An Abwehr agent in Canada

There were large expanses of the globe where spying, or even a pretence of it, seemed an unproductive activity because they were strategically irrelevant. When a question was raised in London about running some double agents out of Canada, the responsible MI5 officer — Cyril Mills, of the well-known British circus-owning family — demurred. Even the Abwehr, he said, could see that nothing of much importance was happening in Canada. [Abwehr chief] Canaris disagreed. On 9 November 1942 a U-boat landed his man Wener Janowsky on the Gaspe peninsula. Following his subsequent arrest he was found to be carrying a Quebec driving license taken from a Canadian PoW captured at Dieppe, but with an Ontario personal identification and address. Most of the $5,000 in Canadian currency with which Janowsky was supplied was time-expired — a mistake which prompted his capture after he used it to pay a New Carlisle hotel bill. He had already roused the proprietor’s suspicions by smoking German cigarettes and taking a bath at mid-morning. Among the possessions appropriated by the Canadian police were a Wehrmacht travel pro forma and diary, a .25 automatic pistol, radio, knuckle-duster, five US$20 gold pieces, a microfilm copy of coding instructions and a copy of Mary Poppins as a code crib. Janowsky was a thirty-eight-year-old former French Foreign Legionnaire who had a wife living in Canada, and knew the country. But no Allied secret service, even on a bad day, would have dispatched an event into the field — at the cost of a substantial investment of Nazi resources, including the U-boat — so absurdly ill-equipped. Janowsky was fortunate to survive the war in British captivity.

Hastings, Max. The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939–1945. p. 466–7 (hardcover)

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

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