Hitler’s Black Book

This is not a scientific fact it is solely based on my own observations. It seems to be that a lot ,if not all, dictators behave like a toddler. The whole world revolves around them and they get very cross if someone doesn’t want to play with them.

Hitler was one of these toddler like dictators. He had a black book with all the names of British people who had said negative things about them.

The ‘Black book’ was a popularised name of the Nazi ‘special wanted arrest list’ drawn up for the immediate period after a successful Nazi invasion of Great Britain in 1940.

The official name was the Sonderfahndungsliste G.B. (“Special Search List Great Britain”) a secret list of prominent British residents to be arrested, produced in 1940 by the SS.

Compiled by Walter Schellenberg, the head of counter-espionage and part of the Reich Security directorate, the book was essentially a Who’s Who for Nazi detainment. The names were listed in alphabetical order followed by the bureau section where the details of each individual were kept; Jewish individuals had the word ‘Jude’ in brackets after their names. At the end of each section there were blank, lined pages presumably for additional names to be added. At the back of the book was a directory of institutions such as embassies, trade unions, universities, newspaper offices and Masonic lodges, in which the Nazis were interested.

The list also gives a glimpse of the ‘type’ of persons who were to be arrested (if not specifically on the list)- Politicians, press barons, large international company directors, trade unionists, communists/political opponents & Jews, Gypsies, senior clergymen, scientists and everyone who had already escaped the Nazis from occupied Europe, in essence anyone either useful to the Nazi regime or a perceived opponent.

Although there are notable mistakes on the list. For example people such as Lytton Strachey who had died in 1932 ,or Paul Robeson, who had moved back to the United States in 1939.

It does seem that most information had been gathered from newspaper reports, telephone directories and published works of the immediate pre war period, although the inclusion of British & allied intelligence agents has been recently noted as ‘frighteningly accurate’.

Beside each name was the number of the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA) to which the person was to be handed over. Churchill was to be placed into the custody of Amt VI (Ausland-SD, Foreign Intelligence), but the vast majority of the people listed in the Black Book would be placed into the custody of Amt IV (Gestapo).

The list also includes personalities with LGBT connections, including author and Abinger resident EM Forster, and actor Noel Coward.

On finding himself listed, Noel Coward received a telegram from author and suffragist, Rebecca West, who also featured; it read:

‘My dear – the people we should have been seen dead with!’

Coward was of interest to the Nazis for a number of reasons. He opposed pre-war appeasement, was an armed forces entertainer, had connections with MI5 and he was also homosexual. In his memoirs Future Indefinite (1954), Coward wrote:

‘If anyone had told me at that time that I was high up on the Nazi black list I should have laughed and told them not to talk nonsense’.

Coward would have been assigned to RHSA, VI, G 1 – the Security Service under the control of the SS.

Coward, with Norman Hackforth at the piano, performing for sailors aboard HMS Victorious in Ceylon, August 1944

Likewise, gay author E M Forster was of interest for his socialist writings and his homosexuality.

The person who was to be in charge of arresting those listed in the book was SS Colonel Professor Dr Frank Six. Six was subsequently responsible for massacres in the Soviet Union for which he was sentenced at Nuremberg as a war criminal.

Some notable people on that list:

Virginia Woolf, novelist and essayist, wife of Leonard Woolf. It appears that Hitler was afraid of Virginia Woolf.

“Harry Bullock”, thought to be a mistake for Guy Henry Bullock, diplomat and Everest mountaineer.

Heinrich Mann, German novelist and anti-fascist.

Robert Baden-Powell, founder and leader of Scouting, which the Nazis regarded as a spy organisation.

Fergus Anderson, two-time Grand Prix motorcycle road-racing World Champion.

Leonie Zuntz (1908–1942), German Hittitologist, refugee scholar at Somerville College, Oxford

Dr Agnes Maude Royden, suffragist, author, preacher, philosopher, pacifist.

sources

https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/the-black-book

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