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Wolfe Frank was Chief Interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials where he was dubbed ‘The Voice of Doom’. A playboy turned resistance worker he had fled Germany for England in 1937 having been branded an ‘enemy of the state – to be shot on sight’. Initially interned as an ‘enemy alien’, he was later released and allowed to join the British Army – where he rose to the rank of Captain. Unable to speak English when he arrived in England, by the time of the trials he was considered to be the finest interpreter in the world.
In the months following his service at ‘history’s greatest trials’, Frank became increasingly alarmed at the misinformation coming out of Germany, so in 1949 backed by the New York Herald Tribune he risked his life again by returning to the country of his birth to make an ‘undercover’ survey of the main facets of post-war German life and viewpoints. During this enterprise he worked as a German alongside Germans in factories,
on the docks, in a refugee camp and elsewhere. Equipped with false papers he sought objective answers to many questions including: the refugee crisis; anti-Semitism; morality, de-Nazification; religion; and nationalism.
The result was an acclaimed series of articles that appeared under the generic title of ‘Hangover After Hitler’. The NYHT said at the time: ‘A fresh
appraisal of the German question could only
be obtained by a German and Mr Frank had
all the exceptional qualifications necessary. We believe the result of his “undercover” work
told in human, factual terms, is an important contribution to one of the great key problems of the post-war world – and incidentally it contains some unexpected revelations and dramatic surprises’. The greatest of those surprises was Frank single handedly tracking down and arresting Waldemar Wappenhans ranked 4th on the Allies ‘wanted’ list and taking and transcribing the Confession of the Nazi who Himmler had decided would be Head of SS in Great Britain if Germany won the war.
Leaving aside the undeniable atrocities of the Nazi regime, the Confession, and Frank’s assessment of Wappenhans shows him to have been a brave, often honourable, warrior who devoted his life to serving his country with the highest distinction – on land and in the air – throughout some of the greatest battles of both world wars.
The Undercover Nazi Hunter not only reproduces Frank’s published series of articles (as he wrote them) and a translation of the full confession – a hugely important historical document which, until now, has never been seen in the public domain – it also reveals the fascinating behind- the-scenes story of a great American newspaper agonizing over how best to deal with this unique opportunity and these important exposés.
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