Graham Greene
one of the interrogator’s assistants fired three revolver shots into the back of his head. Above the noise of the truck engine I heard the sound that came from him as the bullets were fired into him. It was something between a long gasp and groan; I will not easily forget the sound. His great bulk was then rolled into the grave and petrol was poured over him and set alight to make his body unrecognizable. Then the earth was filled in and stamped down again, and the bamboo mats were replaced in the corridors.
    It was my concluding task to report to Moscow that their instructions concerning Agent 063 had been carried out to the letter.

    r Herman Goertz, a lieutenant on the reserve of the Luftwaffe, was dropped by parachute in County Meath on the night of 5/6 May 1940. He was fifty years old and in 1936 had been sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for spying, conscientiously but not very usefully, on RAF airfields. In Maidstone gaol, where he served his sentence, he met several members of the Irish Republican Army. His mission in 1940, which seems to have been loosely if at all defined, had some connection with an unpractical plan, code-named
for a German invasion of Ireland; this had been submitted to the
in Hamburg by an emissary of the IRA.
    Goertz was dropped—in the wrong place—wearing German uniform and carrying military identity papers made out in a false name. He failed to recover the parachute and container with his wireless set and other equipment in it, and set off to walk to a rendezvous in County Wicklow, seventy miles away. He swam the River Boyne “with,” as he afterwards wrote, “great difficulty since the weight of my fur combination exhausted me. This swim also cost me the loss of my invisible ink.” Soon, exhausted by hunger and strain, he was in worse case, and discarded his uniform; “I was now in high boots, breeches and jumper, with a little black beret on my head … I kept my military cap as a vessel for drinks and my war medals for sentimental reasons … I had no Irish money and did not realise that I could use English money quite freely.”
    Although with Irish help he established wireless contact with Germany and was not arrested by the Irish police until November 1941, Goertz—out of depth in the intricate crosscurrents of IRA politics—achieved nothing. In 1947, when toldthat he was to be repatriated to Germany, he took poison; the reasons for his suicide are not known … The lonely, brave, baffled figure trudging across the empty Irish landscape in jackboots, with a little black beret on his head and a pocket full of 1914–18 medals, is a reminder of how far the German intelligence effort fell short of those standards of subtlety and dissimulation which were expected of it …

    o the casual glance of the passer-by, there was nothing to differentiate him from any other young fellow of his apparent age and station; and, therefore, it was quite out of the question that the policeman who was beginning his night’s work by flashing his bull’s-eye into the doorways, and trying door handles and shop shutters, should bestow more than a passing glance, quite devoid of interest, upon him as he strode by. He was sober and respectable, and seemingly making his way quietly home after a decently spent Saturday evening.
    There was nothing to tell the guardian of the peace that the most dangerous man in Europe was passing within a few feet of him, or that if only he could have arrested him on some valid pretext that would have enabled him to lock him up for the rest of the night, and then handed him over to the Criminal Investigation Department at New Scotland Yard—the officers of which had been hunting for just such a man

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