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Strangers In Our Midst 1 .. Who was the Somerton Man?

Post WW2 there were two distinct categories of German Nazis who settled in Australia, one being war criminals, the other scientists and technicians.

A Hansard entry on October 14th 1986 concerns a Question Without Notice made by the Member for Calwell, the Hon. Dr Andrew Charles Theophanous and is as follows:

Has the attention of the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Bill Haydon) been drawn to an editorial in the Canberra Times of 9 October last calling on the Australian Government urgently to pursue allegations by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre about the presence in Australia of nazi war criminals? Can the Minister inform honourable members what action has been taken to follow up these allegations since they were handed to the Government? Can he assure the House that the Government will ensure that anybody living in Australia who is guilty of war crimes shall not be able to escape the consequences?

Haydon’s answer in full can be read here ….;db=CHAMBER;id=chamber/hansardr/1986-10-14/0007;query=Id:%22chamber/hansardr/1986-10-14/0013%22


The other category, and one that may hold relevance to the Somerton Man Case concerns the technicians and scientists brought over to Australia to work in weapons development, particularly as there was a large weapons testing facility close to where the still unidentified Somerton Man was found dead.

The names of of these individuals can be found in a formerly top secret file now held open for public viewing in an archive in Kew, Great Britain. File reference Defe 41/130. The names and particular skills I’ve been able to get my hands on are dated no earlier than 1948.

Who knows, some of these names may be in the Adelaide phone directory. Perhaps one or two of them knew and worked with the Somerton Man and there might be an old photograph album gathering dust in an attic in Adelaide (or the US) that may assist with our enquiries, if you know what I mean.

Barth, Gerhard – High Freqency.

Bechmann, Ernest – Electronics Equip.

Flugal, Gustav – Electronics.

Frank – Non-Ferrous metallurgy.

Fricke, Werner – Physicist & chief engineer.

Friedel, Kurt – Rocketry.

Gadow, Haus – German Rep & Pers Chief.


Heldt – Business.

Hilgers, Giovanni – High Voltage Physics.

Kluge – Magnetics.


Laurenz – design and Assembly of Wasserfall.

Lautwein – GM Remote Control.

Rossman, Theodore – GM.

Rower, Karl – GM.

Schmidt – cm, rays for GMS

Schulz – Chemist.

Springstein – Wasserfall Int. Guiding Systems.

Stegelman – Mathematics and Physics.

Thiel, Roman – Remote Control.

Shield, Ewald – Electronics.

Unger – Gyroscope.

Wagner – CW research.

Wagner, Herbert – Inventor of Glide Bomb.


Winkler – GM Wasserfall Components.

Schreiner – Artillery CW.

Wasserfall refers to the Seminal German storable propellant surface-to-air missile, tested during World War II, but never operational.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. gordon1552 #

    Following ships arrived in Australia in 1948:
    1. Cyrenia
    2. Napoli
    3. Eridan, this ship had the Buchenwald Boys on board, I doubt they would have had any time for Nazis
    4. Derna (November 6th into Melbourne) At least 1 murder on board, number of Russians as well. Number of Nazis on board this ship

    There may well have been a couple or three more ships from Europe, some made more than one trip but not the Derna, last trip. Two fires on board, not lucky.

    Likely these men would have changed their names, possibly they would use the same initials which was quite a common practice. Most ships docked first in Fremantle then Melbourne. Sometimes passengers left the ship in Fremantle and then by train to Adelaide otherwise they would get the train from Melbourne to their final destination.

    March 14, 2022
  2. Thanks Gordon, the wrinkle we have to deal with is that some of these technical types may have been too valuable to travel by steamer and were flown out. Not only that, there might have been some trade offs with the yanks as both America and England used these man as tradable commodities.

    March 14, 2022

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