The “Tea Party”

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On September 10, 1943, Elisabeth von Thadden threw a birthday party for her sister Marie-Agnes Braune in Berlin. This “tea party” was attended by the envoy Otto Kiep, the diplomat’s widow Johanna Solf, state secretary Arthur Zarden with his daughter, the social worker Anne Rühle, Fanny von Kurowsky and counselor Hilger van Scherpenberg. Thadden had also invited the physician Dr. Paul Reckzeh, who had sought contact with her shortly before. In his own words, he wanted to establish connections with members of the opposition. In reality, he was a Gestapo informant.

In view of Italy’s surrender and the hopeless military situation, the guests discussed options for Germany’s reform after the war’s end. They spoke openly, even though Dr. Reckzeh, introduced by Elisabeth, was a stranger to the other guests. He seemed to be worthy of their trust, however, and offered himself as a courier of messages to Switzerland in order to circumvent censorship. Thadden did not begin to doubt Reckzeh’s identity until after his departure. A phone call from the High Command of the Army a few days later brought certainty that the party had fallen prey to an informant.

Source / title

  • © Behörde des Bundesbeauftragten für die Stasi-Unterlagen Berlin, MfS HA IX/11 AS 190/67 Bd. 1