Josef Kieffer

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Waffen SS Sturmbannführer (Major) Hans Josef Kieffer (4 December 1900 – 26 June 1947) was the senior German intelligence officer in Paris during the German occupation of France in World War II.

In 1944, he was in command of the German troops who murdered captured SAS men during Operation Bulbasket. These murders of POWs were a flagrant breach of the Geneva Convention, which Germany had signed.

Notable SOE agents to pass through his care at 84 Avenue Foch include Jean Moulin and Noor Inayat Khan.

Kieffer's interrogator, known only as Ernst, describes him as a man of honor in interviews; "Kieffer was not cruel. I have seen him stop a guard from hitting a prisoner. He could not have watched maltreatment... but Kieffer wanted information."[1] He describes the deal struck between Kieffer and Francis Suttill, codename Prosper, to trade information about the locations of agents and supplies in exchange for a guarantee that the agents would be allowed to live. Kieffer "would have sent with them a paper saying their lives were guaranteed. I still believe Mr. Kieffer was sincere. [...] They were all killed."[2]

Kieffer did not speak French or English, and used an interpreter to speak to prisoners[3].

During his cross-examination after the war by Vera Atkins from SOE, he began to cry at his interrogator's description of the death of Noor Inayat Khan at Dachau concentration camp.[4] Atkins replied, "Kieffer, if one of us is going to cry it is going to be me. You will please stop this comedy."

Kieffer was subsequently charged with war crimes. After being found guilty at his trial he was sentenced to death by hanging and executed on the gallows at Hamelin prison by Albert Pierrepoint.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fuller, Jean Overton (1973). Conversations with a Captor. Fuller D'Arch Smith Ltd. p. 55. 
  2. ^ Fuller, Jean Overton (1973). Conversations with a Captor. Fuller D'Arch Smith Ltd. p. 6. 
  3. ^ Fuller, Jean Overton (1973). Conversations with a Captor. Fuller D'Arch Smith Ltd. p. 24. 
  4. ^ "The spying game". New Statesman. 6 June 2005. Retrieved 10 June 2009.