The Voice from Nowhere

Otto Dick had been an SS Einsatzgruppenfuhrer who lead a penal battalion in anti-guerrilla and ethnic cleansing campaigns in Poland and the Ukraine during World War II. He had been a conman who had defrauded the Nazi Party of funds when he was treasurer of a local Bavarian section of the party in the early thirties and was caught and in the investigation myriad other crimes were discovered--extensive blackmail, shakedown work, murder for hire, pimping, pornography, corporate espionage, trading Nazi secrets with the Social Democrats and Communists--anything that could get him money or power he seemed to have a hand in.

His talents were appreciated by Himmler who thought his genius for criminal enterprises might translate to useful espionage and assassination work. Dick was offered freedom conditional on writing about applying his criminal talents to operations to further the interests of the Fatherland, and conditional upon his service as the leader of a penal battalion under close supervision by SS General Max Niflung.

The dossier was published as a book distributed to the higher ups in the SS and Wehrmacht. The main thrust of the book was that the Nazis should aim at the power elite of other countries and seek to blackmail as many of the elite as possible using a variety of honeypot style operations--tempting elite members into doing embarrassing things and then using this compromise to influence them into helping the Nazi cause, all sub rosa if possible. Hitler was impressed by these ideas and was himself of somewhat a similar mind. He employed much of Dick’s approach in his conquests, though deviated from them in his invasion of Poland which started World War II.

Dick reputedly was a lazy commander, spending little time working. His approach, unsurprisingly, was to hire some male prostitutes to proposition priests and other bachelors, and then photographs would be obtained of these single men, those who fell for the honeypot, in compromising situations. Then Dick told the compromised men to infiltrate guerrilla bands or try to start their own if possible. Dick would then gather information about guerrilla movements and seek similar blackmail opportunities within the guerilla groups his agents had penetrated, often gaining the ability to more or less control the guerrilla groups for his own purposes.

When the Nazis were overthrown in 1945, Dick had created an organization comprised of members from practically every imaginable ethnicity, political background, military or government or business affiliation, into a network centered in Eastern Europe. Officially, he died in a plane crash in Bavaria in May 1945, but a book emerged in 1975--a historian at the Univeristy of Bonn, Professor Paul Ritter, had been delivered the book--it had been left with his secretary, who did not recall seeing who had left the book for him. A note on the book explained the book had been written by Otto Dick. Dick had faked his death, the note claimed, converted his network of influence built up during the war into a criminal organization, and quietly ran it until his death in 1974. He compiled his writings into a book that he entitled, “The Voice from Nowhere”, dedicating it to Duke Lothar von Gotha.

The authenticity of the book was debated, but the case for its authenticity was considered compelling as all claims, that could be independently confirmed, were confirmed, as World War II historians poured over the documents. One tantalizing problem was whether quotations in the book attributed to Duke Lothar von Gotha, writer of the lost book, “The Book of Life from Death”, that were not from any extant fragment, were authentic. The author of the book, whether it was Otto Dick or not, claims to have come across a complete text of Lothar’s book, and found it greatly useful in exercising profound influence over events of the world through indirect but highly effective means. More sensational still were many unverifiable claims about high ranking members of the power elite of the world having been compromised by Dick--no one was exposed in the book. The final judgment about the text was that it was plausibly genuine but some claims were impossible to judge as true or false, and so the historical community would remain agnostic or skeptical of them until they were corroborated by further information. According to Professor Paul Ritter in a 20-year retrospective piece in the New York Times, he has been told by several people who were underlings of powerful people, that their bosses had fretted over being outed by the book when it had emerged, supporting the notion the book was genuine.