Unfortunately, Steve and his team would have to travel 85 dangerous miles to the Brenner Pass, so their real mission did not begin until a week later. Two days after the Nazis entered, a pogrom began. The sun was barely over the horizon the next morning when a game warden found Steve, his feet so frozen and swollen that he couldn't escape. This man, if he was a good rock and snow climber, and skier, would have no trouble in moving about the valley unnoticed even in the daytime. At a height of 180 metres (590 feet) and span of 820 metres (2,690 feet), the bridge was celebrated as a masterpiece of engineering upon its completion in 1963. Using thousands of recently declassified files, personal interviews, and private documents, including a behind-the-lines diary buried in a bottle, military historian Patrick K. O'Donnell has written a cinematic World War II adventure story. This co-ordinated attack centered on the Verona-Innsbruck or Brenner pass rail line and was carried out by 57 Bomb Wing and 22 Tactical Air Command of the 12 Air Force and the 15 Air Force. Anti-flak operations became standard practice by the 57th. Our response will occur via a secure method. collection mission, there are many ways to reach us. Here are my qualifications: Cordially yours, R.S.G. Employment: We do not routinely answer questions about employment beyond the information on this Web site, and we do not routinely answer inquiries about the status of job applications. Steve was a prolific letter writer, never short for words. Internet: Send a message here. He impressed his superiors and quickly rose to the rank of second lieutenant. A few weeks later, on January 25, 1945, Steve set off to the north on skis in a blinding snowstorm under orders to blow up the hydroelectric plant at Cortina. Fighter bombers dropping general purpose bombs and the bombers dropping 20 pound fragmentation bombs and twisted pieces of tin foil called Chaff or Window (to confuse the radar) were tried. Trained in mapping, reconnaissance, communications, and similar subjects (am battalion S-2). provide, including your identity, and our interactions with you will be respectful and Steve also became very familiar with the Italian Alps — in particular, the Brenner Pass — while he hiked, skied and climbed his way through the area. Please note we have no control over the security and reliability of postal mail. Italian troops arrived at Brenner Pass in 1919. The village of Brenner consists of an outlet shopping centre (supermarkets and stores), fruit stores, restaurants, cafés, hotels and a gas station. The heroic deeds and tragic events that follow make up a compelling story of war that starts off slow, but gets more intriguing as it continues. During his mission, he wrote several intriguing letters to his superiors describing what was happening in the field and his future plans. Description. Read more about Meeting at Brenner Pass. of your passport, How you got the information you want to share with CIA, How to contact you, including your home address and phone number. However, the half century that now separates us from that conflict has exacted its toll on our collective knowledge. The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II - Kindle edition by O'Donnell, Patrick K.. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. At lower altitudes, farmers log pine trees, plant crops and harvest hay for winter fodder. The Brenner Autobahn was built in the 1950s and 1960s and has since been one of the most important crossings from Central Europe towards Italy and the scourge of numerous German holiday-makers who sat in congestion during the summer holidays. Please know, CIA does not engage in law enforcement. Office of Public Affairs Even if he was a European, he would encounter official questioning at every turn now, with danger of exposure each time. news, press releases, information and more. His time there did not last long. Skilled in rock and snow climbing, with 15 years experience on the cliffs and snow of N.E., in Wyoming (Grand Tetons ), and Cortina. Thereafter he could work on whatever opportunities presented themselves. Dairy cattle graze in alpine pastures throughout the summer in valleys beneath the pass and on the mountains above it. To the west of this alpine village, the Brenner Pass had been the principal artery linking Italy and Austria during the conflict. Because he was in uniform, his murder was a direct violation of the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war. Military historian Patrick O'Donnell recounts the undercover mission of American spies to cut off the Nazi supply route known as the Brenner Pass during World War II. How good are your survival skills? After the war, an Italian doctor who was also a prisoner at the concentration camp admitted to having signed a death certificate for "Roderick Hall," claiming the cause of death was heart failure. Thousands of Nazi troops who refused to surrender were on-the-run, being chased down and cut off by Italian Resistance fighters and the U.S. Army. The Alamanni (Germanic tribe) crossed the Brenner Pass southward into modern-day Italy in 268 AD, but they were stopped in November of that year at the Battle of Lake Benacus. Office. His idea caught the attention of the Special Operations (SO) branch of the OSS, which was responsible for sabotage, guerrilla warfare, and other subversive activities. The Roman road that physically crossed over the Brenner Pass did not exist until the 2nd century AD. Roderick Stephen “Steve” Hall was born in Peking, China, in 1915. Steve’s plan was to cut off access to the smaller mountain roads that led to the Brenner Pass. The pass became the border between Italy and Austria after World War I. Seventh Army of the 6th Army Group during World War II. [At the Brenner Pass] One of 15 photographs in the series: Lester Stricoff Collection available on this site. Photograph of Stanley E. Jones and Lester Stricoff sitting in front of a monument at Brenner Pass… Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini meet at the Brenner Pass. Brennero at Italian end of Brenner pass, Italian troops had occupied the pass the day before Italy's surrender. I would be willing to do the job—and I think I could. During the High Middle Ages, Brenner Pass was a part of the important Via Imperii, an imperial road linking the Kingdom of Germany north of the Alps with the Italian March of Verona. This photograph is part of the collection entitled: World War Two Collection and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the 12th Armored Division Memorial Museum . The Romans regularised the mountain pass at Brenner, which had already been under frequent use during the prehistoric eras since the most recent Ice Age. The German word Prenner probably refers to somebody who uses slash-and-burn techniques for land clearing. The bridge was so deep in enemy territory that it was unguarded. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II. daily. The pass belonged to a part of the ratlines for some Nazis after the German surrender in 1945 During the war, the Brenner Pass was of vital importance to the Axis powers as a supply route to the Mediterranean. Modernisation further took place under the Austrian Empire and the Brenner Railway, which was completed in stages from 1853 to 1867. The Brenner Pass (German: Brennerpass [ˈbʁɛnɐpas], shortly Brenner; Italian: Passo del Brennero [ˈpasso del ˈbrɛnnero]) is a mountain pass through the Alps which forms the border between Italy and Austria. The German’s attempted to cover-up his murder by making it look like a suicide. During his travels, he became an avid outdoorsman. Could you live in the mountains in the middle of winter with limited food and supplies? Steve laid out his plan to cripple the Brenner Pass and had no trouble gaining the support of his men. Snow was falling in the Brenner pass as the Fuehrer’s train rolled to a halt in the town of Brennero, on the Italian side of the border with Germany. Only Franco was missing from the mix. As a young man, Steve attended Phillips Academy Andover. The Romans kept control over the mountain pass until the end of their empire in the 5th century.. We reply first to messages of greater interest However, Steve never made it to the Brenner Pass. 1943 World War II Italian End of Brenner Pass Original News Service Photo. Without the supplies that travel this route, the German war effort in Italy will grind to a halt. However, with limited staff and resources, we simply cannot respond to all who write to us. The Brenner Pass is the only major mountain pass within the area; other nearby alternatives are footpaths across higher mountains at an altitude of above 2,000 metres (6,600 feet). They are an invaluable and priceless testament to Steve's heroism and dedication to the country he loved. Recruiting will contact applicants within 45 days if their qualifications meet our needs. Our open-source library houses the thousands of documents, periodicals, maps and reports released to the public. Because he was in uniform, his murder was a direct violation of the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war. Roderick "Steve" Hall Letters - Documentary History of an Alpine Tragedy during the last convulsions of World War II, A Look Back…The Office of Strategic Services: Operation RYPE, The CIA Museum … Artifacts: Fairbairn-Sykes OSS Stiletto, A Look Back … The Office of Strategic Services: Training in the Forest, The Office of Strategic Services: The Forerunner of Today’s CIA, Employment On 2 August 1944, in the dark, silent skies over the jagged Alps of northern Italy, Capt Stephen Hall, a daring young American special forces operative, parachutes into Nazi territory. We go to great lengths to keep these channels secure, but any communication via the internet poses some risk. It became the first trans-Alpine railway without a major tunnel and at high altitude (crossing the Brenner Pass at 1,371 m). The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II - Ebook written by Patrick K. O'Donnell. The farm of a certain Prennerius is mentioned in documents in 1288, a certain Chunradus Prenner de Mittenwalde is mentioned in 1299. The fighting soon devolved into trench warfare in the northeast and alpine combat in the north. By war's end it was part of VI Corps' dash across Bavaria into the Alps, reaching Innsbruck, Austria, taking the Brenner Pass, and earning the honor of linking up with the U.S. February 20, 1945. phone calls, e-mails or other forms of communication, from US citizens living outside of the He never made it. The pass became the border between Italy and Austria after World War I. The German Army was retreating from Italy through the Pass into Austria. Steve hid out with a local priest while the warden promised to get help. Beck Verlag 2001, page 80, principal passes of the Eastern Alpine range, "Italy, Austria seek to calm tensions over Brenner border controls", Galleria di Base del Brennero – Brenner Basistunnel BBT SE – Offline, "BBT wird Realität - Ministerrat gibt grünes Licht - oesterreich.ORF.at", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Brenner_Pass&oldid=952565430, Articles with dead external links from June 2016, Articles containing Italian-language text, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2011, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Articles containing potentially dated statements from 2004, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WorldCat-VIAF identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 22 April 2020, at 22:30. Operating even under adverse conditions, this man, I believe, could block the Ampezzo highway and railroad beyond use during the winter, anyway, within 3 days after he landed. Steve was turned over to German S.S. guards at the Bolzana concentration camp, tortured for two weeks, and then hung from the steam pipe in the torture room on February 20, 1945. Welschtirol/Trentino, along with the southern part of County of Tyrol (now South Tyrol), was transferred to Italy, and Italian troops occupied Tyrol and arrived at the Brenner Pass in 1919 to 20. If you feel it is safe, consider providing these details with your submission: We cannot guarantee a response to every message. 18 Mar 1938 Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass on the Italian-Austrian border; Mussolini agreed to enter a war on the side of Germany at an opportune moment. Learn how the CIA is organized into directorates and key offices, responsible for securing our nation. The OSS posthumously awarded Steve the Legion of Merit — one of the most distinguished military decorations. Steve survived for six months in the Italian and Austrian Alps while planning sabotage missions targeting Nazi supply routes. Camp Adair, Oregon. Completion of the railway enabled the Austrians to move their troops more efficiently; the Austrians had hoped to secure their territories of Venetia and Lombardy (south of the Alps), but lost them to Italy following the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859 and Austro-Prussian War in 1866. There, he learned hand-to-hand combat, sabotage techniques, demolitions, and guerrilla warfare tactics. Learn more about Career Opportunities at CIA. Depending on what you provide, we may offer you compensation. Italy entered World War I in May 1915, turning on its ex-ally Austria-Hungary. A long carriage road was built c.1772, and the railroad was completed in 1867. His father was a successful international businessman and his mother was a doctor. Steve received a letter from the OSS which ordered him to report to Washington, DC. During the war, the Brenner Pass was of vital importance to the Axis powers as a supply route to the Mediterranean. The ever-increasing freight and leisure traffic, however, has been causing long traffic jams at busy times even without border enforcements. Testimony during the trial of Steve Hall's murder. The story of Office of Strategic Services officer Roderick Stephen Hall and the Brenner Pass assignment is one of the most amazing and inspiring stories. I’ve made mistakes and haven’t got very far as standards usually go, but no one can say I haven’t done a lot of things with that life, or enjoyed it.” ~ Captain Steve Hall, in the last letter to his father. Drop TNT and a tool kit. On the night of August 2, 1944, Steve and his team were finally ready to begin the mission. To hear from Steve in his own words, read some of his original letters published in CIA's Studies in Intelligence. When you return permanently to the US (not on vacation or leave), please visit the, To verify an employee's employment, please contact the, Biographic details, such as a photograph of yourself, and a copy of the biographic page Via Augusta was completed in 46–47 AD; the route took its course along the Adige valley to the neighbouring Reschen Pass (west of the Brenner Pass), then descended into the Inn valley before rising to Fern Pass towards Augsburg. These obstacles could, of course, be overcome one way or another; but here is my suggestion, based on the premise that the sabotage is more important in the near future than political organization: Drop a man by parachute on the open country between Pocol and the Falzarego Pass and drop enough Army "Mountain Rations" and personal equipment to sustain him indefinitely in the peaks, if necessary. thstrand World War II snapshot of a checkpoint leading to the Brenner Pass with American Soldiers along with the Free French Forces North African and Senegalese Tirailleurs guarding the border crossing, ca: 1945 Because of safety concerns for the prospective applicant, as well as security and During World War II, Hitler and Mussolini held three meetings there. In the carolingian Divisio Regnorum of 806 the Brenner region is called per alpes Noricas, the transit through the Noric Alps. After the signing of the Schengen Agreement in 1992 and Austria's subsequent entry into the European Union in 1995, customs and immigration posts at the Brenner Pass were removed in 1997. You can also mail a letter to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and request it be forwarded to CIA. He had crossed a high mountain pass on a mission, almost starved to death, and found his way to sanctuary in a tiny village near the forest of Todesch di Vallada, where he attempted to heal his feet by soaking them in a vat of grease. Poignantly, he also wrote moving, thoughtful, sometimes even funny letters to his family, chronicling his mission, his thoughts, and his fears. Emperor Frederick Barbarossa made frequent uses of the Brenner Pass to cross the Alps during his imperial expeditions into Italy. your local law enforcement or FBI Field “But hell knows if we’ll ever get this mission through…. The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II by Patrick K. O’Donnell. After a brief orientation at the OSS headquarters, Steve was sent to a nearby base for training. Of course, the problem of how he would get out and save his own skin is all a matter of chance and circumstance. Physically: somewhat above average endurance; accustomed to living in the open under all conditions; no major operations, illnesses or frailties; 28 years of age. I feel sure he would not have to search out anti-Nazi elements for laying the plans for continued sabotage: they would come to him. In January 1946, the four officers accused of Steve's murder were tried before an American Military Commission in Naples, Italy. the information via one of the above methods. Steve placed a charge on the bridge and so heavily damaged the structure that it could not support heavy loads. Steve’s eagerness to learn and take on new projects served him well. Prepublication Classification Review Board, Freedom of Information Act Electronic Reading Room, Steve was turned over to German S.S. guards at the Bolzana concentration camp, tortured for two weeks, and then hung from the. Steve did not think his letter would get any attention, but he was in for the surprise of a lifetime. Da Capo Press, 2009, 320 pp. The first causality of the snows were Steve’s feet: both were practically frozen solid. In the dark of the night, Steve and his team crept toward a bridge north of Tolmezzo, Italy. Read this book using Google Play Books app on your PC, android, iOS devices. Your talent. Mail: Inside the U.S., send mail to the following address: Central Intelligence Agency Many of the high pastures are at an altitude of over 1,500 metres (4,900 feet); a small number stand high in the mountains at around 2,000 metres (6,600 feet). After the war, an Italian doctor who was also a prisoner at the concentration camp admitted to having signed a death certificate for ". The letters also helped in the prosecution of Steve's killers. Familiar with the Val Ampezzo, particularly the little-known paths and minor terrain features, from walks and skiing. During World War II, Hitler and Mussolini held three meetings there. In December 69 more guns were moved into the Brenner Pass by the Germans, making a total of 435. He was never allowed to examine the body. Steve and his team continued the mission along the way to the Brenner Pass by targeting smaller bridges that were important to communications and motor vehicle supply routes. Perhaps he would have to perch on the peak of Antelao nibbling concentrated chocolate until German capitulation. We will work to protect all information you It is a site where bungee-jumping from the bridge has become a popular tourist attraction. U.S. official. During World War II, Hitler and Mussolini held three meetings there. Our mission. There, he met with Company D from the 2677th OSS Regiment, who would help him carry out his mission. Discover the CIA history, mission, vision and values. Hall 2nd Lt. 270 Engr. If you have information you think might interest CIA due to our foreign intelligence Hitler and Mussolini at Brennero in the Brenner Pass, Italy, 18 Mar 1938, photo 2 of 2: Further Reading. The Treaty of London (1915) secretly awarded Italy the territories south of the Brenner Pass for supporting the Entente Powers. We do not routinely respond to questions for which answers are found within this Web site. The Europabrücke (Europe Bridge), located roughly halfway between Innsbruck and the Brenner Pass, is a large concrete bridge carrying the six-lane Brenner Autobahn over the valley of Sill River (Wipptal). Following World War I, the border between Austria and Italy came to lie on the Brenner pass. The bloody and prolonged fight between Allied and Axis troops from Sicily up the “Boot” until to the Brenner pass (10 July 1943 - 2 May 1945) was not the logical outcome of a clear war strategy. A much publicized meeting between right-wing dictators, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, took place this week in the war, on Monday 18 March. The Please check our site map, search feature, or our site navigation on the left best method depends on your personal situation. At the end of World War I in 1918, the control of the Brenner Pass became shared between Italy and Austria under the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919).  The Brenner Pass, however, was not the first trans-Alpine Roman road to become regularised under the Roman Empire. Your diverse skills. The Germans overran the city on July 2, 1941. People from nearly every country share information with CIA, and new individuals contact us Would you be willing to use your skills and risk your life in service of your country? Preparations for the mission began. The motorway E45 (European designation; in Italy A22, in Austria the A13), Brenner Autobahn/Autostrada del Brennero, begins in Innsbruck, runs through the Brenner Pass, Bozen/Bolzano, Verona and finishes outside Modena. to us and to those with more detail. Today the Brenner Highway, constructed in the early 1970s, is one of the major roads between Austria and Italy. official you have information for CIA. The snow spit and spun and froze the landscape for days on end, a blizzard engulfing Steve and his team. On June 22, 1944, Steve was pulled out of the demolitions school in Algiers and sent to Caserta, Italy. CIA or go to a U.S. Embassy or Consulate and ask for the information to be passed to a After the war, OSS officers entered the camp, searched the records, and found the death certificate. During World War II, German Führer Adolf Hitler and Italian Duce Benito Mussolini met at the Brenner Pass to celebrate their Pact of Steel on 18 March 1940. ... Truscott now directed IV Corps units to seal the Brenner Pass in the north and destroy the Ligurian Army in the west. , View between the top of the pass and the village of, Brenner Pass lies along the border of Austria and Italy, "Geschichte Schwabens bis zum Ausgang des 18. After 10 years of adventure, Steve decided to use his survival skills and knowledge of the Brenner Pass to help his country. A long carriage road was built c.1772, and the railroad was completed in 1867. It has a population of 400 to 600 (as of 2011[update]). The Brenner Pass, however, was not the first trans-Alpine Roman road to become regularised under the Roman Empire. One was sentenced to life imprisonment and three were hanged. The Office of Public Affairs (OPA) is the single point of contact for all inquiries about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). During World War II, Adolf Hitler, leader (Führer) of Nazi Germany, and Benito Mussolini, leader (Duce) of Fascist Italy, met at Brenner Pass to celebrate their Pact of Steel on 18 March 1940. The never-before-told true story of a small team of American saboteurs with orders to sever the Third Reich's main supply artery — the Brenner Pass Like a scene from Where Eagles Dare, a small team of American special operatives parachutes into Italy under the noses of … Next, Steve gathered the mountaineering equipment his team would need for the mission and took them on an eight-day training run in the Italian mountains where they honed their language and outdoor survival skills. Download for offline reading, highlight, bookmark or take notes while you read The Brenner Assignment: The Untold Story of the Most Daring Spy Mission of World War II. The matter of tracks in the snow is of no consequence; paths and brooks could cover his movements, and he could always take to the mountain rock. If not, I’ll be saying goodbye and thanks for giving me life. It is one of the most important routes of north–south connections in Europe. It is one of the principal passes of the Eastern Alpine range and has the lowest altitude among Alpine passes of the area. Funding issues have delayed the tunnel's scheduled date of completion from 2022 to 31 December 2025. As a result, air and noise pollution have generated heavy debate in regional and European politics. He hoped to lie low until the end of the war. He was never allowed to examine the body. If you know of an imminent threat to a location inside the U.S., immediately contact Using the Tor browser, a virtual private network, and/or a device not registered to you can reduce some risk. And traveling by land, how could he carry sufficient explosive and tools to effect sabotage himself, if all other plans failed? communication issues, the CIA Recruitment Center does not accept resumes, nor can we return In April 2016, Austria announced it would build a 370-meter long fence at the Pass but clarify that "it would be used only to "channel" people and was not a barrier.". Andreas Kraus, 3rd edition ; publisher: C.H to begin the mission here are qualifications. Expert rifle and pistol shot Since 1930—Nat ' l rifle Association and Army north Africa to as! X 6 cm now separates us from that conflict has exacted its toll on our collective.... Pass to cross the Alps during his imperial expeditions into Italy go anytime under any circumstances that success! On December 7, 1941 II broke out, there are many ways to us. 1,371 m ) guns were moved into the Brenner Pass wrote several intriguing letters to his superiors what. 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