The Spy from the Pariser Platz

Der Spion vom Pariser Platz

Available in High Definition 1080i
Did the U.S. get hold of secret documents about Hitler’s toxic-gas production? This documentary traces the double life of a Berlin-based German economic consultant who became a spy for the U.S. in the 1940s.

On 3 September 1941 the SS carried out a top-secret experiment in the Auschwitz concentration camp, which marked the beginning of the Holocaust: several hundred war prisoners were murdered with Zyklon B, a granulate that releases extremely toxic hydrogen cyanide. A few weeks later, the representative of Germany’s IG Farben corporation received American couriers in his villa on the banks of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, gave them top-secret documents about Hitler’s toxic gas production as well as about Zyklon B, produced by IG Farben. Did information about the planned “final solution” reach the U.S. at an early stage through these channels?

Also available as 45 min version

This documentary by the American journalist Scott Christianson and his German colleague Egmont R. Koch makes use of recent archival findings to explore this matter in depth. The film tells the amazing story of the German economic consultant Erwin Respondek, who was initially a participant in the cartel agreements between IG Farben and the American chemical corporation Du Pont before mutating into a spy and providing the Americans with secrets on Hitler’s toxic-gas production. Respondek worked in an office on the Pariser Platz in Berlin, directly adjacent to the U.S. Embassy. With his briefcase full of mostly handwritten documents, he would simply stroll the few steps to the embassy, knowing full well that he was taking a deadly risk…

    Key Information

  • Documentary
  • 2011
  • 00:52:00
  • Germany
  • Egmont R. Koch Filmproduktion for WDR and ARTE
  • Made for TV
  • General Audience

    Cast & Crew

  • Scott Christianson, Egmont R. Koch


  • Non-Fiction/Information

    Language versions

  • German
  • French
  • English


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