Crown copyright

This is photo has been "Photo-shopped" by my wife Karin; of course, derived from KV 2/390-2, page 4

To the previous page 1 Chapter 7

Part Two

Initiated on 2 March 2022

Current status:

Please notice: That this document is meant for studying purposes only; therefore - do not multiply it, as some is due to Crown copyright

Chapter 8    (2 March 2022)




KV 2/390-3, page 10   (minute 963a)

                                                                Crown copyright

            From    Erderfinger (?)

                        Dienstag Nachrichtendienst

                        Linkstrasse 16

                        Berlin W.9a

            To    Dr. Karl Heinz Abshagen

            Date of Letter                    27.3.37

            Summary of Contents.

Circular to Dienstag correspondents.

                    Dear Sirs (meine Herrn),

                            Please find below the draft of a statement re your activity.

                            Please put forward and alteration which you think necessary for your position, and return the corrected draft as soon as possible.

                            The final statement will then be sent to you immediately.

            Yours sincerely,

                    Erderfinger (?)

Statement.            Will be set out on an ordinary Dienstag sheet of letter paper.

                            The journalist

                                        Herr Dr. Abshagen

                            is acting as permanent representative in England, with headquarters in London, for the papers connected with the Dienstag-Nachrichtendienst.

date 5/4/37

AOB, apparently the above author didn't grasp much of the actual content and meaning from this letter.

KV 2/390-3, page 12

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                                        Berlin W.9.    den 27. März 1937





an die

Dienstag - Korrespondenten

                    Sehr geehrte Herren!

                    Untenstehend übersende ich Ihnen den Entwurf eines Ausweises für Ihre Tätigkeit.

                    Ich bitte, etwaige Aenderungenswünsche, insbesondere Ergänzungen, die für Ihren Platz Ihnen notwendig erscheinen, vorzubringen und mir möglichst bald den entsprechenden korrigierten Entwurf zuzustellen.

                    Mit recht herzlichen nachträglichen Ostergrüssen





            wird auf einem normalen Dienstagbogen ausgestellt.

                    Der Schriftleiter,                           

                                Herr Dr. Abshagen

                    ist für die Dienstag-Nachrichtendienst G.m.b.H. angeschlossenenen Zeitungen als selbstständiger Vertreter in England mit sitz in London tätig.

                    Wir bitten, unsere Vertreter bei der Erfüllung seiner Berufspflichten Hilfe und Beistand zu gewähren und ihn insbesondere im dienste einer wahrheitsgemässen Berichterserstattung weitgehend unterrichten zu wollen.

                    Wir verpflichten uns, eine etwas ausbedungene Vertraulichkeit jederzeit zu achten.


KV 2/390-3,  page 13      (minute 961a)

                                                                Crown copyright

                                                                                                                Foreign Office


                                                                                                                            20th March, 1937

            My dear Liddell,

                    I agree with the view you express in the postscript to your letter PF 44340/DS.7c. of March 3rd, that the expression "our friends and "the gentlemen" used by Abshagen in his report, enclosed in your latter, refer probably to Ribbentrop and Lord Derby respectively.

                    This simply code is used again in the latter enclosed in Harker's (M.I.5.) P.F. 44340/DS.7.c of March 16th, where "the chief of the foreign department" is Mr. Eden; "the latter's representative", Lord Halifax; and "the president of the entire concern",  His Majesty The King.

                   We are much interested in Abshagen's reports and activities.

Captain G.M. Liddell. (M.I.5)

KV 2/390-3, page 14


                                                               Crown copyright

Cross - Reference

            Subject:            Karl Heinz Abshagen.

                1937.3.37     Report from M.I.1.c. (later S.I.S.) CX/20029/V dated 15.3.37 re the "Dienstag" Press Service.

                                    Report gives an account of the premises of the "Dienstag" organisation in Berlin at an address at which (Dr. Hans) Danckwerts receives correspondence.  Another organisation was discovered called "Dienazeit" (Dienstag Zeitungen?)  which appears to be very closely connected with "Dienstag" (Verein), and which has its address at Linkstrasse 16.  This address houses several newspaper offices (Bürogebäude) (The "Dienstag Verein" - was an organisation with respect to:- mutually collecting "news") (thus it does not wonder that the Dienstag Group also shared an office building

                                    Karl Heinz Abshagen, according to M.I.1.c. (later S.I.S.) representative (British spy or informant in Berlin), is a big man with wide business and financial interests. He may also have financial interest in some of these papers.

KV 2/930-3, page 15    (minute 948a)

                                                                            Crown copyright

Foreign Office File No. 45. (Post Box 500).

Activities of Herr Abshagen.

            Copies of Minutes.

                    Transmits translation of letter addressed to Dr. G.K. Johannsen of Hamburg, dated 28.2.37, referring to business contacts which are probably more in the nature of espionage (AOB: in the 9 years, and beyond, that Abshagen remained in London, they never have been able to bring any legal proof of that Abshagen had been engaged in actual espionage!)    Requests views on the subject.

- - -

                    I think it is not necessary to jump to the conclusion that the "business contacts" referred to are in the nature of espionage. When Herr von Ribbentrop visited Manchester, he naturally met a number of business men - in fact he attended a dinner of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce.  It is hard to see how Lord Derby (who, I believe, did not particularly like Herr von Ribbentrop)  could have put him in the way of doing espionage, whereas he has obviously introduced him to business men.

                    Qy. so reply

Room 14                                                                                                        (sgd.) A. Rumbold


                    I think "business contacts" is merely a piece of elementary code, like "a friend" and "the gentlemen".

(intd.)   W.S.


Foreign Office.

                    Seen, thank you. I think the so-called "business contacts" may be certain people who it is thought will be useful to Ribbentrop in putting over his general propaganda campaign.

                                                                            (intd.) G.M.L. (Guy M. Liddell)

M.I.5.   15.3.37

KV 2/390-3, page 16     (minute 946a)

                                                        Crown copyright

                        Box No. 500.

                            Parliament Street B.O.

                                London S.W.1.

                                                                        9th March 1937

Not Sent

            Dear Norton (F.O.),

                                        The attached report by one of the journalists who recently visited England may be of interest to you.

                                        Very noticeable is the fact that a reference is made to be eighteen individuals who presented not the (Nazi) Part Press but in words of the writer "the German Press at the present time in London".  The suggestion contained in this letter is that the eighteen representatives could be cut down with advantage to twelve.  Our information is that at present time there are in London  approximately ninety German "journalists", that is, German journalists armed with Press passes, who have entered this country (England) as journalist and are going round collecting information. If the figures given in this letter are correct, then the presumption is that at least seventy of the ninety journalists at all.

Yours sincerely,

(that the signature isn't given or had been removed, might point at the fact that it originated from an S.I.S. /or related source)

KV 2/390-3, page 20    (minute 942a)

                                                            Crown copyright

            Copy of S.11  Report. (observation?)

re Karl Heinz Abshagen.

                                Observation in this case was kept on 50 Smith Street, Chelsea, from 15th to 27th inst. but little was seen of Abshagen, who spends a considerable amount of his time at home, but when he goes out he usually travels by Car BXA 695, which he and his wife drive.

                                The only matters of apparent interests seen were on 23rd and 25th inst. when he visited the German Embassy. On the first occasion he remained from 4 to 5.55 p.m. and on the second from 12.5 to 12.55 p.m. and then returned home.

                                On the 25th he also visited for 5 minutes Drummonds Bank (where Abshagen keeps a bank account), Charing Cross, and after shopping with his wife in Berwick Market went home.

                                Mrs. Abshagen drove out alone fairly frequently.

                                During the period of observation a man (age 38, ...., believed German, but spoke with an American accent) has been staying with Abshagen's and apparently arrived at their address in the evening of the 20th instant.  On the 22nd instant he visited the premises of Henry A Lane & Co. Ltd. (Agents for Swift & Co, Chicago) Provision and Produce Merchants, 37 - 45 Tooley Street, S.E. and afterwards with a representative from there partook of refreshments at a nearby cafe where the described man was introduced to other employees of Lane & Co.

                                This man occasionally accompanied Mrs. Abshagen in the said car.

                                Observation will be continued when circumstances permit.

(intd) J.O.


KV 2/390-3, page 51   (minute 930a)

                                                    Crown copyright


                    Mr. Strang of the German Section, F.O., lunched with me today, and is very interested in the Abshagen reports and is very interested in the Abshagen reports and very anxious to see any further ones that come to our notice.

                    He thinks that Abshagen is extremely well informed about matters here, and that his whole position is distinctly questionable from the espionage point of view.

                     I (Guy Liddell) drew his attention to the minutes on the F.O. file that had been sent to us to see, when we suggested that Abshagen should be asked to leave. He had evidently not seen these.

        B. (M.I.5)   8.2.37                                Sgd. G.M.L. (= Guy Manyard Liddell)

KV 2/390-3, page 68   (minute 925a)

                                                                Crown copyright

            From    Wehrbezirkskommando Ausland,


            To       Dr. Abshagen

                                50 Smith Street


            Date of Letter            3rd February 1937

            Date of Postmark      By diplomatic courier.

            Summary of Contents

                    Asks how long he has belonged to his Lodge (Free Mason Loge) (a highly suspect circumstance which could cause very severe problems in Nazi Germany; he could easily be detained in a Concentration Camp)  He should produce a document to prove he reached the 2nd grade (that of fellow).

                    If he is a member of the N.S.D.A.P. (Nazi Party) he should have a note from them to certify that he knew of his former membership of a lodge (Loge).

KV 2/390-3, page 57                            (G532   ↑↑↑↑ ↓↓↓↓    G532return)

                                                            Crown copyright

                                                                Berlin W. 35, den 3. Februar 1937

                                    Herkulesufer 11           

            Wehrkreikommando Ausland


            Br.B.Nr.    288    /37 H IIa.



Dr. Abshagen


        50 Smith Street, Chelsea

            durch Deutsche Botschaft London.

            Betr.:    Ableistung einer Auswahlübung

                                In Ergänzung Ihrer Erklärung über Loge angehört haben.

                                Über Jahren Austritt sowie darüber, daß Sie in derselben den 2.(Gesellen) Grad erreicht haben, ist ein Beleg zu erbringen.

                                Falls Sie Angehöriger der N.S.D.A.P. sein sollten, ist von dieser eine Bescheinigung vorzulegen, daß Ihre ehemalige Logenzugehörigkeit bekannt ist.

                                Sie werden gebeten, diese Angaben beschleunigt nachzuholen.

J.A (Im Auftrag)


Major (E)

KV 2/390-3, page 58   (minute 925a)

                                                    Crown copyright

                                                                                        S.I.S.   CX/12650?     dated 2.2.37

                    M.I.5.  (Captain Liddell)

                                With reference to correspondence ending with your PF 39611/Ds.7c., the Deuxième Bureau now informs us that Karl Heinz Abshagen, the "Dienstag" service and H. Danckwerts are completely unknown to them, and that they have no recent information in regard to Kurt Johannsen.

                                Should they obtain any information regarding any of these persons or the "Dienstag" Service, they will let us know.


            For V.Vivian.

KV 2/390-3, page 59      (minute 924a)

                                                                    Crown copyright

            From    D. Seibert (KV 2/323269 ; PF 45081)

            To    Dr. Abshagen

                    50 Smith Street


            Date of letter                Undated

            Date of Postmark        January 28th 1937.

            Summary of Contents

                    Programme of entertainments arranged for the party of German journalists arriving on Friday in Southampton, including luncheon at Cafe Royal given by Dr. Woermann, visit of Fleet Str. and Daily Mail Offices led by Seligo, and visit of House of Parliament etc. led by Rosel.

                    Guest allotted to Abshagen: Liesenfeld (Decarded, on 13 May 195?) Bayreuth.

KV 2/390-4, page 9   (minute 90b)

                                                                            Crown copyright

                                                                            23rd November 1936

            Dear Vivian (S.I.S.),

                                Karl Heinz Abshagen, the London representative of Dienstag appears to be sending reports to Hans Danckwerts, Potsdamerstrasse 17, Berlin, W.9.  These reports in many instances seem to over-step the bounds of legitimate journalism and to be more than tinged with political espionage. According to our records the Dienstag Press Service supplies articles and reports to the Hamburg Nachrichten, the Deutsche Tageszeitung, the Rheinisch-Westfalische Zeitung, the Allgemeine Zeitung  Chemnitz, the Schlesische Zeitung and the Frankische Kurier.  In addition sends reports direct to Kurt Johannsen, Zimmer 217, Boerse, Hamburg 11.

                                Abshagen, before coming to this country (England) in 1929, was suspected of espionage by the Belgium Surete whilst he was resident in Brussels.  He was also reported to be cooperating with, or working under, Koerner in Holland. Certain reports sent by Abshagen to Dienstag are made out on plain paper and are signed by a number instead of a name or initials, and we have reason to believe that the service is partially used in connection with espionage.

                                I should be grateful if you would kindly ascertain whether the French Deuxieme Bureau, and the Belgium Surete, have any recent information which could throw light on the activities of the Dienstag (Verein), Hans Danckwerts, Abshagen and Kurt Johannsen. You have dealt with Abshagen before under your No. CX/12650/3601/V 

Yours sincerely,

(Sgd.)  Guy M. Liddell

(AOB, time and again:- Abshagen remained over 9 years in London, at no instance the Secret Services were able to prove that Abshagen was really a spy.

They even admit this in a recollection/summary of 1941, about the time Abshagen lived in Japan or China. (E530  E530return)


Major V. Vivian, C.B.E.  S.I.S.

KV 2/390-4, page 11




                                                                Crown copyright

        4.4.35    From H.O. (through S5a)* - copy of departure card of Abshagen.

        *    Intriguing me is:- to what entity belonged the Sx sections, foregoing one could think of the Home Office, or was it a special section/office inside M.I.5.?

Please, digest the rest of this minute sheet yourself.   

KV 2/390-4, page 17

                                                    Crown copyright

        12.10.36    From M.I.1.c (later S.I.S.)  CX/12650/3601/V                                                                                    (887a)        (897)?

Please, digest its further content yourself.

How many Crown servants have been involved against Abshagen over the > 9 years Abshagen lived in London; and after all, all in vain!

KV 2/390-4, page 23    (minute 901a)            (F531 ↓↓↓ F531return)

                                                                Crown copyright

            Extract from F.O. (Foreign Office) file No. 88 re Abshagen.


                    The main point is that Herr Abshagen has fairly accurately reported the contents of the French Government's memorandum of October 2nd, which, so far as we are concerned, has only had a limited circulation to the Locarno posts and the C.I.D.

                    He seems to have obtained this information, and may well have obtained the rest of information in this report, indirectly from French source. This is rather strange, particularly as it can hardly be in France's interest that the contents of the memorandum of October 2nd should leak out.

                    As regards the suggestion (i) that we should have Herr Abshagen "warned off" or, if necessary, deported and (ii) alternatively, that the French Ambassador should be informed of this leakage to the Germans, there seems to be objections to both of these sources.   As regard to (i), we should hardly have grounds for having him deported:  he has only done what any intelligent reported would have done in the circumstances. (moreover, Mr. Norton tells me that he is not even a Nazi).  As regards (ii), there might be something to be said for warning the French Ambassador, but I do not know whether it would be advisable to do so, for by so doing we should give away the fact that we have tapping Herr Abshagen's correspondence.

                    (sd)        ?. Crawford

October 30, 1936

                    I think M.I.5. ought to continue to watch Herr Abshagen as closely as possible, but on the whole I don't think action is necessary because of this report. But someone at the French Embassy must be talking rather freely.



                                        Mr. Norton (F.O.), what do you think?

                                        I am strongly against any action being taken against Abshagen on this evidence. He is an intelligent journalist with many English friends and I should be surprised if any of his activities go beyond the bounds of legitimate news-getting.  I believe that in private he is critical of the Nazi regime.

C.J. Norton


                                        Mr. Leaper - If you agree I will reply on the terms of these minutes.

                                        Action against Abshagen on this evidence does not seem to me justified. I always take it for granted that all German, Italian, Russian and Japanese journalists act as political agents for their Govts, Abshagen is a man with good manner (not a Nazi) and has many friends in Fleet St. (the former London centre for publishing news papers). He gets a lot of information (I suspect) from Litauer, the PAT representative, who may get it from the French.    But this is only a guess.



Please, bear again in mind, that the KV 2/xxx serials are, with increasing PDF page number (apart from the successive minute sheets), you are going backwards in time.

KV 2/390-4, page 26    (minute 901a)

                                                                            Crown copyright

                                                                                        24 October, 1936

            Dear Norton,   (C.J. Norton Esq. C.M.G., Foreign Office)

                    In continuation of previous correspondence, I attach herewith a further report by Abshagen to his contact in Berlin.  It would seem that some of the information it contains is of a more or less accurate and confidential nature, and that it is based on a conversation between a representative of the French Embassy and American diplomat.

1.                 It is stated that in the few weeks preceding 15th October, 1936, conversations have taken place, principally at Geneva, with Belgian and with France on the subject of Belgian neutrality. This may have reference to Mr. Eden's conversation with M. Spaak (Belgium Minister of Foreign Affairs) on 28th September, 1936 (C 6880/4/18 of 3.10.36); to a conversation between Mr. Strang and M. Massigli held at Geneva on the same date (C 6801/4/18 of 30.9.36); and also to a conversation between Sir H. Malkin and M. van Zuylen (Dutch?) on 22nd September, 1936 (C 6787/4/18 of 29.9.36).

                    All the above conversations were the result of a memorandum presented to the Belgian and British Government by the French Government on 17th September, 1936, which had not been communicated to the other signatories of the Locarno Treaty.

2.                  It is stated that some ten days prior to 15th October, 1936, a French memorandum was presented in London in which the French Government reviewed the strategical consequences to France of a Belgium return to neutrality.  The memorandum referred to may be that contained in your C 6903/4/18 of 5.10.36, which is mentioned as having been received by the Foreign Office on 5th October, 1936, from the United Kingdom delegate to the League of Nations who had obtained it from M. Massigli on 1st October, 1936.  In actual fact this memorandum does not directly deal with the question of Belgian neutrality, but as the conversation between Mr. Strang and M. Massigli shows that question was the subject of subsequent discussion.  

                    It appears from paragraph (3) of your C7206/4/18 of 30.10.36 that prior to that date a memorandum had been received from M. Delbos on the subject of Belgian neutrality and it seems possible that this may be the memorandum referred to.

3.                 Points (1),  (2) and (4)? in the discussion between the member of the French Embassy and the American diplomat seen to be served by the/→(page 27)→the conversation between Mr. Strang and M. Massigli at Geneva on 26th September, 1936.

KV 2/390-4, page 27

                                                        Crown copyright

the conversation between Mr. Strang and M. Massigli at Geneva on 26th September, 1936. We cannot trace any conversation dealing with point (3) although it is possible that arrangements may have been made between the general Staffs concerned.

4.                  We can offer no observations on the last paragraph of Abshagen's report, but presumably the fact are known to you (at the F.O.).

                    We feel that in some cases these reports of Abshagen transgress the bounds of ordinary journalism and constitute political espionage. With reference to this particular report, there would seem to be two ways of dealing with the matter if you consider it to be of sufficient importance:-

                    i)    To intimate to Abshagen that his presence here is no longer considered desirable and, if necessary, to deport him.

                    ii)    To issue some warning to government departments generally about Abshagen, and to inform the French Ambassador that a leakage to the Germans on the question of Belgian neutrality seems to have taken place based on an alleged conversation between members of his Embassy and an American diplomat which took place some time before the 15th October, 1936.

Yours sincerely,



Guy M. Liddell

Please bear in mind that the latter reference is preceding the second-foregoing reference; thus all proposed consequences were in vain, and considered as handling unwise.

KV 2/390-4, page 32       (minute 881a)            The Times    date 5 August 1936

                                                            Crown copyright

Colonial Aims

German Journalist's talk to Liberals

            Dr. Karl von Abshagen, a German journalist resident in London, addressing the Liberal Summer School at Oxford yesterday, said the idea that Germany might go to war in order to win her colonies back seemed too preposterous (absurd) to any German to make it necessary for him to discuss it at all. The evidence that common sense and good will would prevail in the end made it equally unnecessary for him to discuss the views of people in this country and in any other war-profiteering countries in the colonial field who thought that they could get away from the problem by simply using the phrase, "What we have we keep".

            Germany did not raise any new or unlimited claims in the colonial fields, but what she did claim were here rightful possessions which she had held in the past.  The economic side of the problem, important though it was, had been over emphasized, having looked upon as the root of the whole trouble. What came first they thought of the question at all was the matter of honour and justice.  Germany would never admit in 1919 at the point of the bayonet and the threat of starvation for her women and children in handling over the colonies gave any right of possession in favour of the Allies.

            Sir Arthur Salter, speaking at the evening meeting, said that the Treaty of Versailles and the accompanying documents included a great deal of hypocritical and indefensible nonsense about why we took Germany's colonies.    The deprivation of those colonies inflicted a most regrettable wound to the national consciousness in Germany, but, having said that, he still desired to say categorically that in the present circumstances we should not transfer to Germany her former colonies.  Even though there were no other difficulties in the way of our doing so, he believed that by giving back those colonies we should not only buy peace but should by additional trouble.


My closure of the Karl Heinz Abshagen's file-series.

I have selected, what in my perception, does make sense.

We encounter mainly three entities:

The British Secret Services versus the German journalist Dr. Karl Heinz Abshagen.

And Abshagen's various contacts in Germany; mainly being related Newspaper Publishes and/or those whom were Abshagen's superiors, in some respect.

Whatever the Crown Servant's endeavours were:-

Karl Heinz Abshagen, lived for more than nine years in London, and at no time they could (legally) prove that Abshagen was spying upon them.

One might draw a conclusion, that the British Secret Services were often upset and quite offensive against Dr. Abshagen - this might have been (also) due to a lack of their insufficient education and/or training, and that it was suspicion that counted, generally. They might not have possessed an elaborate vision on what journalism meant in- and outside the U.K.

This latter aspect being, occasionally, discussed between the Home Office and M.I.5 as well as the Foreign Office.

What is, in my perception intriguing, is, that they blew-off their inner emotional frustration, and then, sometimes, drew a more realistic conclusion not to execute what they just formerly had suggested that should be accomplished. (Notice, for example: F531 and F531return)

What was in the British eyes significant: - Dr. Karl-Heinz Abshagen's impeccable manners and his superior intelligence; and that he was an anti-Nazi, as well as a Free Mason! (the latter aspect was, expressing it simply - most delicate and a very dangerous aspect - which could have brought him in a Concentration Camp) (Please consider G532   G532return)

What also counted - was that we deal with Germans, and this rather often caused a virulent long-standing pre-condition - that they all were considered suspects, since the end of World War One; and most likely - far beyond into the Nineteenth Century, I even would not wonder when it originated since centuries.


By Arthur O. Bauer