Dan Snow's History Hit

The British Spy who Saved Jews from Hitler

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Episode notes

Thomas Kendrick was at the very centre of British Intelligence operations throughout the first half of the twentieth century. He combined a public face of an English gentleman whilst privately masterminding MI6's spy networks throughout Europe. Perhaps his finest hour came in the run-up to the Second World War when stationed in Vienna as a British passport officer he issued thousands of visas and passports to Austrian Jews enabling an estimated 10,000 people to escape the coming Holocaust. Betrayed by a double agent in 1938 he survived an assassination attempt and was arrested by the Gestapo and interrogated before being expelled from Austria and returning to Britain. Once the Second World War broke out headed one of the most important intelligence operations of the war. Senior Nazi generals who had become POWs were installed in luxurious accommodation and allowed to speak freely whilst all the while being monitored on hidden microphones. The information they unwittingly revealed undoubtedly shortened the war and saved many thousands of lives. Historian Helen Fry returns to the podcast to tell Dan all about this extraordinary story that she has been researching for her new book Spymaster: The Man Who Saved MI6.

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