Lucas Delattre

The extraordinary story of the German foreign ministry official who, at risk to his life, spied for the Allies in the Second World War. Using previously unseen archival material, Lucas Delattre has pieced together the extraordinary story of perhaps the Second World War's most important spy.

During the Second World War Fritz Kolbe worked as a Foreign Ministry official in Germany. He hated the Nazi regime, and in an attempt to aid its demise he offered to spy for free for the Allied forces. The Americans assigned him the code name 'George Wood' and between 1943 and 1945, at great risk to his life, he smuggled more than 1,600 top secret Nazi documents - from details of military tactics to reports on missile developments and plans to deport Jews to the death camps.

Miraculously escaping detection by the Gestapo, he continued to work as an informer until the final days of the war, influencing the outcome of a number of conflicts. But when the war ended, Kolbe's efforts were not officially recognized by the Allies. Denied a visa to the US, he was ostracized by his colleagues at the German Foreign Ministry where he was branded a traitor. He later moved to Switzerland where he became a salesman for a US power tools company, dying in obscurity in 1971. His extraordinary story has remained hidden until four years ago, when the CIA de-classified nearly 500,000 documents, many of which detail Kolbe's exploits.