POST W.W.II (1945-1953)
As the war ended, the Americans stumbled on to the post. Because the facilities were already designed for interrogations and intelligence gathering it was decided to continue using the post for intelligence gathering and interrogations. (Silver) The post was originally, unofficially, known as Camp Sibert. General Edwin Sibert was the Senior Intelligence Officer for the US zone (Gajdosch). Department of Defense Records indicate that several Mobile Field Interrogation Units moved into the post to serve at the Army and group levels. On September 19, 1946, (General order 264) officially named the Intelligence Center located in Oberursel as "Camp King." The post was named after Colonel Charles B. King, Infantry. Colonel King was an intelligence officer who died in Normandy. On June 22, 1944, Colonel King was accompanying a patrol bringing back prisoners when he was killed. (Pruitt)
CAMP KING MEMORIAL PLAQUE COURTESY OF FRED SCHLOSS
During World War II a unit known as the 6824 DICMIS (Detailed Interrogation Center-Military Intelligence Service) was activated. The unit began its history as a British unit in 1942. As the war ended the unit was assigned to Camp King along with several MFIUs (Mobile Filed Interrogation Unit). The MFIUs combined with the 6824 DICMIS to form the USFETMISC (United States Forces European Theater Military Intelligence Service Center also known as the European Command Intelligence Center) also known as the 7077th USAEUR Intelligence Center which was located on the post. Its mission was to exploit high level sources of interest to the United States. It appears that the center was used to interrogate and assess displaced persons. (Spratt and Silver)
The unit had 2 sections which were delineated as intelligence and counter intelligence. There were approximately 40 trained interrogation specialist assigned to the post. Most of these interrogation specialist emigrated to the United States during or prior to the war mainly from Nazi Germany. Initially all interrogators were trained at Camp Ritchie Maryland. Most had served in an IPW (Interrogation of Prisoners of War) during World Wart II. They were fluent in many languages. (Silver)
General Order 205(August 25, 1945), established the United States Forces, European Theater, Military Intelligence Service Center, effective August 1, 1945. Although the post is not named it is referred to as being in the Frankfurt area. It was organized under the Assistant Chief of Staff Intelligence (G-2) Headquarters US Forces, European Theater. The first commander was also assigned, Colonel William R. Philip (Field Artillery). The duties as defined in section 2 of the above order, include:
a. Final detailed interrogation of selected
b. Photo interpretation and terrain study in the US Zone of occupation
c. Evaluation of Documents in the US Zone of Occupation.
d. Administration of Counter Intelligence Corps, US Forces, European Theater.
e. Supervision of training if Military Intelligence Service personnel, US Forces European Theater.
The American Center, also referred to as the European Command Intelligence Center, interrogated many famous German officials during this period. The book "The History of Camp King" list the following people: Brandt, Karl, Hitlers personal surgeon and in charge of sanitation; Doenitz, Karl, Grand Admiral; Frank, Hans, Reich Minister, Governor of Poland; Goering, Herman, Marshal of the Reich, Chief of the German Air Force; Jodl, Alfred, Chief of the German Armed Forces; Keitel, Wilhelm; Filed Marshal and chief of the Oberkommando Der Wehrmacht; Kesselring, Albert, Field Marshall and Supreme Commander West.
According to Arnold Silver, one of the intelligence operator assigned to the post, who recounts his memories in a journal article entitled "Memories of Oberursel; Questions, Questions, Questions" there were also many other well known civilian personnel such as Mildred Elizabeth Sisk aka Axis Sally, an American civilian who broadcast German propaganda during the war. She was held on treason charges at the behest of the FBI and was held on the post until arrangements could be made for her return. Another high profile civilian was Hannah Reitsch, a famous German test pilot.
An interesting side note about Axis Sally is noted in Mr. Silver's memories. The second commanding officer had visited her on many occasions. On one occasion he had made a anti-Semitic statement about some Americans being with Jew and others against. He identified himself as being against Jews. As with the cooler during World War II, all buildings were thoroughly bugged. This statement was later turned over to a member of Congress and ended the commanders career. (Silver)
Picture of Camp King in 1950 courtesy of Charles Rollings from SEWO
Initially, the post was used to gather information on Nazi activites. It also helped identify those people who could be exploited during the denatizification programs. Personnel at the ECIC performed interrogations that were later used to determine if the American Intelligence Community could utilize the sources as an informant. These informants were used to track both former Nazi war criminals as well as develop new Intelligence. (Spratt) Camp King was also a focal point for important the screening and processing of scientist, Operation Paperclip, especially those who specialized in rockets and space issues. Scientist who were screened were later brought to the United States. (Silver)
There was a great emphasis placed on the Soviet Sector and communist activities. There were many people who offered their "networks" within the Soviet Bloc to the United States for a price. Many of these turned out to be grifters, people without any resources hoping to dupe the United States for their own purposes. Camp King had was a magnet for these people. It was estimated by Mr. Silver that at least one to two of these people would show up at the post a week. Personnel assigned to the post evaluated the validity of the offer as well as the usefulness of the organization, if it actually existed. (Silver)
The intelligence specialist on the post were also good at identifying Soviet networks operating in Germany. Many agents were infiltrated into German society by the Soviets in hope that they would infiltrate all facets of German government and society from industrial to political. The hope was that the agents would obtain positions of power which the Soviets could then control thereby controlling German society. After the Iron curtain collapsed, there were many agents identified. (Silver)
Camp king was also the major resource used during the Czechoslovakian crisis (1948 the Communist Party seized power). Defectors were brought to the post where interviews were conducted in order to obtain information. They were screened for information and, if deemed important, sent to Frankfurt for further exploitation. (Silver)
An interesting humanitarian investigation is also mentioned in Mr. Silver's work. An allegation was made in 1945 that the German people were being systemically starved. Teams of two agents were ordered to conducted interviews at random with German people to substantiate or unfound the allegations. The investigation revealed that the complaint could not be substantiated. (Silver)
Although not without controversy, the interrogation techniques were not carried out by using brute force. "Soft interrogation" style was used. An allegation was made in 1947 that torture was occurring on Camp King. A Congressional Investigation was launched. An investigative team was dispatched to the post. No evidence of torture was noted. (Silver)
Mr. Silver states that there was a decline in the interrogators experience after 1948 after General Clay ordered that all military personnel who were not us citizens for at least 10 years be rotated out of western Europe. As mentioned earlier, a majority of the interrogators had recently become US citizens. (Silver)
Franz Gajdosch in "Operation Artichoke" contends that the methods used were less then humane. He stated that the Interrogators were called the rough boys and that they would use any method available. Operation Artichoke was an operation in which subjects were given drugs in order to extract the information sought and then erase the memory so that the people would not know that they had given information. The operation was conducted in the early 1950's. The movie also contends that some of scientists at Camp King were experts on chemical and biological weapons. The main ex-nazi cited is Dr. Curt Blume. The film also mentions that the experiments were not conducted at Camp King but that an annex was set up in Kronberg. (Operation Artichoke)
Older buildings used to house defectors during interrogation (Courtesy of Maurice Cammack Circa 1967-69)]
As it is well known, after the war the relationship between Russia and the Western Allies rapidly deteriorated. Having intelligence was imperative to the security of the Free World and Camp King was the place where most of it was obtained.
During the same period of denazification the American focus was rapidly changing from denatzification to the "Cold War". The center was used to exploit refugees and displaced persons from Eastern Bloc counties. It appears that there was a plan to co-opt German resources to the needs of the Americans. (Spratt)
The exploitation of the refugees and prisoners was hit and miss. In 1948 the program was formalized. In 1951 the program was taken over by another agency. [I believe the CIA] (Spratt)
The cooler was used to house these prisoners until 1949. There was also at least one war crime's trial was convened on the Post. (Gajdosch)
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PRIOR TO WORLD WAR II1936-1939
WORLD WAR II "DULAG LUFT" 1939-1945
POST WORLD WAR II (1945-1953)
The Gehlen Organization
AMERICAN MILITARY UNITS (1953-1995)
THE FRANKFURT AMERICAN MILITARY COMMUNITY
EMPLOYMENT TELEVISION, RADIO AND THE STARS AND STRIPES NEWSPAPER
POST SECURITY, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND TERRORISM
THE PEOPLE AND CITY OF OBERURSEL
POST CLOSURE AND FUTURE