Weronika Kuzniar (also known as V. K. Clark) earned a bachelor’s degree with High Honors in Liberal Studies w/Global Political Science in 2005 and master’s degree with Honors in Military History in 2009 at Norwich University, Vermont. She has written extensively on Nazi Germany.
Jonas E. Alexis: What is the Gleiwitz Incident? Walk us through the historical record.
V. C. Clark: Well, according to most historians, the Gleiwitz incident is the “false flag” that touched off World War II. Put simply, it was the Nazis’ casus belli “heard ‘round the world.” As well, this is what most common folks accept as true. The reality is far simpler and less exciting, however.
Nothing unusual happened at the Gleiwitz transmitter station on the night/early morning of 31 August. There was certainly no false flag event initiated by SS or SD troops there. However, a few vexing questions remain unanswered. I will ask and try to answer a few right now, and then I will ask and offer a few more alternative answers later on as we proceed through the sordid details.
Firstly, we do not know who the source for the official White Book report is for this purported event. There is an entry in the White Book for 31 August 1939 which is attributed to the Police President of Gleiwitz. There is a problem with this, however. The Police President at the time was a certain Mr. Schade, and he was murdered in a postwar Polish camp after his IMT (International Military Tribunal) interrogation in 1945. He was never cross-examined during the trial.
As such, there’s no way to confirm that he is the actual source. It is possible that this man was in cahoots with the SS men who appeared at the transmitter station to conduct a brief (and seemingly innocent) radio exercise over the weather channel and who then promptly left. (More about them later).
Did Mr. Schade take a vow of silence in this regard? If this is the case, then the report as well as the broadcast about a supposed “shootout and fatal wounding” at the station was an SS fabrication. It was bogus. Nothing happened and the fake report was planted to deceitfully implicate Poland in a scuffle and fatal shootout at the station, an event and death which never happened but which the Allies claimed did happen.
Put simply, this was a fictitious report and broadcast that ultimately backfired on the SS and was in fact used against them with all kinds of lurid details added post facto by the Allies. This is a possible explanation. But there is another possible explanation. What if these SS men were not actually SS men, but imposters with fake papers? Without Schade’s honest account, we will likely never know if either of these explanations is correct.
Secondly, we do not know the source for the presumably live Breslau broadcast supporting the claim that the station was in Polish hands and that some sort of commotion was happening there at 20:00 hours. There was a Breslau broadcast in this regard because Captain Otto Radek , who we will revisit later on, and a few other “earwitnesses” heard the broadcast. They got all excited about it since there were reportedly numerous such separate border shootouts/events that took place that night—none of which Hitler mentioned by name in his “infamous” war proclamation speech the following day.
At any rate, unless the “few SS men” were responsible for this broadcast and the station personnel on duty that night were in cahoots with them to keep quiet about it, then they cannot be the source for this broadcast. All we know is that eyewitnesses at the station, including Radek’s own subordinates with whom he spoke that night, testified that “a few SS men” showed up and conducted a radio exercise there at the station and then promptly left.
There was no shooting, no disturbance, nothing. All was quiet, they asserted. If this is the case, then these SS men were innocent of creating a fictitious commotion and broadcast, and some other source is responsible. The questions to ask given this scenario are who was it and how was it done? We may never be able to answer these questions, but they must be asked since we do not have sufficient answers.
There is one other problem I must mention up front. Unlike the SS, the Grenzpolizei is mentioned by name in the White Book entry regarding the Gleiwitz transmitter station. It turns out that the Grenzpolizei worked intimately with Admiral Wilhelm Canaris’ Abwehr (German Military Intelligence Service) on sabotage missions against Poland prior to the outbreak of war. The significance of this oft overlooked detail will become clear as we delve into the details of the incident at Mosty.
At any rate, you can see how and why the official record is so convoluted. The official narrative actually consists of many conflicting narratives featuring a whole range of oddball characters. We won’t get into all the details here, but suffice it to say that the official story is nothing more than fanciful fiction. And poorly written fiction at that!
Let us briefly examine just a few details to unscramble this mess as best as possible. Historians overwhelmingly accept as true, as do most people who know of this “incident,” that the SS, SD and Gestapo worked together to concoct an elaborate fake raid on the radio transmitter station located in Gleiwitz (now known as Gliwice ), a small border town located on the Polish-German frontier.
By most accounts, a handful of either SS or SD men—historians are unable to agree on which it was—purportedly dressed up like “Polish soldiers” or “insurgents” and staged a shootout at the transmitter station. This shootout was purportedly led by the notorious Nazi turncoat Alfred Naujocks , the sole source behind the Nuremberg account of the raid. These SS and/or SD men were supposed to have left a deceased man—only recently identified as a Polish citizen of German descent named Franz Honiok (minus any proof) —at the scene as evidence that much more than just a scuffle took place there.
However, some historians, such as David Whitehead, seem to think that the SS/SD shot and killed a few of their own men to make the whole thing seem real, and that in fact hundreds of men took place in this whole covert operation (300 to be exact)—which includes two other “false flag” raids at Hohenlinden or Hochlinden (henceforth, H/H; historians cannot agree on which location it was) and Pitschen.
In a nutshell, Mr. Whitehead merged several contradictory versions of the Gleiwitz incident in an attempt to sell the entire “Nazi false flag” story as legit. He failed in his mission because two (or more) fiction accounts are not better than one. My own research into this incident, and the other two purported false flags at H/H and Pitschen, proves that not a single one of these historians’ claims is verified. Not a single one.
As it stands, the Gleiwitz Nazi “false flag” incident is nothing more than a hoax. It is a media fabrication that may have originated with (and/or been expanded upon by) the traitorous Wilhelm Canaris and Co. residing safely behind the security of the much respected Abwehr , abetted by fellow traitors such as General Halder, Erwin Lahousen, Herbert Mehlhorn, Hans Oster, and a handful of other traitors and sellouts during and after the war. I say this with relative confidence because the official account of what happened at Gleiwitz, H/H and Pitschen is nearly identical to the real story of the incident at Mosty. I will briefly recount this incident now, minus the fine details which are all featured in my books.
Wilhelm Canaris’ Abwehr SO- and KO-Groups were entrusted to destroy or secure certain strategic points behind enemy lines prior to Germany’s official invasion of Poland. At the last minute, and much to Canaris’ chagrin if his surviving colleagues are to be believed, Hitler called off the invasion awaiting an answer from Italy concerning support for his Polish endeavor.
Canaris’ Abwehr men had to scramble back out of Poland and retreat to Slovakia pending further notice from on high. One of Canaris’ men was caught (Josef Kulik), however, and an official inquiry was conducted by Polish military authorities as to why this German was cavorting around in their territory. He was able to assuage the Poles by feigning to have gotten lost and confused as to the border demarcation between Poland and Slovakia, and after a brief interrogation and investigation he was apparently released.
This is so uncannily similar to how the story of Gleiwitz, H/H and Pitschen is told by Mr. Whitehead and other historians that one is forced to take a second look and to compare them. Upon doing this, I have concluded that the Gleiwitz/H/H/Pitschen mega-incident is nothing more than a tall tale modeled on the real incident at Mosty, perhaps to clear the name of Canaris and the reputation of the Abwehr, instead indicting and condemning specifically “Nazi” state organs (SS, SD and Gestapo).
In other words, the Gleiwitz White Book report may be a case of cover (for the Abwehr) and projection (onto the Nazis). (I explain in my two-volume book a range of possible Allied motives for doing this.) If correct, this may explain why “Abwehr” and “Grenzpolizei” are both mentioned in that White Book entry and why zero references to the SS, SD or Gestapo are present in that same entry.
There is zero doubt that Abwehr traitors and fellow travelers expanded upon the fictitious incident with wild and sordid details implicating every Nazi organ they possibly could during and after the war, most notably during the IMT. This is beyond any doubt. But moving along here, also curiously missing from this entry is Captain Otto Radek and 3rd Company of Border Guard Battalion 1/68. He and his border guard, not the border/frontier police or anyone else, were in charge of station security that evening.
Thus, when Mr. Radek heard some sort of commotion at the station via the nightly Breslau broadcast, he was taken aback and immediately made for the station via motorcar. To his complete surprise, all was quiet upon arrival and his fellow guardsmen reported that nothing had happened there. The traitorous Abwehr appears to be the missing link that makes sense amidst all the conflicting information surrounding this entry and the purported “Nazi false flag” at Gleiwitz, which I thoroughly explain and explore in my two books. One has to read both books to piece the entire case against the Abwehr and other traitors together, as there are many layers to this rotten onion.
At any rate, “Abwehr” is an odd term to use in this entry seeing as how Die Abwehr was the name of Germany’s Military Intelligence Service at the time. We are expected to accept without question that no other term was appropriate in this entry and context. It just strikes me as odd. And again, this particular entry is attributed to none other than Police President W. Schade, a man murdered not by Nazis but, as I will address again later, by Poles in a postwar concentration camp in 1945. After the war, when Mr. Radek attempted to properly investigate what did take place at the station that night, if anything, his efforts were thwarted in interesting ways. I detail all of this in my books. In any event, it seems obvious who was silencing who here.
Permit me to further speculate about the transmitter entry as a possible Abwehr/Grenzpolizei fake. The source for the White Book entry must also have been the source (or was in close touch with the source) for the Gleiwitz incident news stories/reports put out by the DNB (Deutsches Nachrichtenbüro ) and the Völkischer Beobachter (VB). Whoever that source was, it seems to me, was trying to make the Nazi press look bad. And it is a fact that several Abwehr traitors along with their allies were working to subvert Hitler since 1937, especially regarding his diplomacy concerning Poland.
Maybe said source planted this White Book entry knowing that not only the Nazi press but the Allied press too would pick up on it and use it against Germany (i.e., that Hitler had “started the war with a lie”). In other words, maybe the Allied press was tipped off about this purported “incident” (along with the two others at H/H and Pitschen, which the British press also reported on) and subsequent White Book report, and so they could utilize it how they wanted against Germany. Indeed, the British press had reported on these incidents (Gleiwitz, H/H and Pitschen) before they were even completed! As well, both the DNB and VB agencies reported an incident at Gleiwitz featuring contradictory details to those of the White Book and to those of the Allied versions (including that of Mr. Naujocks). I explore all of these problems in my books.
Let’s move on.
Deeper research into the purported Gleiwitz incident indicates that nothing happened at the transmitter station aside from a brief SS radio exercise/test. There was no commotion, no shootout and no fake Polish soldiers or ruffians. The Gleiwitz hoax was laid to rest for the remainder of the war. Even most mainstream historians refer to it as “forgotton,” “little known” or “insignificant.” However, it was resurrected for the IMT to indict the Nazis in particular as the sole guilty party for the outbreak of war with Poland, and all by most murderous and deceitful means!
Germany had to look bad. Because, as we all know, the USSR really was bad. The worst kind of bad. And Britain was bad too. The British leadership, notably Sir Winston Churchill, was very interested in war breaking out on the Continent to the benefit of the Empire’s longstanding “Divide and Conquer” strategy. Somehow the Nazis had to look worse than everyone else.
The spotlight of condemnation had to remain on Germany. Touching off the world’s worst war by needless murder and clandestine trickery was the perfect indictment of an otherwise honorable nation. Throughout the IMT, it only got worse for Germany. Indeed, this Gleiwitz incident set the stage for the entire Allied casus belli against Germany. Germany, and Germany alone, was the sole culprit for the outbreak of war. By any means necessary.
I would also venture to guess that the incident at Venlo, during which the Germans seized two English SIS spies just across the Dutch border, had something to do with the resurrection of the Gleiwitz hoax for the IMT. Though, your readers and fans may consult my two-volume set entitled The Gleiwitz Incident: Nazi False Flag or Media Hoax? for those (and many more) details, Jonas.
In any event, the Gleiwitz fiasco is best known to historians and the public as either Operation Himmler or Operation Tannenberg. Yes, you read that right folks! Historians cannot even agree on the name of this “false flag” without which Hitler had no just cause for war against Poland. Had so many lives not been lost in that conflagration, and had not so much needless guilt and personal smearing been meted out against otherwise innocent parties and persons, this whole thing would be comical.
Permit me to digress for just a moment and recap because the following two points need to sink in. First, qualified historians cannot even agree on what this “false flag” operation was called. Yet, without this operation (and the two others that supposedly went along with it at H/H and Pitschen), (we are told that) Hitler couldn’t even hope to sell his invasion of Poland to the German people as legit, let alone to the world.
It was, per the official historical record, his “casus belli”. Secondly, historians cannot decide if it was the Gestapo, SS or SD, or all three(!), that led the three purported border raids, nor how many men were involved in each. The official narratives are a shambles. Really, these two points alone establish the untenability of the official historical record regarding Gleiwitz. And if the record is this problematic, why should Germans (then as now) bear any guilt in this regard? This is in fact why the truth about what did and did not happen at the Gleiwitz transmitter station is so important to reveal. Germans have been bearing needless guilt and shame regarding this aspect of World War II.
I believe historian Gerd Schultze-Rhonhof has called it “the war that had MANY fathers,” not just one father. Moreover, as with Lord Dacre’s Table Talk, which Dr. Richard Carrier has again blasted as an essentially worthless record of Hitler’s utterings , real Third Reich history (Real3R) has been evading the public for decades. It is high past time to set the entire World War II record straight.
In a nutshell, my tentative conclusion about Gleiwitz is as follows:
The German White Book ‘Gleiwitz incident’ entry of 31 August 1939 originates with 1) Abwehr/Grenzpolizei traitors, or 2) Police President W. Schade. Since Herr Schade was conveniently murdered in a postwar Polish concentration camp in 1945, as aforesaid, he is not the likeliest suspect. Unfortunately, Canaris was killed by the Nazi state for his long-lived treachery, so there will likely never be a sure way to confirm who, precisely, originated this official report. Suffice it to say that in the light of all the evidence, or lack thereof, as well as the Mosty incident, which implicates the Abwehr, Grenzpolizei and Canaris in provable ‘war crimes’ as well as in regards to violation of Poland’s sovereignty when war was not yet on, the Abwehr, Grenzpolizei and Canaris are the likeliest suspects.
I hardly need mention that Hitler called the war off on 25 August , so if he was going to utilize alleged “false flag” raids at Gleiwitz, H/H and Pitschen as his reason(s) for war, why would all three “false flags” only be planned for (and actually take place on) 31 August and not also on the evening/early morning of 24/25 August as with Mosty? Talk about playing with fire! Please recall that the invasion took place on 1 September, not on 26 August as originally planned. It was not until recently that the official narrative tried to mitigate this blatant error. Every single account has asserted that all three “raids” took place on the evening/early morning of 31 August. Moreover, why did Hitler neglect to mention a single one of these most coveted of false flag events by name in his declaration of war speech the next day? That’s a huge problem that not a single historian has addressed. Until now, of course.
Permit me to ask a couple more vexing questions, which I explore in my two-book set.
The Allied press, specifically in Britain and the US, as well as the Völkischer Beobachter (official NSDAP newspaper) and the DNB (semi-official news agency with Allied connections and employees) put out conflicting and disputable versions of the alleged incident.
Who delivered the Breslau broadcast about what reportedly happened at the Gleiwitz transmitter station? Was it a traitor? An Allied mole?
Let’s ponder these possibilities for a moment.
A traitor or mole would be motivated to sabotage Hitler’s war effort and/or to undermine his credibility and/or honorable conduct. This was in fact one of the earliest goals of the traitors in the Abwehr (their collective sabotage of Hitler’s diplomatic efforts commenced in 1937).
The Allied press reported soon after Hitler’s invasion of Poland in 1939 that he had “started the war with a lie.” Who fed the Allied press this line? That “lie” consisted of the “false flags” perpetrated by the instruments of the NSDAP itself (Gestapo, SS and SD) at Gleiwitz, H/H and Pitschen. However, not one of these “false flags” has any evidence to support it.
Revisionist historian Carlos W. Porter mentions a “posh Polish bank branch” near the border which did “very little business.” It was allowed to exist and operate with the German authorities’ permission. Oddly, it disappeared right around the time of the purported Gleiwitz “false flag.” Did any of these folks have British and/or Abwehr/Grenzpolizei traitor connections or contacts?
If so, might their involvement in this “false flag” hoax (at the time) explain the murder of Gleiwitz transmitter station manager Klose (murdered by partisans in 1945) as well as the murder of Gleiwitz police president Schade? If this Polish bank branch was involved at any level in this “false flag” hoax, then my hypothesis accounts for both its existence and sudden disappearance, something that has thus far eluded historians. Perhaps the Abwehr and/or Grenzpolizei had something to do with it.
Permit me to ask another important question.
Why was this “false flag” hoax resurrected after the war, and why did it receive so much attention during the IMT and after the war as it pertains to the Allied narrative? (See accompanying appendix of actual IMT testimony.) Remember, it was “insignificant” and “little known” at the time (even though it was supposed to be Hitler’s casus belli Number One).
One sensible explanation is that the Abwehr’s traitorous agents—e.g., Erwin Lahousen and Wilhelm Canaris in absentia—as well as SD/SS turncoats, such as Alfred Naujocks (who defected to the Allies toward the end of the war) and even Heinrich Himmler’s adjutant Karl Wolff, were needed as star witnesses for the prosecution (and later on for the Cold War as American allies). As such, these people’s ‘war crimes’ and the Abwehr’s ‘war crimes’ at Mosty et. al were simply dismissed or apparently attributed to dead men and/or the SS, SD and Gestapo via Gleiwitz, H/H and Pitschen.
The Abwehr’s and these other traitors’ suspected role in concocting these “false flag” reports and stories—either at the time (in 1939) or later on during the IMT, or in postwar memoirs and magazine interviews like the one featuring Herbert Mehlhorn in Stern in 1952—seems undeniable. The purported “false flags” at Gleiwitz, H/H and Pitschen mirrored their own sabotage missions in Poland nearly to a tee. That’s uncanny. Not to mention Alfred Naujocks’ two missions against Formis and the SIS agents resemble the Gleiwitz scene enough to render Gleiwitz a fictional copycat.
Lastly, we must ask why Alfred Naujocks’ IMT affidavits mention only two “false flag” sites (Gleiwitz and Hohenlinden) while the IMT and postwar accounts of other suspected actors in this hoax (e.g., Lahousen and Mehlhorn) mention three sites, one of which is incorrect (Hochlinden)? Is this because the IMT “evidence” and postwar “history” had to match Hitler’s actual 1 September proclamation, wherein he casually mentioned three sites and not just two?
It sure makes one wonder, especially since Hitler failed to name them specifically. Indeed, he failed to exploit any of them as his casus belli. Instead, he and Dr. Goebbels’ propaganda machine exploited the Bromberg Massacre (which took place two days after the invasion on 3 September) and other alleged Polish atrocities and persecutions against German minorities residing in Poland. Just check out the book Die polnischen Greueltaten an den Volksdeutschen in Polen: Im Auftrage des Auswärtigen Amtes auf Grund urkundlichen Beweismaterials zusammengestellt, bearbeitet und herausgegeben. What’s more, the British already knew Hitler’s real casus belli, which is featured in the secret Whitehall Report.
I must admit, the Allies were clever. But they were also sloppy. They were equally sloppy regarding the Crystal Night “telexes” that they concocted out of thin air for the IMT prosecution.
Let’s recap the main points of our interview thus far.
The Gleiwitz false flag never took place.
What reportedly did take place was a brief radio exercise or test conducted by a few purported SS men who properly identified themselves to station personnel on duty that night. Since the Gleiwitz station’s weather channel was not intended to broadcast far and wide but only locally (another glaring problem with the official narrative which I delve into in my books), it was the perfect station to conduct a relatively private test or exercise. (It was also the perfect station to serve as setting for a media hoax.)
What these SS men’s motives were for conducting said exercise/test remains unclear. My own research has revealed that communications were cut or failing all along the frontier leading up to the war, so it may be that they were simply interested to see whether the station was still functioning as intended. Perhaps they might need to use it for local communications purposes. It’s hard to say, but nothing sinister happened at that station and there are several witnesses who have attested to that. Those who have contradicted this version of what happened there, or could have contradicted it, are all confirmed traitors and/or IMT prosecution star witnesses. Or, they were murdered or died untimely deaths.
Convenient, isn’t it?
The Gleiwitz false flag is based on a real Abwehr/Grenzpolizei sabotage (“war crime”) mission behind Polish lines (i.e., the incident at Mosty).
At this point in our discussion, Jonas, it should not surprise anyone to learn that all of the surviving “stars” of the Gleiwitz, H/H and Pitschen stories were Abwehr traitors or SD/SS turncoats. What’s more, many of these same “stars” featured prominently for the IMT prosecution.
What a coincidence, eh?
The Gleiwitz hoax may have originated with Abwehr/Grenzpolizei traitors and was resurrected during the IMT as revenge for the Venlo affair.
After all, it was none other than Mr. Naujocks who successfully pulled off the kidnapping of two British SIS agents, Stevens and Best, by brazenly dashing across the Dutch border and hauling them off by motorcar after a brief scuffle and shootout. Mr. Churchill was furious and had to revamp the entire SIS as a direct result. This affair embarrassed Britain immensely—to be involved in such shenanigans!
What’s more, the Dutch had violated their own neutrality by allowing said agents to use their country as a spies’ playground. Hitler exploited this incident for all it was worth, which was quite a lot. It was such a lethal blow to British prestige and fair play that Mr. Winston Churchill and his fellow British authorities would have had good reason to use the very man who captured their agents, a man who had caused them so much political pain and international embarrassment, for their IMT casus belli against Germany. That man was none other than Mr. Naujocks.
Hence the resurrection of the Gleiwitz hoax for the IMT featuring Alfred Naujocks as star witness! The IMT scene likely went something like this: “We wrote up these nice affidavits for you, Mr. Naujocks. You sign your name to them and we let you go. Sound good?”
After signing off on the Gleiwitz affidavit (along with two others), Mr. Naujocks disappeared—until his strange death in the 1960s. You see, Mr. Naujocks was just about to be brought to trial by the West German government for the death of a man at the Gleiwitz transmitter station—because that’s what the official 1961 Gleiwitz movie put out by the communist East German government claimed had happened!!—when he just up and died. Or he disappeared.
Historians are not exactly sure which it was. But the craziest thing about that trial is that Naujocks was cleared of all charges (in absentia). The man who was allegedly shot and left for dead at the Gleiwitz station could not be identified. In fact, the prosecution could not establish that a shooting or murder had even taken place there! Yeah, the rabbit hole does go deep on this one.
I could go on and on with the curious details of this incident, but that would defeat the purpose of my two-volume book on this topic. I recommend folks read both books in order to know the Gleiwitz incident, and so much more, inside and out.