A Very Secret War: Bugging the Nazis in WWII – During WW2, British intelligence bugged the conversations of over 10,000 German prisoners-of-war at three clandestine stately houses. Trent Park in north London was reserved for Hitler’s Generals and in an astonishing turn of events, they were housed in luxurious conditions and were lulled into a false sense of security. By the end of the war, there were 59 German generals under one roof. They relaxed and became unguarded in their conversations, and inadvertently gave away from of Hitler’s most closely guarded secrets, including discussions about V1 (‘doodlebug’), V2 and atomic bomb programme. For over 60 years the secret listeners (German-Jewish émigrés who had fled Hitler) never spoke about their work, not even to their families. They died, little knowing that they, alongside Bletchley Park, shortened the war. Having worked through the declassified files, historian Helen Fry sheds light on one of the little-known, but greatest deception of WWII.
Helen will also discuss the challenges surrounding intelligence research into previously classified files and how sensitive material can mean that historians are unable to publish the full stories today.
About Helen Fry
Historian Dr Helen Fry has written numerous books on the Second World War with particular reference to the 10,000 Germans who fought for Britain, and also British intelligence, espionage and WWII. Her book The M Room: Secret Listeners who Bugged the Nazis was the subject of the Channel 4 documentary Spying on Hitler’s Army. Helen has appeared in numerous TV documentaries and in live interviews with Huw Edwards in Normandy for the BBC’s coverage of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. She has written over 20 books – her most recent is The London Cage: The Secret History of Britain’s WW2 Interrogation Centre (Yale). Other books include Spymaster: the secret Life of Kendrick; Freuds’ War; From Dachau to D-Day; and Churchill’s German Army. Her new research is focusing on WWII, espionage and intelligence. She has been engaged to write a history of M.I.9 – Escape & Evasion in WW2 (Yale). Helen was historical consultant for, and appeared in, David Jason’s Secret Service (More4, December 2017).
Helen will be speaking at this year’s North London Story Festival on Tuesday 13th of March at 11am in the Boardroom C219. In order to guarantee a seat for this event, please rsvp via this Eventbrite page.
The North London Story Festival is a free event and open to students, faculty and members of the public.