Military Review

The Venlo Incident: SD vs. Intelligence Service

In the fall of 1939, the German CD launched an operation against Intelligence Service, which 9 triumphantly completed in November of the same year. As a result of the operation, two high-ranking SIS officers were captured, the work of most of the Western European residency was completely paralyzed, and Hitler received a pretext for attacking the Netherlands.

The Venlo Incident: SD vs. Intelligence Service
Head of RSHA Reinhard Heydrich

Agent for Special Assignments

In early November, 1939, the head of the RSHA, Reinhard Heydrich summoned his close friend Alfred Naujoks. The friendship of two SD officers began in the early 30s, when Heydrich noticed a young fighter, a hero of street fights with the Communists, and brought him closer to him. Becoming the head of the RSHA, Heydrich brought his old friend to work in the SD, made him his confidant and protégé. Nauyuksu Reinhard instructed the most delicate actions, which required not only courage, determination and resourcefulness, but also the ability to firmly hold his tongue.

In 1936, Naujoks organized a rampaging mob attack on the Spanish Embassy in Berlin. As a result of the “spontaneous” pogrom organized by him, the lists of agents working for the Republican Madrid fell into the hands of Heydrich.

31 August 1939, a group led by Naujoks, imitated the attack of Polish nationalists on a radio station in the German city of Gleywitz, which was the formal reason for the German attack on Poland. Naujoks had no doubt that the meeting would discuss participation in the next secret operation and was ready for this.

Big game SD against SIS

Heydrich, who met Naujox, handed a folder to his ward and warned that no document from it should go beyond the limits of his office. The first in the folder was the report of the F-479 agent. An SD official who settled in the Netherlands as a political émigré reported that he had established contact with the employees of the British Intelligence Service and managed to convince them of the existence of serious opposition among the generals of the Wehrmacht, whose aim was to overthrow Hitler. The British are interested in information. Soon the conspirators' representative, Captain Shemmel, arrived in Germany from Holland, met with Major Richard Stevens, head of the SAS Hague branch in Europe, and his deputy Captain Sigismund Best.

Meetings began to be regular. Each time, Captain Schemmel brought important intelligence information. Stevens and Best supplied Schemmel with a transmitter through which the "conspirators" kept in touch with British intelligence officers. The development of the established relations was closely monitored not only by the leadership of British intelligence, but also by the Foreign Office, and the British Cabinet was informed. On the German side, the operation was supervised by the Führer himself. In the role of captain Schemmel was the young head of department E (counterintelligence) of department IV of the RSHA (Gestapo), Walter Schellenberg.

On October 29, Colonel of the Wehrmacht Medical Service Max de Crinis arrived in The Hague with Schellenberg and successfully played the role of one of the leaders of the plot. The next meeting was scheduled for November 9 and was to be held at the Venlo border checkpoint at the Bacchus cafe, located literally a few meters from the border. At the meeting "Shemmel" was supposed to come accompanied by the "head of the opposition."

Special Task for Special Agent

Heydrich understood what a risky game he was playing. Maybe it is not he who drives the British by the nose, but they drive him? Each visit Schellenberg to The Hague or Arnhem could be the last. Maybe the British are just waiting for when a large fish gets into their net, and not a binder-captain?

November 9 in Venlo as a dummy was supposed to go official very high rank. Agents reported on the increased activity of the Dutch police in Venlo and its surroundings.

Nauyox and his team were assigned the task: to observe the meeting. And if an attempt is made to seize Schellenberg and the “conspirator's leader”, then in no case will this be prevented. Naujoks left for Düsseldorf, where Schellenberg was already waiting for him.

Schellenberg's ambitious plans

Meeting with Schellenberg Naujoks not pleased. Ambitious Walter was not going to stop there and was already negotiating with the British about his visit as an emissary of the opposition in London. It was not part of the Naujox plans. Schellenberg offered a conditional sign that would testify that he was leaving with the British on his own free will, not under duress, but Alfred was a stubborn party. The arrest of Schellenberg in London threatened the ambitious Walter with the loss of freedom, and Naujox with the loss of head.

Everything is changing

The dispute interrupted a phone call from Berlin. Himmler called: “An attempt was made on the Fuhrer. He is alive. The game with the British stop. Tomorrow you must arrest them and take them to the Reich territory. We must prove to the whole world that a failed attempt is a matter of British intelligence. If during the operation you need to go on trespassing - do not stop. ” Himmler finished with a phrase that stopped all the possible objections of Schellenberg: "This is an order from the Führer."

Naujoks, having learned about the change of the task, remarked that the only way to fulfill the order and steal the British agents was to go for a direct break through the border. On that and decided. We agreed that Schellenberg would meet the car with the English at the entrance to the cafe and if Stevens and Best were in it - would take off his hat, that would be a signal to start the operation.

Necessary retreat: the Munich attempt on Hitler 1939 year

Every year on November 10, on the anniversary of the “Beer Putsch”, Hitler visited the Munich beer house “Broekler”, from which the Nazis marched on Berlin in November 8 to take power. Hitler made a speech and spoke with the "old guard". 1923 November 8, the Fuehrer's speech was short, he left the pub earlier than usual. A few minutes after his departure, a device laid in the column, near which stood the speaker's stand, exploded. There were victims and injured. The bomb was laid by Johann Elzer, who was neither an employee of any special service, nor an underground worker. The attempt was made by a simple German, a carpenter, one of the few who saw the abyss that Hitler took to his homeland. No matter how hard they tried at the Gestapo, he stubbornly kept saying: "I was alone." Elzer was executed on 1939 on April 9, and remained in stories lone hero

Valuable trophy of the Hitler SD

On November 9, around the 14 clock, Schellenberg crossed the border and took a seat at a table on the terrace of the Bacchus. He drew attention to how many residents of Venlo were walking their sheep dogs around the cafe. In these hefty fellow dog breeders, Walter identified the disguised policemen with a trained eye. Around 15: 00 a Buick drove up to the cafe with Stevens, Best, and an officer whom Shemmel had previously been introduced as Lieutenant Coppens. Schellenberg left the table and went to the car. Coming out of the cafe, he affably waved his hat.

At the same time, the covered truck standing on the German side roared with a motor, knocked down a Dutch border barrier and rushed towards the Buick. The lieutenant immediately understood what was happening, jumped out of the car and began shooting at the truck. Splashing shattered windshield. Naujox, leaning out of the car, fired back. Coppens fell. From the body poured SS. Some of them opened indiscriminate fire from machine guns, dispersing casual witnesses and not-so-zealous Dutch police. Several people ran up to the Buick and pulled Stevens and Best out of it and dragged them to the border. At the last moment, Naujoks ordered the wounded lieutenant to be taken away. Truck backing back to Germany. Following him, Schellenberg left the territory of the Netherlands in his car.

A pleasant surprise

Less than an hour later, Schellenberg was in the Düsseldorf Gestapo, from where he contacted Berlin and reported on the successful completion of the operation. A few minutes later a truck arrived, and Naujoks was stunned by Schellenberg: from the documents of the wounded lieutenant it follows that Coppens is not really an Englishman, but an officer of the Dutch general staff, his last name is Klop. (In Amsterdam, in order to keep abreast of the negotiations, they decided to assign a spy to the English). Schellenberg grabbed the phone again to be the first to tell Himmler the awesome news: Holland, in violation of its neutral status, together with England, was preparing the overthrow of the legitimate government in Germany! The best result from the operation simply could not be expected.


The Venlo Incident dealt a sensible blow to the Intelligence Service. In addition to undermined prestige both inside and outside the UK, SIS was forced to eliminate or at least preserve its entire network of agents in Western Europe for a long time: Stevens and Best knew too much, the SIS Hague was the second largest European branch of the service after Parisian. It was impossible to neglect the probability of issuing to the arrested enemy all the information they know.

The initial plan to blame the British for an explosion in a Munich beer hall was not realized: Elzer persisted; Hitler did not dare to start a process with such an intractable chief witness. But when, after months of 6, 10 of May of 1940, Germany declared war on the Netherlands, a separate point in the note sent was the charge of the government of the Netherlands for violating neutrality.

The fate of the participants of the "Incident in Venlo"

Lieutenant Klop died in the Düsseldorf hospital. Stevens and Best were sent to a concentration camp. Cherishing the dream of concluding a separate peace with Great Britain, Hitler shored them as possible intermediaries for future negotiations, therefore he rejected all the proposals of the British authorities to exchange British intelligence agents for German agents caught by SIS. The British survived the war and were liberated in 1945.

All the German participants of the “Incident at Venlo” were invited to the Reich Chancellery, where Hitler personally presented each with an award. Schellenberg and Naujoks got class I on the Iron Cross, their career went up sharply.

As for the ordinary performers, all the soldiers of the special squad (12 people) were awarded the Iron Cross Class II, but after the solemn reception of the Fuhrer, their tracks are lost in the gloomy corridors of the Main Directorate of Imperial Security.

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  1. smersh70
    smersh70 9 December 2013 10: 14
    ... yes .... Europe, Europe ..... expanse for operations ... on the border there is some kind of barrier ... you can drive up and down ... some kind of emigrant misleads a whole special service ... this special service does not check information through its other sources ...... I would be to the British .. I would teach them .... wassat .....
    1. Day 11
      Day 11 9 December 2013 14: 13
      Hello old man, what is your enemy flag on your avatar? I am much more pleasant to read you under your own flag
      1. smersh70
        smersh70 9 December 2013 15: 32
        Quote: Den 11
        the old man is tearing, and what is your enemy flag on the avatar

        Hi, old man! Yes, I myself am surprised) it’s good that they are not yet ranked among the Americans .... laughing .
    2. smile
      smile 9 December 2013 15: 12
      Yeah, some kind of kindergarten ... you read and wonder, how could you work like that? There are no words ...
  2. Day 11
    Day 11 9 December 2013 14: 01
    And everyone knows that Reinhard Heydrich began his military career in the Kriegsmarine and was expelled from there for some unseemly offense (who knows, share the info). Then he got into the Luftwaffe. He even made combat missions as a navigator on the He-111 and pilot "Stuka." About his battle over the Berezina River in 41 (when he was overwhelmed and he was nearly captured) is everyone aware of? By the way, who has what, lay it out. Interesting. Gad, of course, would
    1. Day 11
      Day 11 9 December 2013 14: 21
      The bastard, of course, was rare, there were many ruined souls on his conscience. But he had a damn charisma. Did everyone know that under him the Czechs had all the rights of an ordinary citizen of the empire? And the Czechs worked at military factories with all the Stakhanov zeal for the good of Great Germany laying hands day and night!
      1. smile
        smile 9 December 2013 15: 08
        Day 11
        We know that the Czechs rations and wages were not inferior to the Germans under Heydrich, that he forbade the Germans to relate to, for example, the Russians. As well as the fact that the productivity of their labor, according to German data, was higher than in Germany we know.
        But what you said in the first comment I personally heard from you for the first time.
        Yes, and of course he was an extraordinary person. It is enough to recall his behavior during the assassination attempt. We can only rejoice that he was banged all the same - the Germans tightened the nuts, began repressions against the Czechs ... and the productivity of their military factories fell, the Czechs did not treat the Germans very well and realized that they had been won ... :) )))
        By the way, comrade Heydrich, I don’t know how justifiably, was suspected of having relatives, bad Jews. :)))
        1. Day 11
          Day 11 9 December 2013 15: 20
          Yes, Volodya, I heard that too. Proven only with Milch. But Goering defended him ("... in my office I myself decide who I have a Jew ..."). This is at the level of speculation and speculation. The Kriegsmarine and Lufthof are an interesting topic for people interested in the history of the rise and fall of 3 Reich! I have something about his last fight as a pilot. By the way, an interesting fight ... I'll write
      2. smersh70
        smersh70 9 December 2013 15: 34
        Quote: Den 11
        And the Czechs worked in military factories with all the Stakhanov zeal for the benefit of Great Germany, tirelessly day and night!

        someone wrote here that when they were asked, what did you do (fought) against the Germans .. they said that the whole war went in black as a protest .... laughing wassat ..
    2. smersh70
      smersh70 9 December 2013 15: 38
      Quote: Den 11
      About his battle over the Berezina River in the 41st

      so he ended up in the Air Force after the Gestapo chtoli or vice versa .... but he didn’t hear about the pilot .. he was obviously a soldier, or he was busy ... everywhere ..... he even turned out to be Russian and the father of 2 children, who served with the White and the NKVD .. (film ka knazyvaetsya, forgot .. Mironov plays)
    3. BBM
      BBM 9 December 2013 17: 09
      Quote: Den 11
      Heydrich began his military career in Kriegsmarine and was expelled from there for some unseemly misconduct (who knows, share the info

      corruption of the underage daughter of her direct superior. But this is mine well-known infa
      1. smile
        smile 9 December 2013 19: 08
        Personally, I didn’t know ... a brave guy ... :))) not only did the pedophile sacrifice the daughter of the boss ... and for this it was possible to get a bullet from an angry father ... And so, marry him forced?
      2. Day 11
        Day 11 9 December 2013 19: 31
        Exactly! I recalled the pancake, recalled ... For what? And digging into nete is already too lazy. Exactly. From whose memoirs did I read this? Okay, I’ll remember.
    4. Fedya
      Fedya 9 December 2013 22: 24
      And everyone is aware that the same British banged him with the hands of Czech resistance? After that, the Fritz destroyed the village of Lidice, near which the Heydrich was liquidated.
  3. Day 11
    Day 11 9 December 2013 14: 25
    Here he is, by the way, on the day of the inauguration as deputy imperial protector of Bohemia and Moravia
  4. ImPerts
    ImPerts 9 December 2013 15: 14
    Yes, the truck with the SS was on time at the barrier.
  5. mithridate
    mithridate 9 December 2013 15: 16
    yes, ours wouldn’t
    1. smile
      smile 9 December 2013 15: 41
      Our own whoever you want then would have stolen .... at that time they acted harshly and without regard to all sorts of opinions, to that we were simply forced by the incessant sabotage war, which was waged against us by "democratic" countries along the entire perimeter of the borders. As a result, we simply could not have such stupid punctures - scientists were there and responded to any blow with a blow, not stingy.
      1. smersh70
        smersh70 9 December 2013 15: 45
        Quote: smile
        at that time acted harshly and without regard to all kinds of opinions

        .whistled the general manager of the ROVS ... and one more ... forgot his name ....
        Quote: smile
        As a result, we simply could not have such stupid punctures

        well, there were them too ... the operation that Orlov seems to have done. he then fled to Spain ... and one more - I don’t remember the details .. but related to the Far East ... then the NKVD general escaped ... the head of the NKVD of the Far East ....
        1. smile
          smile 9 December 2013 19: 13
          That's right, and there were defectors and proponents — they always have been and always will be ... but there weren’t such punctures when our spies were being blasted so brazenly, right from under our nose.
          This sinister with the Far East, by the way, spoiled us to the fullest, even participated in the development of an operation to eliminate Stalin. Now there is an opinion that the operation had a good chance of success. But fortunately, they didn’t give him the go-ahead, I don’t know why.
        2. Fedya
          Fedya 9 December 2013 22: 20
          They escaped when the Great Terror began. they knew how it would end!
          1. smile
            smile 10 December 2013 00: 24
            Fedya ... I will not say that I really like the stiffness that was shown in our pre-war period, but it was often justified, and the scale was inflated to the skies by interested people ... and only great people can talk about great terror liars ... or those who have no brain brains to sort out the issue on their own and they pick up the howls of our liberals.
            Defectors have always been, at all times and in all countries ... and nothing will change ... much more people fled from Western countries at that time.
            But this, Fedya, is not a shame to know. In general, Fedya - it is necessary to read and think - this develops not only the horizon, but also the head muscle ... And do not argue, Fedya - it is necessary, Fedya, it is necessary .... :))))
            1. Fedya
              Fedya 10 December 2013 22: 39
              Oh dear! Wouldn't you run away when you are called to Moscow for a "promotion"? And you already know how it ended for Tukhachevsky, Blucher, etc. Moreover, Lyushkov himself was in the system and knew what was what. There are and always will be traitors, but at least you can understand these in part.
    2. klim44
      klim44 9 December 2013 17: 59
      Yours definitely could not goof. Read for the interest of Kolpakidi’s book from the WWII intelligence agencies, you will see what lay people worked in Soviet intelligence. History must not be studied according to Julian Semenov.
      1. smile
        smile 9 December 2013 19: 16
        We had everything, there were failures and non-professionals fell into the special services, but there were no such glaring failures about the stern intelligence officers in such a situation.
  6. Day 11
    Day 11 9 December 2013 20: 35
    What do I know about that battle. In short, on July 41, he inspected the combat units of the Luftwaffe. He flew on Me-109.14. and part-time (for SMERSH77) SS group-führer Reinhard Heydrich. Decided to fly on a combat attack on July 7nd. Was hit by anti-aircraft fire. He sat down on the territory occupied by Soviet troops. The Soviet command formed a group to capture the German pilot. But, you understand --- 70st, complete ... In short, the roofing felts were saved by the Latvians, the roofing felts were Estonians from the Sonderkommando. After that, he was categorically forbidden to fly out. The order came from the very top
  7. Klim podkova
    10 December 2013 13: 01
    Somehow did not pay attention that, among other awards, Heydrich had: a front pilot pilot buckle for a day-time fighter pilot in bronze, a front pilot pilot buckle for a day-time fighter pilot in silver, an icon of a pilot and an observer.
  8. pRofF
    pRofF 10 December 2013 23: 18
    Naturally, there were failures. But - a small nuance: especially large, and, if I can say - stupid - at the end of the 20s and 30s, when the intelligence was headed by obvious non-professionals, such as Artuzov (Frauchi). Take the same operation "Trust" - it was failed mainly due to his oversight. And he selected the staff - well, just hang yourself: a failure in Copenhagen in 1935: two residents in Germany - Unger and Maksimov-Unshlikht, took one case, the other passed. In theory, that's all. But then both remembered that in neighboring Copenhagen - the border is near! - their common friend is illegal - comrade. Ulanovsky. Well, they took train tickets - and went to a friend, to drink vodka and talk for life. Well, right in their cafe, the Danes tied them up - one of Ulanovsky's agents was double. So that's it. After that, the highest measure of social protection was applied to Artuzov, and intelligence was shaken up and who was kicked out / imprisoned - from those whom this fruit had dragged there - that's when Soviet intelligence began to work EXACTLY ...