The Secret Listeners: Trent Park’s Top Secret War History

Posted on 09/07/2012 by


A Guided Site Specific Experience Of Trent Park’s Top Secret War History…

German and Austrian refugees – many of them Jewish – who had fled Nazi Germany before the Second World War, were recruited by British intelligence to spy on top-ranking Nazi prisoners in a secret project based at an Enfield mansion.

Now this secret work will be explored  in an event  at Trent Park – the place where it happened. The project has been made possible by a grant  from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Pascal Theatre Company, working with Middlesex University, The Jewish Military Museum, The Jewish Museum and the Wiener Library, will train up 20 young volunteers to undertake the research needed to pull the information together.

The project, called The Secret Listeners, will show how the refugees provided vital information because of their extensive knowledge not only of the German language but also cultural traditions. They recorded and made detailed transcripts of private conversations between Nazi senior officers, which yielded valuable strategic information to the Allies, including to what extent the German army was aware of and implicated in the Holocaust.

Nazi prisoners, including many generals and other high-ranking officers, lived a relatively comfortable existence in the mansion, previously the home of the Sassoon family, and where Charlie Chaplin and Lawrence of Arabia had once been house guests. The British plan was to make the POW’s feel relaxed enough to discuss issues among themselves, unaware that every room throughout the building was bugged.

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