Talk:John Friedrich (fraudster)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Biography (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Biography, a collaborative effort to create, develop and organize Wikipedia's articles about people. All interested editors are invited to join the project and contribute to the discussion. For instructions on how to use this banner, please refer to the documentation.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
Note icon
This article has been automatically rated by a bot or other tool because one or more other projects use this class. Please ensure the assessment is correct before removing the |auto= parameter.
WikiProject Australia / Crime (Rated Start-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon John Friedrich (fraudster) is within the scope of WikiProject Australia, which aims to improve Wikipedia's coverage of Australia and Australia-related topics. If you would like to participate, visit the project page.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by WikiProject Australian crime.
Note icon
Need help improving this article? Ask a LibrarianWhat's this? at the National Library of Australia.
Note icon
The Wikimedia Australia chapter can be contacted via email to for other than editorial assistance.


  • Australian History Home ABC news timeline

(Mainstream news site has entry on their timeline with his death, former job listing, fraud.)

  • Codename Iago: The story of John Friedrich by John Friedrich with Richard Flanagan (1991) - ISBN 0855614528

(This book was started by Friedrich before his death and may contain false, unreliable information.)

  • The Fraud: Behind the mystery of John Friedrich, Australia's greatest conman by Martin Thomas (1991)

(This book may make unsubstantiated claims. Regarded as conspiracy theory type research by some.)

Verified basic facts of article, nothing more.--FloNight 11:40, 20 December 2005 (UTC)


Which name?--FloNight 03:58, 22 December 2005 (UTC)


When the John Friedrich story appeared in the Australian media, this ex-German became intrigued. I later also read his book, which contains blanked out paragraphs.

What I found astonishing was the claim that he had turned up in an Aboriginal reserve, coming from Germany speaking English fluent enough to find acceptance. Being a bilingual person myself, this was never credible. A person needs to be in an English speaking environment for a little while to be fluent enough for the position described.

When I looked at the TV images how Friedrich interacted with his staff and instructed people, it was quite clear to me that he had been in a military type environment, which could have been the police, emergency services, intelligence, or even a mercenary organisation as existed in South Africa for subversive activities in the then Rhodesia.

His accent in English was undoubtedly German, but in the George Negus interview there was one word where the vowel was 'coloured' in a South African way.

Before he died and when it was unclear who he was, government sources were quoted as saying he was not Johann Hohenberger. After his death, they put the question to rest as saying he had been. What was most perplexing, was that the Australian government made no efforts to establish who he was through German Army records. Every male German is examined for military service. Not everyone is drafted, but registered they are and it could have been established who he was. German TV also had/has a program with unsolved crimes and they could have been asked to spare 30 seconds for a 'Who is this man? Does anybody know this man?'

But, apparently, they did not want to establish who he really was. When we first saw his picture, we said he reminded us of a person by the name of Hohenleitner, who had been from Nuremberg. Surprisingly enough, they later said he was from Nuremberg.

If you read his book and tally that with events in Germany, it becomes quite likely that he was the secret service handler of a Baader-Meinhof member called Schmücker. Schmücker was shot (in the Berlin area of Grunewald if I remember correctly) for being a traitor and working with the secret service.

Every mole and traitor has a handler or two on the other side, and Friedrich could have easily been one of them. He describes the death of a friend and how devastated he was by that. If you take this to be the truth, then some of his other hints to secret service activities become a little more credible. After all, all those activities which Brian Crozier describes in his book 'Free Agent' had footsoldiers, whole armies of them.

The time of Friedrich's 'unmasking' coincided with the end of the cold war, the end of many secret service activities which only picked up again after September 11.

The children of John Friedrich would have deserved better and if they are still without a proper answer who their father was (and want one) they might leave a note. (talk) 05:12, 2 August 2008 (UTC)