Robert Maxwell: Fraudster, Mossad Agent, and Promoter of ‘Holocaust Education’
by Peter Rushton
ROBERT MAXWELL WAS ONE of the most notorious fraudsters of the 20th century. Within days of his still unexplained death in November 1991 (when he supposedly fell from his yacht off the Canary Islands), Maxwell’s business empire collapsed with debts of more than £400 million.
It is ironic that (temporarily at least) his infamy has been overtaken by that of his youngest child Ghislaine, after whom Maxwell named the yacht on which he made his fatal journey. Ghislaine was convicted last December of multiple offences connected to the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, and is presently jailed awaiting what seems certain to be a long prison sentence.
Her notoriety no doubt attracted many viewers to the recent BBC television series House of Maxwell, but despite its many interviews with important players in the family saga, this series almost entirely avoided the topic of Robert Maxwell’s relationship with the British, Israeli, and Soviet bloc intelligence services.
Given that Maxwell was one of the pioneers of ‘Holocaust’ education in the UK, his multiple connections to the murky world of international espionage – dating back to the Second World War – deserve more detailed scrutiny, especially since numerous documents are becoming available shedding light on this topic. A section of my forthcoming book about British intelligence, international Zionism, and the Holocaust – which will be published later this year in association with my Real History Web site – will examine Maxwell’s multiple loyalties in far greater detail.
The BBC series (and even the recent book about Maxwell by John Preston, which I reviewed in Issue 103 of Heritage and Destiny) made very little use of these documents. In fact, while introducing new interviews and new evidence on many other topics, where the espionage world was concerned the BBC contented themselves with a very brief and unsatisfactory summary by Maxwell biographer Tom Bower, and some very old archive footage used in previous film documentaries.
One clip from the series that was interesting was the footage (see above) of Maxwell being interviewed at the Israeli ‘Holocaust’ memorial Yad Vashem. His overt connections to Zionism had (despite his Jewish heritage) only begun in 1984, when fellow tycoon Gerald Ronson – a former financial fixer for the violent ‘anti-fascist’ 62 Group which itself had ties to Israeli intelligence – took him to Israel to meet its new Prime Minister, former Stern Gang terrorist leader Yitzhak Shamir.
For the last seven years of his life, Maxwell was to have ever-closer public ties to Israel. Earlier links (including arms deals and other secret operations dating back to the earliest days of the Zionist state in the 1940s) remain secret to this day, but will be examined in my forthcoming book.
Despite his many crimes, Robert Maxwell was only jailed once – very briefly by the wartime Hungarian authorities in 1940. He escaped and joined an army of Czech exiles who eventually made their way to England. At some point in 1944 (having changed his name from Jan Hoch to Robert Maxwell) the young Jew became a British officer, and was very soon trusted with intelligence-related missions.
Though only just past his 22nd birthday, Maxwell was entrusted with the interrogation of important German prisoners, including Hermann Giskes, who had been in charge of one of the few highly successful German intelligence operations against Britain, when almost the entire Dutch ‘resistance’ network supposedly working for the British sabotage agency SOE was taken over by Giskes and ‘turned’, supplying false information to London for several years.
Another important prisoner interrogated by the young Maxwell was Major Willi Johannmeyer, Adolf Hitler’s last Army Adjutant. A day before the Führer’s death, Johannmeyer had been entrusted with one of several copies of his last will and testament and instructed to deliver it to the last commander-in-chief of the German Army, Field Marshal Ferdinand Schörner.
Recently released documents at the UK National Archives (which I am the first author to have examined) show that special influence was exerted by high-ranking officers to speed up Maxwell’s naturalisation as a British citizen immediately after the war.
By this time Britain was fighting a new war against Zionist terrorism in Palestine, and security authorities became concerned about numerous Jews (including future Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban) who had served before 1945 as ‘British’ officers in various sensitive roles.
Yet for some reason Maxwell seems to have been exempt from any suspicion of dual loyalties. In fact despite Whitehall’s new worries about Zionist subversion and terror, Maxwell’s career in British intelligence seems to have flourished.
Soon after the war MI6 created a special section to obtain and exploit German scientific intelligence: The objective was to grab valuable research before it could fall into the hands of our wartime allies who were now either enemies (the Soviet Union) or commercial rivals (the USA and France).
This operation was to be run by a nominally independent publishing firm called Butterworths, which had been reorganised with trusted British intelligence officers as directors, notably Hugh Quennell, a City solicitor who during the war had been in charge of SOE’s sabotage organisation in Spain, Portugal, and North Africa.
He had been forced to resign from this SOE position after taking responsibility for a disastrous explosion on board the Tangier-Gibraltar ferry in January 1942. A consignment of limpet mines, detonators, and other explosives had been packed into ‘diplomatic bags’ (which by international convention cannot be searched by border security) and loaded onto the ferry at Gibraltar.
Unfortunately the explosives hadn’t been securely packed and became unstable in transit: in the early hours of the morning, soon after the ferry had docked in (neutral) Tangier, the port was rocked by a huge explosion, killing ten Moroccan civilians and four Gibraltarian policemen. The disaster was publicly blamed on a German or Italian bomb, but behind the scenes a secret British board of inquiry established SOE’s responsibility.
Despite this scandal, Quennell’s long-term career as a City lawyer with close ties to the intelligence establishment was unaffected. The explosives shipment had been part of a top secret sabotage plan. Though Spain remained neutral throughout the Second World War, British intelligence had contingency plans in case pro-German Falangists acquired greater influence. Via the crypto-Jewish gangster Juan March, bribes were distributed to leading Spanish generals, and March also helped MI6 and SOE prepare to launch a tide of sabotage and murder in the event that Spain allied with Germany.
As Quennell wrote to London in a top secret telegram on 17th March 1941: “steps were being taken to secure the slaughter by the Moors of all Germans in French and Spanish Morocco, as soon as the Germans moved.”
Experience of dealing with the gangster Juan March no doubt prepared Quennell for working with the much younger Jewish crook Robert Maxwell, who was only in his mid-20s and beginning his life of high-level crime when he entered the publishing business with Quennell and other MI6 operatives. Butterworths began a partnership with the German scientific publishers Springer, which was to be the start of what became Pergamon Press, the cornerstone of Maxwell’s business empire whose collapse led to his still unexplained death in November 1991.
By far the most sensitive aspect of this work during the 1950s involved nuclear physics. Maxwell worked closely with two of the most controversial spies in the history of nuclear science, both of whom are still mysterious decades after their deaths.
Paul Rosbaud co-founded Pergamon Press with Maxwell. Before and during the Second World War he was the most important British spy within the German scientific establishment, reporting to MI6 on both the German nuclear weapons programme (which progressed a long way scientifically but not in terms of practical weapons production) and the V-2 rocket programme, which was eventually the basis for postwar American development of space rockets.
Rosbaud worked with the MI6 German specialist Frank Foley and his reports were delivered to London via the Norwegian networks run by SOE’s Sir Charles Hambro. It was therefore no coincidence that Hambro’s merchant bank (retaining ties to British intelligence) funded Maxwell and Rosbaud’s publishing company after the war.
MI6 has persistently refused to release information about Rosbaud but my research has explored two enduring mysteries. Firstly, how did Rosbaud retain such an influential position in the Third Reich’s scientific establishment when he was married to a Jewess (whom he sent to London with their child)?
And secondly, how much did either German or postwar British and American intelligence know about Rosbaud’s ties to leftwing and Jewish networks? Even if one forgot about his Jewish wife, there was Rosbaud’s secretary and mistress Ruth Lange, who was also heavily involved with his nuclear espionage and with his social and political ties to those plotting Adolf Hitler’s assassination in 1944. Ruth’s sister Hilde was married to the Jewish communist Georg Benjamin, who died in the Mauthausen concentration camp and whose brother Walter Benjamin was one of the most famous Marxist philosophers of the 20th century. Hilde Benjamin became a notorious judge and eventually Justice Minister in Communist East Germany.
Clearly Rosbaud was protected from the sort of scrutiny that would normally have led at least to the withdrawal of security clearances, certainly in the Third Reich and probably in Cold War Britain.
Another nuclear scientist recruited by Maxwell to edit one of his most prestigious scientific journals was Wilfrid Mann, who was an important Soviet agent within the wartime Anglo-American nuclear weapons programme, the ‘Manhattan Project.’
The true story of Wilfrid Mann’s treachery has to be pieced together from archival fragments, because the British and American authorities still do not wish to tell the whole truth about his case. In the early 1980s when journalists began to speculate about Mann’s loyalties, Maxwell helped him publish a grossly misleading memoir that denied everything and silenced press speculation.
In 1986 Maxwell tipped off the Israeli Embassy in London about nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, facilitating his kidnap by Mossad. Vanunu ended up spending eighteen years in an Israeli prison, including eleven of those years in solitary confinement.
But how much did Maxwell himself contribute to Israel’s covert nuclear programme decades earlier, via his close association with nuclear scientists of dubious loyalty such as Rosbaud and Mann?
While protected and promoted within the Secret Intelligence Service MI6, Robert Maxwell was for most of his life considered suspect by the Security Service MI5 – and by their transatlantic partners in the FBI.
MI5’s personal file on Maxwell ran to several volumes, none of which have yet been declassified – but I can reveal here for the first time that such a file existed for decades and was catalogued within MI5 as PF 111,870.
This is the man who was one of the first promoters of ‘Holocaust’ studies in Britain, hosting an international conference in Oxford in July 1988 – under the title ‘Remembering for the Future’ – featuring 260 academics including Yehuda Bauer, Israel’s leading ‘Holocaust’ scholar. The conference took five years to arrange and focused especially on bringing together Jewish and Christian academics.
This was an important foundation of what has since become an unchallengeable edifice of ‘Holocaust history.’ And we should never forget that the foundation for this ‘history’ was laid by Robert Maxwell: a fraudster, arms dealer, and spy whose lifelong deceptions involved unexplained ties to the intelligence services of Britain, the Communist bloc, and — his fundamental loyalty — Israel.
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Source: Real History