16 May 2023
The only known photo of Hellmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt, reserve captain-observer
photo taken after October 1, 1934
On May 27, 1943, someone rings the doorbell of the Dutch consul-general in Lisbon. When received by Jonkheer van der Maesen Sombreff, the visitor explains what he is up to. This forms an episode in an espionage story that has the special feature that this spy will write history. But, without being there in person or even knowing about it.
Hellmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt was born on January 3, 1895, in Groningen in the North of the Netherlands. He is the son of Siegfried Goldschmidt and Hedwig Neuburger. His parents are of German origin and married in 1894 in Wonfurt (Bavaria). Younger brother Herbert Siegfried was born in 1896, also in Groningen. Father Goldschmidt is a landowner in Groningen. The family leaves for Wiesbaden, where younger brother Heinz Michael is born in 1901. The father dies in 1908. Hellmuth attends Gymnasium (grammar school) in that city. His mother remarries Gustaf Blum, and she settles in Munich with her two youngest sons. Hellmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt moves in with a priest and at that time he renounces the Jewish faith. His mother, stepfather and brothers do not agree, they still pay for his school, but he is disinherited. He continued to quarrel with them from then on.
After high school, 18-year-old Goldschmidt goes to Oxford as a non-college student. At the end of July 1914, the First World War breaks out, the Dutch army is mobilized. Goldschmidt comes to the Netherlands, takes Dutch lessons and becomes a first-year infantry cadet at the Royal Military Academy in Breda. In his infantry year we find M.R.H. Calmeijer and J.L.W. Seijffardt, the first far later known as assistant minister of defence, the second liquidated by the resistance during the Second World War because of his treacherous role for the German occupiers. After a short time, Goldschmidt leaves the Royal Military Academy, transfers from infantry to cavalry and joins the 3rd Hussars regiment in February 1915 as an apprentice cornet. He is appointed reserve second lieutenant in 1916. During the mobilization period – the Netherlands were not engaged in combat during World War I - Goldschmidt starts law studies in Leiden. His commanding officer helps him financially by allowing him to remain in the army for a year. Goldschmidt consults with his stepfather and brothers and receives a sum of Deutsche Marks, which soon become worthless. In the summer of 1919, he passed his first law exams. Not long after that he leaves the army. A year later he is promoted to reserve first lieutenant. He submits a request to be allowed to change his family name to a more Dutch sounding 'Goldsmit', but nothing comes of it. He borrows money to continue his studies. In 1922 he passed his master's degree in law at the University of Leiden.
Dutch East Indies - United States
In 1923 he is sworn in as a lawyer and attorney. But in the same year he leaves for the Dutch East Indies to join the Tax Service of the Colonial Government. He is assigned to the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army as a reserve officer and takes a month’s military training. After his three-year contract, he decides to leave the Dutch East Indies, because his health is failing him. He wants to travel to America, but the government does not want to pay for such a ticket, so he regularly travels from Batavia (nowadays Jakarta) to Amsterdam. He works for a short time at an ENKA-factory (artificial silk) in Arnhem, before sailing from Southampton to the United States three months later and joining Shell in Tulsa (Oklahoma) and later Dallas (Texas). The stay in the US as 'advisory representative and contact man for the western division' lasts two years. He tries to set up a company, but after a quarrel with his business partner, he leaves via London to return to the Netherlands in 1929, penniless.
He returns to the Hussars, where he finishes a six-week course in Breda, practicing map reading, aerial photography and communications. Then he is assigned to the Army Air Force. In that period he has wedding plans with Johanna Stuy from Baarn and he rents accommodation in Soest, in the province of Utrecht. She provides furniture. But when he also appears to be in contact with one of his many American girlfriends, she breaks off the relationship and leaves, taking her furniture with her. He remains in service for three years till 1932.
 The Netherlands Army and Navy had their own air force; in 1953 the Royal Netherlands Air Force was instituted.
In the following period, through Fortuyn, family of his ex-fiancée, he gets in touch with the German architect Mathias Janssen, also inventor, living in Goch, Germany, very close to the Dutch border and the town of Nijmegen. Jansen has designed a diving bell with which he wants to surface the treasure of the Lutine near the island Terschelling on the North Sea. La Lutine was a British frigate captured from the French that sank in 1799 with a cargo of gold and silver bars on the Westergronden near Terschelling. Until the twentieth century, partially successful attempts were made to salvage that precious cargo. In November 1928, two companies (shipping company “Texel” and “Doeksen”) were granted a five-year concession to salvage the treasure. The main contractor will be Beckers, a friend of Janssen. Goldschmidt becomes a partner and, together with Janssen and Beckers goes on business trips to London four times at the beginning of 1933. In addition, he also visits female acquaintances, which he apparently finds more important. The traveling companions are not amused. The Lutine is located on April 26, 1933, with Janssen's device. In September there is talk of severe damaging of the device, also called the device “Beckers”. Janssen demands criminal prosecution of the perpetrator. But, according to the police, there is none. In the meantime, in the summer - half a year before the end of the concession - an issue of 'Lutine' shares has been made by the concessionaires. This is widely subscribed to, as is said later in a newspaper: 'seduced through the sunny projections of Mr. Beckers'.
The Lutine collaboration ends in a quarrel and so the gold rush comes to an end. Goldschmidt believes that something is wrong and in September 1933 calls through the press on shareholders of Lutine shares to report to him. He is of the opinion that there is reason to reclaim the deposited funds from the concessionaires (Texel and Doeksen). After all, it is quite strange that just when the Lutine gold was about to be fished up, a serious 'accident' with the device took place. This was ‘convenient’ for Mr. Beckers anyway; that had something to do with his share of the proceeds. The share issue came at a strange time, just before the end of the concession. Many victims report to Goldschmidt. Within a month, the concessionaires issue a statement of defence to the press. Shortly afterwards, they report that after the loss of the “Beckers' device, they have taken all kinds of measures to successfully continue their search for the treasure. But the tower can no longer be used. The concession is extended by one year. Professor van der Kloes, who is drawing up an expert report on the destruction of the Lutine-tower, appears to have been fooled by Janssen from Goch about Becker's stories. In August 1934, Goldschmidt repeated suspicions against Beckers, among others, in a circular letter to shareholders. After all, nothing happens to the tower. A week later, the concessionaires have a conversation with Goldschmidt, after which Goldschmidt spontaneously (?) signs a statement that everything is in order. With this, the 'revolt' of shareholders has been averted; the role of Goldschmidt is played out. The hunt for the Lutine gets a modest follow-up in 1938 with the deployment of the dredging mill Kalimata, which then leaves for Billiton in the Dutch East Indies.
In 1934 Goldschmidt is appointed reserve ‘Ritmeester’ (captain). He works for four months at a law firm Van Rijn in Hengelo to brush up his legal knowledge and is told that this will not be a success. In mid-1935 he borrows a considerable sum of money from a fellow reserve officer of the cavalry, Mr. Piet Six, who later became known in the Dutch resistance during WWII. Goldschmidt wants to use that money to get work in the United States. When in America, short-lived wedding plans arise again, which also now come to nothing. After two to three months in Oklahoma, he travels via Japan to the Dutch East Indies. What exactly his purpose in the colony is, and what goes on there, cannot be ascertained. The fact is that in November 1935 he applies for appointment as a lawyer and procurator in the Dutch East Indies, but that on December 11, 1935, he embarks on his way to Amsterdam.
The year 1936 is also full of changes. He again borrows money from Mr. Piet Six and returns to his landlady in Soest. Then he joins the Fokker aircraft company and moves to Amsterdam. After 6 or 7 months he is fired by Fokker. He returns to the military once again and is trained as Air Force Navigator at Soesterberg Airbase. He is involved in the relocation of the Fighter Group from Soesterberg to Schiphol airport in May 1936. In the autumn he co-founds the Netherlands Car Factory (Nederlandsche Automobiel Fabrieken N.V.), which aims to produce the 'Dutch people's car'. The Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens GmbH was founded in May 1937 and was successful as Volkswagen; nothing further has been heard from the Dutch Volksauto. Goldschmidt exchanges his Amsterdam room in the Lairessestraat for the Beethovenstraat and leaves for The Hague four months later. Not much is known of his whereabouts in the period from April 1937 to July 1938. He moves from room to room several times. He enters the service of the International Trade Consortium and is sent to Colombia in June 1938. He sells a dredger in Bonaventura, Colombia. He gets into a quarrel with his chief in Holland and is called back to the Netherlands. He is back after five months. He then has plans to set up a South American agency, but nothing comes of it.
The increasing international tensions leads the Dutch government to mobilise some military reserves in April 1939. The Air Observe Corps is mobilized, and reserve captain Goldschmidt is posted at Schiphol with the 1st Aviation Regiment. He gives up his room in The Hague and moves back to Soest. Nothing is known about this year in the Aviation Regiment. He maintains contact with a German director of Fokker aircraft company and says he has passed on information about a possible German attack to Captain Oliffiers of the Netherlands military intelligence service GS III. This officer will later confirm these contacts in London, but states that they were of little importance. As of May 1, 1940, Goldschmidt returns to the cavalry as commander of the Staff-squadron of the recently reorganized 4th Regiment Huzaren in Ede. The regiment’s orders are to slow down the enemy and provide intelligence in the sector of the II Army Corps between the Apeldoorn-Dierensekanaal and the outposts of the main defence line, the Grebbeberg.
We let Goldschmidt speak (statement of July 6, 1943):
“At the time of the German invasion I was stationed as Reserve Ritmeester der Cavalerie in Ede. Since May 3, 1940, I was Commander of the Staff Squadron of the 4th Hussar Regiment in Ede. From the pre-mobilization, in April 1939, until May 1, 1940, I belonged to the 1st Aviation Regiment, located at Schiphol.“
The German attack on the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France begins in the early morning of May 10 and the regiment conducts the defensive battle with the centre of gravity on May 12 and 13 near Rhenen. Goldschmidt's command post and Staff-squadron moved to Leersum. On May 14, the order follows to retreat to the New Dutch Waterline and to assemble in Utrecht on the Maliebaan. Ritmeester Goldschmidt forms a column of vehicles, preceded by a motorcyclist. On the way to Utrecht, the column falls apart. Arriving in Utrecht there is no one to be found. Instead of waiting for the other members of the regiment's staff, Goldschmidt drives out of the city of Utrecht with another officer, who lives in Heemstede, near the Coast. The ride leads to The Hague, Noordwijk and ends at an auxiliary airfield at the Zilk. There he hopes to find the Air Force, but where only guard troops are present. There they learn of the capitulation of the Dutch army. Goldschmidt still tries to leave for England via IJmuiden, but that fails. His brother Heinz Michael Goldschmidt lived in Amsterdam with a cousin, Rebecca Bosnak, married to Michael Heiman de Jong. Heinz Michael Goldschmidt and Michael Heiman de Jong manage to escape to England via IJmuiden. Cousin Rebecca stayed behind and was murdered in Auschwitz in September 1942.
On May 18, 1940, Goldschmidt is ordered to return to his unit. There he is heard on May 19, 1940, suspected of desertion. A report is drawn up, which the commander of the 4th Hussar Regiment sends to higher authorities. Goldschmidt believes that by submitting his resignation, he will get rid of the case. The dismissal decision from actual service is signed on July 15, 1940, by General Carstens.
Goldschmidt is a civilian again on July 15, 1940, and an uncertain time begins. He goes back to Soest. He has no job. He is permanently in dire need of money and borrows money from many relations. In 1940 he applies unsuccessfully to the Department of Economic Affairs, to the insurance company De Nederlanden 1848 and to the secretariat of the Opbouwdienst (pioneer service). But later he no longer dares to apply for a job, because he has not registered as a Jew.
We do not know whether his Jewish origin played a role in his attempt to escape to England in May 1940. Nor do we know how worried Goldschmidt was during the first two years of occupation about the anti-Jewish measures announced by the Germans. On his personal card of the Municipality of The Hague it says EvL [Evangelical Lutheran] and later EngEpiscop [English Episcopalian]. In Amsterdam, his religion is registered as episcopal. For various government professions, the so-called Aryan statement must be completed and the core of this is the religion of the four grandparents. That means Goldschmidt can't get government jobs. According to German guidelines, he and his four Jewish grandparents will one day come under scrutiny, regardless of what he claims about the religion he professes. He therefore certainly runs risks and this he will have noticed. The regulation of 10 January 1941 whereby all Jews or persons with at least one Jewish grandparent must register is being given ample attention. Jews must report to the municipality and register there. Registration costs one guilder. Goldschmidt does not register. Because in the municipality's records his religion is not listed as Jewish, he still has an ordinary identity card without a black J (for Jewish). He gets more and more anxious when in the second half of 1941 and the first half of 1942 the oppression of Jewish people takes form.
In the summer of 1940, Goldschmidt learns that his desertion case is being referred to a court martial. He understands that his chances are low. We do not know whether this, in addition to his Jewish background, stimulates him to try to evade to England. We derive the following - non-verifiable - course of events from the statements made by Goldschmidt himself, later in London. In October 1940 Goldschmidt starts to look around for possibilities to leave the country. This is how he comes in touch with someone who puts him on a list of possible evaders. Nothing comes of it. Then, in November 1940, the plan arises that he will go to England with a Dutch general, but shortly afterwards he hears that this is cancelled 'because of an order from London'. He borrows money from many connections. He meets the owner of the station cafe in Baarn, someone from the resistance. Through him he is introduced to a demobilized sergeant major, who knows a way to England. The sergeant-major travels to Goldschmidt in Soest and presents a promising plan. Goldschmidt then goes to The Hague and lodges with him to be on hand for a quick departure. He waits there for two months, but nothing happens.
Another encounter ends strangely. He goes to an acquaintance in Baarn who is married to an English woman and who might know a possibility to come to England. A few days later he hears from that lady that she had heard on a visit to Amsterdam that Goldschmidt is a Gestapo agent. She then shows him the door, only to come back to it later. During a later interrogation, the English interrogators add to this story that someone had seen Goldschmidt together with Janssen. The latter is indeed someone who works for the Germans and is not very secretive about it.
About the chance meeting on the street in The Hague with Janssen, sitting with daughter and another woman in a private DKW [German car brand], presumably August 1941, Goldschmidt later states (on July 6, 1943):
“In the late summer of 1941 I was in the process of evacuating to England with the help of an organization in The Hague (to which belonged Sergeant Major Van Wijhe), when one day I happened to meet a German friend, Mathias Janssen, from Koch. His address there was Hindenburgstrasse 24. With him I had been interested in 1932 in attempts to salvage the gold of the "Lutine", for which he had invented a special device. Janssen had an office at Jan van Nassaustraat 16, which was indicated by a sign as belonging to some economic organization. His daughter, Hannie, was a secretary there. At our second meeting he said he was engaged in "economic espionage".
He knows this Mathias Janssen, an architect from Goch (Germany) because, as mentioned earlier, they tried together in 1932 to salvage the gold from the Lutine with the device developed by Janssen. Janssen is now a recruiter for the German espionage/counterintelligence service Abwehr, and we suspect that the contact is not so coincidental. It seems that, given Janssen's activities for the Abwehr, Janssen took the initiative. In the conversation, Goldschmidt lets slip that he would like to return to America, to which Janssen says that unfortunately that will not work, otherwise "he could work for us", the Abwehr. He tells Goldschmidt that he was asked by the Abwehr-office Münster in 1936 to build an espionage network. Jansen's outpourings do not prevent Goldschmidt from continuing the contact. Goldschmidt mentions the impending court-martial case; Janssen says that he has good relations in Germany and that he could therefore help his old friend. Goldschmidt has read about gold discoveries in Colombia and suggests that they go there together; after all, he has contacts there. Janssen asks him to write a few letters to relations in Colombia, which he has left over from his time in that country. Goldschmidt does so and sends copies to Janssen.
The Department of Justice asks the Public Prosecutor to forward the court-martial file to them. It is sent on September 20, 1941. An unusual course of events for a court-martial case that is simple by nature. The hearing by the Court, announced to Goldschmidt on October 6, 1941, scheduled for October 23, must now even be postponed. Goldschmidt lives in Soest and Janssen visits him shortly afterwards. It is conceivable that an intervention by Janssen led to this change in the procedure of the desertion file.
At the end of November/beginning of December, Janssen approaches Goldschmidt, and the gentlemen meet in the waiting room of Nijmegen station, after which they drive to Goch in Germany by car. Goldschmidt receives money and the next day in Münster has a meeting with a certain Major ‘Dr.’ Schmidt. The conversation is about North and South America. Afterwards, Goldschmidt returns and hears from Janssen two months later that Schmidt could do nothing for him. We note here that this choice of words by Goldschmidt could indicate that he is at that moment 'asking party'. Goldschmidt declares on July 6, 1943:
“At the beginning of 1942 I received another letter from Janssen, saying that he wanted to speak to me and would come to visit me on a certain day with an important person. He showed up with someone who introduced himself as ‘Dr.’ Meier, Rechtsanwalt und Notar in Wilhelmshaven and reserve officer of the German Navy. Janssen later told me that Meier was in charge of the "Küstenüberwachungsdienst" for the entire Frisian coast. One of the offices of this service was located in Groningen. Meier suggested that I gather information for him from Dutch officers' circles. He also let the hinting at the possibility that he would send me to England in due course, I replied that I would think about his proposal.“
Then, Goldschmidt explains, he wrote the next day that he would like to look for gold in Columbia, but that he has little desire to enter the enemy's service. Janssen does not think Goldschmidt's reaction is wise; he knows his financial difficulties. About this time, Janssen forces Goldschmidt to hand over a very large number of documents, drawings, etc. concerning the 'Lutine' to Janssen, perhaps in exchange for financial support or as a reward for the mediation. But it is not voluntary. In the statement quoted above, Goldschmidt does not mention his court-martial case, which was indeed also discussed and about which he was told that he had nothing to fear if he 'linked up with us'. He does report this under some pressure in a later statement of September 27, 1943.
Goldschmidt also states that after this interlude with Janssen and Meier, he is now again looking for opportunities to get to England . He does not take drastic measures. He makes contact with members of the resistance, including Linzel, who also wants to go to England.  He does not do real resistance work; he states because of his Jewish origin since he has not registered as such. Then he happens to meet the resistance man Van Wijhe in the Kalverstraat in Amsterdam, who earlier had offered him help for escape. His wife had been arrested, but Van Wijhe himself has escaped and he has a new plan. Goldschmidt borrows money and gives it to Wijhe, who sends a message a few days later that the plan is in tatters. After investigation, Van Wijhe turns out to be a scammer and getting money back will be difficult.
 Linzel is a Dutch fighter pilot, who tries to travel through Western Europe on his way to England. He gets stranded in the Pyrenees and returns to Holland. In April 1942 he starts again on a trip and reaches Lissabon through Switzerland, France and Spain. He joins the Royal Air Force and flies Spitfire and Tempest.
In mid-January 1942, the Attorney General decides not to refer the criminal case to the Court of Justice of the Peace, but to the military chamber of the District Court in The Hague. The background to this change is unknown, but the Public Prosecutor does get some explanation when he asks to get the court-martial file returned to him. That is not possible, writes the Department of Justice (Secret) because at the time the files were forwarded to the German referent at the department on behalf of the Commissioner General for Administration and Justice. Also, six weeks later, March 16, 1942, it is stated that the files cannot yet be missed from the German side, which is why it was requested that the intended hearing of these cases be postponed for the time being.
On May 3, the yellow Star of David becomes mandatory. Goldschmidt knows that he is now even more punishable by not registering. Later that month, a summons is issued for a hearing on May 27, 1942, and the hearing follows. Reserve cavalry officer Goldschmidt is sentenced by the Military Chamber of the District Court in The Hague to 3 months imprisonment with discharge from military service and deprivation of the right to serve in the armed forces, for deliberate unauthorized absence in time of war, committed in Utrecht from 14-19 May 1940. The Court of Appeal in The Hague changed the sentence on appeal on 5 April 1943 to 2 months imprisonment. We do not know whether that message reached the convicted person, because he was staying abroad as a result of a ‘coincidence’.
What 'coincidence' takes place the day after the hearing of May 27 is described by Goldschmidt (who on July 6, 1943, in Lisbon in this statement made a one-day mistake about the date of the court hearing):
“On May 28, 1942, I had to appear in The Hague before the Court Martial, set up under the by Mr. van Genechten , for "desertion" which was allegedly committed on May 14, 1940. I was sentenced to 3 months imprisonment. The next morning [in a later statement he states: the same evening - KN] I received a telegram in Soest, in which Janssen requested me to immediately come to Nijmegen. I met him there, as usual, in the second-class waiting room of the station. He announced to me that I would be sent to South America for economic espionage and ordered me to prepare my journey in Amsterdam. he gave me a hundred guilders.”
Then Goldschmidt gets to work. He is trying to get a visa for Spain. A week later another meeting follows, this time in Beek, a village close to Nijmegen. Janssen says that a screening takes place by 'our service in Holland'. In the meantime, he receives 50 guilders a month, starting in June 1942. The deportation of Jews from Holland to the extermination camps in occupied Polish territory (Auschwitz) begins in July 1942.
 Public prosecutor, a notorious nazi
It is not clear what keeps Goldschmidt busy in the period between the meeting in Nijmegen at the end of May and mid-November. This leaves room for the suspicion that he is working for the German Abwehr in Holland, he is being paid a monthly allowance by that Abwehr. He was offered work for the Abwehr previously, but reclined at that time, he says.
In October, Goldschmidt states, he again investigates the possibility of escaping to England. Nothing comes of that. He states that for a long time after the end of May, he hears nothing. Contact with Janssen is not established. Goldschmidt becomes impatient in mid-November, and:
“After I had Janssen call Koch to get a definite answer, I received a telegram from him announcing his arrival. This telegram was sent from Siebengewald [In Holland]. He did indeed appear at Soest with someone whom he introduced as Werner, of the Generalkommando Hamburg. The latter turned out to be a former Austrian naval officer who had been a Ford representative at Agram and who had now transferred to German service.  I accompanied him and Janssen to Amsterdam, where Werner interrogated me in a room at the Hotel Suisse. According to Janssen, Werner got a favourable impression of me.”
Meier is particularly interested in the port of Barranquilla in Colombia. A fee of $150 per month is offered. In addition, expenses for accommodation in Portugal, the trip by Clipper (seaplane) to the US and start-up costs, together $ 5,000. A week later, Goldschmidt is summoned to Goch. From there he goes with Janssen to Hamburg, where Meier receives them. According to his statement, made on 27 September 1943 in London, he arrived in Hamburg on 16 or 17 November 1942, collected by Meier.
 Aka Kurt von Hübnershofen
In Hamburg, Goldschmidt checks in to a hotel under his own name. The next day there is a meeting with Kapitän Tamms from the Naval espionage service. Janssen advised Goldschmidt in advance to say that he is a Christian, so not to mention his Jewish origin and to say that he lost his parents as a young child. Tamms wants to know - the dreaded question - why Goldschmidt wants to work for his service. He talks through it easily. He is hired for espionage work in America. His alias will be Hans MUTH. In Germany he receives 15 Marks per day plus expenses and is given a few days to go to Soest, sell unnecessary clothes and pack his things. He informs the landlady and others, including the escape route man, that he is going to South America.
Spy training begins. This will last half a year. He gets another identity as Hans Muth, German, lawyer from Leer (Germany). He reports to the police and is provided with a passport and ration cards. He is accommodated in a boarding house. He is given free time but is advised not to go out too much to avoid the risk of being seen by 'English agents in Hamburg'. The program covers morse code, radio transmitting, receiving, encoding, searching and setting frequencies, etc. Classes last for days and are conducted in a boarding house or other nondescript civilian location. He enciphers endlessly messages using code books. In addition, he is taught about ships and convoys. In the aviation field, ‘Dr.’ Greiner ads a few things to the knowledge already present and he is told what the Germans want to know. In the last part of his training, Goldschmidt learns how to build radios, which is tested in a village near Hamburg. K and P, Kopenhagen and Paris act as counterparts. The teaching material also includes the use of secret inks. He should preferably write on hotel paper or business paper, because then it is not noticeable that it is written on one side. In an emergency, a newspaper is also allowed, but then the specific place may not be marked in any way. It is further agreed that secret messages for him are normally written under the flap of the envelope. He has to heat the envelope with an iron and dip it in water just in time to reveal the text. At the end of the training, the assignment to Colombia appears to have been cancelled and the destination is changed to the United States. The wish list of the clients is very extensive: coastal defence and guns, use of aircraft carriers for coastal defence, ports and everything that happens there, loading and unloading of armaments and aircraft. The number and types of warships. The mood among sailors and crew members. Convoys. Oil depots. New companies. Damaged ships. When it turns out that Goldschmidt knows a lawyer from his time in Oklahoma, Hurley who has just been appointed US envoy to the Middle East, a visit to Mrs. Hurley in New York is also added to the wish list. A visit to an aviation exhibition in Berlin gives a chance to learn the latest developments and know what to look for. The wish list is expanded again, now with fuel, bombs, armaments and flight altitudes.
In the final briefings, Goldschmidt is told to take it easy for the first few months after arriving in the US, find a nondescript detached house with trees next to it. In another place he can then buy radio parts and use them to build a transceiver installation. He should only receive for the first month and only then start transmitting. Greiner and Homann (real name Dr. Friedrich Karl, Abwehr officer) give him his cover story, which must appear as real as possible: he is a Jewish refugee on his way to England. Time is short, so he has to memorize that story on the train from Hamburg to the south and repeat it ten times to his companion. Homann also includes in the cover story that Goldschmidt can tell the Dutch authorities that from November 1942 to May 1943 he had been in hiding with photographer Van Eijsden on the Weteringschans in Amsterdam. In the first version of the story, he crossed the border into Belgium near Sittard, but Goldschmidt manages to correct this and in his story turns it into Weert and Stamprooy, places where he was stationed in the First World War. Then by bike to Liège, etc. Photomicrographs with instructions for building a transceiver and codes are sewn into the collar of his coat and the title of the codebook Lecturao Españolas is agreed upon. Soluble secret ink 'Philip' is sewn into his best suit in small batches. He is shown a map showing the places where everything is hidden: in the collar, in the crotch of his trousers, between two buttons of the back pocket, in the lining of his inner pocket, etc. Homann also gives Goldschmidt three addresses for the correspondence. One of them is Augusto Strecht in Porto. With him he must write business-like in Spanish and enclose a codebook with greetings from Elvira, signed Doktor.
On – presumably – May 5, 1943, Goldschmidt boards with Greiner in Hamburg the train to Berlin. He travels under his own name, as a Jewish refugee. It starts with a false start: Goldschmidt loses Greiner's attendant in the Berlin U-Bahn. In the rush, the attendant also forgets Goldschmidt's passport. Greiner finds out about this in Metz and the passport has to be sent by courier to Lisbon and later to Madrid.
From his travelogue he does in Lisbon on July 6, 1943:
“At the beginning of May 1943, I was fully qualified, and Ir. Greiner took me to Hendaye [French coastal town on the French-Spanish border-KN]. We were met there by a car from the German consulate in San Sebastian [Spanish coastal town on the French-Spanish border-KN]. When we crossed the border, I had to hide in the trunk. When I emerged from the trunk we were in Spain and Greiner had disappeared. I was dropped off at the Terminus hotel, where Greiner also appeared later. In that hotel I was approached by two other Germans, who recognized me from the tie that Greiner had given me. After I had dinner with these gentlemen and Greiner, I drove at night with the two Germans in the direction of the Portuguese border, via Salamanca. Near Braganca, my companions discovered that a guide they had counted on had been arrested by the Spanish police for smuggling. We then drove to Madrid, where I spent fourteen days. About May 25, 1943, I left Madrid in the company of Gerber (one of the Germans from San Sebastian) and a Spanish guide. The latter handed me over to a Portuguese colleague at the border. At Villa Formosa I got a car that took me to Guarda. Here I took the night train to Lisbon on May 26, accompanied by a Portuguese guide. After arriving in Lisbon, I was taken by the said Portuguese to a house near the Rossio, where I slept for some hours. At 2 o'clock in the afternoon the Portuguese guide and one of the Germans from San Sebastian appeared. Both gentlemen gave me the necessary instructions. I got my passport and ID card back and also received $5,000 for which I signed a receipt under the name of Muth. The German pass with which I had come from Hamburg to San Sebastian, Greiner had taken from me in the latter city.“
The German who gives Goldschmidt back his pass, etc. in Lisbon is Hamann, who instructs him to first change $100 and then go to the Dutch consul, who usually helps Dutch refugees on their way.
 It was Hamann's tie, the man that Goldschmidt met in Hamburg
After Goldschmidt was admitted on 27 May 1943 with a letter of introduction to the Dutch Consul General in Lisbon, Jonkheer van der Maesen de Sombreff, he briefly tells his story. The consul-general refers his visitor to the Dutch legation, where Goldschmidt addressed Messrs Flaes and Luns, Chargé d'Affaires, resp. Attaché, and tells an implausible story in short strokes:
Trained by the German Abwehr, smuggled to Lisbon via Spain with the intention of traveling to North or South America as a German spy. There he will buy parts to make his own radio and then send messages to Hamburg. And also write letters in invisible ink to an address in neutral Portugal, from where the letter will be forwarded to Germany.
Luns (later Minister of Foreign Affairs) takes over the money, microphotographs and secret ink from Goldschmidt and keeps it in a safe at the embassy.
Not much later, the visitor is handed over to Maas Geesteranus, representative of the Dutch Intelligence Bureau (BI). Maas Geesteranus has good relations with the British Secret Intelligence Service (M.I.6) in Portugal. His regular task is to interrogate Dutch refugees who end up in Portugal and to unmask a possible spy who has been sent out by the German Abwehr. Such an interrogation can be omitted here, because Goldschmidt brings up his role for the Abwehr on his own accord. Maas Geesteranus recognizes that Goldschmidt proclaims truths and that this can offer opportunities for the Dutch and British secret services. He understands that the Germans have confidence in Goldschmidt, while that same person is now playing open cards to the Allies. He writes a memorandum for the chargé d'affaires about 'the espionage case G' and sends a copy of it to the Dutch Intelligence Bureau (BI) in London, without mentioning the full name of the spy. Presumably through the mediation of the Dutch consulate, he is exceptionally allowed to stay in Portugal, although he had entered clandestinely. He is allowed to stay in the Dutch refugee home in Praia das Macas at his own expense. Goldschmidt will prepare a short curriculum vitae on June 14. Dutch Admiral Fürstner, who resides in London, is one of two references he cites, alongside a senior Shell official in England.
Maas Geesteranus has meanwhile contacted his British counterpart Charles de Salis of the Secret Intelligence Service, M.I.6 in Lisbon, who holds the official position of passport officer. Then some time passes, until Goldschmidt is interrogated on July 6. It results in a signed statement, which ends with:
“After saying goodbye to these gentlemen, I went to the Dutch Consulate-General, where I presented myself to Mr Van der Maesen de Sombreff, to whom I told the whole story and to whom I expressed the wish, when the Allied authorities considered it useful my role as German agent until the end to play. I would like to add to the above statement that I am available without reservation for any service whatsoever. [follows text with information] Lisbon, July 6, 1943
(signed) H.S. Goldschmidt 
 In Hamburg, in my presence in the cellar of my blue suit, two microscopic photographs of the radio set to be built and the rules for the radio exchange traffic have been sewn into the collar. In addition, pieces of secret ink are found in several places in the suit. I hereby submit the copy of a letter which I wrote with the help of that secret ink to an address given to me in Oporto. This letter was written by me in consultation with Dr. Flaes. I took a safe in Banco Nacional Ultro Marino NO. 2078, containing some private letters, testimonials and old letters from America, one of which with written in secret ink an address at Lisbon and another at Madrid, to which I had to address my correspondence from America. Furthermore, the safe contains what is left of my money.
On the same day, Maas Geesteranus gives a brief written account of the interrogation to Colonel Ralph Jarvis, head of M.I.6 in Lisbon. The microphotographs are taken from the jacket and sent to the British colleague at the same time as the statement. That is risky, because the Germans could check Goldschmidt in Lisbon, including for the presence of the microphotographs. Jarvis wants to speak to Goldschmidt before making a recommendation and asks that Goldschmidt be sent to him. He wants to send the microphotographs directly to England. At first glance, the story seems to be correct, so are the findings, but in London they will probably be able to check that better. Goldschmidt's statement with the Curriculum Vitae (career) is also sent to the British three days later, together with the request to return the microphotographs as soon as possible.
Apparently Goldschmidt's direct contact with the British in Lisbon was established, because on July 14 he reports to them that he has met the German, who brought him from San Sebastian to Lisbon. The British, meanwhile, are considering the matter and are studying the interrogation report. On July 17, they send Maas Geesteranus the text of a message that the agent must send in secret ink via a contact address in Portugal to his client in Hamburg. The British report that there are 'of course' errors in the German, because they assume that is his 'natural style'. And that for someone with a full German gymnasium education. They propose that the Dutch government employ him.
Goldschmidt grows impatient. If the British don't want him, he will want a job at the consulate in Lisbon. He gets worried, because he might run into the Germans. That is the case on July 23: the German asks him to report by letter on the state of affairs. The Dutch government in London is willing to cooperate in allowing Goldschmidt to come to England as an ordinary refugee and to give him a job. The British could also choose to let him leave for England without Dutch involvement. Maas Geesteranus informs the British of this. Kim Philby, who co-directs the M.I.6 operations in Portugal - later known as a Russian spy - informs a Lieutenant Colonel of the Security Service M.I.5 on July 28, 1943, about Goldschmidt. Within M.I.5 lines up the case on August 1. First of all, reference is made to the slow treatment in Lisbon, where Goldschmidt arrived on May 27, 1943, and did not appear until July 6 at M.I.6 in that city. There is now urgency. Upon initial inspection, the statement appears to be correct. He could be of value in South America and could be run by the FBI. England is then only a stop on the way there.
In London, M.I.5 takes up the case with Arthur Thurston, the legal attaché of the American embassy, also a representative of the FBI, who will announce within two weeks on August 21 on behalf of Washington that they want to use Goldschmidt in Argentina. Goldschmidt himself does not know what is going on. He becomes increasingly disillusioned with Maas Geesteranus, becomes even more impatient and reports on August 25 that - after three months of waiting - he now wants to stop. He does not, but two days later he informs a Dutch embassy employee that he expects difficulties with the Germans and feels compelled to buy a revolver or get a pistol from Maas Geesteranus.
Goldschmidt is also at the door of the British, who let him know that they are doing their best, a matter of days. The British give the green light on September 2, 1943. He is accepted as a controlled agent for Latin America, traveling via the United Kingdom. His cover must be a job from the Dutch government for which he first has to go to London. He must let the Germans know and ask for instructions. At that time, the British can read the wireless traffic between Lisbon and Germany and check whether that message is running normally. The trip to London must be as a government official and not as a refugee. Dennis Flinn, legal attaché at the US embassy in Lisbon, who is also an FBI representative, will hear the same thing and will now briefly talk to Goldschmidt on September 6. The code name PEASANT is assigned to him. The story goes that this name was given because of his behaviour with women of dubious nature. Goldschmidt is asked to write a letter with the state of affairs to his (Abwehr) contact address in Portugal, for forwarding to Hamburg.
On September 8, Flinn, the legal attaché in Lisbon, signals to Washington that Goldschmidt will travel to England as a Dutch government official. He must leave Lisbon quickly so as not to arouse suspicion among the Germans there; a direct trip to Argentina proves impossible. The same is also reported in London on the same day. On September 16, Flinn reports the final departure from Lisbon. On October 1, Flinn sends J. Edgar Hoover, the chief of the FBI, a final report on the course of events in Portugal up to and including Goldschmidt's departure for England on September 16. Goldschmidt has written two letters in secret ink to his client in Porto. He also met Hamann, one of his companions during Hendaye’ s journey to Portugal, on the street in Lisbon, who told him that the letters had arrived. Although he still has two addresses in Lisbon to send mail to, the connection will later on have to be mainly by radio.
The interrogation in Lisbon (by Maas Geesteranus) was of poor quality. Flinn regrets the delay, because he would have preferred Goldschmidt to go directly from Lisbon to his destination. Now just getting a UK visa is a matter of ten days. Flinn and his British counterpart, de Salis (from M.I.6) have a German letter drafted and sent to Oporto. Goldschmidt's handwriting is recorded and sent to the FBI lab in America and to the FBI in London. Flinn also reports that there could and should have been exploratory consultations in London earlier. And that the delay has increased the risk of compromise. There is no such thing. Flinn is under the impression that Goldschmidt is sincere and wants to do his best. But he must be well controlled because he is rather nervous and over-ambitious, as evidenced by letters from Goldschmidt, apparently addressed to the British and/or the Americans in Lisbon.
On September 16, Goldschmidt travels with a service passport, issued to him by the Chargé d'Affaires in Lisbon with the following statement in his passport: “le porteur…. entrera au service du Gouvernement Royale Neérlandaise comme fonctionaire à titre temporaire' (he will cling to this note in later times to ask for a job with the Dutch government). He flies with the DC-3 G-AGBD (ex PH-ARB Buzzard) of the BOAC/KLM with Dutch crew to Great Britain, where he arrives in Bristol early the next day. He is being taken care of and housed in the London Reception Centre, also known as the Royal Victoria Patriotic School. All his clothes and luggage are examined, and he is extensively interrogated. Pending the outcome and decision of the FBI, limited information is provided to the Dutch authorities in London, such as the FBI's plan to send Goldschmidt to Argentina on a Dutch government post. The UK service pays PEASANT £10 per week plus an expense allowance.
Goldschmidt's interrogation takes a long time and is concluded on September 27, 1943, a 46-page document with six appendices. It describes the whole life story up to and including the arrival in Lisbon. At the end of the report, it is concluded:
- The account of his origin and service in the army are correct
- His career through time in the Dutch East Indies shows of a genuine effort to cope with his conditions, financial and otherwise
- At the end of this period [late 1926] he obviously gave up any real attempt to extricate himself from the debt contracted during his studied and to build himself a worth-whole career
- At the start of his time at Shell, he received letters of recommendation that leave the impression that he was at this time a man of some worth. As from the time that he left America in 1929 he seems to have lost his sense of proportion and to have given himself up to aimless drifting
- Of his life between May 1940 and the time of his leaving for Hamburg it is difficult to speak with any degree of certainty. His finances during this period are obviously open to doubt. His answer to the question why he did find no work was, after citing the 3 attempts mentioned, to quote his origin. As a Jew, he should have registered, had not done so and was consequently doing his best to keep himself away from the notice of the authorities. He was, he added, handicapped by his obvious Jewish name. He did not mix in patriotic activities for the same reason and also because of his fear for traitors. Plausible.
- His stay with [in The Hague] is, however, inexplicable. He lodged here for a minimum of 6 weeks, during which he admits he did not pay for the whole of his keep.
- Doubt also attached to his motive for returning to Soest a week after his meeting with Janssen, unless we accept the supposition that he saw more chance of a comfortable future from his contacts with the latter.
- His attempts to find a way out of Holland during 1942 through Richard of the Gouden Ploeg were very possibly prompted by a desire to help Janssen build up a cover story.
The conclusions of this interrogation are summarized as follows:
- Goldschmidt is a worthless character, etc. 
- He has all the qualities you would expect from an enemy-recruited agent. It is a surprise he wasn't put on sooner.
- The Germans may have taken time to make sure he wasn't an allied agent. Something that would be expected with his resume and many foreign contacts.
- His story is credible, even under cross-examination. That he cooperated with the Germans in order to escape is acceptable,
- He could well have worked for the Germans in the Netherlands until his departure for Hamburg.
- If he fell into the hands of the Germans, he would also play open cards with them. 
261. He is incapable of concentration and his mental processes are very far from agile. His complete lack of discretion has been amply evidenced and he suggested in all seriousness that, if he were sent to the U.S.A., he would tell his friends, such as Nysenhoff?, about his experiences in Hamburg. That he could be controlled would have to be a continuous 24 hour watch.
262. It is noted that he is a non-smoker and apparently a teetotaller (teetotalist) (someone drinking only tea). Remembering his age, he does not show any signs of dissipation.
 Thurston sends his findings to Hoover, with a.o. the remarks:
- The subject is not amendable to direction or control and is utterly devoid of any patriotic motives. The sole reason for his willingness to serve as a double-cross agent can be explained by his greedy character and desire for self aggrandissement. Goldschmidt has an appetite for women which is excessive and catholic. In the past two months he has become involved with a middle class English woman who is in the employ of the United States Army.
- He impressed me as being a completely worthless and impossible individual whose mentality is certainly well below average.
Soon the report is also with the FBI in London. London FBI man Thurston reports the case to Hoover on October 1, calling special attention to what the report concludes about Goldschmidt's character: "he is a worthless individual of less than average intelligence.”  The tone is frugal: if the FBI in Washington still wants to use the person concerned as an agent, then he must be properly checked in the US. During the journey he must be personally 'escorted'. On October 18, FBI headquarters are still positive about the transfer of Goldschmidt to America as a double cross agent, but with a few caveats. The FBI in London must ensure that fear of possible compromise is not the reason that the British do not use Goldschmidt themselves. And there should be no extravagant costs involved. Nor can there be an application for US citizenship.
But then Washington sees opportunities and benefits, including:
- The instructions show that the Germans have a way to deliver money to the agent in Argentina and New York. That money deliverer can then be found
- The Abwehr can be checked and valuable information about the Abwehr can be obtained, such as the modus operandi - The deployment of Goldschmidt prevents the deployment of another unknown agent
- The double cross agent provides an additional channel for sending operational information to the German - The Dutch function makes travel possible
- The assignment to find landing sites for secret agents offers the FBI the opportunity to subsequently arrest agents or even a German submarine.
In line with this, an instruction is sent to Thurston, the FBI bureau chief in London. This is followed by a conversation between Thurston and Goldschmidt on October 23, facilitated by Reed (M.I.5), who remains present. Thurston has been put on edge by Washington. He wants to form a picture of Goldschmidt's character and assess whether he could be used as a double cross agent. At the end of the conversation, Thurston believes that Goldschmidt is characterized by his 'unsatisfactory character, his extreme unreliability and the administrative difficulties which could be encountered in having him in the Unites States' (read: keeping a permanent eye on him). During his stay in London, he sometimes forgets his cover story. Thurston believes that Goldschmidt's cover has been compromised or at least damaged; the Abwehr will probably be prepared for the 'turning around' by allied services.
 The average reader would be surprised to see a graduated lawyer and captain being labelled as less the average intelligent.
Reed and Thurston therefore find Goldschmidt unsuitable as a double cross agent, but come up with an attractive alternative:
- Goldschmidt remains in England and the Bureau [FBI] continues this operation in the United States by simulating his secret ink letters and falsifying radio broadcasts.
- Goldschmidt writes a letter in secret ink that he is going to the US for a Dutch consular position
- He draws up a draft letter in secret ink, in which he reports that he has arrived in the US, etc.
- Then he is told that the whole project is off, and he is 'released' to the Dutch authorities.
- After that, anything can be written 'on his behalf', such as that he wants to receive money, has built a radio, etc.
- There is not too great a danger that information that Goldschmidt has not left for the US and is still in Britain will trickle back to Germany. That is why we have to think about whether we tell the Dutch authorities what we are doing, and that Goldschmidt does not find out that we are writing letters in his name.
With this observation, the further march route has been fixed: Goldschmidt stays in England and 'on paper' he goes to America. With this, PEASANT has since been separated from the person GOLDSCHMIDT. First, we discuss PEASANT, after which we go through the fate of Goldschmidt in a later chapter.
In Washington, Special Agent Mark Felt of the Major Case Desk handles the PEASANT case. On the basis of the reports from London, he supports the idea of letting Goldschmidt come to the US notionally and to leave him physically in England. FBI Chief John Edgar Hoover agrees, but not without concerns that the real PEASANT is on the loose in England. Samples of PEASANT's handwriting and secret ink materials are sent from London to the FBI lab. The same happens with his Morse "handwriting". He is given a New York mailbox registered to John Gold for the secret ink letters. An FBI radio operator is going to practice (with his left hand on the edge of the table) imitating the "handwriting" of the inexperienced Goldschmidt. Receiving stations in South Natick, Massachusetts, Wading River, New York, as well as Clinton and Waldorf, Maryland are on permanent alert for calls for PEASANT.
On November 13, PEASANT writes to the Abwehr that the Dutch Ministry in London has advised against the trip to Argentina because the attitude of the Argentine government is not very liberal, and his name is neither Dutch nor Aryan. On December 8, 1943, he sends a letter in secret ink from New York to report that he has arrived in that city.
After several months of asking for money and using that time to make his radio set, he - the FBI - comes on the air on August 26, 1944, with a transmitter near Washington. He reports that he has a job with Shell in Washington. He gets - everything always 'notionally' - a job at Shell Oil in Washington. That company has a lot of staff in extensive offices. Contacts exist with the War Department, the Navy Department and the War Productions Board. With such a job and an active social life, PEASANT can acquire plausible information of all kinds, which he would not be able to find in New York. FBI Special Agent Felt informs the Joint Security Control of a new channel that could start soon and asks for good material (foodstuff).
Paris has just been liberated a week and the Allies are advancing through France; many people are sure that the war in Europe will be over by Christmas, "It might therefore be advisable to send the Germans apparently something of considerable value at the beginning of the radio traffic". The most valuable thing PEASANT can give to the Abwehr in that early phase is that he has found good resources. "Have good contacts who can give me details of Chrysler's production figures, if paid well," he broadcasts on Sept. 16. A week later he sends information about the Pratt&Whitney R-4360 aircraft engines obtained from an aviation friend of the Shell manager. That same month he reports that he has met a secretary of a high naval authority and that he has reason to believe that she can develop into a good informant. In early October, he sends intelligence about aircraft production at Ford's Willow Run factory, supposedly obtained from a friend at the War Production Board. From then until the end of the war in Europe, PEASANT, "managed" by Felt, sends a constant stream of information - mainly technical - and statistics obtained from its sources. Some even have (fake) names. Not the secretary, but the guy at Chrysler's name is KLEIN, the one from the War Production Board is ROBERTS. The aviation friend is BATES. A manager remains unnamed, is often used anonymously. An Air Force captain, SAUNDERS, is mentioned occasionally.
The radio messages go to Germany, but most of the information is actually intended for Japan. PEASANT, as is often the case with secret agents, constantly asks for money. The FBI has prepared a 'lookalike' who can play the role of Goldschmidt in the event of a physical transfer of money. This chance to catch another Abwehr agent does not come. Until the end of the broadcasting traffic on April 28, 1945, PEASANT never received any money from the Abwehr.
Sometimes irritations arise. Sometimes the Abwehr does not understand the meaning of information intended for Japan. Such as the response to the message that the secretary could not be reached many evenings due to extra work because of heavy Japanese resistance in the Philippines. Hamburg says it is not interested in such trivialities "which are of no use to us". While the message is part of a deception operation to make the Japanese believe that MacArthur will not push on to Luzon as soon as planned.
An amusing event is the transmission of actual US production figures of multi-engine aircraft to demonstrate the power of the US war machine. For example, PEASANT reports that he learned from ROBERTS that in September 1944 Douglas built 49 four-engine and 323 twin-engine heavy combat and transport aircraft. Curtiss built 181 twin-engine transport aircraft and Beech over 100 twin-engine light transport aircraft. Hamburg returns to this a few weeks later with – it is assumed that is the reaction of Albert Speer's experts – the reaction unbelievable, 'unglaubwürdig'. Because it seems logical to the FBI that PEASANT would be somewhat indignant, PEASANT signals that his informant has shown papers from the War Production Board at great risk to himself and that he could verify this.
These are just minor clashes in working with the Abwehr. Good wishes are exchanged at Christmas, accompanied by the wish that the “consignment” (money) will arrive on time. In response to the public announcement that two German secret agents, Colepaugh and Gimpel, were caught immediately after being landed in a submarine in Maine, PEASANT asks if they had any money for him and if he is in danger. Hamburg replies that there is no concern as they had no connection with him. PEASANT plays a role in various deception operations involving other agents. At the end of November 1944, another agent informs Japan via Buenos Aires and Germany that there is an ongoing debate between the US Army and Navy about a possible invasion of Formosa (Taiwan). This is again in line with the aforementioned information from PEASANT, which comes from the secretary that she has worked a large number of evenings because of strong Japanese resistance in the Philippines. Three days later, he reports discussions about which plan is better. PEASANT also reports that the numbers of casualties announced by the army do not include the heavy losses on Leyte. This message is again amplified through the other agent.
At the end of December 1944, PEASANT reports that the newspapers described successes, but in addition to reports about the withdrawal in Europe (Ardennes). have only short stories of MacArthur's meagre progress. On January 6, 1945, he writes that according to the secretary, the navy should go ahead, even if that means slowing down MacArthur. A week later he sends the army's loss figures, now including Leyte.
About the B-29 bomber, PEASANT already reported in December that the production rate will be doubled within twelve weeks. This information is also radiated to Japan via other channels. Of a completely different order is a report about a strike that harms war production. Of yet another nature are reports of Chinese naval officers being spotted at an Army-Navy football game and naval officers being transferred from New York to San Francisco. A little later, the secretary's boss is also sent to San Francisco because of a change of plans.
On April 28, 1945, the last radio contact with Hamburg takes place. Not long after, the British conquered Hamburg. Another month PEASANT calls to Hamburg but gets no contact. A total of 42 messages have been received by him and 142 were sent. The file will be closed at the beginning of August; the war in Japan ends in mid-August. The FBI sends a message to M.I.5 in which Felt reports that the FBI considers the case closed and that the British have access to PEASANT. The protagonists go their separate ways, such as the aforementioned FBI Special Agent Mark Felt who rose to prominence as DEEP THROAT in the Watergate affair (1972-1974), which forced President Nixon to resign.
What was Goldschmidt doing all this time? When the lengthy interrogation at the London Reception Centre concludes on September 27, 1943, M.I.5 needs time to put everything on paper and come to a decision. Neither Goldschmidt nor the Dutch authorities have heard anything. Goldschmidt is housed in Bournemouth by the British for two weeks. The decision-making takes longer, and another accommodation is offered to Goldschmidt.
In that relatively short time, M.I.5 is already receiving disturbing reports about Goldschmidt's dealings. He hasn't kept up his cover story in Bournemouth or to a woman working for the US Army in London, whom he's even proposed to (which she's still considering). He also has an affair with a chambermaid. This necessitated a move to a new home. He has also been intimate with an unknown woman in a park, where the police became involved, resulting in an interrogation.
On November 2, an amended version of the interrogation of PEASANT is handed over to the Dutch security service. Its contents are unknown to us. We assume that this message was received by Derksema in London, head of the Police Service of the Netherlands Ministry of Justice, and that it was also reported orally what the British themselves wrote: 'at the same time we felt bound to inform them of our view that he was a low moral type who sought to live on borrowed money, that he was unreliable and a 'rolling stone'. On 3 November 1943, Goldschmidt is picked up from the M.I.5 safe house at Rugby Mansions (Hammersmith) and received by British Major Cussen (using a pseudonym) and is told that Cussen has spoken with the US representative about whether Goldschmidt should carry out a mission to North America. It has been decided not to continue the case, that the British are grateful for the formation he provided and that he will be handed over to the Dutch authorities. They will report him to the police and decide on his future role in England. After this formal part of the conversation, Reed (M.I.5) takes over the case and answers any questions about what Goldschmidt should say to the Dutch authorities or what to do with the bank in Lisbon.
Then Reed takes Goldschmidt to 82 Eaton square where the Dutch authorities reside. Goldschmidt gets his personal papers back. Once there, Goldschmidt is handed over to Baron Steengracht van Moylandt and lieutenant-colonel Oreste Pinto (counterespionage). Pinto says that he has read the report from the British (we assume: the amended version) and reports to Reed that he thinks Goldschmidt is just a poor type and that it is best to send him to court-martial and to prison. The Brit replies that he would not interfere. Pinto will ensure that Goldschmidt reports to the police and the Dutch authorities. Pinto will escort him to a shelter and keep him 'incommunicado'.
The next day, Goldschmidt collects his luggage from the M.I.5 Safehouse and registers at the Dutch reception centre Huize “FLORYN”, where he stays for twenty days. In that period, the FBI-London still contacts Goldschmidt to get a statement from him. On November 17, 1943, he signs the statement drawn up by the FBI, which states, among other things, that:
- he has been told that the US authorities want him to (notionally) travel to the US on paper
- 'a service’ will make the Germans believe that he, Goldschmidt is actually in the US and is on the job
- his name and the frequencies will be used
- that any further income arising from this deception will be for the US
It is not long before Goldschmidt bumps into a compatriot in London. On November 6, someone meets him and immediately reports: ‘that he acted secretively, that his presence was connected with foreign affairs and [was] in the company of a simple English man who gave the impression of belonging to the police.' The Dutch Minister of Justice in London has inquiries made. Derksema, the Head of the Police Service, visits the British and can report to the minister on 18 November 'as a top secret' that the person concerned has received very careful training from the German service and has been sent out as an agent with the intention of coming from Northern and South America to provide intelligence to the Germans. However, the person concerned immediately reported this, so that he has now been released by the British service. I
n an interview Derksema had had with the American service the day before, it appeared to him that Mr Goldschmidt had already reported this to the Dutch authorities a few months ago. It later transpired that the Dutch chargé d'affaires in Lisbon and Maas Geesteranus, the representative of the Intelligence Bureau (BI) in that town, did indeed send information to London through their channels, but that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and BI had not considered it necessary to pass this on to the other government services, 'since it did not appear that this was a Dutch refugee'.
Then the story moves quickly in Dutch circles. The head of the Police Service reports that Mr Goldschmidt has been released: ‘The person concerned is a very unfavourable individual. He was sentenced in the Netherlands to 3 months imprisonment for desertion in the war days. It is imperative that the Secretary of War be informed and that he is not eligible for military service. Before the release of the person concerned, consultations were held with the British service as to whether inclusion in the Pioneer Corps was possible. There's no chance for that.’
Goldschmidt has learned that a former official of the Dutch secret service is staying in London. He had been in contact with him before the German invasion of 1940 and provided him with information about Germany. Goldschmidt asks this acquaintance to put in a good word for him. However, that is disappointing: the information was not of any importance and Goldschmidt was always very verbose.
Goldschmidt himself contacts M.I.5 on November 27 to complain about the Dutch authorities. After the November 3 interview, he writes, “he felt like a schoolboy who had passed his exam.” But the British recommendation given to Mr Derksema apparently did not get any further, because the only thing that Van Boeyen (Dutch Minister of the Interior) could add to Goldschmidt was: “You are a German agent. I will consult the Minister of Justice to see what steps we need to take against you. I will investigate that.” Goldschmidt does not know what the Dutch authorities have against him and asks M.I.5 for a letter of recommendation, which he will keep in a safe until the moment he needs it.
On December 8, Goldschmidt has another conversation with M.I.5. He wants to advise the British service on the role of the press and what his task was for the Germans in that regard. But the real conversation is about the unsatisfactory reception on the part of the Dutch. The answer is that the responsibility of the British has ended, and he really should be with the Dutch. They received a 'full report' from the service and that the British chief had communicated the recommendations to his Dutch counterpart. Goldschmidt also gives suggestions for the radio traffic that the Americans now maintain. He receives an address or telephone number from the Americans; the British don't want to be bothered any further now and can do nothing for him.
Goldschmidt receives his luggage back from the British who have taken care of it for months. He is missing things, including a blue suit. He has filed a report. The British service does not comment on this either. M.I.5 decides not to draw up a letter of recommendation nor to respond in writing to the three letters of the last weeks. The SIS had already received questions from the Dutch Ministry of War about Goldschmidt, who was spotted in London. M.I.5 concludes that Mr. Derksema is in possession of all the facts. Let the Dutch find out among themselves.
In December 1943, Goldschmidt writes to HM Queen Wilhelmina, “that he has been in London since September 28, that he wanted to serve the cause, that he has done important work for the Allied cause. That the Dutch government takes a different position and treats him contrary to law and fairness,” and “that as a reserve officer he had expected his services to be used in time of war. That there is no reason not to do so.” Then “That apart from his disappointment in serving Your Majesty, he is deeply grieved. Requests to be discharged as Reserve Officer.” It is true that he knows that in May 1942 he was punished by the court in The Hague, including dismissal from military service and deprivation of the right to serve in the armed forces. Now it may be that the Dutch authorities in England do not care about this and that Goldschmidt fears to be called up for actual service in England and as e.g., 'ordinary soldier' to be put to work somewhere. In consultations with the British, the Dutch authorities had suggested deployment with the 'pioneers' and threats of demotion and deployment as soldiers were also made in situations with other Dutch military personnel. The correspondence shows that the British did not want to do that.
The advice of the ministers to the Queen are straightforward. Derksema of the Police Service contacts the British service and learns that the American service in Lisbon originally stated that it wanted to use Goldschmidt in America. Since the English authorities had an interest in an interrogation in England, it was decided that Goldschmidt would first be transported to England. When he was in London, the American authorities decided not to use him. On 7 January 1944, the Minister of Justice writes in sharp terms: ‘The person concerned is described as a very unfavourable individual. He must have been sentenced in the Netherlands to 3 months imprisonment for desertion in the days of war.’ And on the authority of Major Dr. Somer, head of BI the minister writes: ‘Indeed known as a cowardly and very unreliable individual was said to have deserted his squadron in the days of war, and then was captured somewhere near the coast, pretending to be on his way to England.’ Placement in the British Engineers (Pioneer Corps) is impossible, but ‘it must be It cannot be ruled out that this person, without us being able to control him here in the country, poses the potential danger that he - should the need arise for him - will work for the Germans again.'. Subsequently: 'His departure from the Dutch Army, in view of his antecedents, should certainly not be regarded as a loss.' Queen Wilhelmina agrees with the negative advice (She writes 'Approved, 20 January 1944. W'). This is communicated in writing on 27 January 1944.
The Dutch authorities are upset with Goldschmidt and ask the British to intern him. The British notice that the Dutch views on the person concerned are 'even more unfavourable', but that the British brought him to England themselves and that he has kept his promise to the British. He has no job or income; the Dutch want nothing to do with him and vice versa. Hence a request from M.I.5 to the Minister of Employment to give him a job somewhere in the country, far from London in a provincial town without a Dutch colony. Nothing comes of that. It does not come to internment either, as it turns out on February 3, 1944. The British do not agree to an expulsion to Suriname. Goldschmidt has to find a job himself.
The mutual discord between Goldschmidt and the Dutch government in exile is not over. In February 1944, he engages a lawyer for breach of contract on the grounds that the Dutch government had not complied with the undertaking to employ him. Officials deny that this was the case. On March 21, the lawyer announces that Goldschmidt is dropping the case.
On January 7, 1944, Goldschmidt writes to the British Home Office. The British service advises the Home Office with a MOST SECRET message. On 15 February 1944, after his appeal to the British to mediate with the Dutch authorities, he receives a letter of rejection from the British Ministry of War. On February 19, 1944, he writes to Mr. Winston Churchill, Prime Minister: 'with reluctance I am writing to you as I know you are a very busy man, but I have no other possibility to redeem a pledge given to me by or on behalf of the British Government.' Of himself he reports that on the day of the capitulation in the Netherlands he went to an airport to go to England and join the R.A.F. to enter service, but that the Dutch pilots refused to do so. Then he describes how he was recruited by the Germans and ‘I naturally grasped at that opportunity, knowing by doing so I could render the Allied cause a great service.’ In the letter he gives an extensive account of his training. The details were passed on to the Allies at the earliest opportunity. In Lisbon, he told the Dutch Consul General that this was ‘a splendid opportunity to assist the Americans and to cooperate with them by fooling the Germans in every possible way. The official was not interested, and it took a long time before he informed the British. Goldschmidt indicates that he came to England at the request of the British government and 'I was only too glad to do so in order to assist as much as possible.' Then he describes that he would not go to the US and that the Dutch authorities knew nothing better than to arrest him, etc. He offers his services to the British government. The negative advice of M.I.5 is followed, although it takes a lot of time. Letters from Goldschmidt to Churchill follow on April 15 and 28, as well as on May 22, 1944. In a letter of 11 lines in reply to all that correspondence on June 11, 1944, it is written that the letters have been well studied, but that it cannot be confirmed that Goldschmidt came to England at the request of the British government, nor that there was a promise. The services offered to the British are politely not accepted and the person concerned is referred to the Dutch government in London 'with a view to securing useful employment'.
On May 10, 1944, the Netherlands Minister of the Interior reported to his counterpart for Justice: 'It would be appreciated if your Excellency would have Goldschmidt's movements and way of life followed and investigated and, if possible, obtain information about his financial position.’ Goldschmidt lives at The Mill Farm, Trotton, Rogate, Petersfield, Hants at that time. He reports in July that he has applied for a job, apparently without success. The Dutch Police Service reports that neither they nor the British Service know how Goldschmidt lives. Then he has been living in Birmingham for some time and it appears that he is again trying to find a job. He has applied for jobs at Gresham insurance, among others. Address 6 Strensham Hill, Moseley, 13 Birmingham.
On August 18, 1944, the FBI in London and M.I.5. are conferring. The FBI has reported to the British service that radio contact has been made with the Germans by PEASANT. The most recent radio contact was at the end of July. The presence of Goldschmidt in Great Britain is a risk, that people have been aware of from the outset. After all, he can directly or indirectly inform the Germans in writing that he is in England, so that the Germans understand that the messages from America are not genuine.
The British service is just happy to get rid of him and does not want to contact him, as this will undoubtedly lead to another useless correspondence. Moreover, if Goldschmidt learns that the operation has worked, he will open his mouth even wider. His outgoing mail must be screened; an application for inclusion in the Home Office Watch List is submitted. He is not interned. If the Americans want certainty, they should still let Goldschmidt go to the US. This is reported to Washington. The risk remains. A "double" has been prepared in the US that can receive funds promised by the Abwehr. The American concerns remain, especially if the radio message traffic gets up to speed. For example, on November 27, 1944, another message is sent to the FBI in London to point out the risk of a 'lack of control of Goldschmidt'. Contrary to the self-imposed restraint, M.I.5 goes to Goldschmidt at the request of the Americans to verify an address in Oporto. He willingly provides information, but his memory is poor. Apparently, this doesn't wake sleeping dogs.
In April 1945 there is again communication between the FBI in London and the headquarters in Washington about the risks. The mail will be checked, but that's about it. Transfer to the US is not an option, given the course of the war and would create the risk of FBI blackmail, as the British experienced previously. A conversation with Goldschmidt is not considered wise. Now that the war in Europe is almost over, the FBI wonders where the German money has gone that Goldschmidt received from the Germans ( 5,000 US dollars). The Dutch chargé d'affaires in Lisbon has also wondered about this. He advises blocking all accounts. On June 6, 1945, the FBI asks its British colleagues not to specifically question PEASANT when questioning Abwehr officials such as Janssen, Helwig, Greiner and Hamman, but that all relevant information is welcome. The last radio contact from PEASANT with the Abwehr in Hamburg is on April 28, 1945. The FBI in London wants to be notified of any attempt by Goldschmidt to return to the continent. If he does, the British should urge him not to speak to anyone about his activities over the past three years. This can be supported by telling him that then no protection can be offered against possible retaliatory measures by fanatical Germans; after all, in German eyes he is a traitor.
Now that the war is over, Goldschmidt is looking for new possibilities for his existence. At his request, on May 18, 1945, he has a conversation with M.I.5. He is not rebellious and does not cause trouble, but he is after money. The official's simple clothing and the meagre furniture of the British War Office convince him that there is nothing to be gained from the British. Goldschmidt leaves M.I.5 in no doubt that he would have been treated generously by the Americans, if the Dutch government had not treated him so unkindly. The British traditionally refer to the Dutch government. Goldschmidt does not object and the conversation ends amicably.
In June 1945, Goldschmidt applies to the Ministry of Overseas Territories for deployment to Australia (the battle against Japan was still going on at that time and a Dutch-Indies board has its seat in Australia). He is rejected after negative advice from, among others, the Minister of Justice. This minister wonders whether it is desirable for Goldschmidt to return to the Netherlands. He wants that the British authorities be asked. If the British have no objection to him returning and the person concerned does not want to go voluntarily, the proposal is to deport him.
On August 2, 1945, the FBI wonders what to do with Goldschmidt. Until recently, the British had been asked to keep a close eye on him and prevent him from leaving England. The operation is closed, and the British are now stuck with a disgruntled and unwanted penniless foreigner. The Dutch authorities have also had enough of Goldschmidt causing unnecessary problems, going from one agency to another, asking for a job. Someone who has difficulty earning his own living. The British want to expel him. The question now is how much Goldschmidt should be told of his notionally activities in America. In other words, if Goldschmidt were released now and he came across a member of the German intelligence service and the latter brought up Goldschmidt's ‘work’ in the US, Goldschmidt would know nothing, and the German would know that Goldschmidt's handwriting and signal profile had been used by third parties. On the other hand, it would put Goldschmidt in a position to write a book or present himself to the Dutch government and public as the 'unsung hero'. Conclusion: don't say anything.
Goldschmidt's tour of the authorities ends on December 28, 1946, with a letter to Edgar Hoover, US Department of Justice, ‘completing your records’ as he writes. He refers to the letter he wrote to Churchill in February 1944 and encloses a copy of it. Then he says that his primary goal was to help the Americans in the fight against the common enemy. Here, too, he writes about the Dutch authorities not being interested in helping the Americans. He says that at the request of the American mission in Lisbon, he had to write that he was going to Argentina. From England he had to report that he was going to the US. By then the whole thing was too silly to be workable. He was glad that Argentina did not continue, because the Dutch authorities would certainly have betrayed him to the Germans. Those authorities in London knew nothing better than to help the Germans by preventing him from helping the Americans and harming the Germans. They called him a spy and traitor, etc. He ends the letter with 'Sorry, I failed'.
The Netherlands National Security Bureau (BNV) is established at the end of May 1945. It falls under the Minister of Justice and consists of personnel from all kinds of resistance organisations. An important task is to clear out the German espionage, sabotage and propaganda groups. In concrete terms, this means identifying, tracing and arresting the Germans and Dutchmen belonging to those organizations (Abwehr, Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst). At the beginning of 1946, Inspector Cloots of the Investigation Service of the BNV gets his sights on Goldschmidt and considers it desirable to interrogate him in England regarding his activities at the Abwehr. We do not know whether Inspector Cloots was put on this track by officials who had returned from London, such as Derksema of the Police Service, or whether he got wind of Goldschmidt's role for the Abwehr through his own investigation in the Netherlands.
It seems unlikely to us that foreign services such as M.I.5 or FBI communicated with the BNV after the liberation. Be that as it may, nothing further has been heard of an interrogation in England. At least, there is no known written trace of the research carried out by Cloots.
The temporary BNV comes to an end in 1946. Then the Central Security Service (CVD) is established, an intelligence service that falls under the Prime Minister. In December 1946, part of the BNV, the Investigation Service, was transferred to the Directorate-General for the Special Administration of Justice, which came under the Ministry of Justice. It was given the name 'section K', from the Cabinet of the Police Directorate (Goossen) of the Ministry of Police.
 In 1947 the Netherlands Chief of the General Staff writes that such an investigation by the then BNV, in his opinion, was not carried out at the time.
On 12 July 1947, the Chief of the General Staff reports to the CVD that Goldschmidt has returned to the Netherlands from England. His correspondence address is Plein 17 A in The Hague, (c/o Mr. Fijn van Draat). His actual whereabouts are unknown. It is heard that he is applying for a job at K.L.M. The police in The Hague reported that the
person concerned settled again in The Hague, address Wagenstraat 102, on 8 August 1947, from where he moved on 11 December 1947 to Herengracht 13B in The Hague.
We cannot determine what was done with this report in the second half of 1947, but it is striking that this changed at the beginning of 1948. At a high official level, in February 1948 suddenly there is great interest in Goldschmidt. Mr Driebeek, Government Commissioner in General Service, located at Plein 1813, no. 4 (so close to the Prime Minister) asks the CVD for information about Goldschmidt. The CVD, the intelligence service, cannot answer this and is looking for the file of the Investigation Service of the former BNV. The Special Cabinet (KB) of the CNV learns that the investigation file is said to be in the hands of Mr Goossen of the Police Directorate at the Ministry of Justice, but it ‘cannot be requested’.
A week later, on February 20, 1948, a note appears (the source of which is unknown): GOLDSCHMIDT was trained by the Germans in a spy school. He was then sent to America as a Jewish refugee. However, when G arrived in Spain, he changed his mind and told the story to the English. They were interested in sending him back as a double agent. G. was taken from Spain by the English and brought to England. However, the plan turned out not to work. The result was that G. walked around freely in London, where many people were annoyed by him. However, the English said, we brought him here, "don't touch it"! Colonel SOMER knows more about this case. G. probably thought it advisable not to return to the Netherlands immediately after the war.
Apparently, actions have been launched through several lines, because on March 6, 1948, a CVD officer inquires at the National Police about Goldschmidt and learns that another CVD detective has already visited. It turns out that he belongs to the Special Cabinet (KB) department of the CVD, so close to the management of the service. The file has still not surfaced, so on March 12, the Head of CVD sends a Secret Letter to Mr. Driebeek, Government Commissioner in General Service:
‘In response to your letter mentioned in the margin and following my letter RO 302, dd. March 5, 1948, I can still give you some information about GOLDSCHMIDT, without having managed to get hold of his file. During the war, GOLDSCHMIDT was trained by the Germans in an espionage school in Germany with the plan to send him to America as a Jewish refugee. However, when GOLDSCHMIDT arrived in Spain, he changed his mind and told the whole story to the English. These suggested that he be trained as a “double agent” and then sent back. For this purpose, the English brought him to England to receive his training there. However, when it was time for him to go, he changed his mind again. The English then released him and did not allow the Dutch in London to take any action against this deserter, because he had come to England at the request of the English. After the war, GOLDSCHMIDT remained in England, because he did not consider it safe here, because of his past. As I heard, he applied to the K.L.M. in September 1947. His place of work and present whereabouts is unknown to me.’
The negative tone towards Goldschmidt is striking, as well as the incompleteness and inaccuracy of the letter, originating from the security service, the fact that the file is not available and that it is not stated where the file actually resides. But apparently there is a hurry, because otherwise the Head of CVD would have waited for that file. It should be noted that the Sanders affair played a role in the preceding period, in which the judiciary (Secretary General of the Department of Justice and police director Goossen) were at odds with the BNV and that this may explain the incomprehensible inaccessibility of the file.
On June 21, 1948, the legal adviser of the Dutch embassy in London sent the file on Goldschmidt present there to the Minister of Justice in The Hague. This in response to a conversation with Police Inspector Wooning and Mr. Huisman. It cannot be deduced from this what detective Wooning is investigating, but this action may be related to a report from 1948 to the Central Security Service that Goldschmidt mediated in obtaining information about new weapons. More is not known about this.
Kluiters, a well-known Dutch researcher on intelligence and Abwehr matters notes in 2006: ‘The most interesting data, however, come from his BNV file. It turned out to contain the most relevant documents from the Justice Archives.’ The BNV or one of its successors apparently found his case so interesting that those judicial documents were simply permanently lifted. On June 28, 1948,
Goldschmidt is written off from the Population Register of The Hague due to departure for Curaçao. His name does not appear in the records of the Police Intelligence Service of The Hague.
The file of the Central Security Service (CVD), in CVD, in 1946 Central Security Service (BVD), begins with Goldschmidt's return to our country in 1947. This is followed by the 1948 request for information from Mr Driebeek, Government Commissioner in the General Service, and the reply from the CVD, as described above. In 1949 another change of names takes place; the CVD becomes the BVD.
Goldschmidt is, as reported in 1948, deregistered for Curaçao. But the case is not closed yet. For example, on July 22, 1949, a red stamp (meaning unknown to us) is placed on the contents page. In 1952, the CVD asks the police chief of The Hague to verify administrative data. It is striking that there is apparently still uncertainty among the CVD/BVD about the identity of the reported Goldschmidt, Helmuth Siegfried, trained in an espionage school in Germany on the one hand, and Goldschmidt, H.S. Mr, 1948 Provided intermediary in obtaining intelligence on new weapon on the other hand.
The file will be lent out over the next few years; the reason for this cannot be deduced from the archive. It is evident that interest in Goldschmidt continued.
Files retrieved from the archives:
a. ../3/1953 – 16/1, to D
b. 10/21/1955 - 11/11/55 to….
c. 1/20/1956 – 1/28/1956, to Dio.
d. 12/3/1956 – 6/3/1956, to D
e. 5/26/1956 – 5/28/1956, to PB
The designations are unknown to me.
On January 13, 1949, in the daily newspaper Amigoe di Curaçao, in the section 'Letters are waiting for you', one of the names is that of: H. Goldschmidt. It could relate to Hellmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt, who left the Netherlands for that country in June 1948; it forms the last (possibly) trace. A thorough search of newspapers via website Delpher.nl gives no more recent hits. Because Goldschmidt had already stayed in Colombia before, it is quite possible that he travelled from Curaçao to that country or another South American country.
There is no personal card available at the Central Bureau for Genealogy. Other genealogical sources give no indication.
We cannot exclude that one of the security services concerned, be it M.I.5, the FBI or the Dutch have provided Goldschmidt with a completely new identity.
That would be a belated acknowledgment and would immediately explain why he left no trace anywhere.
The life story of Hellmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt has a tortuous course. There are still many blind spots. Not in the least, because the story ends in nothing. In other words, we are left with many question marks. Below we address some of the most obvious questions.
Did the Jewish background play a role in Hellmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt's dealings?
It is certain that he turned away from the Jewish faith from a relatively early age. His personal card of The Hague from 1916 reads EvL [Evangelical Lutheran] and later EngEpiscop [English Episcopalian]. In Amsterdam, in 1936, the religion is listed as Episcopal. What happened to Jews in Germany from 1933 onwards will certainly not have escaped his notice. He must have been aware that with the invasion of the Germans on May 10, 1940, that danger could now also come to him personally. Whether his flight to the west in May 1940 and the attempt to get to England from De Zilk or IJmuiden was partly caused by this fear, we will not know.
The anti-Jewish measures, which became increasingly intrusive in the course of 1941 and 1942, must have increased the fear of discovery and punishment (Mauthausen) with the unregistered Goldschmidt. After all, according to German guidelines, he would have been targeted with his four completely Jewish grandparents, whatever he claimed about his renounced faith. It is therefore very plausible that he - albeit in a somewhat timid way - tried to escape to England during two periods, partly for this reason.
The fact is that in his defence before the military chamber in 1942 he did not put forward this argument, probably for good reasons even then concealing his Jewish background. He was already in serious violation at that time, having not registered. Incidentally, he never hinted at this possible reason in later interrogations, except when specifically asked on the subject.
Seen in this light, it would have been a smart move on Goldschmidt's part to accede to the Abwehr's advances, seize the opportunity to be protected, and also be able to leave the country – and the danger. Post-war interrogations of German Abwehr officials show that they knew of Goldschmidt's Jewish origins and wisely turned a blind eye to it, in the interest of the operation. That element made his cover story even more credible.
It is impossible to determine whether this also forced him to enlist in the enemy's service. This could have played a tacit role on both sides. It is striking, however, that during the first interrogation in Lisbon in July 1943, and also during his second interrogation on September 23, 1943, he does not come up with this himself. Only at a later stage of the interrogation by the English does he state indirectly on this subject, for example that after 1940 he no longer dared to apply for a job because he had not registered as a Jew.
It is very likely that Janssen, who worked as a recruiter for the Abwehr and who knew Goldschmidt's resume, saw him as a potential agent early on. The chance meeting between Janssen and Goldschmidt, which the latter describes, raises questions. Just on the street in The Hague? Was it perhaps Goldschmidt, who was unable to find a job out of money, and felt cornered by the anti-Jewish measures, who took the initiative for the meeting? Or did Janssen already have the name in question in his list of candidates? The British found that the question was not whether the Abwehr would recruit him, but rather why so late. Did he also work for the Abwehr in the Netherlands?, they wondered.
Kluiters , a well known Dutch researcher on intelligence and Abwehr matters wonders: “Would there have been a causal relationship between whether or not he served his sentence for desertion and his recruitment as a spy?” We believe that we can conclude from the course of events with the desertion file that there was a German interference in the legal process. It is not possible to deduce from the documents who initiated this and what its purpose was. But fact is, that the file was requested by the Department of Justice to hand it over to German authorities. There is no military history or military reason that could have given rise to this interest. Janssen's earlier meeting with Goldschmidt and his mention of the upcoming lawsuit may have been the reason. Be that as it may, within a day of the judge's verdict, a meeting occurs, which leads to Goldschmidt being actively approached by the Abwehr.
On November 3, 1943, Goldschmidt was informed that the Americans did not want to use his services. He understood that he would not travel on to the US or Argentina. He knew about the further use of his identity for an operation, because the Americans told him about this on November 17, 1943, and even made him sign an approving statement. And not much later, on December 9, he indicates in a conversation with M.I.5 that he has ideas about 'the construction of his traffic which was now being undertaken by the Americans'.
But in his letters to Churchill (February 1944) or to Edgar Hoover (December 1946) he makes no reference to the possible use of his identity and only gives Hoover the reason: 'for the completion of your files'. Had Goldschmidt really been aware of the FBI's operation PEASANT, let alone its importance, he would certainly have questioned it on several occasions. Not only to showcase his ‘earnings’, but also to alleviate his dire financial circumstances. This happened both during the war and in the years after.
The Americans did not inform Goldschmidt of the operation after the initial talks and the permission to use his identity was granted. There have been no contacts. After the talks of November and December 1943, the matter seemed settled to him. In February 1944, PEASANT made radio contact with Hamburg, but the FBI kept quiet about it to Goldschmidt. The FBI summarily briefed the British. In August 1944, for example, they sent a report to M.I.5 about the latest developments in the case of Goldschmidt ‘whom the Bureau is operating as a notional double agent in the United States.’ After consultation with the British, it was decided to keep Goldschmidt ignorant now as well. This also remained the case after the end of the Operation PEASANT in August 1945. They left it that way.
On November 3, 1943, Goldschmidt was handed over by the British to the Dutch authorities with the announcement that the Americans had 'decided not to employ him'. It seems that nothing substantive was communicated to the Dutch authorities. It cannot be ruled out that Derksema, head of the Police Service, has heard something more from his British counterparts. But if that was the case, then he didn't pass any of it on to others, nor did he write anything about it. In all subsequent Dutch correspondence with British authorities about possible measures against Goldschmidt, it was only about the possibility of internment or – later – deportation from Great Britain. Nowhere was any mention made to the Dutch or referred to by the Dutch of the operational risk that Goldschmidt’s presence and behaviour in England could bring to Operation PEASANT. There is nothing to learn about the FBI operation in the archives of the Dutch authorities in London or those of CVD/BVD.
The files of the British service M.I.5 on PEASANT became public in 2000. The American FBI Operation PEASANT is not explicitly disclosed. But it is also not obscured. Kluiters' personal archive, kept in the National Archives, contains a small number of copies of the British archives (released in 2000), which show that Operation PEASANT had taken place. Kluiters died in 2009. The publication Abwehr (prepared in 2006 by Kluiters; after his death processed and published by Verhoeyen in 2016), says nothing about it. In fact, he writes ‘the Americans had already decided on October 23 not to use him as a double agent. M.I.5 followed that decision.‘ So in 2006, he didn't know about it (or wasn't allowed to say anything about it). The FBI archives were released around 2017.
Not, in our opinion. The American publications on Operation PEASANT, nor the release of the FBI files were given significant attention in our country. For example, publications were not discussed in the Dutch press, such as Holt, The Deceivers (2004) or Batvinis, Hoover's Secret war against Axis spies (2014).
After the release of the British files, Mr Bauer, a Dutch researcher on WWII-technical and -intelligence matters transcribed the files and published them with his comments and additions on the website https://www.cdvandt.org. He did the same with the FBI archives on Hellmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt. This is the only Dutch source on the internet that refers to the British and American archives about Goldschmidt and Operation PEASANT.
The effect cannot be determined conclusively. The entire deception operation has remained secret for decades, so that a real evaluation has never been made public. Internally, the FBI already stated on June 9, 1945, that operation PEASANT was 'exceptionally successful'. The channel was used by the Joint Security Control to transfer misleading information to Germany. That the Germans had confidence in PEASANT is evident from the fact that the Joint Security Control indicated that misleading messages were forwarded to the Japanese. Another objective of the operation was also achieved, namely, to identify and locate other German agents. In this case, two German agents, sent to Rio de Janeiro, were identified and apprehended. The German modus operandi could also be observed.
In August 1945, Korvettenkapitän Wichmann was interrogated at Camp 020 in England. He was chief of Kommandogebiet (KDM) Hamburg and mentioned LUTINE (Goldschmidt). LUTINE was an agent for KDM Hamburg, who went to the US via Portugal to gather information about the US aviation industry, with a special focus on new inventions and constructions. The results were meagre and there were problems with the radio. The pseudonym can clearly be traced back to the action with Janssen in the 1930s in search of the gold of the Lutine. Janssen also came for questioning a few weeks later, which yielded nothing, since he had had nothing to do with Goldschmidt after his Abwehr training in Hamburg.
Homann (code name Hellwig, the Abwehr official who had trained and supervised PEASANT, ), when questioned in October 1945 and March 1946, he recounted the recruitment and training of Goldschmidt, codenamed MUT, MUTH, GROG and LUTINE. Homann was under the impression that Goldschmidt was Jewish, but paid no attention to it, although he knew that Jews should not be recruited. Goldschmidt had travelled successfully to Lisbon and then to London, from where he corresponded via Portugal with the Abwehrstelle Hamburg. The stay in London was only a short stop on the way to New York, from where he wrote back to Hamburg via Lisbon. Then he built his own radio transceiver. About 90% of the messages were about money. There were no important aircraft matters, but certain political matters. He doubted whether there were any real secrets among them. He believed that Goldschmidt could have been ‘controlled’ by the opposing party. The code name was Lutine. The Abwehr was surprised by Goldschmidt's arrival in the US and the fact that he had built a radio. So, there was mistrust from the start. So much for Homann. The FBI noted on this report that they did know this, because the Abwehr was going to test Goldschmidt to see if he was being monitored.
When the British archives were opened in 2000, no substantive information about the deception was released, although it could be seen that the FBI had continued to work with PEASANT.  The contents did become public when the FBI archives opened. In 2004 Thaddeus Holt, The Deceivers appeared with a short description. He argues that while this was not the most significant double agent operation, it was the most interesting of the four long-term US double agent operations, "though he was real, he was not in the United States." In 2014, Raymond J. Batvinis wrote Hoover's Secret War against Axis Spies, which elaborated on the operation. He writes: What we don't know even today is the impact these double agents had on German military decision-making. From a counterintelligence perspective, we know from a number of pieces of evidence that they were important to the Germans until the end of the war in Europe. All imaginary sources created by the FBI were fully accepted by the Germans. The Peasant case was a classic first example of joint FBI/M.I.5 cooperation and counterintelligence deception, which convinced the Abwehr that their source was reporting valuable intelligence from the United States, while it remained locked up in England under the watchful eye of the British.
According to Kluiters, the story about Goldschmidt can best be concluded with a quote from an M.I.5 report from January 1944: ‘[…] it is fair to him to say that he did give us useful information […]. The Dutch authorities, it now appears, have formed an opinion of GOLDSCHMIDT's character even more unfavourable than that which we had formed. In the first place, he was sentenced in Holland, shortly after the German occupation, to three months' imprisonment, which he never served, for desertion in the face of the enemy; and second, he seems to be unfavourably known to a very large number of Dutch subjects in London.'
 Nigel West wrote in The A to Z of British Intelligence (2009) about Peasant. The Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) codename for Helmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt, a Dutch Jew recruited by the Abwehr, who surrendered to SIS in Lisbon in 1943. He was taken to England and accommodated in Cap 020, although notionally he reached Washington D.C. where supposedly he was employed by the Shell Oil. From 1944 the Federal Bureau of Investigation maintained contact with the enemy on his behalf and recruited a network including Bates, Klein, Manager, Roberts, Saunders and Wave.
The end of Hellmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt's life is unknown to us. But the first 53 years are, and an image emerges from that. Of a boy who moved from Groningen in the Netherlands to Germany as a small child, who lost his father when he was thirteen and shortly afterwards moved in with a priest at a vulnerable age. He came on bad terms with his mother, stepfather and his brothers. From then on he was on his own. He had no real friends. Relationships with women lasted only a short time, even though he sometimes proposed marriage. He was intelligent, attended grammar school and became a lawyer. His work attitude and interaction with colleagues apparently left much to be desired, because he did not last long with any employer. Often the jobs ended in a quarrel. His desertion in the May days of 1940 marks a serious failure. The lawsuit hanging over his head and the threatening anti-Jewish measures led him to try to escape to England. He showed little perseverance in that pursuit. The question is whether he himself devised an escape route abroad via the German Abwehr, or whether he was only too happy to accept a rapprochement from that side. After he had escaped the German clutches in Lisbon, he voluntarily reported to the first Dutch official he encountered outside the Netherlands, the consul-general in Portugal. He was motivated to play the double game for the Allies and got upset when it took a long time, and no business was done. He spontaneously thought along with the secret services in all kinds of ways, even after he was kindly ‘thanked’.
The British interrogators set the negative tone with their report in September 1943. With prejudice towards this Jewish Dutchman who wanted to work for the Germans and had reported in Lisbon. Their judgment of Goldschmidt was very bad, both in character and in intellect. This view was adopted by the Americans, who started the 'notionally' use of the double agent.
He was seen as a risk and a nuisance who should not receive any recognition. It was of course necessary for M.I.5 in wartime to critically interrogate foreigners on their way to England, thus preventing espionage and sabotage. This applies even more to a person who offers himself as a double agent. However, in the reporting and subsequent correspondence on Goldschmidt, in our opinion no full justice was done to him.
If, in view of their tasks, the sharp emphasis on negative character traits was perhaps necessary for secret services such as M.I.5 and FBI, this was not the case for the Dutch government in London. Written findings were hardly transferred by the British to the Dutch authorities. We assume that in the ‘handover’ of Goldschmidt to Baron Steengracht van Moylandt and Oreste Pinto verbally negative qualifications were conveyed. That was probably passed on by Pinto and that is how the tone was set. It must be said that, on the other hand, a cavalry officer convicted of desertion could not count on a warm reception from his compatriots in London during the Second World War. Goldschmidt has expressed indignation at the treatment he received from the Dutch authorities in London. He was regarded as a spy and traitor and shunned as an outcast. He just had to save himself.
Apart from the desertion, for which he was convicted, he was formally not to be blamed having - as far as the authorities in London, nor we know - not done anything wrong. In fact, he was blamed. Left to his own devices, his time in England was arduous, a continuation of his pre-war life: hardly any jobs, no money, no friends, no future.
After the liberation of Holland, he hung around in Great Britain for another two years until he left for good via a short and unsuccessful stopover in the Netherlands. He never knew or suspected that nowadays typing his name on the internet immediately results in a number of hits.
He turns out to have served the Allied interest during the Second World War, in spite of himself.
Wassenaar, 16 May 2023
National Archives NL, The Hague
- 2.02.14 Kabinet der Koningin, Inv. 9088A
- 2.04.76 Minister van Binnenlandse Zaken Londen, Inv. 230
- 2.04.80 Bureau Nationale Veiligheid, Inv 2699
- 2.04.125 CVD/BVD, Inv. 26073
- 2.09.06 Ministerie van Justitie, Londen, Inv 14277
- 2.09.27 Arrondissementsrechtbank, militaire kamer, Inv. 49
- 2.10.136 Ministerie van Koloniën, Inv 4
- 2.21.424 Collectie Kluiters
National Archives UK, KV-2-467 Peasant Case
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) US, FBI-Hellmuth Siegfried Goldschmidt
Raymond J. Batvinis, Hoover’s secret war against Axis spies, FBI counterespionage during World War II, University Press of Kansas (2014)
D. Engelen, Geschiedenis van de Binnenlandse Veiligheids Dienst, SDU Den Haag (1995)
Frans Kluiters en Etienne Verhoeyen, De Abwehr in Nederland (1936-1945), (2016)
Thaddeus Holt, The Deceivers, Allied Military Deception in the Second World War, Scribner, New York (2004)
Nigel West, The A to Z of British Intelligence, Scarecrow Press, (2009)
By Kees Neisingh