This must be one of the most remarkable stories to come out of World War II, and Fritz Kolbe must be one of that war's most unique personalities. During the last two years of the war, and at the risk of his life, Fritz Kolbe brought to the Allies over 2600 secret documents from Hitler's Foreign Office in Berlin. As a result, at war's end he was regarded as "the prize intelligence source of the war." For all this, he asked nothing.
Kolbe was a minor official in the Foreign Office who had managed to maintain his position despite never having joined the Nazi Party. He came to detest the Nazi regime and, despite the inherent risks, resolved to do everything in his power to help bring it down. In early 1943, despite not being a party member, he managed to wangle a trip to Bern, Switzerland as a diplomatic courier. Once there, he attempted to contact the British secret service but they turned him away.
Kolbe then managed to contact the Bern office of the fledgling American Office of Strategic Services (OSS) - the forerunner of today CIA - which was headed by Allen Dulles. Kolbe brought with him about two hundred Nazi top secret documents. Dulles was somewhat uncertain, but decided to take a chance on Kolbe and gave him the cover name George Wood. From that time on, Kolbe provided Dulles with highly classified information regarding the third Reich, its plans, its weaponry, its manufacturing plants and their locations, damage to factories and other installations by allied aircraft, Germany's negotiations with other countries, and strategic information concerning the Japanese war machine. In addition, Kolbe's information helped identify German spies and/or their locations in Ireland, Ankara, and Africa.
But sadly, much of this information was never acted upon by the Allies. For some inexplicable reason the OSS office in Washington assigned his file to the counter-espionage service which spent most of its time trying to verify the authenticity of the source. Even more sadly, shortly before his death President Roosevelt mandated that no special consideration should be given to Germans who risked their lives to aid the Allied cause. Germany's surrender must be unconditional.
Thus the ultimate irony: It has been said that no good deed shall go unpunished. So, if Fritz Kolbe's heroic efforts to help bring down Adolph Hitler's Nazi Germany can be considered a good deed by mankind, then Kolbe certainly received his just reward. For at war's end, and with the newly established German Foreign Office largely staffed with ex-Nazi officials, Fritz Kolbe found himself blacklisted as a traitor and left out in the cold.
He had many friends in America's Office of Strategic Services (OSS), but despite the best efforts of his friend, Allen Dulles, who's reputation as a spy master Kolbe had almost single handedly created, Kolbe was never able to resume his career. Instead, he went from one low paying job to another until his death on February 16, 1971. This was a sad end for a forgotten hero who strangely enough might have wanted it that way.