Walter von Gerich

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Walter von Gerich was a Finnish civil servant and later an agent in German pay during World War I.

He posed in 1917 as a German baron and diplomatic courier Walter von Rautenfels and was arrested for espionage in Norway and planning of sabotage in favour of the German Empire during World War I, when several suitcases with explosives were discovered, covered as diplomatic luggage.[1][2] Among the explosives were more than a hundred explosive bombs and a hundred fire bombs, along with detonators and other supporting equipment.[2]

He was arrested in Kristiania 16 June 1917, but after diplomatic pressure from Germany he was set free and escorted by the police to Germany 27 June 1917, due to his role as courier for the German Emperor. Several other involved persons were eventually sentenced to imprisonment. William Person was sentenced to six years prison, Wäino Pesonen to two years, Hjalmar Wirtanen 1½ years, Johannes Sandvik to 4½ years, and Allan Sandstrøm also 4½ years.[2]

The police investigation was led by the chief of the Kristiania Special Branch, Johan Søhr.[2]

During police interrogations he admitted that his real name was Walter Harald von Gerich, Finnish military officer and later civil servant. He claimed that after fleeing to Berlin in 1916 he was allowed to change his name to von Rautenfels, a name that previously had occurred in his family.[2]


  1. ^ Haarstad, Gunnar (1988). I hemmelig tjeneste (in Norwegian). Oslo: Aschehoug. p. 57. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Søhr, Joh. (1938). "Den Rautenfelske bombesak". Spioner og bomber. Fra opdagelsespolitiets arbeide under verdenskrigen (in Norwegian). Oslo: Johan Grundt Tanum. pp. 72–98.