Major Choynacki’s Ace: the Solution to an Old Puzzle of Wartime Intelligence

Major Choynacki , a member of the Polish intelligence service based in Berne became both a legend and a threat for German counterespionage because of the importance and accuracy of his reporting. Wilhelm Flicke, a Sigint specialist who was familiar with the case, spoke glowingly of the Pole outshining the British Secret Service as ”the sun outshone the moon”. It was clear from Choynacki’s traffic that he had at least one source placed at the very centre of the German High Command and Hitler personally ordered an investigation to find the traitor.

The interest in Choynacki’s ace was reawakened much more recently with the revelations of a Cambridge historian, Paul Winter, who discovered documents showing that British intelligence had received most valuable intelligence via the Poles from a highly placed spy called sometimes KNOPF / AGENTS 594. Winter’s research caught the attention of the world’s press and soon the feats of this mystery man were circling the globe thanks to the internet. But there was one major omission in Winter’s article: he was quite unable to identify the source behind the covername and ended by lamenting that unless SIS opened its archives, the problem would never be solved.

Happily this lament proved premature. Thanks to my own investigations, the identity of KNOPF/AGENTS 594 is no longer a mystery. As always, however, the solution of one problem generates another. A more detailed account of my investigation will be presented later.

Major Choynacki’s Ace

The Swedish Legation in London and the Leak Problem

In July 2013, I attended a conference at Nuffield College, Oxford on Intelligence and the Neutral Countries during the First and Second World Wars. As regards Sweden, there were two contributors: Jan-Olof Grahn who spoke about Swedish SIGINT and I who spoke about the conflict which arises from the possible leakage of information to the enemy through a neutral mission situated on the territory of a belligerent and  a neutral country’s own need to collect intelligence.

The Swedish Legation in London and the Leak Problem

A Friend Indeed: the Secret Service of Lolle Smit

The Dutch businessman, Lolle Smit is an excellent example of how important Allied secret agents of the Second World War have been totally forgotten. Although there is no reason to doubt the importance of his work-after all he received an O.B.E from Britain for it soon after the war – there is no mention of him even in disguised form in the Official History of the SIS by Professor Jeffery. Smit’s activities first became know to me when I was carrying out research on Raoul Wallenberg. Yet while Wallenberg has achieved the position of secular saint and is the chief subject of an ever expanding list of films, TV programmes, books and articles, very few people have ever heard of Lolle Smit. This was why in August 2010, I wrote my essay on Smit in a belated attempt to give honour where honour was due..

Lolle Smit