Jules C. Silber

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Jules Crawford Silber (1880-?) was a German spy working as a censor with the United Kingdom, during the First World War He was born in Breslau, Silesia.[1]


While being based on the autobiographical account of Silber published in 1932 in Germany, Ronald Seth wrote, under the title of The Spy Who Wasn't Caught, a work astounding reporting the exploits of this fabulous Master of forgotten espionage because it was probably most intelligent of all. Information of this article comes from the French version of this book published in 1968 pennies the title of the Most English of the German spies.

The Chief of the Secret Service of the Ministry of Information, Major General Lord Edward Gleichen, had to recognize that, although the personal file of Silber had been destroyed before, there had been well, indeed, in manpower of the Censure and at the above mentioned dates, certain Silber which had reached the rank of assistant critic; the majority of his/her colleagues surviving remembered it besides with sympathy and much admiration for the way in which it had fulfilled its role.

—Ronald Seth, the Most English of the German spies , p.11

Little is known of Silber's early life, the names of his parents, his birth date and his place of birth. When he was conscripted into the British Army in 1915 in the United Kingdom, he declared “to have exceeded about thirty years of age”. This would place his birth date at sometime around 1870. As a Teenager, he departed Germany for South Africa where he learned to speak English, Afrikaans, and Zulu.

During the Second Anglo-Boer War, the British used his services as an interpreter and agent of the censure. 1,500 prisoners of war were sent to Ceylon and in India, Silber accompanied them as an agent for the censure for 18 months. He was stationed in the city-garrison of Abbottabad, not far from the Afghan border. Following the Treaty of Vereeniging, the repatriation of the prisoners, began and Silber returned to South Africa where he resided for 2 years.

He later emigrated to the United States. Silber lived there for a few years. In 1914, war was declared between the United Kingdom and Germany. This awoke Silber's patriotism. Thinking of the best way of helping his native land, he decided to travel to the United Kingdom, where he would offer his services to the post office as a censor. With this position, he could obtain information, useful to the German war effort. While in New York, he gave the address of letter-box to the German ambassador.

Not holding a Passport to go to London, he traveled through Canada, where security was more lax, because Canadians were considered to be British citizens. Carrying official British documents that showed his service in South Africa and India, none of which mentioned his nationality, but bearing his true name, he spent some time in Montreal while trying to pass as French Canadian to fool the British.

He set sail for England on September 19, 1914, arriving 10 days later without a passport and was interrogated in Manchester. Eventually he was permitted to enter the United Kingdom and traveled to London later that evening. Although he had yet to commit any acts of espionage, he had already carried out an exploit, because he was a German who had managed to get into the United Kingdom during the war.

The thwarting the investigations of MI5, he obtained an employ at the office of the censure, after an interview with an old man Colonel having already been used for the Punjab region. They were discovered several common relations and Silber began its work of critic then on October 12, 1914.

Using mailed window envelopes, therefore stamped, it forwarded to Germany Microfilm or letters abounding in increasingly important information, because it was regularly promoted. It culminated in the hierarchy while becoming chief censor, which enabled him to analyze all the suspect documents handed by his employee.

Once the war ended, Silber had to wait until 1925 so that the restrictions concerning the continental voyages are reduced to be able to return to his home country.

He finished his days in Germany after having written an autobiographical account of his life, entitled The Invisible Weapons in 1932.[2]


  1. ^ Campbell, Christy Band of Brigands p39
  2. ^ Adams, Jefferson. "Appendix." Historical dictionary of German intelligence. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2009. 420. Print.


  • Jules C. Silber, The Invisible Weapons, Hutchinson, 1932, Londres, D639S8S5.
  • Jules C. Silber, Die Anderen Waffen : Mit Zwei Faksimilies, Korn, Breslau, Germany, 1932. D639S8S48
  • Jules C. Silber, Les Armes invisibles. souvenirs d'un espion allemand au war office de 1914 a 1919, Payot, Paris, 1933, In-8 broché de 219 pages non coupées + documents. Préface du brigadier Général R. F. Edwards. Collection de mémoires, études et documents pour servir à l'histoire de la guerre mondiale.
  • Colonel Walther Nicolai, Der Deutsches Nachrichtendienst
  • Lieutenant Général Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, Die Weltkriegespionage