Fritz Kolbe, a resident of Potsdam, had dropped by St. Nicholas church hoping to collect his thoughts and perhaps gain a few moments of solitude. Formerly a minor government official, he had distinguished himself through his work ethic and was thus given more responsibility within the ministerial jurisdiction. His task was to read, sort through and appraise recent cables, then forward the most relevant ones to a high ranking Nazi official, who often had direct contact within Hitler’s inner circle.
Curiously, Kolbe had never joined the Nazi party, even though becoming a party member would have ensured more recognition and future plum appointments. He had good reason not to join. He saw the Nazi party for what it was, a corrupt social mechanism that, like a vulture, preyed on the weak while elevating its own corrupt kind.
But Kolbe, a realist, had another, more pertinent reason. He was a spy. He had of course agonized over the accusations that were sure to follow, of not doing his job, of not being a true diplomat – perceived as a traitor – but he felt this was a burden to bear and of a lesser concern in the bigger scheme of things. Kolbe loved his country, and as far as he was concerned Hitler was the real traitor, not him. After much deliberation, he had decided some time ago to liaison with the Allies, and had established a viable connection with the Americans in Bern, Switzerland.
Anything that was helpful to their cause, ranging from gossip between bureaucrats, diplomatic assignments, to the general mood in Germany, all of it was of interest to the Allies, even dinner parties at Karinhall that were hosted by Hermann Göring.
Therefore, though not completely free of misgivings and accusations that would one day be thrown at him, Kolbe nevertheless steeled himself to the task at hand and concentrated on his efforts to topple the corrupt regime. Yet despite all this, Kolbe was a devout man: devout to his faith as well as his country; only his country, what was left of it, was in chaos and in shambles.