What did the bnd know?

The Malpasset dam is believed to have been blown up by the FLN, causing 400 casualties

In 2010, almost three years ago, political scientist Matthias Ritzi published his doctoral dissertation at the Institute for Political Science at the University of Innsbruck with the thesis "Richard Christmann: Intelligence conflicts between Germany and France in the years 1936 to 1961".

In it, Matthias Ritzi informed that the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) was informed by its resident in Tunis, Richard Christmann, about planned attacks by the Algerian "National Liberation Front" (Front de Liberation Nationale, FLN) against oil installations and also against dams in France was informed in advance. In 2011, Ritzi and Erich Schmidt-Eenboom published the book based on the dissertation: "In the Shadow of the Third Reich – The BND and its Agent Richard Christmann." This book was u.a. discussed in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and in Neues Deutschland with a focus on the Algerian war. In Telepolis appeared a multi-page review The secret agent for special tasks, in which it also heibt:

Through Christmann, the BND was even informed in advance of bomb attacks, including those in France on refineries, for example, but did not warn its French partner service. One of the attacks was on the dam at Frejus in southern France, the breach of which cost the lives of 412 people, but is still considered a "Ungluck" is hushed up.

The "BND was informed about preparations, plans, etc. always informed in advance", Christmann noted retrospectively. On the other hand, the Algerian "National Liberation Army" (ALN, the military arm of the FLN) is eyeing the destruction of dams by compressed air-powered explosive devices. And it continues, quoted from Christmann’s memoirs:

After an attack on a small dam in the south of France was only partially successful, but claimed many lives, all further terror attacks were stopped by order of the group around Ben Bella, who was still imprisoned at the time.

That not only the BND resident (Christmann) was privy to the attack plans, but that he also informed the BND leadership in Pullach about it, is proven by a message that Christmann received on the 25th of March. August 1958 to his superior Giskes – and which is available to the authors Ritzi/Schmidt-Eenboom:

As soon as a certain lull has occurred, the hydroelectric power plant and dam projects are to be tackled. Auberdem is in some months the water level gunstiger.

How did the Federal Chancellery, which was responsible for controlling the BND, and the service itself react to these outrageous accusations?? At least to the outside with no syllable. At least in earlier years the BND had spared neither costs nor pains to observe and monitor this scientist and his contacts intensively and systematically (The BND is a secret service …). The spying on the Weinheim publicist provided material for a parliamentary investigation committee a few years ago, in which Schmidt-Eenboom informed the members of parliament about his decades-long observation by the BND (Escape to the front).

The surveillance has also been the subject of several questions in the Bundestag. It can be confidently excluded that the BND has not read another publication by Schmidt-Eenboom about the BND. In France, these German-language publications were apparently not noticed at all.

WDR/arte film storte the celebrations

On 22.January 2013, while the French government and parliament were in Berlin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Elysee Treaty, arte broadcasted the film "The rocky road to friendship", in which the authors Peter F.- Muller and Michael Muller mentioned the terrorist attack against the dam of Malpasset and Erich Schmidt-Eenboom confirmed in an interview his statement already made in the book, that the BND was informed about the attack plans against dams in France, but did not inform the French partners about it. Schmidt-Eenboom’s statements and the messages and reports on which they were based, which Christmann passed on to the BND, are confirmed in the files of the STASI. For the East German secret service always had the BND man Christmann in mind.

The statement that the dam collapse with over 400 victims, which was always explained by the French authorities with material defects and possible tree tampering, was due to an attack by the FLN, in which the German foreign intelligence service was involved, met with horror in France, but also with disbelief. The last time the French government officially stated that this disaster was an accident was in 1971. No indications of an explosion had been detected. After all, there had already been attacks by the FLN on oil installations in France. Le Monde and especially the newspapers in the South of France reported widely on the statements of the arte film.

The STASI knew it too

In the WDR/arte film, the employee of the Federal Commissioner for the Stasi files, Helmut Muller-Enbergs, says:

…And here also Richard Christmann was involved, of whom the State Security amed or had hints that he was looking for German explosives experts in Bremen, in order to support the Algerian National Liberation Front, FLN..

Word for word, it is written in a corresponding Stasi report, which is in the author’s possession: "There is no longer any doubt that Christmann is looking for German explosives trainers for the Freedom Army in Algeria. He openly admitted this (name blacked out) to Christmann and asked him again to help in the search for such experts."

Questions in the Bundestag

With some delay, the topic also found interest in the German Bundestag. Ulrich Maurer (Die Linke), member of the Bundestag and deputy chairman of the Franco-German parliamentary group, addressed three questions to the German government "The question is whether the German government can confirm or deny that the BND had prior knowledge of the FLN’s impending terrorist attacks in southern France – such as the attack on the Malpasset dam – in 1958/59 through its resident in Tunis at the time, Richard Christmann?"

The head of the Chancellor’s Office, Federal Minister Ronald Pofalla, did not want to commit himself yet. Although "a search in the old documents of the BND, which have been found so far, does not confirm that the BND had prior knowledge of imminent terrorist attacks by the FLN in southern France in 1958/59". However, Pofalle continued "In view of the extensive BND files, which have not yet been archived, and the fact that research is only just beginning, it is not possible to make a conclusive statement at this time." Another question by Christian Strobele (B90/Die Grunen) was answered by Pofalla with the same content.

Against this background, the Independent Commission of Historians (UHK), which is researching the early history of the BND up to 1968, has announced that it is also prepared to investigate scientifically the complex of ies raised in the questions raised here. The German government and the BND will support the UHK to the best of their ability." But this will take time. In the meantime, the ie was allowed to occupy other committees of the Bundestag. It can be amed that Christian Strobele will not be satisfied with the rather dry answer from the Chancellor’s Office and that the topic will also be put on the agenda in the Parliamentary Control Committee of the Secret Services.

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