Gerstein Kurt, Spy for God

A SPY FOR GOD: The Ordeal of Kurt Gerstein_
Pierre Joffroy
Translated by Norman Denny
Translation c. 1970, William Collins & Sons, Ltd.
ISBN 0-15-184800-9
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number 73-142089
(Original Copyright 1969, Editions Bernard Grasset)

Joffroy describes his death:

[pp. 258//]

“Marcel Gascard (1968) ‘Acting on orders, I put the prisoner
in solitary, in a cell on the Boulevard Raspail side of the prison. Later
the prison commander asked me why I had put him there and I said:
Because it’s where they used to put spies to prevent them from
talking to each other.’

The spies cell . . . Fifty years earlier a French officer had
been confined in the Cherche-Midi prison, possibly in that same cell,
before being cashiered and sent to Devil’s Island. He was Captain
Dreyfuss, a Jew, condemned because he was a Jew . . .

On 23 July Baron on Otter , then in Helsonki, wrote to his London
colleague, Baron Lagerfelt, strongly urging that something be done to
help a German named Gerstein, and asking Lagerfelt to bring the matter
to the Allied authorities.

It was too late. After two or three days of naked misery spent in that
noisome and infested place, its walls running with the damp of a hundred
years; haunted by his shame, his unspeakable memories, his sense of utter
failure; on the morning of 25 July, a fortnight before his fortieth birthday,
Gerstein ended his life.

Leon Entz (1968): ‘I was on duty on the second floor. We went the rounds
at two and checked the prisoners. I knew the one who had been put in
solitary. He scarcely said anything although he could have talked to me
because I speak German. I went round that day at two as usual. When we
went in they stood to attention and clicked their heels. But when I opened
the door of his cell there wasn’t a sound. I went in and saw his body
hanging from the ventilation grille.


Alexader Auer, sergeant in charge (1969: ‘Entz shouted to me down
the corridor to come at once. I went in and saw the mand had hanged himself.
I knew him, a tall silent man, very depressed. He had once or twice said in
German: ‘ I’ve nothing to reproach myself with, nothing.’


Dr. Jackues Trouillet (1945): At 17:25 on that day I signed the death
certificate of the prisoner Gerstein. That the death was caused by hanging
was clearly evident from the furrow round the neck and the position of the
body when found. It is a form of suicide that cannot possibly be prevented
in a prison.’ ”