|Birthname||Fritz Albert Karl Kolbe|
|born on||25 September 1900 at 10:00 (= 10:00 AM )|
|Place||Berlin, Germany, 52n29, 13e21|
|Timezone||MET h1e (is standard time)|
|Astrology data||01°49' 18°35 Asc. 12°59'|
German diplomat who became a spy against the Nazis in World War II with the code name "George Wood". He was described by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) as the most important spy of the war.
He was employed by the German foreign ministry in March 1925 as a clerk, and was posted as a mid-level diplomat in Madrid from October 1925 until January 1936. After Madrid, Kolbe was briefly stationed in Warsaw before returning in mid-1936 to Berlin. He then worked for Rudolph Leitner and, with him, was posted in the Cape Town German consulate in 1937.
Kolbe's refusal to join the Nazi Party led him to be assigned lowly clerical work in Berlin after the start of World War II in 1939. Meanwhile, by diligence and skill, Kolbe had earned the trust of the people to whom he reported. He was given positions of increasing responsibility in the Foreign Office. In 1941, Kolbe was assigned, partly due to his brusque manner and intellect, to Karl Ritter who served in the Foreign Office as a liaison with the military. Ritter himself was normally physically located near Hitler's headquarters, the Wolf's Lair. Reports from foreign diplomats and up to 120 cables daily from German consulates and embassies were directed to Berlin for Ritter; Kolbe's duty was to read them all and relay important ones on to Ritter.
Kolbe was influenced by surgeon Ferdinand Sauerbruch and around November 1941, became determined to actively help defeat the Nazis. Realizing the importance of the information for which he had access, Kolbe tried to make contact with the United States Embassy in Berlin in late 1941, prior to their declaration of war following the Pearl Harbor attack and the closing of the embassy. The longer he was in Berlin, the more Kolbe disliked the Hitler regime and its actions.
Kolbe passed information gleaned from cables to the French Resistance, particularly when it could save someone's life or prevent an arrest.
In 1943, an opportunity for espionage arose when a fellow anti-Nazi in the ministry reassigned Kolbe to higher-grade work as a diplomatic courier. On 19 August 1943, he was entrusted to travel to Bern in Switzerland with the diplomatic bag. While there, he tried to offer mimeographed secret documents to the British embassy. They rebuffed his approach, so he went to the Americans, who decided to take a chance on him. By 1944, they realised they had an agent of the highest quality, though he never received payment for his secret work. He was given the code name "George Wood". His US intelligence handler was Office of Strategic Services agent Allen Welsh Dulles. By the end of the war, he had passed 1,600 documents to his handler in Switzerland.
After the war, Kolbe was a despised and much hated figure in Germany, where he was widely viewed as a traitor. He died in Bern from gallbladder cancer on 16 February 1971, aged 70.
- compare to chart of Sauerbruch, Ferdinand (born 3 July 1875)
Sy Scholfield provided birth registry entry from Berlin archives. Death data in margin.
- Diagnoses : Major Diseases : Cancer (Gallbladder)
- Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Three)
- Personal : Death : Illness/ Disease (Gallbladder cancer)
- Vocation : Business : Clerical/ Secretarial
- Vocation : Law : Spy/ Counter agent
- Vocation : Politics : Diplomat