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Paul Scheffer

(1883 -1963)

Excerpt from

Sabotage! The Secret War Against America" (By Michael Sayers and Albert E. Kahn - 1942- Harper and Brothers Publishers New York and London) 

"In November 1941 the authors of this book received an anonymous tip that “a very interesting fellow” named Paul Scheffer could be found at a certain house on East 51st in New York City. We went to this address. It was a large old house with its windows boarded up. Obviously unoccupied. Thinking we had been misled, we started away, when the door man of the apartment house next door asked us if we were looking for someone. We told him we were looking for the occupant of the deserted house. “A smart dresser with a foreign accent?” asked the doorman, He told us that such a man periodically came to this house, apparently to collect his mail.

The next time Paul Scheffer came to the deserted house, we were waiting for him.  When he left, we followed his taxicab to a smart apartment house at 227 East 57th Street. We learned that Scheffer was living there in Apartment No. 3G.

Paul Scheffer was not at all inclined to be interviewed, but we finally persuaded him. He told us that he was in the United States as a “special correspondent” for Das Reich, Dr. Goebbel’s own newspaper. He did not tell us, but we soon found


out, that he was in touch with the Nazi agents and “newspaper men,” Rudolf Mattfeldt in Washington. and August Halfeld and Herbert Cross in New York. We also uncovered some interesting biographical details about Paul Scheffer, a man with quite an extraordinary career.

Under the Weimar Republic, Paul Scheffer had the reputation of being one of the foremost liberal journalists in Germany. He wrote regularly for the famous Berliner Tageblatt. At the same time, according to subsequent revelations, he was reporting to Section IIIB. In fact, the ‘liberal” journalist. Paul Scheffer, was later disclosed to be a Nicolai Spy, a paid agent of the Reichswehr faction then working to weave the downfall of German democracy. Scheffer worked directly under Colonel Oberhaus, one of Nicolai’s lieutenants in Section IIIB*

Shortly before littler came to power. Paul Scheffer traveled to the Soviet Union as “foreign correspondent” for the Berliner Tageblatt. Scheffer’s orders were to contact Mikhail Alexandrovich Chernov. who then headed the Peoples’ Commissariat of Trade in the Ukraine and was soon to become head of the Peoples Commissariat of Agriculture of the entire U.S.S.R.

Chernov was already in the pay of the German Intelligence, receiving an average of 4,000 rubles a mouth in return for providing the Germans with Russian military and trade secrets.  Scheffer's password to Chernov was “Reinhold” —the pseudonym by which Chernov was known in the files of Section IIIB. 

*These and the facts that follow about Paul Scheffer are revealed in the record of court proceedings in the case heard before the Military Collegium of the Supreme court of the USSR. In Moscow March 2-13, 1938. Two years before those proceedings took place, two years before those proceedings took, the late United States Ambassador so Germany, William E. Dodd, wrote in his diary on November 15th 1936, “I have been watchful of this Scheffer who was a Social Democrat a few years ago, was several years in the United States as correspondent for the German Free Press, and is now a good Nazi.”


Even at this early date the German High Command was planning a vast campaign of sabotage against Soviet agriculture and industry. Chernov later admitted that Scheffer used him to organize a ring of saboteurs among opposition elements in the Soviet Union. Scheffer operated from the Moscow offices of the Berliner Tageblatt. He still posed as a liberal.

“I had a number of periodical meetings with Scheffer,’ Chernov later testified before the Supreme Court of the USSR... “I transmitted information to the German intelligence Service, and through him received instructions from the latter about the organization of wrecking work. I had an especially long conversation with Scheffer on the organization of wrecking work in the sphere of grain collections and grain supplies. The chief task assigned to me by the German Intelligence Service at that time was to arrange to spoil grain within the country. .. - Those commissions that Scheffer gave me I carried out.’

The complete record of the sabotage carried out by Chernov in Soviet Russia during 1930-36 is too long to give here in its entirety. These are just a few of his accomplishments:

creating a discrepancy between grain collections and storage space thus spoiling the grain and arousing the indignation of she peasants who saw their products ruined;

arranging for the wholesale contamination of storehouses by pests, particularly by the corn beetle;

carrying on Wrecking activities in such fields as seed. crop rotation, machine and tractor stations;

killing off pedigree breed stock and raising cattle mortality by preventing the development of fodder resources and especially by artificially infecting cattle with various kinds of bacteria;

effecting a shortage of the serum to counteract epidemics of anthrax (in one case, 25,000 horses perished as a result of Chernov’s sabotage in this field); injecting



certain plagues by having virulent bacteria placed in medical serums.

On March 2, 1938, Soviet justice caught up with the saboteur spy Mikhail Chernov. He was tried in Moscow along with twenty other Soviet citizens, on charges of treason to the country, espionage. committing acts of diversion, terrorism, wrecking, undermining the military power of the U. S. S. R.” The Soviet Supreme Court sentenced Chernov to be shot.

Some time before the trial began, the Soviet authorities had ordered Paul Scheffer to leave the country. He returned to Berlin and stayed for a while in the Third Reich. He began working for Dr. Goebbels, whose Propaganda Ministry has its own espionage division called the Abwehr (Counter Action) Department. Its function is to coordinate propaganda, sabotage and espionage work in foreign countries. In 1938, the very year Chernov was standing trial in Moscow, Paul Scheffer came to the United States. For three years he remained in the United States, reporting regularly in Goebbel’s newspaper, Das Reich…

When Nazi Germany declared war on the United States Paul Scheffer was quickly picked up by the FBI and interned as an enemy alien.

Could such wholesale sabotage of agriculture, as took place in the Soviet Union, take place in the United States? To many Americans the testimony at the 1938 Moscow trials, especially the repeated references to the use of disease germs and poisons against cattle and crops seemed utterly fantastic Yet this diabolical sabotage was actually practised by German saboteurs in 1915 in the United states of America.

Anton Dilger, a German-American medical graduate from John Hopkin's University, was in Germany when the first 

PAGE 21 

World War broke out. He offered his services to the Kaiser, and was promptly detailed by Colonel Nicolai to do secret service work in the United States. Dilger returned to America with a supply of cultures of glanders and anthrax germs. Financed by Von Pappen, he set up a laboratory in Chevy Chase near Washington, and started breeding germs on a large scale for infecting mules, horses and cattle awaiting shipment to the Allies."



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