October 4th, 2007 05:20 EST
MI5 Release of Security Service Records
This is the sixth release of Security Service records since the full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act in January 2005. Though exempt from the Act, the Security Service will continue to make its records available to researchers. This, the sixteenth Security Service release, brings the total number of its records in the public domain to nearly 3,700.
As with previous releases nearly three-quarters of the records are personal files relating to individuals (KV 2), with a small number of subject files (KV 3), policy files (KV 4), organisation files (KV 5) and list files (KV 6).
The majority of files are from 1939-45 but there are a considerable number from the inter- and post- war periods, dealing with a range of groups and subjects, including: German agents and intelligence officers; British and other Communists and suspected Communists, Soviet intelligence agents and officers; Soviet defectors; right-wing extremist groups; and liaison with the FBI.
Of the personal files in this release, the most notable include those relating to the writers George Orwell and Ernst Henri, and the American folk archivist Alan Lomax. There are also files relating to two early Soviet defectors, Leon Helfland and Grigoriy Besedovskiy.
The personal files are listed under the following categories:
There are also a number of 'untitled' personal files (KV 2/2712-2729), that is files relating to individuals or topics that do not fit squarely into the above categories, including files relating to the Russian writer Simon Rostowski, alias Ernst Henri and the Czech Refugee Trust Fund.
The subject files (KV 3/315-339) contain papers on commercial cover for German espionage activity, Italian espionage activity, Soviet intervention in the Spanish Civil War and revolutionary propaganda in the UK in the inter-war years.
This release includes policy files (KV 4/393-408) dealing with a wide range of matters, including Second World War liaison arrangements with the FBI and steps to protect information about the D-Day landings from diplomatic and official representatives in the UK, measures to arrest enemy agents upon arrival in the UK during wartime, and lecture notes on the Malayan emergency by Security Service officer J P Morton.
The organisation files (KV 5/65-70) include files on the Buchmanite Oxford Group, and the Nazi front organisation the Congress of National Minorities. The single list file (KV 6/68) relates to the American Lady Lilian Pascoe-Rutter.
A few files have been weeded whilst others have been reconstituted from microfilm of the original document, and therefore are in photocopy form. In both cases this is indicated here.
Most personal files include a minute sheet attached to the inside cover, providing a useful index to the file.
Highlights of the release include:
- Writers George Orwell and Ernst Henri
- Folk singer and archivist Alan Lomax
- German intelligence agent (whose role in Britain was not confirmed until late in the Second World War) Kurt Dehn
- Abwehr agent Hans Görschen, whose clandestine efforts to aid the Dutch resistance were doubted by the Security Service
- German spy in America Kurt Ludwig who was caught after skilled work by the postal censors in Bermuda
- The Boys' Own adventure story of Argentine agent for the Germans Ernesto Hoppe
- Leading German intelligence officers Otto Schuddekopf and Horst Pflug-Hartnung
- Controller of inter-war OGPU operations in Britain Victor Karpov
- Defectors Leon Helfland and Grigoriy Besedovskiy
- Communist front organisation the Czech Refugee Trust Fund
- Right-wing extremist Oxford Group
- Communist propaganda and dockyard militancy activity in the UK
- Liaison with the FBI
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