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Otto von Bolschwing
File:Otto von Bolschwing.jpg
Born (1909-10-15)15 October 1909
Died 7 March 1982(1982-03-07) (aged 72)
Place of birth Schönbruch, East Prussia
Place of death Sacramento, California
Allegiance Nazi Germany Nazi Germany
Service/branch Flag of the Schutzstaffel.svg Allgemeine SS
Years of service 1932—1945
Rank Hauptsturmführer
Unit Sicherheitsdienst
Other work Intelligence agent for the CIA

Otto Albrecht Alfred von Bolschwing (15 October 1909, Schönbruch, District of Bartenstein, East Prussia (now Poland) – 7 March 1982, Sacramento, California, USA) was a German SS-Hauptsturmführer in the Nazi Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the SS intelligence agency. After World War II von Bolschwing became a spy and worked for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in Europe and later in California.


Otto Albrecht von Bolschwing was born in Schonbruch, East Prussia (now: Szczurkowo, Poland) on October 15, 1909. He was descended from the aristocratic Bodelschwinghdisambiguation needed family. He was educated at the University of Breslau and the University of London. He joined the Nazi Party in April, 1932 and after the Nazis came to power the following year he became a member of the SS. Bolschwing was assigned to the foreign intelligence section of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) and worked as an undercover agent in Palestine, exchanging promises of encouraging young Jews to emigrate for intelligence about the British supplied by the Haganah.[1][2] He was closely associated with Adolf Eichmann, became his adjutant, and had some involvement in the planning of the Final Solution.[3] In 1937 he wrote a memorandum concerning Jewish emigration, referencing the anti-Jewish riots in Berlin in 1935:

The most successful means of depriving the Jews of their sense of security is the wrath of the people that expresses itself in riots. Even though this method is illegal, it has, as shown by the 'Kurfürstendamm Riot', had enduring impact.[4]

Later von Bolschwing became the representative of the SD at the German embassy in Bucharest, Romania, where he organised an anti-Jewish pogrom with the Iron Guard.[3] He was promoted to the rank of SS-Hauptsturmführer (captain) on 30 January 1941. After returning to Germany in March, 1941 Bolschwing pursued to a career in business, becoming a partner with the Bank voor Onroerende Zaken, an Amsterdam-based bank which played a role in the confiscation of assets belonging to Jewish citizens in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands.


Before the end of the war in 1945, von Bolschwing had already been recruited by the American Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), the counter-espionage arm of the US Army Secret Service, which was later merged into the CIA. Already in spring 1945, he was working for them in Salzburg.[1] According to the CIA he was one of their highest-ranking agents in Europe.[5][6] In 1949 he joined the Gehlen Organization and mobilized former contacts in Italy in order to influence the events of the Greek Civil War, while keeping the CIA and the Gehlen Organization informed of possible subversion by communist agents. In 1954 he became Reinhard Gehlen's representative in the US, the CIA having falsely declared that he had not been a Nazi. In 1959, he became a US citizen.[3]

In 1969 von Bolschwing was working for the California computer leasing company Trans-International Computer Investment Corporation of Sacramento, which had contracts for the Defense Department; he rose to vice-president, but his job there ended when the company became embroiled in a financial scandal, and it subsequently went bankrupt.[1][3][7]

His wife committed suicide in 1978.[8] The United States did not begin investigating von Bolschwing's activities in Nazi Germany until 1979,[9] when his wartime record was revealed to the public. The Justice Department filed charges against him in May 1981 for concealing his Nazi past and sought to deport him;[10] his second wife stated that he had been a double agent for the Americans in Tyrol.[11] He surrendered his American citizenship but early in 1982 the trial was delayed while he was allowed to remain in the country because of his deteriorating health—he had an incurable brain disease.[3][12][13] He died two months later, in March 1982, in a nursing home in Carmichael, California.[14][15]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Peter Levenda, Ratline: Soviet Spies, Nazi Priests, and the Disappearance of Adolf Hitler, Lake Worth, Florida: Ibis, 2012, ISBN 9780892541706, n.p.
  2. John Loftus and Mark Aarons, The Secret War Against the Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed The Jewish People, New York: St. Martin's, 1994, ISBN 9780312095352, pp. 46, 140.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Peter Wyden, The Hitler Virus: The Insidious Legacy of Adolf Hitler, Boston, Massachusetts: Little, Brown / London: Kuperard, 2001, ISBN 9781559705325, p. 8.
  4. "Das wirksamste Mittel, um den Juden das Sicherheitsgefühl zu nehmen, ist der Volkszorn, der sich in Ausschreitungen ergeht. Trotzdem diese Methode illegal ist, hat sie, wie der ‘Kurfürstendamm-Krawall’ zeigte, langanhaltend gewirkt." - Jürgen Matthäus, "Konzept als Kalkül: das Judenbild des SD 1934–1939", in: Nachrichtendienst, politische Elite, Mordeinheit. Der Sicherheitsdienst des Reichsfuhrers SS (SD), ed. Michael Wildt, Hamburger Institut für Sozialforschung, Hamburg: Hamburger Edition, 2003, ISBN 9783930908844, p. 129 (German), pointing out that the phraseology was far from novel at the time.
  5. Loftus and Aarons, p. 46.
  6. Klaus Eichner and Gotthold Schramm (Eds.): Angriff und Abwehr. Die deutschen Geheimdienste nach 1945, Berlin: Edition Ost, 2007, ISBN 9783360010827, p. 170 (German)
  7. Ron Blubaugh, McClatchy News Service, "Three Are Charged With Stock Swindle", Sacramento Bee, 8 June 1972, p. 9.
  8. Pete Carey, "Ex-Nazi’s brilliant U.S. career strangled in a web of lies", San Jose Mercury News, November 20, 1981, online at For the Record Supplemental
  9. File: US District Court, Eastern District of California; Civil Action No. 81-308 MLS
  10. "Report: Gov't Allowed Nazi Criminals into U.S." CBS News, 22 November 2010.
  11. Associated Press, "Accused of Being Nazi, He'll Fight US Charges", The Boston Globe, 28 May 1981.
  12. Peter Bennett, "Ex-Nazi Gave Up Citizenship, Denying Any Ties to Eichmann", Los Angeles Times, 15 March 1982 (subscription required).
  13. "Urtelie: Otto von Bolschwing", Der Spiegel 2/1982 (German)
  14. AP, "Otto von Bolschwing; Ex-Captain in Nazi SS", The New York Times, 10 March 1982
  15. "Austrian who helped Allies died in disgrace as accused Nazi", Chicago Tribune, 9 November 1982 (subscription required).

External links[]

(German) "Report des US-Justizministeriums: USA gewährten Nazis Unterschlupf", Der Spiegel, November 14, 2010


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