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The Other Side of Diplomacy

[1]1,032 words

If a criminal gang comes to power, then they will use criminal means to conduct their policies.

État Français

In May 1940 Germany invaded France and the Low Countries. Paris, the French capital, was occupied on June 14, 1940.

France was divided into a German occupation zone in the north and west, a small Italian occupation zone in the southeast, and an unoccupied zone, the zone libre (free zone), in the south.

A newly-established state, officially named État Français (French State, 1940–1944), but today popularly known as “Vichy France,” administered all three zones. Its administrative center, Vichy, was located in the zone libre. In November 1942 the Axis forces occupied the zone libre as well.

The French State, governed first by Marshal Philippe Pétain, implemented the National Revolution (Révolution nationale), aimed at regenerating the nation. In 1942 Pierre Laval assumed power.

The Soviet Embassy in Paris

One year after the occupation of Paris, on June 22, 1941, Germany invaded the USSR in Operation Barbarossa (Unternehmen Barbarossa), bringing a swift end to German-Soviet cooperation.

Days later, German police accompanied by forensic experts from Reinhard Heydrich’s SS Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst, SD) forced their way into the Soviet embassy.

The German haul included radio equipment and sophisticated explosives.

In a report to German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop dated July 2, 1941, the SD described the scene:

There were twenty-six Soviet Russians in the building. Five of them (four men and a woman) had locked themselves into strong rooms specially shielded by heavy armourplate steel doors; they were busy destroying documents and other materials in four furnaces specially constructed and installed in there. They could not be prevented from doing this, as even using special technical gear it would still have taken hours to force the door open.

More unnervingly, investigators discovered a special wing of the embassy reserved solely for use by the Communist secret police, the NKVD (Narodnyy komissariat vnutrennikh del, People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs, 1934–1943) and its predecessor the OGPU (Ob’edinennoe Gosudarstvennoe Politicheskoe Upravlenie, Joint State Political Directorate, 1922–1934).

Admiral Wilhelm Canaris’s military intelligence (Abwehr) agents, also on the scene, issued their own special report about the Communist outpost in France. An Abwehr department head who personally inspected the building stated:

A side wing of the embassy was equipped as a GPU base complete with instruments for torturing, executions, and the disposal of corpses [special cremation furnaces].

The completely isolated wing of the embassy in which the GPU’s offices and execution chambers were located can only be described as a criminals’ and murderers’ workshop of the most outstanding technical perfection: soundproof walls, heavy, electrically operated steel doors, hidden spy-holes and slots for guns to be fired from one room to another, an electrical furnace, and a bathtub in which corpses were cut up, completed the macabre inventory of these rooms, in addition to housebreaking implements, poison capsules and the like. Thus there is every probability that . . . many an awkward White Russian émigré or opponent of the Soviets in France vanished in this way—they literally “went up in smoke.”

Were Generals Kutepov and Miller Tortured and Murdered in the Paris Embassy?

In the 1920s and ’30s, nearly a third of the White Russian diaspora of 1.5 million (i.e., some 400,000 people) lived in France—100,000 in Paris alone.

Paris was also the headquarters of the main White Russian anti-Communist resistance organization, the ROVS (Russkii Obsche-Voyenskii Soyuz, or Russian Armed Forces Union), founded by General Pyotr Wrangel and comprised of former White officers and veterans.

The ROVS was the OGPU’s primary foreign target until the early 1930s, when Leon Trotsky assumed that role.

Two ROVS commanders, General Alexander P. Kutepov (1929–1930) and General Evgenii K. Miller (1930–1937) were kidnapped in Paris and murdered by the Communists. (The kidnap-murder of General Miller figures prominently in Russian émigré writer Vladimir Nabokov’s first English-language short story, “The Assistant Producer” [1943].)

Though the circumstances surrounding their deaths remain murky, the few historians who mention the murders generally state that both men were taken to the Soviet Union and killed. (General Kutepov is believed to have died en route.)

But why would Kutepov and Miller be transported to the Soviet Union for interrogation and execution when the Soviet embassy in Paris was well-equipped—and utilized—for such purposes?

In fact, the French Sûreté determined that Miller had been murdered inside the Soviet Embassy. However, it believed his lifeless body was then delivered in a trunk to a Soviet-bound freighter anchored at Le Havre. But the above facts about the embassy, unknown to the Sûreté, suggest that conveyance of the corpse to the USSR would have been risky and pointless.

In a 2009 interview [2] on Jim Giles’ Radio Free Mississippi, the late federal prosecutor James F. Neal questioned an analogous theory about Teamster boss Jimmy Hoffa’s kidnapping and murder in 1975. (Neal prosecuted Hoffa.) He thought those who believed Hoffa had been transported out of state and murdered were wrong. He quoted Mafia members who said that transporting a victim out of state to kill them increases risk, so it is not done. Hoffa, Neal believed, was killed and disposed of in Michigan.

The same principle applies, perhaps, to the similar kidnap-murders of Generals Kutepov and Miller by the Communists. Possibly they were among the victims tortured and murdered in the Paris butcher chamber of the international Left.

The Soviet Embassy in Berlin

After the discovery in Paris, Hitler ordered a similar search of the embassy in Berlin. There, in the heart of “Nazi Germany,” the same setup was discovered: stocks of guns and ammunition, armored rooms, a torture chamber and associated equipment, and furnaces for cremating bodies.

In his diary, Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels wrote: “These Soviet embassies are in fact the refuges of criminals. If a criminal gang comes to power, then they will use criminal means to conduct their policies.”

Sources

The information about the Soviet embassies in Paris and Berlin is based upon original documents quoted by David Irving in Hitler’s War [3]. Historian Anthony Beevor mentions the fact that the Soviet embassy in Berlin was equipped with a torture chamber in at least two of his books, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege: 1942-1943 [4] and The Mystery of Olga Chekhova [5]. However, his information and documentation are far less complete than Irving’s.