Declassified CIA Files Suggest Errol Flynn Was Nazi SpyThis is a featured page

Declassified CIA Files Suggest Errol Flynn Was Nazi Spy - Phantoms and Monsters WikiHe is remembered by millions for swashbuckling his way through The Adventures Of Robin Hood dressed in Lincoln green.

But Errol Flynn would have been more at home in a black SS uniform with a swastika on his arm, declassified CIA files suggest.

The Hollywood legend is said to have been an active Nazi spy. It is even claimed that he attended a secret meeting with Adolf Hitler himself at his Berchtesgaden mountain lair in 1938 - the same year the Robin Hood film came out.

Flynn biographer Charles Higham claims his research shows the dashing actor's espionage for the Germans led to hundreds dying in concentration camps.

The disturbing claims have angered many in the actor's birthplace of Tasmania, Australia, including his daughter Rory and grandson Sean, who are currently celebrating the centenary of his birth.

But Mr Higham said: 'I think it's rather sad that Tasmanians would want to celebrate this. There is no doubt whatsoever that Flynn had Nazi sympathies and worked as a Nazi operative if not an actual agent.

'He was first noticed for his violently anti-British and pro-Nazi views as early as 1934 and there is little doubt his work for the Nazis resulted in people being killed.'

According to Mr Higham, Flynn was weaned on bigotry, growing up in an anti-Semitic, Irish-Catholic family in Tasmania, where racism was rife in the 1920s.

He claims that in the early 1930s Flynn fell under the influence of Hermann Erben, an Austrian doctor and Nazi party member, whom he met by chance while on his way to Britain by boat.

In declassified U.S. files, Mr Higham uncovered a 1934 letter written by Flynn to Erben in which he complained about a 'slimy Jew' who was trying to cheat him. 'I do wish we could bring Hitler over here to teach these Isaacs a thing or two,' Flynn wrote.

In 1937 Erben, who would later head German intelligence in Mexico during the war, went with Flynn to Spain where the actor's film notoriety - Mr Higham argues - was used as cover to gather information about German socialists.

The Germans involved were volunteers fighting in the Spanish Civil War in the Thaelmann Battalion, named after German communist leader Ernst Thaelmann.

Hitler, who supported the Spanish fascist leader General Franco, was enraged by the fact that German citizens had joined the republican forces.

Mr Higham says information from Erben and Flynn was relayed to Gestapo chiefs in Germany and used to round up relatives of the battalion members, many of whom later died in concentration camps.

He also claims that in 1938 Flynn met Hitler, who was an admirer of his films, at his Bavarian retreat.

Rival researchers said Mr Higham, 78, who lives in Los Angeles, had failed to provide enough evidence for Flynn being a fascist spy.

Historian James Holland said: 'The idea of Errol Flynn being a Nazi is totally ridiculous.

'He had a dubious past, but I don't think he was a spy. He went to Spain because he was an adrenaline junkie and the swashbuckling action in his film was fake to him.

'He wanted to experience real danger and the Spanish Civil War presented that to him.'

It has been claimed in the past that Flynn offered to help spy for the British security services in the war.

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lancesergeant Errol Flynn 4 Aug 10 2009, 5:30 AM EDT by stebrel
Thread started: Jul 19 2009, 3:52 AM EDT  Watch
Like you say it is nothing new. Newspapers have got to sell copy. Whether substantiated or not, the idea is to rouse interest and thus sell copies. Flynn had Irish roots his era was circa the forties. The Easter Rising was only twenty or so years previous. It has to be looked on in context. You have one saying one thing, then another contributor comes in to give a contraview of events. No damage done a bit of too and fro, it makes a story. Integrity questioned and restored, little loose ends for the possibility of picking up later and leaving the reader questioning. Result - was he wasn't he? .On to next novelty feature.
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Daw'lin Errol Flynn: Nazi Spy? 0 Jul 15 2009, 8:59 AM EDT by Daw'lin
Thread started: Jul 15 2009, 8:59 AM EDT  Watch
This treatment being meted out -- deserved or not -- to the leading entertainers of the last century into this one is nothing new. Read the conspiracy stories for and against JFK, Marilyn Monroe, and numerous others. But in front of a camera, Flynn was the actor first, and that is what made his legions of fans "swoon". (And for himself, it was remarkable that the studios continued to hire and pay him!) That's show biz.
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