There is a world that we have seen in the movies – especially the James Bond series. Spies, guns, undercover operations and disguises – all of this is real. There are some really interesting spy stories from history, some of which we still don’t know as it continues to remain classified.
One such interesting incident is the ‘Salon Kitty’ incident. Situated in Charlottenburg, Berlin, this brothel was used by Nazi Germany’s Sicherheitsdienst (SD) organisation during World War II.
The ‘madame’ who ran the place was referred to as ‘Kitty Schmidt’. Her real name was Katharina Zammit. Kitty had plans to leave Germany post-Nazi occupation but when she did try to run, she was arrested and taken to Gestapo (Nazi Germany’s secret police) headquarters. She was then given an option to co-operate with them or be sent to a concentration camp by German officer Walter Schellenberg. It is obvious what she would have chosen.
A lot of diplomats and high-profile men visited the brothel often. Salon Kitty was a huge honey trap for a lot of men. Once drunk and satisfied, most powerful men would spill secrets or speak their mind freely. This gave the SD & Gestapo an insight into what was going on in the rich circles.
A lot of new girls were recruited who were multi-lingual and a were patriotic. Some prostitutes were chosen to work as agents. They were all trained and taught to recognise men from their uniforms. What’s surprising is a revelation by Historian Paul Roland. he states, ‘the women who entertained members of the Nazi elite, however, were respected ladies of Berlin’s high society who were given no allowances for their “contributions” and were nearly all married to men of good financial means.’
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s son-in-law Galeazzo Ciano expressed ‘not positive’ opinions about Hitler when he visited the brothel.
The spy brothel did good work until the World War II worsened. In July 1942, a British air strike destroyed the building. Even though they relocated to a new place, the German secret police decided to shut down that operation. The brothel was handed over to Kitty Schmidt. And as we can imagine, she was given the ultimatum – she had to stay silent.
So how do we know about this?
The officer with whom Kitty spoke when she was arrested, Walter Schellenberg, wrote a memoir titled, ‘The Labyrinth.’ Thereafter, scholars and historians wrote about Salon Kitty.
Did you know about this?