Dienststelle 120

The Dienststelle 120 ("Department 120") was a subdivision of the German foreign secret service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) charged with information procurement from various Eastern European countries.

The department recruited heavily amongst former Waffen-SS members, particularly those from Sudetenland (ethnic Germans living in the lands of the Bohemian Crown, which later became an integral part of the state of Czechoslovakia). Details about the department have been included in a publication by the "Independent Historians Commission" (Unabhängige Historikerkommission, UHK) appointed by the German government:1

"It was established in January 1947 by Hermann Wondrak and was concerned with information procurement from Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Occupation Zone (SBZ) of Germany. Wondrak came from Reichenberg in the Sudetenland. The fact that he was active as an agent for a German secret service in 1938 in preparation for the invasion of the Sudetenland suggests his involvement in völkish associations. Since 1940 he belonged to the Waffen-SS and since 1943 to the Security Service of the SS (SD). Until the end of the war, he headed the SD branch office in his home town of Reichenberg, which belonged to the SD-Leitabschnitt Reichenberg. His last rank was SS-Untersturmführer. Since September 1946 in the Gehlen organization, he belonged to its founding generation.

Wondrak initially hired a typist for the new external organization: Erika van Brieland [Ebrulf Zuber's later wife]. She had already been his typist at SD Reichenberg from 1943 to 1945. Wondrak also recruited operational staff for his office from among his former comrades-in-arms. Erhard Marschner, who had been active as an "old Sudeten German fighter" in the administration of the Reich Protectorate until 1945, made the contacts. Marschner was hired second by Wondrak. In 1947, there were three more: SS-Obersturmführer Wilhelm Richter, who had headed the culture department at SD Reichenberg and now became Wondrak's deputy, Fritz Klein and Gerhard Undeutsch. The professional biography of the latter two is still a desideratum. These men belonged to the older generation (G1), if one classifies them in the generation model designed by Christoph Rass...

In September 1948, a total of 15 employees worked at the Dienststelle 120. No information is available on five persons. Among the others were:
- six employees of the SD Reichenberg,
- one employee of the Administration of the Reich Protectorate,
- two officers of the Waffen-SS, one of them an employee of the Germanische Leitstelle
- one member of the Gestapo.

Thus, about half of Hermann Wondrak's field organization was made up of former SD Reichenberg employees. From networks of former activists in national associations in the Sudetenland and through private acquaintances, the staff was extended to other milieus with Nazi backgrounds. Once the floodgates had been opened for people with a distinguished career in the Third Reich, more encumbered men were brought in."

The UHK publication analyzed the recruitment structure of the Dienststelle 120. Wondrak first would recruit Erika von Brieland, Ebrulf Zuber's later wife, Erhard Marschner and Ernst Worm. These in turn were recruiting the other assets.

As a comparison chart shows, most of the initially recruited assets were (former) völkish activists in Sudetenland.

Former völkish activists in Sudetenland among the staff of the Dienststelle 120

"In June 1947, Ebrulf Zuber was hired. Until 1938 Zuber had been a functionary of various völkish associations in the Sudetenland. After its annexation, Zuber became a functionary of the HJ [Hitler Youth] as Gefolgschaftsführer and joined the Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler in 1940. After an officer training course he became a trainer there. Because of an injury he changed in 1942 to the Germanische Leitstelle, where he tried to recruit Belgians and Dutch for the Waffen-SS. Reactivated at the end of 1944, he took part in the fights on the Eastern Front in the III Germanic Armoured Corps of the Waffen-SS until the Battle of Berlin, at last as SS-Obersturmführer. Captured by Soviet troops, he assumed a false identity, which he only relinquished in American custody. He was interned as SS officer, among others in the camps Ludwigsburg and Kornwestheim."1

In 1950 Wondrak moved to the BND headquarters in Pullach near Munich, and Ebrulf Zuber took over the management of the Dienststelle 120, for which he hired at least two more SD Reichenberg employees: in October 1951, Anneliese Richter, who from summer 1944 to May 1945 worked as a secretary for the SD Reichenberg, and Erwin Mittich, recruited by Ernst Worm in 1952, who had also been with the Reichenberg SD from 1940 to 1945.1 But Zuber subsequently seemed to preferentially recruit from former members of the SS-Division Das Reich (also called SS-Verfügungsdivision). At least four people associated with Zuber's projects were a member of that particular SS division:

"Due to his affiliation to the Waffen-SS, Zuber also recruited in this milieu, e.g. Hans-Dieter Schliack. After graduating from high school, he enrolled at a national political educational institution (Napola) in Berlin-Spandau and in 1937 worked for the Waffen-SS. From 1940 to 1942 he belonged to the SS division Das Reich, then to other SS units. In May 1945 he was Hauptsturmfuhrer and battalion commander. Living under a false name for several years after the war, he worked as a businessman until Zuber recruited him in 1961 out of camaraderie, although Schliack had no intelligence experience whatsoever."1

Under Zuber's leadership, the Dienststelle 120 created the field office "Department Divan" (Dienststelle Diwan):1

"The 'Diwan' office was a branch of Zuber's service unit operating from West Berlin in the GDR. In 1960, seven persons belonged to its staff. Its head from 1957 to 1963 was Wolfgang Otto. After graduating from high school, he had voluntarily joined the SS-Totenkopf associations at Napola Dresden. As a member of the 1st SS-Totenkopf-Standarte Oberbayern, he was involved in guarding prisoners of the Dachau concentration camp during external work assignments. After training as an officer, he joined the SS-Division Das Reich, where he last held the rank of Hauptsturmführer in the Division Staff. In the post-war period, he lived under changing identities and was sought by the Allies because of his involvement in various Nazi conspiracies. Although he was on the wanted list, he worked from 1947 to 1949 as an agent for the American secret service CIC. He later became an official of HIAG. In 1955 Otto von Karl Kreutz, also of the SS-Division Das Reich and since 1951 in the organization Gehlen, was proposed as an employee and hired in 1956 at Zuber's instigation."

Members of the Dienststelle 120

Hermann Wondrak

SS-Untersturmführer, SD Reichenberg

Erika von Brieland

SD Reichenberg (1943 to 1945)

Erhard Marschner

Ebrulf Zuber

SS-Obersturmführer, Germanische Leitstelle

Gerhard Undeutsch

Fritz Klein

Wilhelm Richter

SS-Obersturmführer, SD Reichenberg

Erwin Mittich

SD Reichenberg

Anneliese Richter

SD Reichenberg (1944-1945)

Hans-Dieter Schliack

SS-Hauptsturmführer, SS-Division Das Reich,

Wolfgang Otto

SS-Hauptsturmführer, SS-Division Das Reich

Helmut Schreiber

SS-Sturmbannführer, SS-Division Das Reich

Otto von Karl Kreutz

SS-Division Das Reich