Hermann Goertz

Hermann Goertz

Document reference: KV 2/1319-1323

Hermann Goertz (1890-1947) was convicted of espionage in 1936 after copies of plans of Manston Airfield were discovered in his belongings in a house he was renting in Broadstairs. Jailed for four years, he was deported to Germany upon his release on parole in February 1939. His accomplice in this action, Marianne Emig, remained under suspicion although she had returned to Germany before Goertz's arrest, as did a British airman with whom she had made acquaintance, Kenneth Lewis.

Goertz parachuted into Ireland in the early summer of 1940, and his presence became known following the arrest of Stephen Held, whose copy of 'Plan Kathleen' contained Goertz's handwriting. Goertz himself was arrested in Dublin in November 1941, along with a leading IRA man, Pearse Paul Kelly, who was visiting his hiding place at the time. Goertz was interned until after the end of the war, and after being paroled and informed that he was to be deported to Germany, committed suicide by taking poison at the Aliens Registration Office in Dublin in November 1947.

KV 2/1319 (which, like all the Goertz files, is heavily weeded) contains papers relating to Goertz, Emig and Lewis in 1935. These include the sketch plan of Manston made by Goertz, and the statement made by Goertz upon his arrest when he returned to Broadstairs to collect belongings he had left behind at the house he was renting. Lewis was encouraged to keep in contact with Emig, now in Germany, The file also includes copies of the letters he wrote asking for a photograph, and correspondence (including a picture postcard of the port at Hamburg) she sent to him.

KV 2/1320 (1935-1936) contains cuttings and correspondence relating to Goertz's trial and conviction, and includes a statement made by Goertz of his career history.

Goertz was deported upon his release in 1939, and there was much press interest in the case, reflected in the press cuttings in KV 2/1321 (1936-1944). There is a break in the content of the file until enquiries begin to be made about Goertz from Ireland after he was identified as the suspected 'missing parachutist' in the Held case. There is correspondence on the file following the leads to identify Goertz as the author of 'Plan Kathleen', and giving details of his arrest in Dublin. The file also includes photographs of Goertz and Marianne Emig.

There are further photographs of Goertz and Emig in KV 2/1322 (1944-1949). This file also contains Goertz's own gripping account of his activities in Ireland, written in December 1944, and correspondence relating to his release from prison and his suicide.

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KV 2/1323 (1940-1945) includes copies of papers (including maps and code tables), relating to 'Plan Kathleen' found when Stephen Held was arrested and correspondence about the meaning and implications of the plan. The file includes an interview report of a meeting with one Liam Gaynor of Drumnacondra, who had been befriended by Held before the war and who claimed to have provided Held with the inspiration for 'Plan Kathleen'.