How’s this for being a step ahead of the enemy? Before America ever fired a shot in World War II, we had rolled up a massive ring of Nazi spies operating on U.S. soil—33 in all, ranging from Paul Bante to Bertram Wolfgang Zenzinger.
By December 13, 1941—just six days after Pearl Harbor—every member of the group had either pled guilty or been convicted at trial, including its ringleader Fritz Duquesne.
It all began when a lone German-American refused to give in to Nazi aggression and hatred. His name was William Sebold, and he served the Allied cause by becoming a double agent for the FBI.
Sebold, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen on February 10, 1936, worked in industrial and aircraft plants throughout the U.S. and South America after leaving his native land in 1921.
In February 1939, Sebold made a return trip to Germany to visit his mother. Upon his arrival in Hamburg, Sebold was approached by a member of the Gestapo who said that Sebold would be contacted in the near future. Sebold proceeded to Mulheim where he obtained employment.
In September 1939, a Dr. Gassner visited Sebold and interrogated him regarding military planes and equipment in the United States. He also asked Sebold to return to the U.S. as an espionage agent for Germany.
Subsequent visits by Dr. Gassner and a “Dr. Renken”—later identified as Major Nickolaus Ritter of the German Secret Service—persuaded Sebold to cooperate with the Reich because he feared reprisals against family members still living in Germany.
Since Sebold’s passport has been stolen shortly after his first visit from Dr. Gassner, Sebold went to the American Consulate in Cologne, Germany, to obtain a new one. While doing so, Sebold secretly told personnel in the American Consulate about his future role as a German agent and expressed his wish to cooperate with the FBI upon his return to America.
Sebold reported to Hamburg, Germany, where he was instructed in such areas as preparing coded messages and microphotographs. After completing his training, he was given five microphotographs containing instructions for preparing a code and detailing the type of information he was to transmit to Germany from the United States. Sebold was told to retain two of the microphotographs and to deliver the other three to German operatives in the United States. After receiving final instructions, including using the assumed name of “Harry Sawyer,” he sailed from Genoa, Italy, and arrived in New York City on February 8, 1940.
The FBI had been advised of Sebold’s expected arrival, his mission, and his intentions to help identify German agents in the United States. Under the guidance of FBI agents, Sebold established residence in New York City as “Harry Sawyer,” using a cover as a diesel engineer consultant to help him establish contacts with members of the spy ring.
He was then to meet with various spies, pass along instructions to them from Germany, receive messages in return, and transmit them back in code to Germany.
With Sebold’s masterful acting, the FBI played right along with the ruse, using some deceits of its own.
First, FBI Lab engineers built a secret shortwave radio transmitting station on Long Island. In May 1940, Bureau agents established contact with the German shortwave station abroad. Our Long Island radio station served as a main channel of communication between German spies in New York City and their superiors in Germany for 16 straight months. Pretending to be Sebold, FBI agents sent more than 300 authentic-sounding messages and received another 200 messages from the Nazis.
In the early 1940s, double agent William Sebold (left) talks to Fritz Duquesne of the Duquesne spy ring in Sebold's bogus office in Manhattan. The conversation was captured on surveillance tape through a two-way mirror.
An FBI agent conducts filmed surveillance of the undercover operation in the Duquesne spy ring case.
Second, the FBI helped set up an office for “Harry” in Manhattan where he could receive visiting spies. The office was outfitted with hidden microphones and a two-way mirror where we could watch and film everything going on. With cameras secretly rolling, Sebold met with a string of Nazis who wished to pass secret and sensitive national defense and wartime information to the Gestapo.
One of those visitors was Duquesne, a veteran spy who served as the group’s leader. In Sebold’s rigged office, Duquesne explained how fires could be started at industrial plants and shared photographs and plans he’d stolen from a plant in Delaware describing a new bomb being made in the United States.
Another one of the spies, we learned, was preparing a bomb of his own and even delivered dynamite and detonation caps to Sebold.
Once we had enough information to pinpoint the members of the ring and enough evidence for an airtight case, the 33 spies were arrested. Nineteen quickly pled guilty. The remaining 14 spies were brought to trial in Brooklyn, New York, on September 3, 1941; they were all found guilty by jury on December 13, 1941.
On January 2, 1942, the 33 members of the Nazi spy ring headed by Duquesne were sentenced to serve a total of over 300 years in prison.
As a result of the massive investigation, the FBI—and America—entered the war with confidence that there was no major German espionage network hidden in U.S. society.
Frederick Joubert Duquesne
Born in Cape Colony, South Africa, on September 21, 1877, Frederick Joubert Duquesne emigrated from Hamilton, Bermuda, to the United States in 1902 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen on December 4, 1913. Duquesne was implicated in fraudulent insurance claims, including one that resulted from a fire aboard the British steamship Tennyson which caused the vessel to sink on February 18, 1916. When he was arrested on November 17, 1917, he had in his possession a large file of news clippings concerning bomb explosions on ships, as well as a letter from the Assistant German Vice Consul at Managua, Nicaragua. The letter indicated that “Captain Duquesne” was “one who has rendered considerable service to the German cause.”
When Sebold returned to the United States in February 1940, Duquesne was operating a business known as the “Air Terminals Company” in New York City. After establishing his first contact with Duquesne by letter, Sebold met with him in Duquesne’s office. During their initial meeting, Duquesne, who was extremely concerned about the possibility of electronic surveillance devices being present in his office, gave Sebold a note stating that they should talk elsewhere. After relocating to an Automat, the two men exchanged information about members of the German espionage system with whom they had been in contact.
Duquesne provided Sebold with information for transmittal to Germany during subsequent meetings, and the meetings which occurred in Sebold’s office were filmed by FBI Agents. Duquesne, who was vehemently anti-British, submitted information dealing with national defense in America, the sailing of ships to British ports, and technology. He also regularly received money from Germany in payment for his services.
On one occasion, Duquesne provided Sebold with photographs and specifications of a new type of bomb being produced in the United States. He claimed that he secured that material by secretly entering the DuPont plant in Wilmington, Delaware. Duquesne also explained how fires could be started in industrial plants. Much of the information Duquesne obtained was the result of his correspondence with industrial concerns. Representing himself as a student, he requested data concerning their products and manufacturing conditions.
Duquesne was brought to trial and was convicted. He was sentenced to serve 18 years in prison on espionage charges, as well as a 2-year concurrent sentence and payment of a $2,000 fine for violation of the Registration Act.
A native of Germany, Paul Bante served in the German army during World War I. He came to the United States in 1930 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1938.
Bante, formerly a member of the German-American Bund, claimed that Germany put him in contact with one of their operatives, Paul Fehse, because of Bante’s previous association with a Dr. Ignatz T. Griebl. Before fleeing to Germany to escape prosecution, Dr. Griebl had been implicated in a Nazi spy ring with Guenther Gustave Rumrich, who was tried on espionage charges in 1938.
Bante assisted Paul Fehse in obtaining information about ships bond for Britain with war materials and supplies. Bante claimed that as a member of the Gestapo his function was to create discontent among union workers, stating that every strike would assist Germany.
Sebold met Bante at the Little Casino Restaurant, which was frequented by several members of this spy ring. During one such meeting, Bante advised that he was preparing a fuse bomb, and he subsequently delivered dynamite and detonation caps to Sebold.
Entering a guilty plea to violation of the Registration Act, Bante was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment and was fined $1,000.
Max Blank came to the United States from Germany in 1928. Although he never became a U.S. citizen, Blank had been employed in New York City at a German library and at a book store which catered to German trade.
Paul Fehse, a major figure in this case, informed Germany that Blank, who was acquainted with several members of the spy ring, could secure some valuable information but lacked the funds to do so. Later Fehse and Blank met with Sebold in his office. They told Sebold that Blank could obtain details about rubberized self-sealing airplane gasoline tanks, as well as a new braking device for airplanes, from a friend who worked in a shipyard. However, he needed money to get the information.
Blank pleaded guilty to violation of the Registration Act. He received a sentence of 18 months’ imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.
Alfred E. Brokhoff, a native of Germany, came to the United States in 1923 and became a naturalized citizen in 1929. He was a mechanic for the United States Lines in New York City for 17 years prior to his arrest. Because of his employment on the docks, he knew almost all of the other agents in this group who were working as seamen on various ships.
Brokhoff helped Fehse secure information about the sailing dates and cargoes of vessels destined for England. He also assisted Fehse in transmitting this information to Germany. Also, another German agent, George V. Leo Waalen, reported that he had received information from Brokhoff for transmittal to Germany.
Upon conviction, Brokhoff was sentenced to serve a five-year prison term for violation of the espionage statutes and to serve a two-year concurrent sentence for violation of the Registration Act.
In September, 1934, German-born Heinrich Clausing came to the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1938. Having served on various ships sailing from New York Harbor since his arrival in the country, he was employed as a cook on the SS Argentine at the time of his arrest.
Closely associated with Franz Stigler, one of the principal contact men for this spy ring, Clausing operated as a courier. He transported microphotographs and other material from the United States to South American ports, from which the information was sent to Germany via Italian airlines. He also established a mail drop in South America for expeditious transmittal of information to Germany by mail.
Clausing was convicted and was sentenced to serve eight years for violation of espionage statutes. He also received a two-year concurrent sentence for violation of the Registration Act.
Conradin Otto Dold came to the United States from Germany in 1926. He became a U.S. citizen in 1934 under the Seamen’s Act. Prior to his arrest, he was Chief Steward aboard the SS Siboney of the American Export Lines.
Dold was related to people holding high positions in Germany and was closely associated with other members of the espionage group who worked on ships sailing from New York Harbor. As a courier, Dold carried information from Nazi agents in the United States to contacts in neutral ports abroad for transmittal to Germany.
Dold was sentenced to serve 10 years in prison on espionage charges and received a two-year concurrent sentence and a fine of $1,000 for violation of the Registration Act.
After leaving Germany for the United States in 1925, employed as a foreman in the Shipping Department of Harper and Brothers in New York City when he was arrested.
Ebeling obtained information regarding ship sailings and cargoes, which he provided to Paul Fehse for transmittal to Germany.
He also furnished such information to Leo Waalen, who delivered the material to Sebold for transmittal.
Upon conviction, Ebeling was sentenced to five years in prison on espionage charges. He also received a two-year concurrent sentence and a $1,000 fine for violating the Registration Act.
Richard Eichenlaub, who came to the United States in 1930 and became a citizen in 1936, operated the Little Casino Restaurant in the Yorkville Section of New York City. This restaurant was a rendezvous for many members of this spy ring, and Eichenlaub introduced several new members into the group.
Eichenlaub reported to the German Gestapo and often obtained information from his customers who were engaged in national defense production. Through Eichenlaub, dynamite was delivered to Sebold from Bante.
Having entered a plea of guilty to violation of the Registration Act, Eichenlaub was sentenced to pay a fine of $1,000 and to serve 18 months in prison.
A native of Germany, Heinrich Carl Eilers came to the United States in 1923 and became a citizen in 1932. From 1933 until his arrest, he served as a steward on ships sailing from New York City.
Eilers made a trip from New York to Washington, D.C., to obtain information for Germany from the Civil Aeronautics Authority. His mission, however, was unsuccessful.
At the time of his arrest in New York City by Customs authorities in June 1940, he had in his possession 20 letters addressed to people throughout Europe. He also had books relating to magnesium and aluminum alloys that had been sent to him by Edmund Carl Heine, one of the principal espionage agents in this group.
Upon conviction, Eilers received a five-year prison sentence on espionage charges and a concurrent sentence of two years’ imprisonment and a $1,000 fine under the Registration Act.
In 1934, Paul Fehse left Germany for the United States, where he became a citizen in 1938. Since his arrival in this country, he had been employed as a cook aboard ships sailing from New York Harbor.
Fehse was one of the directing forces in this espionage group. He arranged meetings, directed members’ activities, correlated information that had been developed, and arranged for its transmittal to Germany, chiefly through Sebold. Fehse, who was trained for espionage work in Hamburg, Germany, claimed he headed the Marine Division of the German espionage system in the United States.
Having become quite apprehensive and nervous, Fehse made plans to leave the country. He obtained a position on the SS Siboney, which was scheduled to sail from Hoboken, New Jersey, for Lisbon, Portugal, on March 29, 1941. He planned to desert ship in Lisbon and return to Germany.
However, before he could leave the United States, Fehse was arrested by FBI agents. Upon arrest, he admitted sending letters to Italy for transmittal to Germany, as well as reporting the movements of British ships.
On April 1, 1941, Fehse was sentenced on a plea of guilty to serve one year and one day in prison for violation of the Registration Act. He subsequently pleaded guilty to espionage and received a prison sentence of 15 years.
A native of Germany, Edmund Carl Heine came to the United States in 1914 and became a naturalized citizen in 1920. Until 1938, he held various positions in the foreign sales and service department of Ford Motor Company and Chrysler Motor Corporation. His employment took him to the West Indies, South America, Spain, and Berlin, Germany. Heine was closely associated with Dr. Hans Luther, former German Ambassador in Washington, D.C., and Prince Louis Ferdinand of Berlin.
Heine sent letters from Detroit, Michigan, to Lilly Stein, one of the German spies Sebold was instructed to contact. The letters contained detailed technical data regarding the military, aircraft construction, and various industries. He also wrote to aircraft companies to obtain information about their production, number of employees, and the time required to construct military planes.
After obtaining technical books relating to magnesium and aluminum alloys, Heine sent the materials to Heinrich Eilers. To ensure safe delivery of the books to Germany in case they did not reach Eilers, Heine indicated the return address on the package as the address of Lilly Stein.
Upon conviction of violating the Registration Act, Heine received a $5,000 fine and a two-year prison sentence.
In 1924, Felix Jahnke left Germany for the United States, where he became a naturalized citizen in 1930. Jahnke had attended military school in Germany and had served in the German army as a radio operator.
Jahnke and Axel Wheeler-Hill secured the services of Josef Klein, a radio technician, in building a portable radio set for Jahnke’s apartment in the Bronx.
Jahnke used this radio to transmit messages, which were intercepted by the FBI, to Germany. He also visited the docks in New York Harbor to obtain information about any vessels bound for England.
After pleading guilty to violation of the Registration Act, Jahnke was sentenced to serve 20 months in prison and to pay a $1,000 fine.
Gustav Wilhelm Kaercher came to the United States in 1923, becoming a citizen in 1931. He served in the German army during World War I and was a former leader of the German Bund in New York.
During visits to Germany, he was seen to have worn a German army officer’s uniform. At the time of his arrest, he was engaged in designing power plants for the American Gas and Electric Company in New York City.
Kaercher was arrested with Paul Scholtz, who had just handed Kaercher a table of call letters and frequencies for transmitting information to Germany by radio.
As a result of his guilty plea to charges of violating the Registration Act, Kaercher received a $2,000 fine and a prison sentence of 22 months.
A native of Germany, Josef Klein came to the United States in 1925; he did not become a citizen.
Klein, a photographer and lithographer, had been interested in the building and operation of shortwave radio transmitters.
Klein constructed a portable shortwave radio transmitting-and-receiving set for Felix Jahnke and Axel Wheeler-Hill. When he built the radio set, Klein knew it would be used for transmitting messages to Germany.
Upon conviction, Klein received a sentence of five years’ imprisonment on espionage charges and a concurrent sentence of two years’ imprisonment under the Registration Act.
Born in Germany, Hartwig Richard Kleiss came to this country in 1925 and became a naturalized citizen six years later. Following his arrival in the United States, he was employed as a cook on various ships.
Kleiss obtained information for Germany, including blueprints of the SS America which showed the locations of newly installed gun emplacements. He included information about how guns would be brought into position for firing. Kleiss also obtained details on the construction and performance of new speedboats being developed by the United States Navy, which he submitted to Sebold for transmittal to Germany.
Kleiss had originally chosen to stand trial. However, after cross-examination, he changed his plea to guilty on charge of espionage and received an eight-year prison sentence.
Herman W. Lang came to the United States from Germany in 1927 and became a citizen in 1939. He was one of the four people Sebold had been told to contact in the United States.
Until his arrest, Lang had been employed by a company manufacturing highly confidential materials essential to the national defense of the United States. During a visit to Germany in 1938, Lang conferred with German military authorities and reconstructed plans of the confidential materials from memory.
Upon conviction, Lang received a sentence of 18 years in prison on espionage charges and a two-year concurrent sentence under the Registration Act.
A native of Arkansas, Evelyn Clayton Lewis had been living with Fritz Duquesne in New York City.
Miss Lewis had expressed her anti-British and anti-Semitic feelings during her relationship with Duquesne. She was aware of his espionage activities and condoned them.
While she was not active in obtaining information for Germany, she helped Duquesne prepare material for transmittal abroad.
Upon a guilty plea, Miss Lewis was sentenced to serve one year and one day in prison for violation of the Registration Act.
Rene Emanuel Mezenen, a Frenchman, claimed U.S. citizenship through the naturalization of his father. Prior to his arrest, he was employed as a steward in the transatlantic clipper service.
The German Intelligence Service in Lisbon, Portugal, asked Mezenen to act as a courier, transmitting information between the United States and Portugal on his regular trips on the clipper. He accepted this offer for financial gain. In the course of flights across the Atlantic, Mezenen also reported his observance of convoys sailing for England. He also became involved in smuggling platinum from the United States to Portugal.
Following a plea of guilty, Mezenen received an eight year prison term for espionage and two concurrent years for registration violations.
Having come to the United States from Germany in 1929, Carl Reuper became a citizen in 1936. Prior to this arrest, he served as an inspector for the Westinghouse Electric Company in Newark, New Jersey.
Reuper obtained photographs for Germany relating to national defense materials and construction, which he obtained from his employment. He arranged radio contact with Germany through the station established by Felix Jahnke. On one occasion, he conferred with Sebold regarding Sebold’s facilities for communicating with German authorities.
Upon conviction, Reuper was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment on espionage charges and two years’ concurrent sentence under the Registration Act.
Born in the Bronx, New York, Roeder was a draftsman and designer of confidential materials for the U.S. Army and Navy.
Sebold had delivered microphotograph instructions to Roeder, as ordered by German authorities. Roeder and Sebold met in public places and proceeded to spots where they could talk privately.
In 1936, Roeder had visited Germany and was requested by German authorities to act as an espionage agent. Primarily due to monetary rewards he would receive, Roeder agreed.
Roeder entered a guilty plea to the charge of espionage and was sentenced to 16 years in prison.
A German native, Paul Scholz came to the United States in 1926 but never attained citizenship. He had been employed in German book stores in New York City, where he disseminated Nazi propaganda.
Scholz had arranged for Josef Klein to construct the radio set used by Felix Jahnke and Axel Wheeler-Hill. At the time of his arrest, Scholz had just given Gustav Wilhelm Kaercher a list of radio call letters and frequencies. He also encouraged members of this spy ring to secure data for Germany and arranged contacts between various German agents.
Upon conviction, Scholz was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment for espionage with two years’ concurrent sentence under the Registration Act.
George Schuh, a native of Germany, came to the United States in 1923. He became a citizen in 1939 and was employed as a carpenter.
As a German agent, he sent information directly to the Gestapo in Hamburg, Germany, from this country. Schuh had provided Alfred Brokhoff information that Winston Churchill had arrived in the United States on the HMS George V. He also furnished information to Germany concerning the movement of ships carrying materials and supplies to Britain.
Having pleaded guilty to violation of the Registration Act, Schuh received a sentence of 18 months in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Erwin Siegler came to the United States from Germany in 1929 and attained citizenship in 1936. He had served as chief butcher on the SS America until it was taken over by the U.S. Navy.
A courier, Siegler brought microphotographic instructions to Sebold from German authorities on one occasion. He also had brought $2,900 from German contacts abroad to pay Lilly Stein, Duquesne, and Roeder for their services and to buy a bomb sight. He served the espionage group as an organizer and contact man, and he also obtained information about the movement of ships and military defense preparations at the Panama Canal.
Subsequent to his conviction, Siegler was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on espionage charges and a concurrent two-year term for violation of the Registration Act.
Born in Germany, Oscar Stabler came to this country in 1923 and became a citizen in 1933. He had been employed primarily as a barber aboard transoceanic ships.
In December 1940, British authorities in Bermuda found a map of Gibraltar in his possession. He was detained for a short period before being released. A close associate of Conradin Otto Dold, Stabler served as a courier, transmitting information between German agents in the United States and contacts abroad.
Stabler was convicted and sentenced to serve five years in prison for espionage and a two-year concurrent term under the Registration Act.
Heinrich Stade came to the United States from Germany in 1922 and became a citizen in 1929.
Stade had arranged for Paul Bante’s contact with Sebold and had transmitted data to Germany regarding points of rendezvous for convoys carrying supplies to England.
Following a guilty plea to violation of the Registration Act, Stade was fined $1,000.
He received a 15-month prison sentence.
Born in Vienna, Austria, Lilly Stein met Hugo Sebold, the espionage instructor who had trained William Sebold (the two men were not related) in Hamburg, Germany. She enrolled in this school and was sent to the United States in 1939.
Lilly Stein was one of the people to whom Sebold had been instructed to deliver microphotograph instructions upon his arrival in this country. She frequently met with Sebold to give him information for transmittal to Germany, and her address was used as a return address by other agents in mailing data for Germany.
Miss Stein pleaded guilty and received sentences of 10 years’ and two concurrent years’ imprisonment for violations of espionage and registration statutes, respectively.
In 1931, Franz Stigler left Germany for the United States, where he became a citizen in 1939. He had been employed as a crew member aboard U.S. ships until his discharge from the SS America when the U.S. Navy converted that ship into the USS West Point.
His constant companion was Erwin Siegler, and they operated as couriers in transmitting information between the United States and German agents aboard. Stigler sought to recruit amateur radio operators in the United States as channels of communication to German radio stations. He had also observed and reported defense preparations in the Canal Zone and had met with other German agents to advise them in their espionage pursuits.
Upon conviction, Stigler was sentenced to serve 16 years in prison on espionage charges with two concurrent years for registration violations.
A seaman aboard the ships of the United States Lines since his arrival in this country, Erich Strunck came to the United States from Germany in 1927. He became a naturalized citizen in 1935.
As a courier, Strunck carried messages between German agents in the United States and Europe. He requested authority to steal the diplomatic bag of a British officer traveling aboard his ship and to dispose of the officer by pushing him overboard. Sebold convinced him that it would be too risky to do so.
Strunck was convicted and sentenced to serve 10 years in prison on espionage charges. He also was sentenced to serve a two-year concurrent term under the Registration Act.
Waalen was born in Danzig while that city was under German domination. He entered the United States by “jumping ship” about 1935. He was a painter for a small boat company that was constructing small craft for the U.S. Navy.
Waalen gathered information about ships sailing for England. He also obtained a confidential booklet issued by the FBI that contained precautions to be taken by industrial plants to safeguard national defense materials from sabotage. Waalen also secured government contracts listing specifications for materials and equipment, as well as detailed sea charts of the United States Atlantic coastline.
Following his conviction, Waalen was sentenced to 12 years in prison for espionage and a concurrent two-year term for violation of the Registration Act.
A German native, Walischewski had been a seaman since maturity. He became a naturalized citizen in 1935.
Walischewski became connected with the German espionage system through Paul Fehse.
His duties were confined to those of courier, carrying data from agents in the United States to contacts abroad.
Upon conviction, Walischewski received a five-year prison sentence on espionage charges, as well as a two-year concurrent sentence under the Registration Act.
Else Weustenfeld arrived in the United States from Germany in 1927 and became a citizen 10 years later. From 1935 until her arrest, she was a secretary for a law firm representing the German Consulate in New York City.
Miss Weustenfeld was thoroughly acquainted with the German espionage system and delivered funds to Duquesne that she had received from Lilly Stein, her close friend.
She lived in New York City with Hans W. Ritter, a principal in the German espionage system. His brother, Nickolaus Ritter, was the “Dr. Renken” who had enlisted Sebold as a German agent. In 1940, Weustenfeld visited Hans Ritter in Mexico, where he was serving as a paymaster for the German Intelligence Service.
After pleading guilty, Else Weustenfeld was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on charge of espionage and two concurrent years on charge of registration violations.
Axel Wheeler-Hill came to the United States in 1923 from his native land of Russia. He was naturalized as a citizen in 1929 and was employed as a truck driver.
Wheeler-Hill obtained information for Germany regarding ships sailing to Britain from New York Harbor.
With Felix Jahnke, he enlisted the aid of Paul Scholz in building a radio set for sending coded messages to Germany.
Following conviction, Wheeler-Hill was sentenced to serve 15 years in prison for espionage and two concurrent years under the Registration Act.
Born in Germany, Zenzinger came to the United States in 1940 as a naturalized citizen of the Union of South Africa. His reported reason for coming to this country was to study mechanical dentistry in Los Angeles, California.
In July 1940, Zenzinger received a pencil for preparing invisible messages for Germany in the mail from Siegler. He sent several letters to Germany through a mail drop in Sweden outlining details of national defense materials.
Zenzinger was arrested by FBI agents on April 16, 1941. Pleading guilty, he received 18 months in prison for violation of the Registration Act and eight years’ imprisonment for espionage.
For more information:
- FBI Case Records on the Duquesne Spy Ring