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Historian Dr Helen Fry presents a fascinating talk on Thomas Joseph Kendrick, one of the most senior spymasters of the British Secret Intelligence Service in the 20th century. Working for the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, as the ‘passport control officer’, he tracked Communist agents across Europe in the 1920s and Nazi spies in the 1930s from his headquarters in Vienna. After Hitler annexed Austria in March 1938, he issued fake visas and papers to Jews, saving up to 200 Jews a day. Helen’s talk brings this spymaster out of the shadows of MI6 secrecy to be able to appreciate his true legacy.

Dubbed ‘the elusive Englishman’, Kendrick’s real identity eluded Hitler’s Secret Service (the Abwehr) until his betrayal by a double agent in the summer of 1938. Kendrick faced ‘Soviet-style interrogation’ from the Gestapo before being expelled for spying. He returned to London and disappeared from the public eye… but behind the scenes, in the Second World War, he headed one of the most important intelligence operations of the war that shortened the war and saved thousands of lives.