Hans Bernd Gisevius was an Abwehr agent dispatched to Switzerland under diplomatic cover. The Abwehr was Germany’s military intelligence corps. It had access to Hitler and the top Nazi leadership, and it was capable of concealing its activities from the Gestapo and other agencies under legitimate claims of secrecy.
Probably ten percent of the Abwehr were anti-Hitler, however. Gisevius was part of that ten percent, and ultimately part of the famous failed conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. During this same period, Gisevius was obsessed with secretly writing his tome about Germany and the failure of the Nazis. He was also obsessed with getting his book translated from German to English.
Allen Dulles the chief American spymaster was interested in every bit of information Gisevius could provide, while at the same time protecting his position with the Abwehr. He brought Gisevius to Mary Bancroft for her to work with him in translating his book, but also to reveal to her, and she then to Dulles, all Nazi and German army secrets.
Mary inevitably found a new sex object in Gisevius as she worked with him on his book. She described him in her diary as “this giant of a man, fair-haired, blue-eyed, with a healthy tan, … so engaging, his smile so beguiling.” The dour Gisevius turned on the charm for his adoring translator and editor who was going to make his tedious book into a powerful message.
Mary arranged for Gisevius to have sessions with her friend and therapist, Carl Gustav Jung. Jung confided to Mary his impressions of Gisevius and everything he could learn about the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. Jung was fascinated not only with disturbed personalities like Hitler, but with how the anti-Hitler conspiracy thought, as well. He reported to Mary after the attempt on Hitler’s life failed that it was probably just as well.
Jung characterized what Gisevius and the conspirators were really fighting for was the same thing that Hitler had, namely “pure power.” Jung saw the Nazis and the conspirators as two of a kind, “a couple of lions fighting over a hunk of raw meat.”
Mary continued to work with Gisevius on his book throughout the war, and glean from him what intelligence information she could and then deliver it to Dulles.
I write of Mary’s life in my book: Observer: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime.
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