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Abwehrstelle Bucharest

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Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Popp-Köhler on 09 Aug 2010 17:03

As my other limited posts have described, I am in the process of researching my maternal family history, which due to a divorce in 1937, has had the effect of essentially duplicating my work.

Thanks to the German Red Cross, they have been able to tell me that my grandfather, a Romanian-born ethnic German, served in the Abwehrstelle Bucharest. I am trying to find out more information on where records might be located.

The German Red Cross tells me that he was imprisoned in Malmaison from December 31, 1944 until December 15, 1947.

If anyone has suggestions, comments, or thoughts on the Abwehr structure, or Malmaison, please feel free to comment.
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Larry D. on 09 Aug 2010 19:24

A small contribution at best: a typical Abwehrstelle (military intelligence station) had an Abwehr I (intelligence gathering) section, an Abwehr II (special ops) representative, and an Abwehr III (counterintelligence) section. Most of the personnel were older World War I veterans and soldiers from front units who had been wounded and disabled. I have been through many of the surviving Abwehr records and I do not recall seeing any station sets, i.e., war journals and papers bundled together from a particular station and thus easily retrievable. That's the bad news.

The good news is that the British and the Americans made a sustained effort to interrogate each and every Abwehr officer that fell into their hands during and after the war. There are many hundreds of these reports, some of which go on and on for up to 70 pages. Copies of these interrogation reports can be found at the U.S. National Archives spread across several record groups with RG 319 being one of them. You will find that this collection includes reports on Abwehrstelle Bukarest and a number of others that includes sections about Abwehrstelle Bukarest.

There are also 20-25 postwar books and studies about the Abwehr (German Intelligence) that you will be able to find by doing some sustained Googling.

L.
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Popp-Köhler on 10 Aug 2010 04:39

Larry-

Very interesting information about the interrogation reports. My grandfather was born in 1901 and trained as an accountant, and I am fairly certain he did not have a military background per se, but he did speak four or five languages. My mother has always told me that my grandfather was attached to the Romanian Consulate in Ankara, but details have been hard to verify. I will definitely start researching in the National Archives. I would love to know how he wound up in Forte de Malmaison, where he was interrogated, and why he changed his last name to Ardeleanu. It is like the onion that you can never finish peeling.

I took a look at the National Archives and tried various searches using both of the surnames my grandfather used, but nothing yet. Lots of references to the Abwehr, looks like a lot of digging. I am emailing a friend in France to see if there is an archive for Forte de Malmaison. Prisoner records, etc.
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Heimatschuss on 10 Aug 2010 10:24

Hello,

just wanted to point out the 'Ardeal' is the Romanian name of Transsylvania/Siebenbürgen. I suppose 'Ardeleanu' means something like 'man from Transsylvania'. It would be nice if some Romanian speaker could confirm this idea.

Hard to say why your grandfather romanicized his family name. There's a variety of reasons possible depending on at what time he did so.

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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Popp-Köhler on 10 Aug 2010 19:21

Heimatschuss wrote:just wanted to point out the 'Ardeal' is the Romanian name of Transsylvania/Siebenbürgen. I suppose 'Ardeleanu' means something like 'man from Transsylvania'. It would be nice if some Romanian speaker could confirm this idea.


This makes perfect sense; all my family were from Bistritz, Zarnesti, and Brasov. Thank you for connecting the dots.

Heimatschuss wrote:Hard to say why your grandfather romanicized his family name. There's a variety of reasons possible depending on at what time he did so.


My thesis at this point is he wanted to lower his ethnic profile or he was operating under an alias. I hope to someday determine when and where he changed his name. That would shed some light on the name change. We are trying to determine if, as my mother mentioned in a note she wrote in 1985, that he "was in Berlin when the Iron Curtain fell on Romania", or, he was taken into custody in Bucharest. Obviously, the Red Cross records indicate very specific incarceration dates at Fort de Malmaison, but the way I received the information left open the possibility that he was transferred to Romania to complete a prison sentence.

Thanks for your insights.
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Victor on 17 Aug 2010 14:31

Heimatschuss is correct regarding the translation of the name "Ardeleanu".

Regarding Malmaison, it is more likely the Red Cross is referring to the Malmaison Barracks in Bucharest (the 19th century cavalry barracks of Bucharest), which after the war became a transit prison and interrogation facility for the Secret Police. Presently, it houses a chemical research institute and a kindergarden for military personnel's children. The economic crisis probably saved the building complex from being leveled down and replaced by a mall/luxury apartments/office buildings etc.
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Larry D. on 17 Aug 2010 16:09

I think you are right, Victor. Popp-Köhler and I have been busy for a week trying to identify "Malmaison", and through the process of elimination we decided it might be Chateau Malmaison on the western outskirts of Paris. But your explanation fits nicely with some other documentation P-K has. Who would have ever suspected save for someone intimately familiar with Bucharest and Romanian history, 1944-48? Thanks for your expertise! You have saved us many hours of additional work.

Larry
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Popp-Köhler on 18 Aug 2010 17:12

Thank you Victor for this incredibly valuable information. The Deutsches Rotes Kreuz index card information indicates incarceration from 31 December 1944 until 15 December, 1947. Larry has kindly provided and lent me NARA documentation that positively identifies my grandfather as having worked for the Abwehr in Istanbul and my grandfather's papers show repatriation to Germany in October 1964.

It must have been ironic for my grandfather to be incarcerated in a former cavalry barracks; my mother tells me that he was an accomplished equestrian.
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby LascarGroup on 20 Aug 2010 16:24

Hey, I Pop-Kohler, I remembered after reading this that I forgot to email you back. While I was in the National Archives in Bucuresti I didn't find anything in reference to the German Abwehr in Romania. Those files are probably in the Military Archives in Pitesti, a bit harder to access from what I understand.

But I did find this link to a blog which has some pictures of Malmaison in Bucuresti. http://armyuser.blogspot.com/2009/06/ca ... aison.html
I feel disappointed I never knew it was there. I past that place pretty regularly in my wandering around Bucuresti. Glad you hear you are finding the help you need from others with more experience and access than I have.
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Popp-Köhler on 20 Aug 2010 17:05

Thanks Lascar-

I found the armyuserblogspot after Googling "Cazarma Malmaison", but that appears to be the place. I heard back from the CNSAS folks and they mentioned a Romanian military archive that may also have some records:

Center for Studies and Preservation of Historical Military Archives, in Romanian Centrul de Studii si Pastrare a Arhivelor Militare Istorice – Pitesti, known as UM (military unit) 02405 in Pitesti, Arges, Romania.

Thanks for following the thread, appreciate your comments.
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby bomo on 20 Feb 2011 23:06

i did read somewhere yuor question about lists of students in Sonthofen. Did you find them? I am also searcheing to know when my uncle was there. Bomo, Holland
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Popp-Köhler on 28 Feb 2011 18:00

bomo wrote:i did read somewhere yuor question about lists of students in Sonthofen. Did you find them? I am also searcheing to know when my uncle was there. Bomo, Holland


Hi Bomo-

Have not been able to find a roster, but this may be the thread you are referring to:
viewtopic.php?f=45&t=62041
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Panzermahn on 01 Mar 2011 06:44

Larry D. wrote:A small contribution at best: a typical Abwehrstelle (military intelligence station) had an Abwehr I (intelligence gathering) section, an Abwehr II (special ops) representative, and an Abwehr III (counterintelligence) section. Most of the personnel were older World War I veterans and soldiers from front units who had been wounded and disabled. I have been through many of the surviving Abwehr records and I do not recall seeing any station sets, i.e., war journals and papers bundled together from a particular station and thus easily retrievable. That's the bad news.

The good news is that the British and the Americans made a sustained effort to interrogate each and every Abwehr officer that fell into their hands during and after the war. There are many hundreds of these reports, some of which go on and on for up to 70 pages. Copies of these interrogation reports can be found at the U.S. National Archives spread across several record groups with RG 319 being one of them. You will find that this collection includes reports on Abwehrstelle Bukarest and a number of others that includes sections about Abwehrstelle Bukarest.

There are also 20-25 postwar books and studies about the Abwehr (German Intelligence) that you will be able to find by doing some sustained Googling.

L.


I like to add to what Larry had mentioned above.

Abwehr I (intelligence gathering)
Abwehr II (sabotage, subversion & special operations)
Abwehr III (counter-intelligence)

Each Abwehr subsection would have it's technical section (signals intelligence, cartography etc.). Besides, the Frontauflakruengkommandos (FAK - Front reconnaissance detachments) and Frontauflakruengtruppen (FAT - Front reconnsaissance troops) are subordinated to either one of these ASTs (AbwehrSTelle - military intelligence station) and these FAKs/FATs are typically located very close to the front line. The FAK 200 series are located in the Eastern Front as well as the Balkans and the FAK 100 series are located in the Western Front.

Military attaches are typically under Abwehr I. Special units such as Brandenburgers, Kustenjaegers, Jagdkommandos, Sonderkommandos, Einheits are under Abwehr II.

I believed naval and air force intelligence (whenever there are) also were located together with a particular AST in order to coordinate intelligence matters.

For example, Richard Kauder's Luftmeldekopf Suedost (Air Intelligence Report Station-South East) is located at Budapest

I have been very interested in the operations of Abwehr and SD-Ausland from 1933-1945 but there is never a single book that details their operations comprehensively as far as I know. As Larry had mentioned, after the war, Abwehr/SS Jagdverbande/SD intelligence officers are the 3rd in the Allied search list after war criminals and technical specialists/scientists. A number of them has been interviewed and debriefed by Allied intelligence officers and their reports and manuscripts were documented under the huge multivolume WW2 German Military Studies project initiated by the US Army Center of Military History.

The secondary sources I have on this subject are:

Hitler's Spies: German Military Intelligence in WWII by David Kahn (1978)
The SS Hunter Battalions by Perry Biddiscombe (2006)
The Last Nazis by Perry Biddiscombe(2004)
Werewolf! by Perry Biddiscombe (1998)
Stalin's Secret War: Soviet Counterintelligence against the Nazis 1941-45 by Robert W. Stephan (2003)
Hitler's Secret War in South America, 1939-1945: German Military espionage and Allied Counterespionage in Brazil by Stanley E. Hilton (1999)
The Shadow War: German Espionage and United States Counterespionage in Latin America during World War II by Leslie Rout and John Bratzel (1986)
Kommando: German Special Forces of WW2 by James Lucas (1999)
The Brandenburger Commandos: Germany's Elite Warrior Spies in World War II (2005)
Hitler's Secret Commandos: Operations of the K-Verband by Helmut Blocksdorf (2008)
Hitler's Secret Enemy by Ian Colvin (1957)
The Red Orchestra by V.E. Tarrant (1995)
KG 200: The True Story by P. W. Stahl (1981)

There should be more literature in German on Abwehr operations in German language
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby Popp-Köhler on 26 Apr 2011 04:47

I am currently waiting for the CNSAS to complete the file processing they have identified as pertaining to my grandfather. 230-plus pages, it would appear. Hope to have it in hand in another 60 days. I hope to have it translated in short order and look forward to sharing anything of historical interest.
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Re: Abwehrstelle Bucharest

Postby pagone on 21 Feb 2012 00:14

Hello,

I am fascinated by these posts. I have been trying to research my father-in-law, now deceased, who may have been an Abwehr officer. He was put in EPW camp in what was Czechoslovakia and released in 1949. I have only been able to confirm his facts after he returned to Germany in 1949. I would be interested in knowing if you could share with me your contact for research with the German Red Cross. Many thanks.
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