Tuesday, November 2, 2010


An Abwehr defector to the British in Spain immediately after the failure of the 20 July 1944 plot against Adolf Hitler, John had been a Lufthansa lawyer in civilian life. He made propaganda broadcasts for the Political Warfare Executive in England before returning to Germany in 1945 to assist the prosecution at the Nuremberg war crimes trials. In December 1950 he was the British nominee for the first director of the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV), but in July 1954 he defected to East Germany. A year later he returned to the West, claiming to have been abducted. He was charged with treason, convicted, and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment. Upon his release in July 1958 he moved to Austria, where he wrote his memoirs and died in 1997.