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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George Smiley's model?
In the Spring of 1918, one-time student Frank Foley copped a bullet. His brigade took the brunt of a German attack sweeping over some small villages in the Somme. He survived to be sent home to England to recover. By the time he was ready to return to active service, the great August offensive had bled Germany's military strength. The Armistice left Foley at loose ends,...
Published on 15 Aug 2006 by Stephen A. Haines

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The little man
This well-intended book about a British secret service agent working at the British embassy in Berlin in the years before World War Two, makes somewhat tedious reading over the many pages which relate the individual circumstances of persons who had turned to him for assistance, although it does pay a fitting tribute to the valiant efforts of this man who provided Jews...
Published on 27 Jun 2008 by Thomas Dunskus


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The little man, 27 Jun 2008
By 
Thomas Dunskus (Faleyras, France) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (Paperback)
This well-intended book about a British secret service agent working at the British embassy in Berlin in the years before World War Two, makes somewhat tedious reading over the many pages which relate the individual circumstances of persons who had turned to him for assistance, although it does pay a fitting tribute to the valiant efforts of this man who provided Jews with documents allowing them to emigrate to Palestine - against stiff opposition from British government circles that did not want to antagonize the Arabs.

On the other hand, this array of individual fates bears witness to the reluctance of many countries to provide shelter not only for the German Jews but also for Jews from other countries pursuing a policy of forced emigration, such as Poland. In this connection, the author provides a good description of the quandary faced by some 70,000 Jews of Polish nationality living in Germany who, in 1938, were threatened by the loss of their Polish nationality - they did not wish to return to a country whose anti-Jewish policies, ever since Poland's re-establishment in 1919, had been at least as severe as Hitler's measures up to that time and showed no signs of letting up. Their problem was solved when the Germans, not wanting to end up with 70 000 stateless Jews on their hands in addition to their own, simply rounded them up and dumped them on the Polish border. This incident, in turn, generated a chain of events which led to the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris and to a pogrom in Germany in November of that year.

The book also sheds some light on the under-cover actions which the Comintern, Moscow's international organization, was carrying out all over the world. As we now know, the Soviets were much more dangerous to the free societies in the West at the time than Hitler's hankering after Lebensraum in the East.

Being a specialist on Germany, the book's hero became involved in a number of WW2 `sting' operations not the least important one of which concerned Rudolf Hess' flight to Scotland in May of 1941. The author does make it clear (p. 188 et seq.) that the trap for the Germans had been sprung by the British who started a line of communication with the German side via Lisbon in an effort to fool the Germans into believing that a British peace party wanted to bring the war to an end. Other authors, such as Martin Allen and Picknett et al. have elaborated on the events that ensued and which culminated in Hess' flight and the German invasion of the Soviet Union a month later.

A quote from a letter written by Foley in the summer of 1942 illustrates all too well the hysterical spirit of that tumultuous period, which had permeated even Foley's normally sober way of thinking; he in fact advocates `extermination' of the `Teutonic beast' as the only solution and says that Britain was working hard to that end.

On the material side, the book contains a number of mistakes which could have been avoided; they concern chiefly the spelling of place names in foreign countries, but there are also some factual misrepresentations, e.g on p. 204 with respect to Foley's transfer to St. Albans and the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

Summing things up, it is the sidelights on issues other than the plight of the Jews in pre-WW2 Europe which constitute the book's more valuable historical contributions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars George Smiley's model?, 15 Aug 2006
By 
Stephen A. Haines (Ottawa, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (Paperback)
In the Spring of 1918, one-time student Frank Foley copped a bullet. His brigade took the brunt of a German attack sweeping over some small villages in the Somme. He survived to be sent home to England to recover. By the time he was ready to return to active service, the great August offensive had bled Germany's military strength. The Armistice left Foley at loose ends, except some alert soul had reviewed his file. There, it was revealed that the wounded officer had not only studied in Germany before The Great War, but to avoid internment, he had virtually walked out of the country undetected. From this revelation, Frank Foley embarked on an intelligence career that would keep him occupied for the remainder of his life. In this lively and informative biography, Michael White depicts a man many thousands called "hero" and "saviour". For Frank Foley became instrumental in saving thousands of Jews from Hitler's Germany.

To a generation steeped in various incarnations of "James Bond" type spies, the image of Frank Foley seems entirely anomalous. Alec Guiness as "George Smiley" bears a striking resemblance to the photos of Foley in this book. A short, stocky, bespectacled man who looked as if he should be out pottering about with his roses, instead took up station in post-war Berlin to keep watch on Bolsheviks. The rise of Hitler's thugs found Foley shifting roles. Using his cover as Passport Control Officer, he began easing the path for emigres fleeing Germany. As this was the height of the world Depression of the 1930s, many nations took advantage of economic stress to close their doors to Jewish immigrants. Foley sent as many as possible to Britain, but the other option was Palestine, then under Britain's "mandate". When Arab residents objected to the sharp rise in immigrant numbers, a new force came into being. Mossad, now Israel's infamous spy agency, at that time was instrumental in smuggling Jewish refugees into Palestine. A final choice, bizarre as it reads today, was Shanghai, China. No objection was raised at the influx of Jews entering the territory and thousands transported there.

As an intelligence officer based in Berlin, Foley was well placed to discern the onset of World War II in Europe. He and his family duplicated his earlier feat, leaving Germany by circuitous routes. Placed in new sites, Foley was chased across Europe by advancing Nazi forces. He smuggled a wireless set into his station in Norway, which allowed General Otto Ruge to appeal for aid from Britain. The aid, unfortunately, was an invasion force that landed almost a thousand kilometres from the Wehrmacht forces. Driven from Norway, Foley became part of the "Twenty Club". This organisation was actually the XX Committee established to deal with German spies in Britain and misleading Axis intelligence. Its main thrust was to "turn" German agents, feeding them false or insufficient data to confuse the Abwehr. The group was so effective that one of its senior officers claimed every German agent in Britain was actually employed by the British. Stranger still are the accounts of "agents" who set themselves up in Lisbon, neutral Portugal's capital, feeding stories of conditions in the UK to the Abwehr for cash. One of the better known of these, "Garbo", had never set foot in Britain. Using tourist guidebooks and other easily acquired publications, he acted as a "free-lance double-cross operation in miniature". He was effective enough to remain undetected throughout the war.

The invasion of Europe and overrunning of Nazi Germany didn't bring about Frank Foley's retirement. Instead, his experience made his return to Berlin an essential element in the "Denazification" programme. Although the victorious Allies had declared that all aspects of the Nazi party were to be eradicated, this was easier to promise than to implement. Since Party membership had become essential for any employment of consequence, including all levels of government, total curtailment of anybody suspected of being a Party member in the restoration of German society would have made rebuilding impossible. Foley concentrated on finding former SS officers. Some of these had coalesced into the Deutsche Revolution, a body aimed at restoration of the Nazi regime.

Foley's services were but mildly recognised by the British government. When the Norwegians had wanted to honour him with a medal, the Foreign Office hindered the award. He was "gonged" later, at a ceremony shifted from the normal location due to bomb damage. To Smith, the first real reward for Foley's efforts, was the grove of trees planted in his honour by a former colleague. That this came about after Foley's death is a source of regret to Smith. Even more regrettable was that Frank Foley's name had been put forward as a "Righteous Person Among Nations", Israel's highest award for non-Jews. It was granted Foley just after the book was published. Read Smith's account to understand why. The "why" of the delay in granting it has never been explained. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Foley - the unsung hero., 27 Mar 2005
By 
M. Kirton "Mike Kirton" (Southwell UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (Paperback)
A well written book telling the remarkable story of Frank Foley, MI6 agent and saviour of thousands of Jews in pre-war Germany. The author has provided an invaluable resource for students of this dark period in European history. Not only does he describe Foley's heroic efforts in saving potential victims of Nazi tyranny, but provides an insight into Foley's unsung achievements in WW1, his intelligence work in MI6, including his time in Norway and in trying to make sense of Hess's mission to England. Foley was certainly an unsung hero and Michael Smith, the author, is to be congratulated on his meticulous research into his interesting life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book - totally engrossing, 7 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews (Paperback)
As a woman who is about to marry a Jewish man, and as a student of history, I am very interested in this period of history.

What a fantastic and courageous man. In the face of the powerful Nazi regime he used his influence and position to save the lives of so many people who would have been murdered in such a terrible way if he had not intervened. I wish more people were like him. He is a true Hero.
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Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews
Foley: The Spy Who Saved 10,000 Jews by Michael Smith (Paperback - 27 Sep 2004)
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