The Black Book

The Black Book

The Black Book was the post-war name given to the Sonderfahndungsliste G.B.(literally translated as the Special Search List G.B), the list of prominent Britons to be arrested after a successful invasion of Britain by Nazi Germany in World War 2.

It was a product of the SS Einsatzgruppen and contained the names of 2,820 persons, British subjects and European exiles, who were living in Britain and who were to be immediately arrested if Operation Sealion, the invasion of Britain, had succeeded. It was compiled by Walter Schellenberg. Many of the people on the list had already died, as in the case of Sigmund Freud, or had fled, as had Paul Robeson. Of the 20,000 original copies of this book, only two are known to survive. One is currently at the Imperial War Museum, London.

Notable people on the list were (incomplete sample):

* Sir Norman Angell, Labour MP awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1933.
* Robert Baden-Powell, founder and leader of Scouting (the Nazis regarded Scouting as a spy organization)
* Edvard Beneš, President of the Czech government in exile
* Eric Blair, a.k.a. George Orwell, author with prominent anti-totalitarian views
* Violet Bonham Carter, anti-fascist liberal politician. Cryptically referred to as "an Encirclement lady politician"
* Vera Brittain, feminist writer and pacifist
* John Buchan, author, and Governor General of Canada, for being "a Jewish sympathiser"
* Neville Chamberlain, former prime minister
* Winston Churchill, Prime minister
* Duff Cooper, Cabinet Minister of Information.
* Noel Coward, actor who opposed appeasement and was an armed forces entertainer as well as his homosexuality and connections with MI5
* Anthony Eden , Secretary of State for War.
* E. M. Forster, author
* Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis and a Jew (died September 23, 1939)
* Sir Philip Gibbs, journalist and novelist
* J. B. S. Haldane, geneticist and evolutionary biologist
* Ernst Hanfstaengl, German refugee. Once a financial backer of Hitler, he had fallen from favour and fled Germany in 1937
* Aldous Huxley, author (who had emigrated to the USA in 1936)
* Harold Laski, political theorist, economist and author
* Jan Masaryk, foreign minister of the Czech government in exile
* Gilbert Murray, classical scholar and activist for the League of Nations
* Ignacy Jan Paderewski, former Prime Minister of Poland
* J. B. Priestley, anti-Nazi popular broadcasts and fiction
* Hermann Rauschning, German refugee and once personal friend of Hitler who had turned against him
* Bertrand Russell, was a philosopher, historian and pacifist.
* Paul Robeson, singer and a communist
* George Bernard Shaw, socialist and writer who openly ridiculed the Nazis
* C. P. Snow, physicist and novelist
* Stephen Spender, poet, novelist and essayist
* Beatrice Webb, pioneering socialist and economist
* Chaim Weizmann, Zionist leader
* H. G. Wells, author and socialist
* Rebecca West, British-Irish suffragist and writer
* Virginia Woolf, novelist and essayist
* David Low (cartoonist), cartoonistBeside each name was the number of the RSHA (Reich Main Security Office) "Amt" (department) to which the person was to be handed over. Churchill was to be placed into the custody of Amt VI (Foreign Military Intelligence), but the vast majority of the people listed in the Black Book would be placed into the custody of Amt IV (Gestapo).

On learning of the book, Rebecca West is said to have sent a telegram to Noel Coward saying "My dear - the people we should have been seen dead with".

The book also included a directory of establishments and institutions such as embassies, universities, newspaper offices and Freemasons' Lodges, in which the Nazis were interested.

ee also

*Dr. Franz Six. Official who was appointed by Reinhard Heydrich to direct state police operations in German-occupied Great Britain.


* Schellenberg, Walter: "Invasion, 1940: The Nazi Invasion Plan for Britain", Little Brown Book Group, 2001, ISBN 0953615138 . Accessed at the Imperial War Museum [ Amazon search inside]
* "Black Book: Sonderfahndungsliste GB" (Facsimile reprint series) Imperial War Museum, Department of Printed Books. 1989, English, ISBN 0901627518 [ Amazon page with extract from Introduction]
* Shirer, William "The Rise and fall of the Third Reich" , 1960, Chapter 22 - If the invasion succeeded. ISBN 0099421763 Discusses the black book and its contents.


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