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The Venlo incident - a true story of double-dealing, captivity, and a murderous Nazi plot
captain sigismund payne best
UK Publication Date

In November 1939, the Nazis engineered the so-called Venlo Incident as a pretext for invading the Netherlands. The plot was carried out by the Gestapo?s sister agency, the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). Following orders from Himmler, two British Intelligence officers, Sigismund Payne Best and Richard Stevens, were captured from the Caf Backus in the town of Venlo.Best had been working to establish contact with German officers plotting against Hitler. The Netherlands had been an ideal ground for operations, because of its proximity to Germany and the fact that Dutch Intelligence was badly funded ? hence they relied on an intelligence sharing system established in WWI.When Best met the three agents ? including Walter Schellenberg (posing as ?Major Schaemmel?) ? he was carrying with him a list of British agents who were working in Europe. When he arrived at the caf, which was just over the Netherlands border, he realised he had walked into a trap. A Dutch intelligence officer who accompanied them, Dirk Klop, was mortally wounded. Best and Stevens were taken over the border into Germany. After their Berlin interrogation and torture they were taken to the notorious Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Hitler used the incident ? together with the Elser bomb plot ? as an excuse for war with the Netherlands, claiming their involvement Britain violated their neutrality. As Nigel Jones explains, the incident was crucial in making the British suspicious of future dealings with anti-Hitler resistance.

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Keyword Index
World War, 1939-1945 - Prisoners and prisons, German.|Prisoners of war - Great Britain.|Prisoners of war - Germany.|World War, 1939-1945 - Secret service - Great Britain.
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