Tag Archives: Espionage

How a British ‘Master Spy’ Saved Thousands of Jews in the Holocaust

In 2005, the United Nations designated 27 January as an International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust. On Monday 27 January 2020 it was a more special International Holocaust Remembrance Day because of the 75th anniversary of the Jewish liberation from Auschwitz.

Underneath you may find a list of articles looking at the commemorations and reactions which were made to those who were allowed to speak at those commemorations. In those articles you shall come to see how we are developing again to a dangerous situation where certain people with ‘other ideas’ and another religion than the ‘main stream’ are again considered as to be outcast and to be silenced or not having the right to speak.

When looking at that horrible period of cruelty and the many years that people stood aside not daring to open their mouth, we luckily may find also dome positive notes of people who dared to help others, risking their own life.

Despite the horrors that occurred at Auschwitz and other concentration camps, thousands of Jewish lives were spared because of the covert operations of unsung heroes.

One such man was Major Francis “Frank” Edward Foley CMG , a passport control officer for the British embassy in Berlin, who “bent the rules” and helped thousands of Jewish families escape from Nazi Germany after Kristallnacht and before the outbreak of the Second World War.

Frank foley.jpg

Major Francis “Frank” Edward Foley (1884-1958) recognised as a British Hero of the Holocaust and as a Righteous Among the Nations.

Though most saw Foley as a “low-level British bureaucrat serving in Berlin” just before World War II, [1 Gragg, Rod. My Brother’s Keeper: Christians Who Risked All to Protect Jewish Targets of the Nazi Holocaust, “Francis Foley,” (Center Street Publishing, 2017). ] he was actually a master spy in the MI6, the British intelligence service. He focused his efforts on the rise of German Communists, then on Hitler’s campaign to reactivate and expand the German military — until he learned what was happening in the Nazi concentration camps.[2 Gradd, 2017] He went on to secretly save thousands of Jewish lives.

To remember the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, we offer this reflection on Frank Foley’s selfless rescue missions, adapted from My Brother’s Keeper: Christians Who Risked All to Protect Jewish Targets of the Nazi Holocaust

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Foley’s intelligence operation . . . revealed evidence that Jewish inmates imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camps being erected throughout Germany were suffering horrors. Despite his protests, however, his London superiors waved away the accounts as ridiculous exaggerations. Foley then appealed to British immigration officials, asking them to expedite Jewish requests for asylum in Great Britain and its colonies, but encountered more bureaucratic apathy.

Frustrated but determined, Foley decided to help Germany’s Jews himself. Using his official cover as the British passport control officer in Berlin, he began issuing droves of passports to Jews seeking escape from Germany. Like Feng Shan Ho, his Chinese counterpart in Austria, Foley was motivated by more than just humanitarian concerns: his faith as a Christian compelled him to act, he believed—especially when so many of those who were persecuting the Jews claimed that they were Christians.

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The pogrom against the Jews which left thousands of premises, homes and synagogues destroyed and therefore became widely known as Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass – its meaning taken from the smashed windows and shards of broken glass strewn across German streets.

After Kristallnacht in 1938, the desperation increased within Germany’s Jewish community. Determined to escape the Nazis and save their families, German Jews began showing up unannounced at Foley’s Berlin flat. As a passport officer, he did not have diplomatic immunity, and he knew what could happen to him if Nazi authorities learned he was issuing thousands of passports or personally harbouring Jews. Despite the danger, he continued his mission. . . . Every month, hundreds of Jews came to Foley seeking escape from Nazi Germany. He realized that most of them would be hauled off to concentration camps before they could be processed by the ponderous, bureaucratic British immigration system — so he developed a streamlined process that severely stretched regulations but still complied with British law.

As relations deteriorated between Nazi Germany and Britain and France, Foley realized that war was imminent and redoubled his efforts to help Jews escape Germany. When warfare erupted in September 1939, Foley disappeared — off on the first of many wartime espionage assignments in which he would distinguish himself as one of the key allied intelligence operatives of World War II.

Obituary of Leo Baeck

A few days before the war began, Leo Baeck, a leading German rabbi and one of Foley’s chief Jewish contacts, received a message to pick up a package from Foley’s office in the British consulate. Foley was gone when Baeck arrived, but the package awaited him. It was Frank Foley’s final outreach to the imperilled Jews of Germany. Inside were more than eighty British passports officially stamped and approved for travel outside Germany, each with the spaces for name and address left blank — to be filled in by escaping Jews whom Frank Foley had never met.

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Find also to read:

  1. Reformed Churches Muzzled but Protest at Barmen
  2. Through the Lens of Faith
  3. Nazi Germany
  4. the Soup will not be eaten as hot as it is served
  5. Black page 70 years Release – commemoration Auschwitz
  6. World remembers Auschwitz survivors
  7. Luca Jahier, EESC President on the present intolerance
  8. Polish commemoration of the liberation of the concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau
  9. Seventy-five years ago on January 27
  10. January 27 – 70 years ago Not an end yet to genocide
  11. 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz
  12. 5th World Holocaust Forum
  13. Dedication ceremony for a memorial at Jerusalem’s Sachar Park in honour of the casualties of the Siege of Leningrad
  14. Auschwitz survivors providing a warning of rising anti-Semitism and exclusion of free thinking
  15. What’s the Future of Holocaust Remembrance?
  16. Christadelphians’ role in the rescue of Jewish children from Nazi Germany
  17. Christadelphians, the Kindertransport, and Rescue from the Holocaust

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