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A supplement to 'Breaking the codes: Jewish personnel at Bletchley Park'

Martin Sugarman

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Jewish Historical Studies, volume 43, 2011 A supplement to 'Breaking the codes: Jewish personnel at Bletchley Park' MARTIN SUGARMAN Since the publication of'Breaking the codes: Jewish personnel at Bletchley Park' in JHS 40 (2005) 197-246, and the brief addendum in JHS 42 (2009) 199, research has revealed additional information on existing names as well as some names for inclusion in the list of Jewish personnel who served there. The new material includes an interview with Ivor John Croft, who kindly allowed the author to speak to him about his time at Bletchley. It also con? tains new information on Peter Hilton. The new names make it necessary to recalculate the figures for Jewish participation. Audrey Abrahams - Block C Sylvia Abrahams - Hut 7 Joan Stella Ahrens - WAAF Ethel Alderman (or Andruszewicz) ? Hut 14, probable Henry and Captain William Bailin, brothers - Hut 4 Peter Benenson ? cryptographer in Testery on Fish codes; also known as Solomon-Benenson Captain Bischof, Alexander George Bischof - probable Sally Blum Charles Orwell Brasch - Italian/Romanian codes Joseph A. Cassar - probable; Japanese section, to Colombo Anne Cohen Mr A. L. Cohen - Testery Captain Norman R. C. Cohn - Army; Block D Ivor John Croft (Cohen) Captain J. I. S. De Morpurgo - Army; Japanese section Ms Hope De Pass - probable WAAF ACi Phyllis M. Dellera/Deluera - possible Vera Fogelman Mr H. M. Freedman - also at Chicksands, att. RAF Frederic Freeborn 213</page><page sequence="2">Martin Sugarman Gluckstein - add that she worked in the Italian and Japanese section Gollop ? add that he worked in the Naval section Mary Hambro Dr Herman Peter Hilton - see new material at the end of this paper Instone - add that he worked in the Italian Naval codes section Anita Isaacs Major Herbert Felix Jolowicz - Great War veteran; probably Intelligence Corps; later Professor of Roman Law at University of London Mrs Kahan - add Chinese section Flight Lieutenant Ernest Klein wort - RAF Koppel-Palmer/Keppel-Palmer - add worked in Mansion, linguist Klussman - add Hut 14 George Kaufman - Hut 4 Cynthia Levin - add Block A/Mansion Miss Di Levy Sydney George Levy - attached Intelligence Corps Suzanne Levy - add WREN Miss S. I. Levy - Hostel Superintendent C. Livingstone also known as Schaeffer - Free French Naval Officer Helen Lipman-Pollard - ATS; Block H Dr Bernard Lewis - add Head of Near East section Mahalski - add Block A, to Colombo Rachel E. L. Makower - Hut 7 Vera Margaret Marks - WREN; Block G 83064 Flight Lieutenant E. V. Mayer, RAF - Hut 10/Y, Station liaison Nathan - add Testery A. G. Oppenheim - WREN; probable Ann Pearl - WREN; probable Perman - add Block A Ramus - add Department Head Naval Section Patricia Frances Rose - also known as Rosenberg Gordon Rosenberg, RAF Bernard Scott - also known as Schultz; later Professsor of Mathematics, Sussex University Mort Seidelman J. Seligman - add linguist Sikora - add linguist Silver - add Colin Hilda Stern Sugar - also known as Alfred Leonard Stierlen-ATS 214</page><page sequence="3">A supplement to 'Breaking the codes: Jewish personnel at Bletchley Park' Stileman - linguist Tabor - Doreen Telfer - may be 215658 Isabella Mary, Nurse Agnes Tocher Diana Uzielli - WAAF Weissweiller - ATS Wyberg-WREN Judy Ziegler Captain Lipman Zilberkweit - Intelligence Corps; Block F Ken Ziman - Newmanry Anne Zuppinger - WREN Zoe Zuppinger - WREN John Croft Mm' $?4 John Croft was born in Mapesbury Road, Brondesbury, London, on 6 January 1923, the son of Oswald Cohen and Doris (nee Phillips), who had 215</page><page sequence="4">Martin Sugarman married in 1921.1 Oswald's family were of Dutch Jewish origin and immi? grated to England in the early nineteenth century. The Cohens were members of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John's Wood and John cel? ebrated his Barmitzvah at the West London Synagogue in Upper Berkeley Street, after private tuition by a Hebrew teacher. John first attended The Hall preparatory school in Hampstead and continued on to Westminster School. He then went up to Christ Church College, Oxford, to read history. Early in Trinity Term 1942, his tutor, Dr Feiling (later Sir Keith), asked if he would be interested in Intelligence work in preference to going directly into the army. This seemed enticing and somewhat of a family tradition, as his father had had the hazardous job of tapping into German telephone links in the front line in the Great War when in the Seaforth Highlanders.2 John was interviewed by the then Master of Balliol A. D. (later Lord) Lindsay, who asked if he could read and translate German newspaper head? lines, which he could. On 21 May 1942 he went for a further interview in Oxford with Colonel, later Brigadier, John Tiltman, where crossword skills were mentioned. John describes Tiltman as a typical regular army officer with toothbrush moustache and clipped speech, whom he later discovered to be a man of outstanding skill and experience. At the end of the month, he received a letter from a Lieutentant Kaye saying he had been selected for a Special Intelligence course. Croft reported in late summer 1942 with some two dozen other men (few women were in those days in Cryptography), mostly undergraduates, with a few British Museum Staff (including Angus Wilson) and other sundry recruits, to a GCCS School near Bedford, commanded by a Major (Royal Signals) and Captain (Intelligence Corps). Here it became clear that he would be working with codes and ciphers. They had tutors in German, Japanese and some military disciplines, and began a basic cryptography course. At that time, there was no mention of the use of machines. From here John pro? ceeded to an intensive German course to augment his military vocabulary, though he saw little relevance for this, as cryptanalysis depended on recog? nition of letter frequency, rather than technical terms. He was billeted first in two private Bedford homes and then at a boarding house, at 44 de Parys Avenue, along with Edward Boyle, later a Cabinet Minister. Several weeks later he was sent to the Testery (named after Major Ralph Tester, the team leader) at Bletchley Park, where he joined the small, mostly civilian, team which did the crucial work on the German Geheimschreiber teleprinter. He spent six months there. Other Jewish staff included Private Peter Benenson and Peter Hilton (the latter a relative of John Croft - see the 1 Telephone interview with John Croft, 6 Dec. 2009 and letters Dec. 2009. 2 'Reminiscences of GCHQ^and GCB 1942-45' Journal of Intelligence and National Security XIII 4(1998) 133-43 2l6</page><page sequence="5">A supplement to 'Breaking the codes: Jewish personnel at Bletchley Park' article irvJHS 40, and the passage below). The hut was divided in two, the machine room being at the rear, staffed mostly by WRENS, and some male Post Office technicians. At the front were half a dozen or so trestle tables and Tester's office, which was on a slightly raised platform. As most traffic was intercepted during the day, the night shift had only to unravel difficult inter? cepts from the day shift. John felt he was poorly trained in the office and picked up most of the skills himself by trial and error. The code traffic consisted of both strategic and logistical communications between German High Command and Army HQjn the Balkans, North Africa and Italy and some between Berlin and the south of France. On one occasion John's team broke a message from Hitler demanding the arrest of the Yugoslav partisan Mihailovic, for which the reward would be 'a large quantity of gold'. The Order of Battle of the German Army was displayed on a huge board, its real intent disguised by using the names of the charwomen, in place of German generals. Croft attests to the collegiate atmosphere at Bletchley, nobody pulling rank and many of the military personnel entrusted with crucial secrets even though they were not even officers. This is partly explained by the fact that by 1943 most recruits were from the universities, museums and major libraries, and partly by the intensity and seriousness of the work, which bonded people together. Only the 'Directors' in the mansion building itself seemed remote. Croft does not recall, unlike other Jewish personnel, any instances of anti-Semitism in his time there. Since everything was top secret, there was no professional gossip and everything was on a strictly 'need-to-know' basis. So, for example, despite the close mathematical analysis links between the sections dealing with Enigma and Fish, Croft knew virtually nothing of Enigma, though fre? quently meeting another Jewish main player in unravelling its secrets, Max Newman. Socially, the canteen and lakeside were focuses, as well as the train which shuttled between Bletchley and Bedford; John recalls getting into a splendid compartment on one occasion, with brass lamp fittings, with a group recruited on the basis of their being able to complete The Daily Telegraph crossword in under five minutes. Conversation was stimulating but never 'shop' - and this substitute university extended to Bedford billets and 'leave' trains to London. It was common for fellow travellers to be reading Greek texts, for example, and on one occasion Croft was surprised at how sheltered and indeed privileged a life many had led; Edward Boyle, for example, was astonished when travelling with John on a 73 bus in London, for he had clearly never been on a bus before. Soon Croft sought a transfer from Bletchley, where the tedious nature of much of the work began to affect him, and through contacts obtained an 217</page><page sequence="6">Martin Sugarman intelligence post with the so-called Government Communications Bureau (GCB) in 1944, based at Berkeley Street and Park Lane in London. This dealt with diplomatic and commercial intercepts in Axis, neutral and allied countries, and was led by Commander Alexander Denniston who, until 1942, was the deputy director at Bletchley. At GCB, after late 1943, John became involved with anti-Communist cryptography, notably Comintern commu? nications across Europe. With him was another Jewish colleague, Bernard Scott, also known as Schultz, a mathematician, who soon broke the code. Later they were joined by one of the Fetterlein brothers, who translated the Russian decrypts.3 The American Jewish cryptanalyst William Friedman was another visitor to John's building, although not to his section.4 Croft also met Kim Philby, the notorious Soviet spy, then a senior British intelligence officer. One morning Fetterlein arrived to find that his cupboard had been forced open and documents disturbed. John is convinced that Philby was connected to this break-in, and must have been made aware that they were dealing with Soviet intercepts and arranged for a Soviet agent to do the job. In Trinity Term 1945 John returned to Oxford to finish his degree but found it difficult to settle down after three exciting years in Intelligence work. He asked one of his tutors if he could take a research degree in the origins of the British Intelligence Service from Elizabeth I, but was discour? aged. His tutor was John Masterman of the famous 'Double Cross' system used by the Allies, so it was not surprising that he deterred Croft, who saw the logic of his tutor's decision only in 1972, when Masterman published his own famous book.5 There were two subsequent ripples to John's wartime work. In early 1947 he applied for a job at GCHQ^(then at Eastcote, west London) but was refused. He wrote to the Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin and was also turned down. He then considered taking a degree at the Courtauld Institute, University of London, in history of art and was interviewed by Sir Anthony Blunt, then also a Soviet spy. When John was asked about his wartime work, he gave the stock answer he had been trained to give, ca department of the Foreign Office', after which Blunt became remote and chilly. John became a London County Council schoolteacher (1949-51) and then joined the Civil Service in various roles, rising ultimately to be Head of the Home Office Research Unit (1972-83). He was awarded a CBE in 1982. Croft was an accomplished artist, never married and retired to Bath. 3 The Fetterleins were believed to be of Jewish origin: see Martin Sugarman, 'Breaking the codes: Jewish personnel at Bletchley Park', Trans JHS 40 (2005) 213. 4 Ibid. 214. 3 J. C. Masterman, The Double Cross System in the War of 1939-45 (London 1972). 2l8</page><page sequence="7">A supplement to 'Breaking the codes: Jewish personnel at Bletchley Park' Peter Hilton Peter John Hilton was born on 7 April 1923 in Brondesbury, north London, the son of a GP who practised in Peckham. He died on 6 November 2010 aged 87. After St Paul's School he went up to Queen's College, Oxford, to read maths and trained for the Royal Artillery. In 1941, aged eighteen, he was called by the Foreign Office due to his maths and German-language skills (he taught himself German in one year). His German was not too good, Peter remembers, 'But I was the only person who turned up at the interview . . . and they jumped at me and said: uYes, you must come'". Peter worked in the crucial Testery at Bletchley, with colleagues includ? ing the genius codebreaker Alan Turing, Roy Jenkins (later the Chancellor of the Exchequer) and Peter Benenson (the Jewish founder, later, of Amnesty International), among many others. Hilton initially worked with Turing on breaking the German naval Enigma codes, focusing on the top-secret Offizier messages (for officers' eyes only). His extraordinary powers of visualization meant that he was able to unpick streams of characters from two separate teleprinters, and crack codes, from which he 'derived enormous excitement . . . especially since you knew that these were vital messages . . . [decoded] from utter gibberish'. Success rates were high and he was soon moved (in late 1942) to work on the even more secret codes used between Hitler and his generals, code-named 'Fish', which used a more complex machine than Enigma. This was the Lorenz encoder, code-named 'Tunny', and Peter had the most important role in breaking its cryptological secrets. Using errors by a German operator, they made a copy of the encoder known as a 'Heath Robinson' - after the cartoonist who drew crackpot machines. However, as this was slow, it led to the development of'Colossus', the first programma? ble computer, that could break the code in hours instead of days. Off-duty, Peter was a convivial companion, often at the bar of the Bletchley pub called Enigma, and attending dances at nearby Woburn Abbey with the WRENS. He and Turing frequently passed spare time solving chess problems and thinking up long palindromes. Postwar, Peter was indignant over the treatment of Turing, with whom he worked at Manchester University, and who was hounded into suicide in 1954 by being exposed as a homosexual. Peter agreed with a fellow Jewish code-breaker Jack Good, that if Turing had been driven to his death earlier, 'we might have lost the war'. After completing his degree in 1948 at Oxford, Peter became a lecturer in mathematics at Manchester University, then at Cambridge, went back to Manchester and then to Birmingham. In 1962 he went to the USA and became a world-renowned professor of mathematics in four different universities, and was much published. He claimed that nothing compared with the heady days at Bletchley Park. 2IQ</page><page sequence="8">Martin Sugarman ADDENDUM Martin Sugarman was contacted in November 2010 by a veteran of RAF 101 Squadron, who had seen his article entitled 'Counfounding the enemy: Jewish RAF Special Operators in radio counter measures with 101 Squadron, September 1943 - May 1945', Trans JHS 37 (2002). The follow? ing may be added to that article. 1896373 Flight Sergeant Henry Eric Wells, originally called Heinz Erich Feldstein, was born on 3 June 1923 in Vienna, the son of Israel (later Felix), a Polish Jew, and Annie, nee Kozak, a Catholic who had converted to Judaism. He was brought up as a Jew and had his Barmitzvah at the Turnergasse Temple, Vienna, later destroyed on Kristallnacht. As his father never took Austrian nationality, when Poland decided to remove nationality from all Jews living abroad in 1938, Henry became 'Stateless', and was clas? sified after the Anschluss as Mischling ersten Grades ['mongrel, first class'] by the Nazis. As a result, he was expelled from Technical school. To prevent further ill-treatment, Henry's father took all the family out of the Jewish faith (becoming konfessionslos, that is, of no faith at all); but he was able to get on a Kindertransport to England in May 1939, organized by the Quakers, and trained on a farm for six months. Being stateless, and with a 'J' for 'Jude' stamped in his passport, he was not interned as an enemy alien and joined the RAFVR in 1943. Henry writes, 'My RAFVR service began on 23 August 43 at Lords Cricket Ground, followed by square bashing at Bridgenorth, then No. 2 Radio School at Yatesbury. I joined 101 Squadron in September 1944, and my first op was on 23 September. I finished my tour of 30 on 1 February 1945. 'My medals are: 1939/45 Star, France and Germany Star, War Medal and Defence Medal. Funny thing about medals: when I first came to Canada in 1994,1 joined the Royal Canadian Legion and at the first Remembrance Day parade I met a Vet with a DFC - F/O Bernie Brophy. It turned out he was Canadian, a Navigator on 101 Sqdn, and when I asked him what he got the DFC for, his was reply was 'I don't know, Eric. It was awarded to us after we had returned to Canada'. In fact his record was identical with mine - he had completed a tour of 30 ops. The second Canadian I met, one Flight Sergeant Frank Boyd, was more interesting to me, as it turned out that he was the Mid-Upper on the same aircraft with me on 28 January 1945 on a raid on Stuttgart (Zuffenhausen). I had been seconded to a Canadian crew for that particular op. Frank has attended the Ludford reunions for many years and we met up again there this year (2010). I am afraid my memory of 220</page><page sequence="9">A supplement to 'Breaking the codes: Jewish personnel at Bletchley Park' Ludford Magna is very patchy, I cannot remember anyone from that period, including Gerhard Heilig, whom I got to know during my period in Vienna (1969-94). 'On one raid over Cologne we lost all our oxygen, but our skipper decided to press on. There are photos taken over the target area from a Lancaster flying at bombing height of 23,000ft, showing us 9000ft below. We were badly shot up on one raid (I cannot remember which) which left us with thirty-two holes in the aircraft and a loose bomb in the bomb bay, and we crash landed at Woodbridge. I remember on a daylight raid seeing a Lancfaster] flying alongside us hit by flak just in front of the rear turret, detaching the turret from the aircraft. I saw the rear-gunner scrambling out. Somehow he missed clipping on his parachute, falling and getting smaller and smaller with the parachute following him until he disappeared. (I must have been in the cockpit for some reason. I have a problem remembering things now, and recall only flashes of incidents.) 'After finishing my tour I was transferred to the RAF Intelligence Service and underwent training in London (Norfolk House), including lectures by Colonel Maurice Buckmaster of SOE fame. On completing this course I was posted to Air Division Control Commission (ADCC) of the BAOR (British Army on the Rhine) at Detmold, Germany. Here I was present at the debriefing of Wing Commander Yeo Thomas, GC, the SOE agent released in a terrible condition from a Nazi camp. My duties were the apprehension and interrogation of suspected war criminals, and later on, the location and dismantling of AA-Flak sites and the collection of all cameras and binocu? lars from the Mayors of towns and villages around us, which had to be handed in by Military Governors' orders - we were extremely popular on the base, as a lot of the collected items were shared out with servicemen on the base. 'One mission involved my arresting a former Dachau guard at his home in Detmold. With two RAF Corporals we went to his home, where he asked to go to his room to collect some clothing. We accompanied him, and as he opened his wardrobe door in his bedroom, his hands went down to reach for something. I thought this suspicious and drew my revolver; he in turn drew out a pistol, and I fired as the two corporals stood in open-mouthed shock. I wounded him and he said he wanted to die; he was later hanged for war crimes. I think his name was Koch. 'Not having heard from my family in Vienna for some years, I was anxious to discover their fate, and in August 1945 I was granted a Travel Warrant, signed by General Mark Clark, enabling me to make use of any available means of transport, including aircraft, to get me to Vienna. I arrived with the help of the US air force and reported to RAF Headquarters in Vienna, which was based in the Schoenbrunn Castle. An RAF 15 cwt plus driver was allo 221</page><page sequence="10">Martin Sugarman cated to me and I set off for the last address I left in 1939. The house we had lived in was destroyed by bombing, but as luck would have it I recognized the wife of our old landlord, who was searching the rubble to salvage what? ever she found of their belongings. She, after overcoming the initial shock of an armed British Serviceman approaching her, recognized me and told me that my family was safe and was living at a new location not far away. A joyful reunion followed which was enhanced by the generosity of the RAF Quartermaster at the base, who thought I needed rations while I was staying in Vienna and loaded up the truck for me. I am sure it was that truck load which set up my father in business - the black market value of that load was astronomical. 'Having got married in April 1945, my English wife was very unhappy with my being in Germany and I could not persuade her to come out. I had a career ready in Germany as the Military Government had offered me a commission, with the rank of Major, at ?1200 salary. All came to nothing, because I succumbed and applied for discharge from the RAF, which was granted to me on 21 January 1946. CI was released into Agriculture and had to take up farm work on my return to England. That's what happens when you are young and in love and extremely stupid. An accident on the farm (my hand was caught in a hay baler and ripped apart) resulted in the loss of my little finger. After six weeks' stay in hospital, during which period it was re-attached, it was eventually amputated. Early days of Penicillin ? three-hourly injections into the but? tocks - left us unable to sit without rubber rings. But that released me from Agriculture and I was able to pursue my own interests. CI went to live in Ontario, Canada and have two sons, Charles and Ray. At the war's end I was one of only four survivors of nine wartime colleagues who joined 101 with me.' 222</page></plain_text>