At the end of World War II, former CIA Director Richard Helms managed to purloin some of Adolf Hitler’s personal stationery. The note he penned on it and mailed to his 3-year-old son is now part of an exhibit in the CIA’s in-house museum at Langley, The Washington Post
“Dear Dennis,” the Post quotes the letter as saying. “The man who might have written on this card once controlled Europe — three short years ago when you were born. Today he is dead, his memory despised, his country in ruins.”
Helms, who died in 2002 and headed the agency during the Vietnam War and Watergate, was an intelligence operative during the war and managed to get the stationery from Hitler’s chancellery in Berlin. He wrote the note to his son, now a 69-year-old intellectual property lawyer in New Jersey, the Post reported.
Dennis Helms turned the letter, photos, and other correspondence to the museum for their new exhibit on the history of the Office of Strategic Services, the CIA’s predecessor.
“This letter was an opportunity to say what was on his mind,” Dennis, Richard’s only child, told the Post. “I just wish there had been more such occasions.”
The letter to Dennis arrived May 29, 1945, and was dated “V-E day,” which was 21 days before. However, Helms wrote in his memoir that he was in France on May 8, and his son concluded that his father acquired the stationery sometime after the German surrender and backdated it for dramatic effect, the Post reported.
“He had a chance to get in the bunker early and grab that stuff,” Dennis told the Post. “He wasn’t a guy who started stories by saying, ‘You know, we were assembled at the checkpoint and we moved here and there.’ It was as if he landed from a spaceship and was beamed down.”
The CIA contacted Dennis this year about the museum project. Museum officials were looking for memorabilia from Richard Helms and the three other CIA and OSS veterans: Allen Dulles, William Casey, and William Colby.
Dennis Helms is particularly fond of his father’s rare sign-off in the letter, which ends, “Love, Daddy,” the Post reported.
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