(Operation Pastorius – Wikipedia)
After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, followed by Nazi Germany’s declaration of war on the United States four days later (and the United States’ declaration of war on Germany in response), Hitler authorized a mission to sabotage the American war effort and to make terrorist attacks on civilian targets to demoralize the American civilian population inside the United States. The mission was headed by Admiral Canaris, chief of the German Abwehr. Canaris recalled that during World War I, he organized the sabotage of French installations in Morocco, and entered the United States with other German agents to plant bombs in New York arms factories, including the destruction of munitions supplies at Black Tom Island, in 1916. He hoped that Operation Pastorius would have the same kind of success they had in 1916.
I remember my Father telling me what little he knew, in guarded terms of the events. He had been deferred to to asthma and flat feet, but was anxious to somehow to serve. Little did he know what was to befall him.
Meanwhile, one of the potential saboteurs betrayed the others, and they all were arrested , tried and convicted. My father (and his father) were then civilian police for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, and were commandeered as private ‘volunteered’ to transport prisoners through the Easter United States. This was all Top Secret, was all kept secret until the 60’s. Much of what my Father shared with me he thought remained with so, as he was unaware of the earlier declassification!
He was given no official title or rank, and was not paid – the RR paid him.
I will not hon0r these men by linking their names with their photos.
The trial for the eight defendants ended on 1 August 1942. Two days later, all were found guilty and sentenced to death. Roosevelt commuted Burger’s sentence to life in prison and Dasch’s to 30 years because they had turned themselves in and provided information about the others. The others were executed on 8 August 1942 in the electric chair on the third floor of the District of Columbia jail and buried in a potter’s field in the Blue Plains neighborhood in the Anacostia area of Washington.
And was told never to speak of this…
This irked me my entire childhood – friends whose fathers who served in the Pacific Theater, the Atlantic, and my Dad had flat feet!
What did you do in the War Daddy?
What little did I know…
I was always proud of my father – more proud today.