Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Axis Diplomats

From The Washington Post:
It’s one of the most striking images of Washington from just after the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor: Smoke rising from the garden of the Japanese Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue NW as diplomats burned box after box of secret documents. But have you ever wondered what happened next?
Harvey Solomon did — and the Takoma Park, Md., writer is hoping there are still some people around who recall one of the oddest episodes of the World War II home front: more than 1,000 employees from Axis embassies — diplomats, their families, staff and servants — were sent from Washington to live in luxury hotels.

“The FBI and the State Department wanted them out of the embassies,” Solomon said. “They might still be communicating via radio, and they had diplomatic pouches. All that had to end.”

The solution was to move them to the countryside. The first ones to go were the Germans, headed by acting Ambassador Hans Thomsen and his glamorous wife, Bebe. On Dec. 19, 1941, they were taken by special train from Union Station to White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. They would be cooling their heels at the Greenbrier resort. (Read more.)

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