Günter Schütz

Günter Schütz

Document reference: KV 2/1297-1302

Günter Schütz (b.1912) was a German agent whose cover was that of a commercial traveller in heavy chemicals, in which guise he first came to the attention of the Security Service in June 1938 when he entered the UK. A member of the public, Mr H Westbury Preston, reported that Schütz was a suspicious character, and initial investigations were made before he left for Belgium shortly before the outbreak of the war. Schütz soon emerged in Barcelona, where the German agent Walter Unland wrote to him in plain language code. It emerged that Schütz had asked a female Jewish friend to photograph plans for him before the war, and it became clear that he was a German agent (and he later admitted to espionage activity in Belgium before the war as well).

Schütz was parachuted into County Wexford, south east Ireland, in March 1941, using the alias Hans Marchner with false South African papers, and a plan to rendezvous with Unland. He was, however, quickly picked up by the Irish local defence forces, in possession of his wireless transmitter, and was interned in Mountjoy prison, Dublin. Schütz escaped in February 1942 and was at liberty in Dublin for 74 days before being recaptured, and eventually moved to Athlone barracks. After the war he was paroled to get married in May 1947, and soon thereafter was deported to Germany. It is believed that his mission was to report economic intelligence on conditions in Britain back to Germany.

KV 2/1297 (covering 1938-1941) chiefly concerns the following up of the initial leads on Schütz and in particular establishing that the Schütz in Barcelona whom Unland was writing to was the same man suspected by Westbury Preston. The file includes Westbury Preston's original letter, copies of the intercepted correspondence from Unland provided by Archer in Dublin and the interview report of Margot Fischmann, the female photographer who had assisted Schütz before the war. It also details the social circle in which Schütz moved in Britain, including the Harbottle family (Mabel Harbottle was for a time Ribbentrop's secretary, but most of this Anglo-German family was resident in Britain and served with the British forces).

KV 2/1298 is the file on the supposed Hans Marchner, and shows the process that was gone through to eventually establish that he and Schütz were one and the same. The file, which covers 1939-1941, includes several photographs of Schütz provided by various contacts in Britain (including one taken at Hindhead at Easter 1939 showing him with his imported Alvis motor car). Contact was re-established with Westbury Preston, who provided details of Schütz's pre-war girlfriend, Pamela Hall, and other contacts made by Schütz were thoroughly investigated and recorded on the file.

The investigations continue on KV 2/1299 (1941-1942) and this file includes several letters sent by Schütz (all still using the name of Marchner) from Mountjoy prison, which were tested for secret writing. Many of the letters are to his supposed fiancée in Hamburg, Lilo Heinze.

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The investigation continues into KV 2/1300, which also covers Schütz's escape from Mountjoy in 1942. The file includes a supposed photo of Heinze, copies of Garda and Royal Ulster Constabulary wanted persons notices for Schütz, including photographs, and a Garda reward poster offering £500 for information leading to Schütz's arrest. After this poster was distributed, there are numerous reported sightings recorded on the file as well.

Schütz was re-arrested in April 1942 by chance, during a Garda raid on the house in Temple Gardens, Ranlegh, Dublin, of Mrs Cathal Bragha, with whom he was hiding. The object of the raid was Bragha's daughter, who was to be interned for membership of the IRA.

The details are recorded on KV 2/1301, which also contains reports into the method of escape used, and the identities of those who had assisted Schütz from inside Mountjoy (a warder Kearns and a trusty English prisoner, Rossbain. The file includes interrogation reports and statements of Rossbain (who had been released from Mountjoy before Schütz's escape and was by July 1942 back inside Lewes prison), which include his assessments of all the German internees who had been detained at Mountjoy. The file also includes the interrogation report of Schütz made after his recapture.

KV 2/1302 (1943-1950) completes the story. Schütz saw out the war at Mountjoy and subsequently Athlone barracks, from where he was paroled in May 1947 to get married, shortly before he was deported to Germany. The file includes photographs of Schütz and a photostat of his false passport in the name of Marchner. After his return to Germany, he was interrogated again by the US Army, and a copy of their report is also on the file.