Special to the JTA State Department Unit Tailed an American Expert on War Criminals
Menu JTA Search

Special to the JTA State Department Unit Tailed an American Expert on War Criminals

Download PDF for this date

The State Department’s Office of Security has in at least one instance protected an accused German Nazi war criminal by placing under surveillance an American expert on Nazis and leader in antifascist causes, it was learned by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Through Freedom of Information Act requests, Charles Allen, Jr. of New York City, widely considered as America’s preeminent authority on Nazi war criminals, learned that he was the subject of a memorandum between the State Department and the FBI during the visit to the U.S. of West German Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger in August 1969.

Remarks in the memorandum regarding Allen say that he was a “member of a delegation from demonstrating group organized by Committee to combat Nazism and Anti-Semitism and picketed the West German Republic Consulate in N.Y. 2/3/65 delegation submitted message of protest to German Chancellor.”

The demonstration and message referred to in the memorandum had the purpose of protesting the expiration of the statute of limitations for Nazi war criminals in West Germany, a fact that the State Department neglects to mention. The statute was extended at that time by the West German Parliament and eliminated by the Parliament this year. In addition to Allen, members of the New York department of Jewish War Veterans had been leaders of the protest at the Consulate.


In another document dated Oct. 16, 1967, the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice directed the FBI to continue an investigation that they had begun on Allen. A prominent New York attorney who has successfully reversed FBI procedures against civil rights leaders at a Supreme Court level said that this document meant that a “veritable frameup” was in the making against Allen because of his anti-Nazi activities.

The attorney, who asked not to be identified, said that the struggle for continuing or abolishing the statute of limitations was deemed important enough to be the basis for what had all of the earmarks of a frameup against Allen, and that it probably was continuing.

The government documents did not reveal any information about the Nazi background of Kiesinger, whose security they were “protecting.” Beate Klarsfeld, who like Allen, is a non – Jewish leader in anti-Nazi work, called attention to the Chancellor’s fascist past by publicly slapping his face in November 1968 in Berlin.


As the deputy director of Hitler’s broadcasting department, Kiesinger was responsible for the dissemination abroad of anti – Jewish propaganda broadcasts. The aim of his radio propaganda was to arouse anti-Semitism throughout the world, according to Klarsfeld. A member of the Nazi Party since May 1933, in 1941 he joined the board of directors of Interradio, Nazi Foreign Minister Van Ribbentrop and Nazi Propaganda Minister Goebbels’ vehicle for propaganda abroad.

After World War II, Kiesinger was “de Nazified” by a commission which included his father-in-law, but he was classified as a Nazi unfit to hold government office. He was later examined a second time by his father-in-law and classified as one of the least important Nazis.

A number of related incidences of U.S. Intelligence surveillance have recently been brought to light. The Philadelphia “Bulletin” reported last month that the FBI had made plans to tie the late civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, and civil rights and anti-Vietnam War activist Dr. Benjamin Spock to the Communist Party through “counter-intelligence action.”

The Student Struggle for Soviet Jewry reported to the JTA on June 29 that it had been under FBI surveillance almost from the day it was founded 15 years ago. This organization has pressed for emigration and civil rights for Soviet Jews, but eschews violence.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund