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konarciq

I've taken to wondering lately: during the set-up of the operations in Stalag 13, how did Hogan and his men go about getting in contact with the local underground? Those people sure didn't go around with identifying nametags, and wouldn't be listed in a separate category in the telephone directory either. So how did they find out who to contact? Going up to a person in the street or something and ask them if they, or anyone they knew, were active in the underground would by definition have been met by denial, alternatively by being turned into the Gestapo, so that doesn't strike me as a viable course of action either.

And that goes for Schnitzer as well. Even if it'd be Allied prisoners who'd sound him on the subject. What guarantee does he have that they aren't Nazi plants, trying to find out about the underground by way of list? Apart from the fact that Schnitzer doesn't come across as the most approachable person in the world... And how could Hogan & Co know that Schnitzer himself was not a Gestapo snitcher, trying to find out through them who was involved in the Hamelburg underground?

The only thing I can think of that would be met with success is if Hogan or one of his men had contacts in town previously - old acquaintances or family members of whom they knew for sure to be active in the underground. But it would be one hell of a coincidence that they'd been dropped in the prison camp just next to the town where their relations lived - Germany is quite a big country after all (for us Europeans, that is).

And the German underground being advised from London seems highly unlikely, if not plain impossible. From what I know, those resistance groups were organized very locally, without any form of umbrella organization - be it German, English or international. It's not like there was a big organization with a national leader and a board of directors etc, giving orders to the local groups. Each local group pretty much worked on its own, fighting the local problems they came across themselves. The local leaders were likely to have contact with leaders in nearby towns to keep one another apprised of upcoming dangers and the occasional working together on a big project, but that was about it.

I'll see if I can find anything on wikipedia on the subject, but I'd appreciate your input as well!

3/4/2012 #1
Tirathon

The long sobs of the violins of autumn wound my heart with a monotonous langour.

3/4/2012 #2
96 Hubbles

This would make a fantastic challenge!

One idea might be that they were put in contact with the underground by London, though that would mean they'd need the radio first and already been set-up with HQ. Which could mean the whole organization was planned ahead of time (a scenario I don't particularly favour, but is perfectly valid), or that an agent came to camp in one way or another and, getting help from the guys, eventually took Hogan's idea to the top brass when he/she got home.

Or Olsen, as their outside man, did a lot of snooping around and got in touch with the underground. Making contact was definitely tough, but people must have done it somehow, otherwise they couldn't have kept the thing going.

The German underground being advised by London may seem unlikely, but British operatives were on the ground and so were likely used to make contact with the resistance. I don't know if they'd be in the individual cells, which, as you said, were organized locally, but there was probably a certain amount of coordination, to pass along info or escaping prisoners if nothing else. Which would really be all that Hogan needed, since the guys worked relatively independently themselves. Their were occasional joint missions on the show, but usually the guys were blowing up targets they had chosen themselves (or got info on from London), or dealing with a threat/opportunity right in camp. Being part of the escape line is where they'd had the most contact, and usually they just did their section of it and then sent the prisoners on to the next station, like people on all the rest of the stops on the line.

3/4/2012 #3
96 Hubbles

Okay, I don't know about the German underground, but if you look up "SOE F Section networks" on wikipedia you'll find all the networks set-up in France by the British Special Operations Executive. So another possibility for connecting Hogan's group to the German underground is a British intermediary stationed in France, or a French agent (Tiger?) sent by London and already known to her German counterparts.

EDIT: make that "someone like Tiger?". I don't know how much sabotage the guys had done before she showed up, but they obviously already had their escape operation up and running, so it's likely they already had some contact with the German underground.

3/4/2012 . Edited 3/4/2012 #4
Sgt. Moffitt

Funny you should mention this, konarciq, as I am trying to address this issue in my current story. Wish me luck.

3/4/2012 #5
Sgt. Moffitt

And regarding Olsen, I picture him as an Army Intelligence agent who was the catalyst for Hogan's initial plans for his operation. Maybe I'll drag him into my current story as well...

3/4/2012 #6
konarciq

LOL Me too, Sgt. Moffitt. I have to figure out how Danzig got in contact with Hogan some time soon... Let's see what we can come up with!

Anyway, I've been reading up on the Dutch resistance on wikipedia (in the Dutch case, I know what to look for). Apparently in Holland, there were some umbrella organizations that tried to coordinate things: one for the people going into hiding, and two or three that tried to coordinate the very independently operating local sabotage groups. But those didn't come into existence until halfway the war: 1942 and onwards, and especially the ones trying to coordinate sabotage were not very successful in their attempt. The main reason for that was that national coordination meant that a lot of information would rest with a few people. And if those few were caught, it could easily mean the end of all the resistance groups involved. In the case of the organization helping people going into hiding, this happened twice.

It is also mentioned that contact with London was absolutely non-existent. They tried, but not until they managed to get a messenger through to the government in exile in London did that result in any success - and that was as late as 1944.

Dutch resistance focused mainly on helping the people in hiding or seeking to go in hiding. That did lead to a lot of sabotage and attacks as well, to get hold of fake ID papers and the ration-coupons for food etc.

I found a website dedicated to the German resistance as well. Unfortunately it's in Dutch, but perhaps with Google you can have a go at it ;-)

duitsverzet. wordpress. com/ burgerverzet/

All the links on this site tell the story of German people in the different forms and groups of resistance - both in Germany and Germans in Holland.

The main teneur of the stories that even though several groups were active (and even somewhat militant) long before Poland was invaded, there was little or no coordination until well into the war: 1942, 1943. And certainly not national coordination.

Some of the groups had some contact with Britain and Soviet Russia, but the former didn't see Hitler as much of a threat yet apparently, and instead hoped that he would resolve Germany's problems. The latter did help the resistance groups, many of which were gathered around a communist ideology, especially in Berlin.

As to Hubbles's ideas: considering how little contact there was between separate local groups and other countries, I doubt if London would have put them onto it. Make that: would have been *able* to.

Olsen: that still leaves the question how *he* knew or found out who to contact! It'd be equally unsuccessful for him to simply ask around ;-)

Foreign operatives: although an interesting idea, they face the same problem as Olsen: how do they know who to trust, and who to contact?

The escape route: hm... yet another challenge. I guess that must have been organized through the contacts between the different resistance cells. Unless Germany had an organization like the Dutch one to help people go into hiding - that would be a practical jump-off for the escape route as well. (Did you know they actually held a few national, highly secret fairs in Holland to rally people into taking in refugees and Jews in their homes? It came to a quick end though when the Nazis barged in and arrested practically everybody present...)

Anyway, I see no solution as yet... Keep them coming!

3/4/2012 #7
Sgt. Moffitt

This makes me get all teary-eyed, thinking of Miep Gies and all the other incredibly brave Dutch people who risked their lives to save Jews from extinction.

3/4/2012 #8
konarciq

Not just Jews, mind you. Dutch males ages 18-35 were continuously gathered up to go and work in the German factories. Most of them refused - which meant they had to go into hiding.

3/4/2012 #9
Fear-Of-The-Cold

Very true. My grandparents immigrated from the Netherlands in the 50's, and during the war my Grandma's brothers were involved in the Underground, and the eldest was in hiding from the Germans just as konarciq describes. I've actually been trying to find a way to fit this into hogan macgyver's "Where Did You Say You're From?" challenge. But somehow transporting the guys to Holland is a bit tricky. =)

As for the original question, is there not the possibility of Hogan and Co. being approached by Schnitzer himself? He wouldn't have to know beforehand about the operation, but as a member of the Underground it seems logical that he approach Allied soldiers. I'm not sure of how true it is, but in some of the films I've watched about POW camps, they seem to have contact with the Underground. To some extent. It could just be the filmmakers needing a good story, but in "Colditz" the escapes from the camp were organized with the Underground, who provided the escapees with money and civilian clothes as well as sending them on an escape route to Switzerland. Therefore Schnitzer could have made contact with the intentions of helping them escape, and ended up becoming the first link between the operation.

And yes, Schnitzer may have seen this as risky, and so could Hogan, but we also have to take into accounts that they had to take SOME risks. The whole operation is a risk to everyone involved, including the men who have only a passing knowledge of what really goes on there. If they didn't take risks, they would never get anything done.

3/4/2012 #10
96 Hubbles

I like the Schnitzer idea! I have no idea how feasible it would be, but it has a certain logic of its own to it.

3/4/2012 #11
Belphegor

I vote for Schnitzer too :o) Maybe they started small, with a few bribes (mainly food and cigarettes, like for the guards) to send mail without having to go through censure, or real news from the front (remember the media were tightly muzzled), and sounded him for bigger things and Resistance contacts later. From a episode of the show (I don't remember which one), you could listen to the BBC from Germany, so even without a two-way radio you could get coded messages; the Underground used them a lot to get clearance for planes (to get people out of the country) and confirm sabotage operations. And like Tirathon pointed out, Verlaine's "les sanglots long des violons de l'automne" and "blessent mon cœur d'une langueur monotone" were used to warn the Resistance that D-Day was two weeks and two days (respectively) away.

Good luck with your fanfic, Sgt. Moffitt! I can't wait to read your take on it :o)

3/5/2012 #12
Sgt. Moffitt

Thanks for the good wishes, Belphegor! And thanks for explaining Tirathon's cryptic (to me) comment. I didn't have a clue what she was talking about.

I just got a book from the library entitled "The Resistance" by Russell Miller. Okay, it's a Time-Life book, so I suppose the scholarship might be questionable. But there's an interesting chapter on the birth pangs of the SOE.

3/5/2012 #13
Tirathon

I like being cryptic. :)

The Germans couldn't decode messages like that one (the advantages of a code over a cipher) so they tried hard to jam the BBC, and sometimes succeeded.

One of these days I need to write the fanfic I have planned that includes a collision between OSS and the SOE operations. The agencies in question really didn't cooperate very well (gotta love bureaucratic turf wars) and whichever one is running Hogan's operation (I'd vote for the SOE, given the timing and British connections, like Crittendon, Roberts, etc.) probably hasn't actually let the other one know about it. Throw in Rommel, the Gestapo, and a truckload of rocket fuel, and things get ... interesting.

3/5/2012 #14
snooky-9093

One of these days I need to write the fanfic I have planned that includes a collision between OSS and the SOE operations. The agencies in question really didn't cooperate very well (gotta love bureaucratic turf wars) and whichever one is running Hogan's operation (I'd vote for the SOE, given the timing and British connections, like Crittendon, Roberts, etc.) probably hasn't actually let the other one know about it. Throw in Rommel, the Gestapo, and a truckload of rocket fuel, and things get ... interesting.

I kind of beat you to it, Tirathon. See my story from 2009 titled SNAFU

3/7/2012 #15
Papa Bear Awards

Fear:

Very true. My grandparents immigrated from the Netherlands in the 50's, and during the war my Grandma's brothers were involved in the Underground, and the eldest was in hiding from the Germans just as konarciq describes. I've actually been trying to find a way to fit this into hogan macgyver's "Where Did You Say You're From?" challenge. But somehow transporting the guys to Holland is a bit tricky. =)

Not necessarily. If you use the Düsseldorfian placement of Hamelburg, you're only something like a dozen miles from the Dutch/German border. In fact, from this location, it would have been more logical if they'd worked together with the Dutch underground than with the French!

3/8/2012 #16
Fear-Of-The-Cold

I guess I should have said that my relatives live pretty much on the coast. So maybe a few hundred more kilometers unfortunately! Although, they don't have to actually be in the same town where they really lived for the story to work, but I'd kind of like them to be. However, using Dusseldorf would definitely bring them a lot closer! Thanks =)

3/9/2012 #17
konarciq

West coast 200 km, north coast 300. Holland is small ;-)

But I understand what you mean. Always nice to write about places you have some personal info on - even if it's second or third or fourth hand.

3/10/2012 #18
Fear-Of-The-Cold

Well, my first thought was to bring my Grandma's brother to Germany to make contact with Hogan, but my Grandma always tells this story about how during the war she went to their barn and saw American soldiers hiding in it and she had to just close the door and walk away. Its one of the few stories from the war that she has told, so I thought maybe I could somehow work it so that the soldiers were Hogan and Co. Then I Google mapped it and found out the distance lol!

Yes, its definitely not first hand! Although I did finally meet my Grandma's older brother in December, he immigrated to New Zealand instead and we were in Australia so we stopped by lol! I'll make it to Holland someday, but haven't yet. My mom and dad have been, and I can't wait!

3/12/2012 #19
Thaddeus MacChuzzlewit

It had never really occurred to me that they might have had problems hooking up with the underground. I had sort of assumed that it would have worked like the first hand accounts I've read of the Americans' Underground Railway for runaway slaves. There were multiple cases where a willing 'underground station master' just approached a desperate looking slave and offered to hook them up. But I guess it was a bit more simple in that case, what with skin colour being an obvious give away.

I know I've read several fanfics where Schultz took one or more of the Heroes into town to visit the doctor or the dentist, or something. I assumed that any Underground members would have approached them then. But, come to think of it, did Schultz ever take them into town like that (with Klink's knowledge) in the show, or just in our stories?

3/16/2012 #20
Goldleaf83

Schultz takes Newkirk into town to the dentist in the episode "Happiness Is a Warm Sergeant." Klink is rather put out by the request, and tells Hogan that his men seem to have been having a lot of dental trouble lately, implying this is a regular gambit. (Though I wonder how historically correct it is for POWs to be taken to the dentist....) We see the guys being used as workers outside the wire a number of times, a few of which are specified as being in Hammelburg: they're waiters in "The Safecracker Suite," they paint Luftwaffe Headquarters in "Paint the Luftwaffe Red," and LeBeau, Hogan, and Newkirk go to the Hauserhof Hotel to design the wedding dress for Burkhalter's niece. Those are all with Klink's knowledge, though of course each trip is also a part of Hogan's plans and a couple of the trips are intended to make contact with the underground or other Allied agents. But something like them could have been used early on to make initial contacts with the underground.

3/16/2012 #21
96 Hubbles

I believe there's also an episode where Klink complains to Hogan that a few of Hogan's men snuck off during a work detail to make pests of themselves at a travel agent's, asking about package holidays or something. I don't know if that was to meet a contact or to serve as a distraction, but it always made me smile.

3/16/2012 #22
Tirathon

(Though I wonder how historically correct it is for POWs to be taken to the dentist....)

There was at least one successful home run from Colditz that way.

3/16/2012 #23
dust on the wind

Klink complains to Hogan that a few of Hogan's men snuck off during a work detail to make pests of themselves at a travel agent's, asking about package holidays or something

The episode is The Empty Parachute (Season 5). The incident has no bearing on the main story.

dust...

3/17/2012 . Edited 4/7/2013 #24
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