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World War, 1939-1945; Letter writing; United States. Army
Davis writes that he was supposed to leave for Czechoslovakia two days ago but it has been pushed back. His detachment was asked by General Day to investigate a situation. In August 1945 a Czech Countess was robbed, her husband "died" and American officers are some how involved. One revealed possession of some of the jewels in Montreal. There is no record of a complaint having been made. Davis explains that he and his detachment have to find out who the countess is, the events of her husband's death and interview the people involved. Davis and Berg were supposed to leave for Heidelberg at noon but at 11:30 the M.P.s office called and since Davis was the only German speaker there he ran down and found the M.P. station "standing on its head." Davis writes that that morning two agents took a case of two shooting of two M.P.s. Davis notes that he assumed that something big must have happened in order to drop the Czech jewelry robbery. Davis said they found a picture of a blond man which they brought to the M.P. in the hospital who then shouted "that's him." The Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) was then called in. Davis describes the afternoon as the perfect example of how not to work a case. He states that the case was lost within 36 hours. The Boramenn Investigative Staff later called and identified the man who shot the M.P. as Helmuth Schmitz. Davis had changed into civilian clothes and was about to head out when he got a call informing him that Schmitz had been captured. The same day a German policeman caught Hartmann- the former chief of the Gestapo -in Luxembourg. Davis writes that he will probably leave on 17 June '46 for Czechoslovakia.
Agt Robert Davis
13 CID APO 170
% PM NY
P jewel case in Czech—keep
U.S. ARMY POSTAL SERVICE 1946 170 JUN 22
Mrs. R. L. Davis
13 June 1946
Altho’ we definitely said that we were going to Czechoslovakia two days ago, it has been shoved back, first until today, and now until Monday.
Two days ago General Gay, (he who wanted to take our house and decided not to) related a curious tale to our Chief, and asked that it had ^be investigated. He himself had learned about the thing thru’ ^the accident that someone had casually related it to him. The story is this.
Last August, 1945, in the small strips of Czechoslovakia occupied by the Americans, two things occurred. A ^CZECH countess was robbed of a large amount of jewelry; her husband, the count, “died”; and three American Officers are involved in some way. One of the Officers is here in Munich in the regular army, another one was supposed to have revealed possession of certain of the jewels in Montreal. The value of the jewels was about $ 100,000. Incidentally, in army files there is no record of ^a complaint having been made.
Now, our job will be more or less “breaking the earth.” We shall have to: (1) search CZECH police records for a “countess” who was robbed of jewelry last August; (2) inquire into the nature of the Count’s death; (3) get the records of Czech police in-vestigation, with all available details; (4) interview all the people involved whom we will have uncovered in our search. (All this without knowing the Countess’ name, or in which part of Czechoslovakia she lived or lives. It is by no means definite that it occurred in the American occupied strip, since it was fashionable to “week-end” all over the country.) So
So we held up our departure for a couple of days, planning to leave this morning. Planning to leave......
I have probably already remarked, how in our business, “troubles never come singly.” It seems that all out cases group themselves perhaps 75% into definite rush periods. This morning was the worst example of this. By 9 a.m., having ½ of our Agents out already, we had received three more ^important cases, of ^two ^of ^them violence on Americans. In spite of the fact that everyone was busy, Berg and I still planned to take off for Heidelberg. We would leave at noon.
About 11:30 A.m., as I was lounging around our houses, I got a rush telephone call to run down to our down-town office. (I was the only German speaker here.) I ran down, and found the M. P. station standing on its head.
The case that two of our Agents took this morning was the shooting of two M.P.’s by an unknown person. I sensed that something big must have broken, if I was told to stand-off from the Czech departure, for the $ 100,000 jewel robbery (with all the excitement over the HESSE jewels) was considered our biggest case.
Something big had really broken. The wounding of the two M.P.’s had ballooned into something fantas-tic.
They had gotten hold of the assailant’s girl and were questioning her. In her purse they found photos of a blond man, who, some-one noticed, had a strange resemblance to the extant photos of Martin Bormann, Hitler’s deputy. One of our Agents took a photo of Bormann over to a wounded M. P. in the hospital, and without knowing whose photo it was, the M.P. shouted: “That’s him! I’d know that face anywhere!”
Well, all pandemonium broke loose! Counter Intelligence Corps ^(CIC) was called in, and an shortly 4 Agents were in yelling questions at the girl. There were already 4 of us, and M.P.’s kept drifting into the room. The very room of the questioning was the perfect picturing of the confusion. Everyone got the idea to “get out ahead” and get the credit for catching Bormann. Unfortunately, this afternoon was the perfect example of how not to work a case. Such a complete chaos you cannot imagine! I didn’t know where witnesses were; copies of the interviews were grabbed up and run off with; CIC called kidnapped the witnesses. It was just this way that the PASSAU case (murder of the officers) was lost. In the first 36 hours following commission of the crime, about 4 local agencies had pulled a similar stunt, and by the time the only trained criminologist in Europe could get there, namely us, there was actually a path worn thru’ the fallen plaster in the room of crime. The case was lost in the lst 36 hrs.
At first I loftily scorned the idea it could be Bormann. I had reasons, good ones. But late this afternoon, CIC announced that the Bormann Investigative Staff (yes, there is one) in Frankfurt had announced that the man’s name who shot that M.P.’s, HELMUTH SCHMITZ, was one of the ALIASES of Bormann! And little Bobby got in the by new wildly uncoordinated and frantic steeplechase. Just as I changed into civilian clothes and was about to take off in a German car with a German Criminal Policeman, we got the telephone call that Schmitz had been captured and wounded by the German Police. We were the only one’s who had notified the German Police. By the way, it definitely was not Bormann. This fellow is about 10 years too young.
Also today, one of our Agents + plus a German policeman caught HARTMANN, the former chief of the GESTAPO in Luxemburg. He was one of the few big Gestapo men still at large. CIC was furious that they had been robbed of the “catch”. That’s the way CIC is.
But has this been a long day!
Will probably leave MONDAY, 17 JUNE 46 for CZECHOSLOVAKIA.