Andor Hencke

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Andor Hencke was a career German diplomat who organized the intelligence service of the Reich Foreign Office and then became Under State Secretary in charge of the Foreign Office Political Department after the major purges and reorganizations of 1943. He had joined the Nazi Party in 1935. He was the secretary of the legation to Czechoslovakia in 1938.

Intelligence service

The Foreign Office intelligence service, in principle, operated as do modern operations under diplomatic cover, which try to avoid scandal. Field personnel were already members of that embassy staff, and collected reports from the local German community and other sources. Those were sent back to Hencke's small headquarters staff. They did not run espionage operations. It was most active in the Holy See [1] and the Balkans.

Nevertheless, they were resented both by the mission chiefs and by the Sicherheitsdienst (SD) foreign intelligence service of the Schutzstaffel (SS). Their accuracy was not great, but this was generally true for German human-source intelligence and intelligence analysis in the Second World War. [2] In fairness, the U.S. and other services bought the same fabricated reports from Virgilio Scattolini, who published a newsletter on the Vatican.[3]

Political department

He retained the intelligence service when promoted to head the Political Department, but terminated it as ineffective before the end of the war. Ribbentrop promoted him as part of a large-scale reorganization to make the Foreign Office more responsive to him, in which he replaced some more independent career diplomats, such as Ernst von Weizsaecker, Ernst Woermann and Friedrich Gaus, put presumably more loyal professionals (Hencke, Erich Albrecht and Emil Wiehl) in the Political, Law and Trade Departments, and his own loyalists in all other new posts.[4]


  1. David J. Alvarez, Robert A. Graham (1997), Nothing sacred: Nazi espionage against the Vatican, 1939-1945, Psychology Press, pp. 18-23
  2. David Kahn (2000), Hitler's spies: German military intelligence in World War II, Da Capo Press, pp. 71-72
  3. Alvarez & Graham, pp. 15-17
  4. Christian Leitz (1999), The Third Reich: the essential readings, Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 62-63