The LCPROWL project (1950-53) in Germany was a US anti-communist psychological warfare operation accomplished by the Bund Deutscher Jugend ("League of German Youth," cryptonyme: KMPRUDE). A sub-project foresaw the establishment of a stay-behind organization that would conduct paramilitary/sabotage activities (LCPROWL BDJ Apparat) in the event of war with the Soviet army.
The Apparat was comprised of around 2000 members and according to declassified CIA documents available for any type of political warfare assignment.1 Erhard Peters, Rudolf Radermacher, Otto Rietdorf, Friedrich Karl Kleff, Paul Lüth, Alarich Bross, Friedrich Carsten, Heinz Debrassine, Ulrich Gmelin, Karl Jobke, Franz Krombholz, Walter Menke, Hans Otto, Christian Schwarting, Eberhard Tellkamp, Helmut Vogt, and Willi Weinsberg were associated with the project.2
After the busting of the organization in 1953, the BDJ partisans enjoyed impunity, and many former Nazis hired U.S. intelligence trained at the military training area in Grafenwöhr.3
A declassified project outline from January 1951 names the organization's main objectives:4
(1) The utilization of the League during the October 15  elections in Eastern Germany
(2) Consolidating the League as a permanent nation-wide organization
(3) Employing the League in political warfare operations
(4) Guerilla warfare and sabotage training of selected segments of the Leagues membership
Phase 4 was approved on August 29, 1950.
Project Amendment No. 2, approved on 3 July 1951, authorized a budget of $125,000 to the LCPROWL Apparat to cover organizational, training, and operational costs for thirteen months beginning 1 June 1951.5
When in 1951 a former member of the BDJ informed the policy about the organization's activities, the ensuing prohibition proceedings were closely followed by American intelligence. A declassified report from January 1953 describes how the organization was uncovered:6
"The investigation procedure started from the point that the businessman Hans Otto, a former member of the BDJ Land Management, and himself a member of the staff of the guerilla organisation, made confidential statements concerning a secret organization founded in 1951 by Erhard Peters, former 2nd chairman of the BDJ; he made those statements on 9 September 1952 before the Polizeipräsidum Frankfurt/M, while involved in a case of a denunciation for bribery made against an official of the Criminal Police in Frankfurt.
This organization he [said] was called "Technischer Dienst des BDJ" (Technical Service of the BDJ), and occupied itself with the military training of its members so as to be ready for gurilla warfare and sabotage in case Soviet-Russians should occupy West Germany. On 13 September, the Polizeipräsidium Frankfurt/M., by order of the Hesse Minister President, began large-scale measures against the leaders and members of the "Technischer Dienst" living in Hesse; this ended up in the apprehension of the treasurer and adjutant, the businessman Otto Rietdorf from Frankfurt/M.; of the Land Chairman of Hesse, the commercial employee Rudolf Radermacher from Neu-Isenburg near Frankfurt/M.; and the training chief of the organization, the businessman Friedrich Karl Kleff from Hamburg. The accused were brought before the Amtsgericht (Municipal Court) in Frankfurt/M., which issued a warrant of arrest on the grounds:
"that they had participated in an organization whose existence, statutes, or purpose were to be kept a secret from the Government of the State, and that they had participated as ring-leaders in an organization whose purpose and activities were bent on committing punishable acts, offenses in the interpretation of Articles 128, 129 of the Penal Code."
A raid by local police units in the premises of the BDJ in 1952 revealed that the U.S. had funded the organization with a monthly sum of $50,000, and supplied it with arms, ammunition and explosives. A weapons cache with machine guns, grenades, light artillery guns and explosives were found in the Odenwald near Frankfurt am Main.7 Seized documents also contained an assassination list naming 40 German political leaders - mainly politicians of the SPD. Among them were Herbert Wehner, the former head of the SPD party, Erich Ollenhauer, the Hessian Minister of the Interior, Heinrich Zinnkann and the Mayor of Hamburg and Bremen. In the case of an "emergency" scenario, the BDJ had already infiltrated members into the SPD.
The American side made an official declaration, claiming that the organization was based on the initiative and directives of a military agency of the American Occupation Power, and that therefore it was not a secret organization established on the private initiative of the German individuals concerned.6 After this statement the accused were released from prison without further charges on September 13, 1952.
The CIC took over the custody of the German BDJ members and subsequently refused all access to them by German authorities, which intended to raise an indictment due to unlawful possession of weapons and planned murder. CIC agents continued to seize all documents still available and refused to surrender them to the German authorities. As a result of the ongoing investigation U.S. authorities finally admitted to have financed the BDJ for the training of guerrillas in case of war with the Soviet Union.8
- Bross, Alarich: RNMOOSEY, KM-64, JG-3534 (cryptonyms). Associated with LCPROWL Project.
- Carstenn, Friedrich: JG-7091 (cryptonym). Associated with LCPROWL Apparat Project.
- Debrassine, Heinz: JG-7300 (cryptonym). Associated with LCPROWL Apparat.
- Gmelin, Ulrich: JG-8955 (cryptonym). Associated with LCPROWL Project.
- Jobke, Karl: JG-6024 (cryptonym). Associated with LCPROWL Apparat Project
- Kalich, Helmut: JG-7749 (cryptonym). Associated with Project LCPROWL.
- Krombholz, Franz: Associated with LCPROWL/Apparat Project
- Lüth, Paul9
- Menke, Walter: JG-4796 (cryptonym). Associated with LCPROWL Apparat.
- Otto, Hans: JG-6734 (cryptonym). Associated with LCPROWL Apparat Project.
- Schwarting, Christian: JG-6628 (cryptonym). Associated with LCPROWL Apparat.
- Tellkamp, Eberhard: JG-7653 (cryptonym). Associated with LCPROWL/Apparat Project.
- Vogt, Helmut: JG-2633 (cryptonym). Merrit C. CRASKE (alias). Associated with the League of German Youth (BDJ) of Project LCPROWL.
- Weinsberg, Willi: Associated with LCPROWL Project.
- QKFENCE: LCPROWL Project Team at Station in Germany
- Search results for LCPROWL in the CIA archives (260 documents as of April 2019)
- 1"LCPROWL," declassified document, undated, Central Intelligence Agency, http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/1705143/LCPROWL VOL. 4_0006.pdf.
- 2 a b National Archives and Records Administration. Research Aid: Cryptonyms and Terms in Declassified CIA Files Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Disclosure Acts. June 2007. http://www.archives.gov/iwg/declassified-records/rg-263-cia-records/second-release-lexicon.pdf.
- 3Ulrich Stoll, "Die Schattenkrieger der NATO," documentary, ZDF Info, March 25, 2014, 3:00, https://web.archive.org/web/20160409181316/http://www.zdf.de/ZDFmediathek/beitrag/video/2120546/Die-Schattenkrieger-der-NATO. Available on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zDffehl2jo.
- 4"Project Outline LCPROWL," declassified file, January 24, 1951, Central Intelligence Agency, http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/1705143/LCPROWL%20%20%20%20VOL.%204_0013.pdf.
- 5"Project LCPROWL," declassified document, undated, http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/1705143/LCPROWL%20%20%20%20VOL.%201_0036.pdf.
- 6 a b "To the Federal Minister of Justice, Dr. Dehler, or his official deputy, in Bonn. Subject: Investigation Procedure against the businessman Otto Rietdorf, and others, for offenses, in the interpretation of Articles 128,129, 49 B of the Penal Code," declassified document, January 7, 1953, Central Intelligence Agency, http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/1705143/LCPROWL%20%20%20 VOL. 2_0042.pdf.
- 7"Partisans in Germany: An Arms Dump in the Odenwald," The Times, October 11, 1952.
- 8"German Saboteurs Betray U.S. Trust," New York Times, October 10, 1952.
- 9"Bund Deutscher Jugend," declassified file, February 15, 1952, Central Intelligence Agency, http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/document_conversions/1705143/LCPROWL%20%20%20%20VOL.%204_0001.pdf.