Paul Dickopf

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Person.png Paul Dickopf  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Bundesarchiv Bild 146-2007-0205, Paulinus Dickopf.jpg
BornJune 9, 1910
Müschenbach, German Empire
DiedSeptember 19, 1973 (Age 63)
Bonn, West Germany
InterestsFrançois Genoud
SS spook who became leader of the German Federal Police after the war, where he recruited exclusively former Gestapo and SS officers. Also a paid "unilateral agent" of the CIA since 1948.

Employment.png Interpol/President

In office
1968 - 1972
Also agent for the CIA

Employment.png Leader of the German Federal Criminal Police Office

In office
January 1965 - 1971
Also agent for the CIA

Employment.png Deputy Leader

In office
1952 - 1965
EmployerGerman Federal Criminal Police Office
Also agent for the CIA

Paul (Paulinus) Dickopf was a member of the NSDAP and SS in the Security Service (SD) and a secret agent in Switzerland, who became a member of the German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). Between 1965 and 1971, he was appointed president of the BKA, and became president of Interpol. Working with his wartime contact, he was since 1948 a paid "unilateral agent" of the CIA.

Early Career

Dickopf was born on June 9, 1910 in Müschenbach, as the son of a primary school teacher. In the summer of 1932 started law studies in Frankfurt. In 1933 he joined the Nazi Student Union. He dropped out of his studies after six semesters in 1936, after completing a voluntary military service, and applied to the Criminal Investigation Department. He passed the aptitude test in 1937. After completing a course at the Führerschule der Sicherheitspolizei in Berlin, he passed the exam for Kriminalkommissar in June 1939 and became SS-Untersturmführer at the intelligence agency Security Service (SD). During the war, he was in service with the counterintelligence service Abwehr. In 1941 he was awarded the War Merit Cross II class with swords.[1]

Intelligence work in Switzerland

Around June 1942, Paul Dickopf received a personal message from his superior at the Abwehr that he was scheduled for deployment in Switzerland. His preparation for this would take place in Paris, after which he was supposed to use the cover name "Peter Dorr", as an employee of the German railroads, in Zurich. His task was to establish contacts with employees of the Swiss intelligence services and to obtain information from them.

In later statements and biographical notes, Dickopf repeatedly claimed to have "fled" to Paris as an "opponent of the regime" and from there to Switzerland. However, this was only part of the deployment legend, which was meant to make his job easier.

At the beginning of August 1942, he traveled to Paris to report to the local rail traffic center to familiarize himself with the cover job. In December 1942 he moved to Brussels. Here he learned through his close confidant François Genoud, who worked as a spook at the Stuttgart Abwehr, that some officials in Germany were asking questions about his absence. However, he was suspected to be in the south of France. When a German authority began to investigate him, he decided to "leave quickly". On the night of July 17, 1943, Dickopf crossed the border in the direction of Switzerland.

Until the end of January 1944, Dickopf was on the payroll of the Criminal Investigation Department of Karlsruhe. After his official disappearance, his salary was paid to his wife by the Karlsruhe police.[2] A warrant for Dickopf's arrest was issued in October 1944.[3]

OSS, Abwehr and Bormann

According to investigations available today, this "disappearance" was probably be part of the intelligence legend intended for him. Hansjakob Stehle wrote in Die Zeit in 1977 that after his "escape" to Genoud in Switzerland, Dickopf not only found contacts with his host country Switzerland and the American secret service, but above all supplied information to Munich for Martin Bormann's party chancellery. The cooperation as a "classic double agent" for the OSS and the German Abwehr is described in detail by author Dieter Schenk. Schenk sees this cooperation as the basis for Dickopf's later influence on the founding of the German Federal Criminal Police Office through his recommendations from the CIA, which were forwarded by the Allied authorities to German authorities. "Dickopf's position as a now recognized expert was so dominant that he significantly influenced the CIA on these issues, and they, in turn, influenced the American High Commissioner."[4]


With the help of Genoud, a story of a defected German Abwehr man was now to be built up. Under an alias, Dickopf received a Swiss refugee passport and permission to reside in Lausanne, Genoud's place of residence. Apparently, doubts arose among Swiss authorities, because on August 8, 1944, Dickopf, Genoud and his wife, as well as Dickopf's Brussels landlord Muhidin Daouk, a Lebanese, were arrested. The investigations had been carried out by the Groupe du Lac of the Security Service at the Swiss Army High Command. During his arrest, several real and false identity documents were found on the aliases Peter Diekmann, André Jung, André Donaldsen and Hans Hardegg. In addition, Dickopf's criminal service badge, his service ID from the Karlsruhe Criminal Investigation Department, his SS driver's license, passports, and a manipulated military ID. In mid-November, the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office released all of them. Dickopf, however, had to stay in a hotel near Bern as an internee. During this time, he wrote several reports on the organization and functioning of the German intelligence services.[5]

Return to Germany

On October 10, 1945, he received a written notification from the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office that he had been released from political refugee status. With a recommendation from the OSS, signed by an employee of Allen Dulles, he returned – after several previous short stays – finally to Germany in February 1947.[6] From 1948 he had regular contact with a liaison officer of the Central Intelligence Agency.[7]

German Federal Police

In May 1950, Dickopf was appointed to the Federal Ministry of the Interior as a government and criminal councillor. Under the first BKA President Max Hagemann, who had been working on the establishment of the police since 1951, he became the head of the German Interpol Central Office in 1952 after the BKA was admitted to the International Criminal Police Organization IKPO (Interpol). From November 1952 Dickopf acted as the permanent representative of the BKA President Reinhard Dullien. After his retirement, he became the fourth BKA president in January 1965. Hermann Höcherl said at his inauguration on February 19, 1965: "At no time did you make a pact with National Socialism."[8]

In 1968, he was elected president of Interpol, which Dickopf allegedly owed to François Genoud's good contacts with the Arab camp.[9] Dickopf's tenure at the BKA came under increasing criticism. He was accused of incompetence, inability to streamline workflows, lack of cooperation with the state criminal investigation offices and mistakes in the fight against crime. Dickopf was finally retired in 1971, and he also resigned from all other positions on July 1. Despite all the criticism, the then Interior Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher called him "a role model for the entire German police" in his farewell speech.[10]

Infiltration of the BKA by former Nazi officials

After his death it was revealed that Dickopf had made the Federal Criminal Police a safe haven for former Nazi and SS officials, a large number of them war criminals. The personnel selection conducted by Dickopf showed that he shortlisted 128 former members of the Criminal Police, the Gestapo and the Security Service (SD). The fact that one of these "old criminalists" had not previously been in the NSDAP or the SS can be considered an exception[4].

Other BKA leaders were members of the Einsatzgruppen in Poland and, as superiors, were involved in the extermination of the Polish intelligentsia. Others were in the SS Einsatzkommandos or the police battalions in the occupied USSR or commanded the Secret Field Police in the Ukraine.[4][11][12]

Secret work for the CIA

According to documents in the National Archives in Washington, which were released in 2007, the CIA made payments to Dickopf from 1965 to 1971, while he was president of the BKA. He is categorized in the files as a "unilateral agent".[13] One note about Dickopf by the then head of the CIA says: '"Our relationship with Mr Dickopf is mainly of a secret nature, the official contacts being used as a cover up for meetings".[14] Dickopf passed on to the CIA information on leading officials as well as on internal affairs of the BKA and other authorities. It is not known what instructions he took. His CIA handler in the 1950s was Thomas Polgar.[15]


  1. Dieter Schenk: Die braunen Wurzeln des BKA. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-596-15782-X, page 61
  4. a b c
  5. Dieter Schenk: Die braunen Wurzeln des BKA. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-596-15782-X, page 94f.
  6. Dieter Schenk: Die braunen Wurzeln des BKA. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-596-15782-X, page 111.
  7. Lippenbekenntnisse zum Rechtsstaat. In: Der Spiegel, Nr. 15/2011, page 42.
  8. Dieter Schenk: Die braunen Wurzeln des BKA. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-596-15782-X, page 271.
  10. Dieter Schenk: Die braunen Wurzeln des BKA. Fischer Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt am Main 2003, ISBN 3-596-15782-X, page 300.
  13. Memorandum v. 30 August 1968; released document from CIA files (Digitalisat 389 KB) (retrieved 13 September 2013); compare the copious CIA files (Liste) on
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