Spy of the Day. Captain Fritz Duquesne.
Fritz, born in London, worked as both a Boer and German spy (during both WWI and WWII). He is suspected to be responsible for the 1916 sinking of the HMS Hampshire, which killed Lord Kitchener. He and his 32 German spies who made up the Duquesne Spy Ring were convicted in 1942 in the largest espionage conviction in the history of the United States.
Fritz eluded arrest multiple times throughout his life, most shockingly in 1919 after pretending to be paralyzed for two years. Here is an excerpt from May 28, 1919 New York Times article following his escape:
“While attendants in the prison ward at Bellevue Hospital were acting in the belief that Captain Fritz Jaubert Duquesne, the adventurer and romancer, was a hopeless paralytic patient, he sawed through the bars of his cell early yesterday morning and escaped by scaling two fences about seven feet high. He was being held in the prison ward, pending extradition to England, where he was to be tried on the charge of murder on the allegation that he had aided in a plot in South America for the placing of bombs in the steamship Tennyson.
Although Duquesne had not moved from his wheelchair or his bed without assistance for several months, he was able to drop six feet from a window ledge to the top of an ice house in the prison war grounds, and then to take a longer leap to the ground. Even this display of agility, amazing for a paralytic, did not give him liberty and he was forced to climb a brick wall about six feet high and an iron fence with menacing spikes, about eight feet high…” Read more here.
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