act and one, René Mezenen, a steward on Pan American Airways Transatlantic Clippers, had been arrested June 5 charged with smuggling platinum to Portugal.

Already in custody

Of the five already in custody, four were arrested in New York and one in California, all on other charges. Bertram Wolfgang Zenzinger of Topanga, Cal., was arrested in Los Angeles last April for violating the Alien Registration Act and is serving 18 months in a California prison.

Duquesne, described as the leader, has been a spy for 40 years, FBI agents said. He did espionage in the Boer War, was arrested here in 1919 on a murder and insurance fraud charge in connection with the sinking of the British ship Tennyson, but escaped while confined in Bellevue Hospital. The charge was later dropped. He is described as “a writer, lecturer and professional spy.” A native of South Africa, he is a naturalized American.

Met in restaurant

Their central meeting place was said to have been the Little Casino Restaurant in Yorkville, the German quarter of Manhattan. Richard Eichenlaub, proprietor of the restaurant, a native of Germany, but a naturalized American citizen, was among the prisoners.

Of the long investigation and the sudden round-up of suspects, J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, said only that the “flytrap” method of counterespionage had been used. This method, which he did not explain, “made it possible for us to apprehend such a large number at one time,” he said. He said the magnitude of the case was demonstrated by the fact that there have been only 19 convictions under the Espionage Act since it was enacted in 1917.

There were indications that FBI agents had been close on the heels of the suspects for months and had either prevented them from getting much information of value to a foreign country or arranged for them to get misleading information.

Methods disclosed

The suspects were extremely alert in seeking information about ship departures for Britain, agents said.

Mr. Hoover said that some of the suspects acted as couriers using the Italian LATI airline to South America. Money to maintain the spies was handled through South American banks, he said. Drafts were ordered paid through United States banks to members of the ring, disguised as commercial transactions.

United States flagships to neutral countries were also used by the suspects, and their manner of transmitting information included shortwave radio, messages in secret inks and the making of models of military implements which they attempted to smuggle abroad.

The women arrested were:

  • Else Weustenfeld, 42, stenographer and notary public, sometimes employed in the German Consulate here, a naturalized citizen, native of Essen, Germany, believed to have served as paymaster to the ring;

  • Evelyn Clayton Lewis, 37, who said she was an artist, sculptor and playwright, a native of Fayetteville, Ark., who was said to have assisted Duquesne in directing the ring;

  • Miss Stein, 27, an artists’ model who moved in upper social circles, a native of Vienna, Austria. She had applied for first U.S. naturalization papers.

Former ship’s steward

Heinrich Carl Eilers, 41, a naturalized citizen whom Hoover said was chief of the ring’s transatlantic couriers, was formerly a steward on the United States liner Manhattan. Eilers was a native of Braunschweig, Germany.

Oscar Richard Stabler, native of Stuttgart, Germany, but a naturalized American, arrested in Westwood, N.J., was formerly a barber on the liner Excambion, and Erich Strunck, arrested in Milwaukee, was formerly a waiter on the liner Siboney. Strunck, a naturalized American was born in Altona, Germany.

Edmund Carl Heine, arrested in Pleasant Ridge, Mich., was formerly a representative in Germany for the Ford Motor Co. and the Chrysler Corp. He was born Jan. 20, 1891 in Zeulenroda, Germany, and was a naturalized American.

Records of other suspects:

Max Blank, New York City, German citizen, born Sept. 7, 1902 in Freiberg, Germany. By occupation a bookkeeper and clerk and was employed by the German Library of Information, New York City, which was recently ordered closed by the government.

Rudolf Eberling, New York City, naturalized American, born Nov. 24, 1898 in Wittstock, Germany. By occupation a shipping clerk and foreman.

Josef August Klein, New York City, a German citizen who has filed first U.S. naturalization papers, born Nov. 3, 1903 in Düsseldorf, Germany. By occupation a commercial photographer.

Felix Jahnke, Bronx, New York City, naturalized American citizen, born Dec. 6, 1902 in Breslau, Germany. By occupation a soda dispenser.

Paul Alfred W. Scholz, New York City, a German citizen, born March 15, 1900 in Reichenbach, Germany. By occupation a book salesman for the Germania Book & Specialty Co.

Heinrich Stade, New York City, naturalized American citizen, born Jan. 3, 1901 in Hanover, Germany. By occupation a musician.

Leo Waalen, New York City, a German citizen, born Dec. 7, 1907 in Danzig, Germany. By occupation a painter.

Hartwig Richard Kleiss, New York City, a naturalized American, born Aug. 21, 1896 in Frankfurt, Germany. By occupation a seaman and in the past had been employed on the SS President Harding, SS Manhattan and SS America.

Herman Lang, Glendale, N.Y., born June 12, 1894 in New York City. By occupation an engineer and designer.

Alfred E. Brokhoff, West New York, N.J., naturalized American, born April 17, 1902 in Bielefeld, Germany. By occupation a mechanic employed on piers of the U.S. lines on the New York waterfront. He specialized in getting information about the sailing dates of U.S. ships.

Carl Reuper, Hudson Heights, N.J., naturalized American, born May 3, 1904 in Göttingen, Germany. By occupation a machinist.

Carpenter arrested

George Gottlob Schuh, East Orange, N.J., naturalized American, born Dec. 5, 1886 in Hochdorf, Germany. By occupation a carpenter.

Paul Bante, New York City, a naturalized American citizen, born Nov. 14, 1890 in Lennep, Germany. By occupation an ironworker, tool and die maker.

Everett Minster Roeder, born June 12, 1894 in New York City. By occupation an engineer and designer.

The maximum penalty for espionage is 20 years imprisonment.

The suspects were charged specifically with conspiracy to violate Section 32 of Title 50, U.S.C., making it a crime to unlawfully transmit information affecting national defense and to use the information to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation.


LIFE (July 14, 1941)



(a) Whoever, with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation, communicates, delivers, or transmits, or attempts to, or aids or induces another to, communicate, deliver, or transmit, to any foreign government, or to any faction or party or military or naval force within a foreign country, whether recognized or unrecognized by the United States, or to any representative, officer, agent, employee, subject, or citizen thereof, either directly or indirectly, any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blue print, plan, map, model, note, instrument, appliance, or information relating to the national defense, shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than twenty years.

Since the Espionage Act containing this provision was passed in 1917, only 19 people have been convicted of violating it. The fascinating collection of faces on these pages belong to 32 men and women who, in a concerted FBI swoop, were arrested under it last week. Five were already in jail for other offenses. The eleven marked with asterisks promptly removed all doubts about their identity as spies by pleading guilty as charged.

Properly proud of the patient, dangerous, two-year investigation which led to the arrests, FBI Chief J. Edgar Hoover called it the greatest spy roundup in U.S. history. Chary of revealing details until he had placed his evidence before a grand jury, he even omitted to name the “foreign government” to which they were accused of passing on U.S. defense secrets. But he did point out that 25 of them were born in Germany. All but five of these were naturalized citizens.

Headquarters of the ring, said Mr. Hoover, was the nondescript Little Casino Bar Restaurant on East 85th Street in New York’s German-populated Yorkville. One member of the ring, a Viennese-born artist’s model named Lilly Barbara Carola Stein, was said to have moved in New York “social circles.” But most moved in the humble circles where spies really do the most good: in defense factories, on waterfronts where ship movements can be observed, on ships or planes by which information can be carried and spy pay brought back. Mastermind of the ring, according to Mr. Hoover, was Frederick Joubert Duquesne, 63, whose checkered career of anti-British intrigue dates back to the Boer War.

Fritz Duquesne (Norman)
"SPY"Frederick Joubert Duquesne, 63, called “professional spy” by Hoover, claims to have plotted the sinking of Kitchener’s cruiser in 1916.

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*ARTIST’S MODELLilly Barbara Stein, 26, was born in Vienna. Ex-U.S. Vice Consul Ogden H. Hammond Jr. once denied improper relations with her.

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*PORTERAxel-Wheeler Hill, 40, Russian-born brother of jailed Bund Leader James Wheeler-Hill, had shortwave transmitter in apartment.

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*STEWARDAdolph Henry Waliszewski, 50, German-born American, steward on SS Uruguay, was courier for agents in U.S. and Latin America.

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MACHINISTCarl Reuper, 37, German-born American, worked for Westinghouse Electric in Jersey City, N.J., helped to found the German-American Alliance.

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*WAITERErich Strunk, 31, of 1809 East Olive St., Milwaukee, is a U.S. citizen born in Altona, Germany. He was a waiter on the SS Siboney.

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BUSINESSMANEdmund Carl Heine, 50, U.S. citizen born in Zeulenroda, Germany, represented Ford and Chrysler companies in Germany and Spain.

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*BAKERFranz Stigler, 34, German-born American, formerly chief baker on the SS America, was arrested last month on Registration charge.

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SHIPPING CLERKRudolf Ebeling, 42, born in Wittenstock, Germany, became a U.S. citizen and was living in New York’s Yorkville district when arrested.

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*PAINTERLeo Waalen, German citizen born in Danzig on Dec. 7, 1907, was described by Hoover as a “particularly active member” of the spy ring.

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BARBEROscar R. Stabler, 36, was born in Stuttgart, Germany, became U.S. citizen, lived in Brooklyn, was ship’s barber on the SS Excambion.

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IRONWORKERPaul Bante, 50, a U.S. citizen born in Lennup, Germany, also worker as a tools and die maker, a good trade for learning defense secrets.

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*MECHANICAlfred E. Brokhoff, 39, a U.S. citizen born in Bielefeld, Germany, could watch ship movements while he worked on U.S. Lines piers.

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*SEAMANHartwig Richard Kleiss, 44, U.S. citizen who was born in Frankfurt, Germany, worked on the President Harding, Manhattan, America.

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ENGINEEREverett Minster Roeder, 47, New York-born, worked for Sperry Gyroscope Co. Inc., maker of bombsights, other vital defense devices.

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COOKPaul Fehse, 51, a German citizen, pleaded guilty to violating Federal Registration Act last April, was sentenced to year in Atlanta.

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MACHINISTHerman Lang, 39, a German-born American, worked for Carl L. Norden, Inc., as inspector of the famed super-secret Norden bombsights.

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PHOTOGRAPHERJosef August Klein, 37, commercial photographer born in Düsseldorf, Germany, had taken out his first papers to become a U.S. citizen.

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CONVICTBertram Wolfgang Zenzinger, 36, Austrian-born Briton, was given 18-month jail sentence last April for violating the Registration Act.

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CAFE OWNERRichard Eichenlaub, 36, U.S. citizen born in Herxheim, Germany, was proprietor of Little Casino Restaurant, alleged ring headquarters.

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CARPENTERGeorge Gottlob Schuh, 54, U.S. citizen born in Hochdorf, Germany, was a camper at German-American Bund Camp Nordland, N.J.

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MUSICIANHeinrich Stade of 604 West 140th St., New York City, was born in Hanover, Germany, on Jan. 3, 1901, is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

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BOOK SALESMANPaul A. W. Scholz, 41, a German citizen born in Reichenbach, sold books for the Germania Book and Specialty Co. of New York City.

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*STEWARDConradin Otto Dold, 37, German-born American, second steward on SS Excalibur, was arrested as ship reached New York from Lisbon.

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COOKHeinrich Clausing, 33, German-born American, vegetable cook on SS Argentina, was put in brig as his ship docked at Santos, Brazil.

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STENOGRAPHERElse Weustenfeld, 42, U.S. citizen born in Essen, Germany, worker at German Consulate in New York, was called a ring paymaster.

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*BUTCHERErwin Wilhelm Siegler, 31, a German-born American, ex-chief butcher on America, was arrested last month on Registration charge.

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SODA JERKERFelix Jahnke, 38, was born in Breslau, Germany. If guilty, this soda jerker living in the Bronx had a practically perfect camouflage.

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*STEWARDRene Mezenen, 36, American citizen born in Paris, steward on transatlantic planes, was arrested last month for smuggling platinum.

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ARTISTEvelyn Clayton Lewis, 38, born in Fayetteville, Ark., calls herself an artist, sculptress and playwright, lived at Duquesne’s address.

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STEWARDHeinrich C. Eilers, 42, German-born American, former library steward on SS Manhattan, was called chief of ring’s transatlantic couriers.

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CLERKMax Blank, 38, German citizen, was employed at the German Library of Information which President Roosevelt recently ordered closed.


You Nazty Spy


The Pittsburgh Press (July 15, 1941)


U.S. grand jury indicts 33 men and women

New York, July 15 –
A federal grand jury today named "the government of the German Reich " as a co-conspirator with 33 men and women indicted on charges of espionage against the United States.

The grand jury in Brooklyn Federal Court charged 31 of the defendants, all of whom were rounded up last month, with failure to register as agents of a foreign power and the entire 33 with transmitting United States defense information to a foreign power.

In count one of the indictment, detailing the alleged ring’s espionage practices, the 33 defendants were accused of conspiring:

…with each other and with the government of the German Reich.

Long terms faced

One of the defendants, all of whom face maximum penalties ranging up to 22 years’ imprisonment and $10,000 fine each, was arraigned shortly after the indictment was made public. The others will be arraigned Friday.

Heinrich Clausing, 33, German-born naturalized American citizen, an alleged courier arrested aboard the SS Argentina in Brazil and brought back to this country yesterday, was the first to appear before federal judge Robert A. Inch. He pleaded guilty to both counts and was held for sentencing Sept. 3.

Professional spy named

The defendants included two men who formally worked in United States bombsight factories, a professional spy with a record dating back to before World War I, Frederick Joubert Duquesne; several alleged “couriers” who worked on transatlantic passenger liners, a Pan American Clipper steward accused of smuggling platinum to the Axis, and three women.

The spy ring, according to the indictment, had its inception April 1, 1936, when the German government, through a network which had ramifications “throughout the world,” started:

…collecting and receiving information and material from the United States of a military, naval, commercial and industrial nature.

Activities outlined

The German government, through its military departments, representatives, agents and employees, the indictment said, also gathered information “relating to the movement, description and cargo of ships of American and foreign registry,” setting up for that purpose an elaborate organization of spies.

From April 1, 1936 to the present, the indictment said, the defendants operated for Germany in Detroit, Santa Monica, Budapest, Stockholm, Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Coimbra, Lisbon, Genoa, Milan, Rome, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Madrid, Shanghai and:

…at other places to the grand jurors unknown.

Wanted to injure U.S.

All the defendants, it was charged,

…unlawfully, willfully and feloniously did combine, conspire, confederate and agree, together and with each other, and with the government of the German Reich, to transmit defense data to the injury of the United States.

The indictment detailed what United States Attorney Harold M. Kennedy called the five elements “of every large-scale spy conspiracy” – the recruiting of agents, the accumulation of information, the dispatch of such information, the receipt of information and compensation of the agents.

Persons traveling back and forth on ships between the United States and Germany were approached and “particular attention was paid to persons of German birth who were naturalized Americans,” Mr. Kennedy said.

Sought good jobs

He continued:

Once established in this country, instructions to the agents were to acquire whatever information they could, to refrain from any public pro-Nazi activities, and to secure, if possible, an established and responsible position in the community.

All of their activities were shrouded in secrecy. On many instances, the agents were unknown to each other, although they used the same contacts for transmitting their information to the other side.

The ring members were so determined to keep their activities secret, even from each other, that “in at least one instance,” Mr. Kennedy said,

…one of the principal agents complained that couriers were coming to his house and arranged to make his contacts at the railroad station in the town where he lived.

Some worked on ships

Couriers were established as crew members aboard steamers, Mr. Kennedy said, and were supplies with passwords.

Mr. Kennedy said:

If the name of a town or a person in Germany had a definite significance for the agents supplying the information, the courier was instructed in making contact to use a formula employing the name of that town or person.

If an agent, for example, had some family connection with Dresden, the courier might say, “Greetings from Dresden.” If the agent was very well-known to a man in Germany by the name of Schmitt, the courier’s formula would be, “Greetings from Schmitt.”

“Greetings” was the key word with the others being added for identification purposes, Mr. Kennedy said.

Compensation of agents, he added, was made in some instances with money from banks in Mexico, South America and Holland. The money would be credited to the account of the agent at New York banks. In many cases, American currency was given to the couriers who passed it onto the local agents.

A frequently employed means of communication, Mr. Kennedy said, was “the microcopy.”\

All agents were trained in the use of the camera and the making of microphotographic copies. By this method, a document written on ordinary letter paper can be reduced to a photograph about one inch square. This photograph can be read with the aid of a powerful magnifying glass, and thus a courier could carry in his vest pocket detailed instructions for as many as half a dozen agents.

Stories prepared

Mr. Kennedy said some of the defendants kept watch on each other and that each agent was prepared in advance with a story to explain his activities if he was arrested.

One of the defendants, Paul Fehse, had been arrested in New York and sentenced to a year and a day in the Atlanta Federal Prison for violating the Federal Registration Act.

Arrested on that relatively minor charge, Fehse, Mr. Kennedy said:

…promptly pleaded guilty and at the same time took precautions to destroy the typewriter on which he had written his messages to Germany.

Mr. Kennedy praised the FBI whose agents, during months of counterespionage, rounded up the defendants in places as widely separated as Los Angeles, New York and Santos, Brazil.


The Pittsburgh Press (September 8, 1941)

In espionage trial –

New York, Sept. 8 (UP) –
United States Attorney Harold M. Kennedy charged today at the trial of 16 persons accused as Nazi spies that one of them had given Germany details of the famed Norden bombsight.

The trial was resumed in Brooklyn Federal Court after a week-long recess. The defendants, with 17 others who have pleaded guilty, were charged with conspiracy to provide Germany with United States defense secrets.

Mr. Kennedy gave a long dramatic account of how the defendants allegedly gathered important military information and turned it over to German authorities.

He said that one of the defendants, whom he did not name, had obtained specifications of the Norden bombsight, considered the most accurate in the world, and revealed the information to authorities in Germany in 1938.

Leon G. Turrou, famous former G-Man, writing in The Press last July 25, claimed that, in 1938, a Nazi spy working in an American plant had carried out drawings of the Army’s secret bombsight piecemeal, photographed them and sent the pictures to Germany. Although the Army has several excellent bombsights, the charges made at the espionage trial and by Mr. Turrou referred to the one most highly prized.

Mr. Kennedy asserted that one of the defendants, Frederick J. Duquesne, had been a “spy for many years.” He charged that Duquesne wrote the Chemical Warfare section of the War Department asking for information as to how the United States would use various chemicals in event of war.

Mr. Kennedy said that Duquesne had said in his letter that the information would be “in good hands,” even though at the time he was in the pay of the Germans.

Several motions for dismissal on the grounds of prejudice were denied and the trial continued after Mr. Kennedy had announced that he expected to present more than 100 witnesses for the government.

Besides Duquesne, those on trial are Conrad Dold, Josef A. Klein, Hartwig R. Kleiss, Carl A, Reuper, Franz J. Stigler, Erich Strunk, Adolf H. A. Waliszewski, Heinrich C. Eilers, Heinrich K. E. Stade, Leo Waalen, Axel Wheeler-Hill, Rudolf Eberling, Edmund C. Heine, Herman Lang and Paul Scholz.

In Manhattan, a federal grand jury heard more evidence against Karl Frederick Ludwig, who is in Spokane, Wash., awaiting removal to New York for trial on similar charges. Included among the witnesses was Luchy Boehmler, attractive 18-year-old blonde, who pleaded guilty to charges of serving as a spy and sending military information to the Nazis. She will be sentenced on Sept. 24.

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The Pittsburgh Press (September 19, 1941)


FBI intercepts cat’s paw letter in June, witness says

New York, Sept. 19 (UP) –
Federal agents testified yesterday that Frederick Joubert Duquesne, professional spy allegedly in the hire of Nazi Germany, obtained information for his employers as recently as last June on a fast-action United States Army hand grenade and rocket gun.

Duquesne, it was testified, submitted a letter for transmission abroad to William G. Sebold, counterespionage agent who successfully posed as a Nazi spy, on June 24, 1941.

Charles A. Appel, laboratory expert of the FBI, said he had identified various documents seized in Duquesne’s apartment or recovered through Sebold as being in the defendant’s handwriting or having been written on his typewriter.

Testimony concerning Duquesne’s activities was given at his trial, with 15 others, on charges of espionage for Germany.

Cat’s paw stamp

The grenade-gun information was contained in a letter signed with the rubber stamp of a cat’s paw which, the FBI said, was the signature Duquesne used in his dealings with Sebold. The rubber stamp, it was said, was found in Duquesne’s apartment.

The government also introduced a letter, identified as one found in Duquesne’s apartment, which contained veiled references to ships and convoys and contained what appeared to be instructions for interpretation of telegrams containing information about ship movements.

The government also, through a note identified by FBI agent Lawrence J. Quinn as found in the defendant’s apartment, attempted to show that Duquesne was about to be sent on a German espionage mission to South America before his arrest in June.

Appel said under cross-examination that Duquesne’s activities and documents had been under examination for 18 months or more.

One makes bail

The next witness brought into the spy picture another of the defendants – Edmund C. Heine, former Detroit advertising man and one-time Ford plant manager at Cologne, Germany, was the only one of the accused men to make the $25,000 bail.

Harry Thorell, 22-year-old Army Air Forces photographer, who formerly operated the Thorell Aircraft Photo Service in Bridgeport, Conn., testified that Heine gave him $5 and asked for scores of airplane photographs.

He said Heine wrote him offering additional sums if he would send photographs of modern planes, stratosphere planes or plans of planes under construction or to be constructed to Heine in New York.

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The plot thickens, reads like a spy novel.

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The Pittsburgh Press (September 21, 1941)


Former executive alleged to have played dumb in plan to aid Nazis

New York, Sept. 20 (UP) –
Edmund Carl Heine, urbane and well-to-do former foreign manager for the Ford and Chrysler motor companies, pretended a profound ignorance of aviation so he could get American aircraft secrets for Germany, the government charged today.

Heine, once a $30,000-a-year executive, and 15 other defendants are being tried on a charge of espionage. 17 of their alleged confederates have pleaded guilty.

William G. Sebold, counterespionage agent for the FBI, testified yesterday that Heine proclaimed his ignorance of aviation in the summer of 1940 and said he was eager to learn the “why and what of flying.”

Questioned instructor

Boyd M. Aldrich, aviation ground instructor, said he met Heine in Washington in June 1940, in answer to an advertisement. Heine described himself as an amateur, the witness said, and questioned him extensively about the location of aircraft plants, their personnel, capacity and the latest developments in silencing plane motors. Mr. Aldrich said Heine told him he wanted the information because, “after the war is over,” Henry Ford might start building light planes and he, Heine, might be:

…placed in charge of one of the foreign plants.

Yet, two months before Heine saw Aldrich, he was sending technical details about United States aircraft to radio station AOR in Germany through a transmitter which two FBI men were operating as “spies,” Mr. Sebold said.

Identifies letters

Mr. Sebold identified two letters which he said Heine wrote, and which were given to him by Lilly Barbara Carol Stein, one of the defendants who has pleaded guilty, for transmission to the German station.

One letter said diesel engines were still in the experimental stage in this country, and that virtually all aircraft manufacturers used radial, air-cooled motors. It listed the companies that use Pratt and Whitney motors, and discussed in detail the Allison motor manufactured by General Motors.

The second letter dealt in technical detail with the Boeing stratoliner.

Both letters were signed “Heinrich,” which the government charges was Heine’s pseudonym.

Trial in recess

The trail is in recess until Monday.

Heine’s questions were so obvious, Mr. Aldrich said, that he reported the case to the FBI.

Harry Thorell, 22, now an Army aviation photographer, testified that Heine came in him at Bridgeport, Conn., in May 1940, and brought 60 pictures of airplanes, all of which had been released for publication.

Heine’s attorney admitted in his opening address that Heine sent material to Germany but insisted it was all published matter which could not have been considered defense secrets.

The Pittsburgh Press (October 18, 1941)

U.S. rests case in spy trial of 15

New York, Oct. 18 (UP) –
The government rested its case yesterday in the federal court trial of 15 men accused of espionage against the United States.

The trail began Sept. 3. In summoning 82 witnesses, 44 of whom were FBI agents, the government sought to prove that the defendants illegally operated as agents of a foreign nation without registering with the State Department and had sent American defense information to Germany.

The Pittsburgh Press (November 6, 1941)

Americanism lecture given in spy trial

Judge raps objection to reading of edited FBI statement

New York, Nov. 6 (UP) –
A court-edited statement by Herman Lang, one of the 15 defendants on trial for espionage and failure to register as foreign agents, went before a jury today with a lecture to a defense attorney on Americanism.

Lang, a German-born naturalized citizen, is a former assistant inspector for Carl L. Norden, Inc., makers of the famous Norden bombsight. He is accused of having sold secrets of the bombsight while on a visit in Germany in 1938.

His statement, made to FBI agents with his arrest last June, was offered yesterday by Assistant U.S. Attorney James D. Savers. Judge Mortimer W. Byers read it and announced:

In the interests of national defense, I am going to physically cut out portions of this statement before it is shown to the defense.

Defense objects

Defense Attorney George Washington Herz objected when Judge Byers clipped two questions and answers from the statement and said he was:

…endeavoring to do my duty as an officer of the court.

Judge Byers replied:

There are two sides to this question. I resent your evident lack of understanding that your first duty is that of an American citizen.

Mr. Herz said:

I resent Your Honor’s implied reference to my Americanism.

Judge Byers ordered:

No more speeches, sir. Sit down and read the statement.

The document, read in court by Mr. Saver, agreed with the story Lang has related for three days on the witness stand. He has asserted that his apparent cooperation with William G. Sebold, FBI counterespionage agent and chief government witness, was an effort to protect relatives in Germany from Nazi reprisals.

The Pittsburgh Press (November 7, 1941)

Nazi spy tells of sending data on British ships

Refused to report on U.S. activities, he says

New York, Nov. 7 (UP) –
Axel Wheeler-Hill, one of 15 alleged Nazi spies on trial, testified yesterday that he supplied Germany with information concerning British shipping in New York Harbor.

He insisted, however, that he relayed no data concerning American ships and that he had told his German employers he would cease his activities if the United States entered the war.

Revealing that he was engaged by a man named Frederick Schroeder while visiting in Germany, Wheeler-Hill added:

I asked him about the possibility of the United States getting into the war. He said:

There isn’t a chance.

Wheeler-Hill, German-American Bund leader, became a citizen of the United States in 1929 but went back to Germany in 1938 for a visit which lasted until early on 1940. For a while, he worked in a German factory but was discharged after the Polish campaign started.

He explained:

They didn’t want any foreigners working in a factory on account of espionage.

Wheeler-Hill said he was told how to operate shortwave radio, the means by which he is accused of sending shipping information to Germany.

Got passage home

Schroeder told him, he testified, that the Germans wanted:

…to know what Britain was getting and how much so they could have a counterbalance.

Wheeler-Hill continued:

He said he wanted reports on armed merchant vessels including Norwegian, Belgian, Dutch, and Polish. Later I was handed a ticket on the SS Washington and he gave me $500 in American money for purchasing a shortwave radio transmitter.

He said my family would get 200 marks a month. I said I wouldn’t report on anything that would harm the United States.