|Flyleaf of Book|
|Close-up of Signature & Dedication|
Gisevius’ post-war reputation was significantly tainted by several factors including: his unfavourable depiction of resistance icon Claus von Stauffenberg; his friendship and vigorous defense of the reputation of senior police officer and Einsatz Group B head Arthur Nebe; his general views on the guilt of the German people expressed in the witness box at Nuremburg (where he testified against Göring and for Schacht) and finally, his personal contacts with Allied intelligance which resulted in his survival while so many others died. As a result, Gisevius spent many years after WWII residing in Switzerland and the US, rather than in Germany.
As a fully committed member of the German covert opposition, Gisevius began gathering evidence of Nazi crimes for use in a potential prosecution of Hitler. This material found its way into the comprehensive secret archive known as the “Zossen archive” and maintained by Hans von Dohnanyi and Werner Schrader. )
Gisevius’ background as a Gestapo official with an antipathy to the Nazis made him a natural candidate for recruitment into Admiral Wilhelm Canaris’ military counter intelligence organization, the Abwehr. He established close relationships with Canaris’ second in command, Hans Oster, and he worked to position the Abwehr as a restraint on the increasing power of Heinrich Himmler and the SS. Gisevius was involved in the 1939 and 1943 plots against Hitler and he was assigned to the consulate in Zurich for intelligence duty. Canaris arranged for Gisevius to be appointed Vice Consul in Switzerland, where he met with and established a close relationship with Office of Strategic Services (OSS, later CIA) head Allen Dulles in 1943. In this role Gisevius served as the primary liaison between the western allies and the German opposition to Hitler. He had close ties to Generaloberst Ludwig Beck, Admiral Canaris, and ex- Leipzig Mayor Carl Goerdeler. He was heavily involved in secret talks with the Vatican.
|Allen Dulles - Head of OSS|
|Gisevius Testifying at Nuremburg|
Gisevius served as a key witness for the prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials in the case against Hermann Göring, his former boss in the Prussian Ministry of the Interior. He also testified against Keitel and Kaltenbrunner. In the cases against Hjalmar Schacht and Wilhelm Frick, he served for the defence. In his memoir Bis zum bitteren Ende, ("To the Bitter End"), published in German in 1946, he provided an effective condemnation of the Nazi revolution and leadership and he commented on the failings of the German people as a whole, claiming that they only pretended not to know about the atrocities being committed. In 1946, Gisevius was charged by the Swiss authorities and later acquitted in a trial for espionage. Post-war he wrote a book-length defense of his friend Arthur Nebe but he did not wholly succeed in revising Nebe’s soiled reputation. Gisevius died in Müllheim in Baden-Württemberg in 1974.