Operation «Eiger»: Almost the last chord

Brilev S.B.


The paper covers the last operation («Eiger») within the Anglo-Soviet «Pickaxe » scheme, which from 1941–1944 was carried out by the Intelligence directorate of Soviet NKVD / NKGB and Britain’s Special Operation Executive (SOE). The article is based upon newly declassified documents from the archive of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), the National Archives (TNA) of the United Kingdom, the Comintern files of the Russian State Archive of Social-Political History (RGASPI) and also the United State Archive of the Region of Chelyabinsk and the Chelaybinsk Tractor Plant. This allows, firstly, to restore the pre-war biography of Hermann Kramer, the senior member of the group – (according to the SVR card file – agent «Select»; the British were introduced as 35-year-old Ivan Johann Herbert). The author analyzes the reasons why Kramer, who escaped from a concentration camp in Nazi Germany, became a member of the international brigade in Spain and in 1937–1939 carryied out special assignments of Soviet intelligence in Western Europe, before the Great Patriotic War he was settled with his family in the Chelyabinsk quarter of INORS and became an ordinary worker at ChTZ. Secondly, the biography of the younger member of the group, Eugen Nesper (according to the SVR file – agent «Funker»; he was introduced to the British side as 42-year-old Georg Schmidt), a German prisoner of war held in the Gulag camps in the Urals, who was recruited by the NKVD in Soviet captivity, but before the war in Germany he worked for the Gestapo, where they built a whole system for penetrating the communist underground. The author examines and analyzes the interaction of G. Kramer with the Communist International and Soviet intelligence agencies, the procedure for preparing a group in the Bashkir ASSR, in Moscow and in England. It also examines and analyzes the reasons and circumstances of how, through the junior group, the Gestapo tried to play a double game not only with the Moscow «Center», but also with other special services of the «Reich» itself, as well as the reasons for the curtailment of cooperation between the NKVD and SOE.


intelligence service; Pickaxe; Comintern; NKVD / NKGB; SOE; Gestapo; Chelaybinsk.

DOI: 10.31249/rsm/2021.02.12

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