The Shmooze

A Letter from Dad...on Hitler's Stationery

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
CIA

Many of us have saved old letters and cards that were sent to us by family members and close friends when we were children. Some of us even have scrapbooks filled with old “Welcome Baby” notes and birthday cards that our parents compiled as keepsakes.

But only Dennis Helms has such a greeting written on Adolf Hitler’s personal stationery. The CIA recently acquired and put on display a note that Helms’ father, Richard (then an OSS officer) wrote from Germany to his three-year-old son back home on May 8, 1945 (Victory in Europe Day).

Having taken a sheet of the stationery from Hitler’s Bavarian hilltop retreat, he proceeded to write:

Dear Dennis,

The man who might have written on this card once controlled Europe — three short years ago when you were born. Today he is dead, his memory despised, his country in ruins. He had a thirst for power, a low opinion of man as an individual, and a fear of intellectual honesty. He was a force for evil in the world. His passing, his defeat — a boon to mankind. But thousands died that it might be so. The price for ridding society of bad is always high.

Love,
Daddy

Definitely not the kind of note most dads write to their toddler sons. But then again, Helms was not your usual dad and the occasion on which he wrote this letter was not your average one, either.

The elder Helms, “an urbane and dashing spymaster” went to work in the CIA (the successor to the OSS) rising in the ranks to Director of Central Intelligence during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. He was eventually convicted of covering up covert actions in Chile and Cuba.

The letter is on display at the CIA Museum’s newly renovated OSS Gallery, together with a plate inscribed in German with “The Chacellery of the Fuehrer,” which Helms, after slipping into the Russian Zone, took as a souvenir from Hitler’s office compound in the fall of 1945.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Richard Helms, Hitler, Dennis Helms, CIA, Stationery

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.