A British spy who saved the lives of thousands of Jews from Nazi Germany has been honoured by the head of MI6.
The heroics of Frank Foley, born in 1884, were celebrated at a reception at the agency’s headquarters on Tuesday, attended by his family members and representatives of the Holocaust Education Trust.
Officially a passport control officer attached to the British embassy in Berlin in the 1920s and ‘30s, Mr Foley used his position as an undercover British intelligence operative to issue false papers for Jews, securing their release from internment camps. He also hid fugitives in his flat in the city.
A letter written by Mr Foley in March 1933 reported that his office was “overwhelmed” with applications from Jews to proceed to then-Mandate Palestine, or elsewhere in the British Empire.
Alex Younger, head of MI6, yesterday described Mr Foley as a man of “dignity, compassion and bravery”.
He added: “As a consummately effective intelligence officer he witnessed at first hand the Nazi seizure of power, and the horrors and depravity of the regime.
“While many condemned and criticised the Nazis’ discriminative laws, Frank took action. With little regard for his personal safety he took a stance against evil.”
Mr Foley is estimated to have helped to save the lives of about 10,000 Jews, almost all from Germany.
Later, during the Second World War, Mr Foley was given the task of questioning Hitler’s deputy, Rudolf Hess, after his flight to Scotland.
In 1949 Mr Foley retired to Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, where he died in 1958, aged 73.