A German-born writer who was a free-lance journalist before World War II and also served as a government consultant and private investigator.
Reinhardt was born in 1905 in Mannheim into a German banking family. Brought up in Switzerland and Germany, he graduated from the Royal College in Mannheim in 1922 and received a B.S. from the city’s State University of Economics three years later. He came to the United States in 1925 and reportedly did some post-graduate studies at Columbia University. His first job in New York was reportedly with a bank, but he became a freelance journalist in 1932 and wrote for various Swiss and American publications until 1945. Reinhardt was a correspondent in Washington and New York for Der Bund of Berne, Switzerland and wrote a syndicated column on foreign affairs for the McClure newspapers in the United States. He was also a contributor to The New York Daily News, Life, Look and other American magazines. 1
At the same time, Reinhardt worked as a consultant and investigator for several United States Government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, from 1936 to 1943. Reinhardt’s connections to various banking and civic groups secured him a commission to conduct an investigation into Germany’s likely future international relations. He turned over to the U.S. House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization the information he uncovered about Nazi activities in the United States — and subsequently became involved with the American special services. In 1934, he reportedly acted as a liaison between the House Special Committee on Un-American Activities (commonly known as the McCormack-Dickstein Committee) — which was authorized to investigate Nazi propaganda and certain other propaganda activities — and the FBI. 2
Reinhardt wrote about his connection with the FBI in the 1930s and early 1940s in a book published in 1953. 3 In an FBI FOIA file released in April 2009, Guenther appears as an FBI “confidential informant” as of mid-1942. 4 By Reinhardt’s own account, as of 1941 he was also “part of a secret United States operation” which he described as an “investigative body” with “powers stemming directly from the White House.” 5 By combining a few clues, it becomes apparent that Reinhardt was working for the Research and Analysis Branch (R&A) of the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI) – the nation’s first peacetime non-departmental intelligence organization, founded in July 1941 and known at the time as the Donovan Committee. Beginning in early 1942, after the COI split into two branches, the R&A branch came under the Office of Strategic Services (OSS).
During World War II (from 1942 to 1945), Reinhardt was active in intelligence operations in Latin America and Europe. After the end of the war, he served with the Army Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) in Europe in 1946-1947.
By one account, “Reinhardt was an enthusiastic and dedicated agent in Europe.” However, he soon began to show signs of stress and fatigue as he realized that the whole intelligence system was corrupt. By the summer of 1947, he realized that his career with the CIC was in jeopardy, as his superiors had secretly arranged to send him home. His outrage over this development led to his writing “two memos, known as the Reinhardt memos,” which “accused the CIC of widespread corruption and incompetence” and described the U.S. Army’s practice of smuggling valuables from Germany into the United States. 6 After his return to the United States in December 1947, Reinhardt became a special consultant to the Assistant Secretary of the Army. In 1948-1949, he served as an interpreter at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals.
Returning once again to the United States, Reinhardt became the chief private investigator for Bartley C. Crum, the San Francisco lawyer and co-publisher of the New York Star. From 1960 to 1963, he worked for the Silas R. Franz Company, the New York insurance investigators. According to his New York Times obituary, throughout that time he supplied various state agencies, including the state liquor authority, with information about the alleged underworld control and homosexual patronage of bars and nightclubs. 7 In the course of the latter activity, Reinhardt was arrested in New York City in early 1963 with files from the New York State Liquor Authority and charged with the theft of its records. At that time, he was described by the chairman of that authority as “a volunteer informer who gave us a lot of accurate information and some that was pure fantasy.” Although Reinhardt had “been around [the Authority] for a long time,” he reportedly had never been on the authority’s staff. 8
Besides being the author of Crime Without Punishment: The Secret Soviet Terror Against America (1953), Reinhardt was also, according to The New York Times, an author of The Jews in Nazi Germany and The Source Materials for Psychological Warfare. 9 However, I have been unable to verify this claim.
- Guenther Reinhardt’s obituary in The New York Times, December 3, 1968; Reinhardt’s brief bio in You Americans: Fifteen Foreign Press Correspondents Report Their Impressions of the United States and its People, by B. P. Adams, Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1939, p. 144. ↩
- The Nazi Hydra in America, by Glen Yeadon: Nazi Gold, Part 4: Corruption Overtakes Safehaven, © 2001-2004, http://www.spiritone.com/~gdy52150/main.html ↩
- Crime Without Punishment: The Secret Soviet Terror Against America, by Guenther Reinhardt, New York: New American Library, 1953, pp. 17-18. ↩
- Ludwig Lore: Communist Activities, report made in New York City, June 3, 1942; report on Lore’s death and subsequent negotiations for purchase of his files by the FBI, July 14, 1942, in Ludwig Lore FBI FOIA file, NY File No. 100-33352, PDF pp. 1-2, 12-15, courtesy of Jeff Kisseloff, April 2009. ↩
- Guenther Reinhardt, Op. Cit., p. 17. ↩
- Nazi Gold: The Sensational Story of the World’s Greatest Robbery – and the Greatest Criminal Cover-Up, by Ian Sayer and Douglas Botting, London: Panther, 1984, pp. 346-350; The Nazi Hydra in America, Op. Cit. ↩
- The New York Times, Op. Cit. ↩
- The New York Times, April 9, 1963. ↩
- The New York Times, December 3, 1968. ↩