Published:
February 3, 2018
Head of MI6 praises ‘tenacity and passion’ of Highbridge's Frank Foley

The head of MI6 has this week marked the courage and diligence of a Highbridge-born British spy who saved thousands of Jews from Nazi Germany.

In a rare public acknowledgement of success in the shadows, the actions of Frank Foley was celebrated at a reception with members of his family and the Holocaust Educational Trust at the MI6 headquarters in London.

Officially Mr Foley, who was born in Highbridge and retired to Worcestershire and died 60 years ago, was a passport control officer attached to the British Embassy in Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s.

The mild-mannered bureaucrat was, however, really working for British Intelligence, a front-line post that he exploited to rescue Jews from the Nazis, issuing false papers, securing their release from internment camps and hiding fugitives in his apartment.

A note written by Mr Foley on March 29th, 1933 read: "This office is overwhelmed with applications from Jews to proceed to Palestine, to England, to anywhere in the British Empire. Professional men of the highest standing, including some who were wounded in the German side during the war (1914-18), have consulted me with regard to emigration.”

Sir Alex Younger, head of MI6, described him as a man of dignity, compassion and bravery. "While many condemned and criticised the Nazis’ discriminative laws, Frank took action. With little regard for his personal safety he took a stance against evil."

For almost a year Mr Foley was Rudolf Hess’s interrogator. He led work on successful operations to 'turn' German agents and worked on the reformation and reorganisation of the postwar German police system.

Pictured: Frank Foley, and the Highbridge statue that was installed in the town in his honour

 


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