Special Operations Executive

SOE was founded in 1940 by Churchill to foment sabotage and other resistance activities. Little is known about SOE-NKVD cooperation in World War II, a subject I chanced upon when researching the lives of Austrian political emigrants in the USSR. At a time when Soviet aircraft could not reach targets in Germany and Austria in 1941-42, carefully chosen Communist cadres (usually veterans of the International Brigades) were sent from the Soviet Union to Britain for parachute training in the expectation that they would be dropped from a RAF bomber over their target areas in Central Europe. A group of four (“Coffee”) refused to carry out their mission and were repatriated to Russia via Canada. The Austrians were sentenced to the Gulag, and three survived. For an English version of their story, click here, for the longer, German-language text, click here. See also Talks/Vorträge and Book Reviews.