740.00119 Control (Germany)/7–1745

No. 896
The Political Adviser in Germany ( Murphy ) to the Secretary of State

No. 661

Subject: Transfer of Scientific and Military Research Institutions From Germany to Russia

Sir: I have the honor to enclose a memorandum regarding the transfer to Russia of the personnel and equipment of certain scientific institutions in Berlin. This memorandum was received from a German lawyer who is known by officers of my staff who resided in Berlin before the war and who vouch for his reliability.

Respectfully yours,

Robert Murphy

Transfer of Military Research and Scientific Institutions to Soviet Russia

The dismantling and shipping out of laboratories and industries essential in the production of secret weapons may be described by two examples. Thus, for instance, was the case with the institutes and inventors of the V–l and V–2, situated in Lichterfelde and Lankwitz, which were transported to Russia, together with their apparatus, laboratories and drawings, assistants and technical workers, and existing and new, as yet unknown, patents. It was significant that these military institutes and research plants were immediately and arbitrarily taken apart and shipped complete, with the greatest speed, to the East in Russian military transport vehicles.

Following is a report on the liquidation of the most important and largest scientific research plant, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft in Berlin.


Due to its measures for decentralizing to West and South Germany—1943/44—only a part of the scientific stock—material and personnel—of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft was taken over by the Russian occupation.

[Page 838]

The institutions of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft situated in Berlin, Mark Brandenburg, and the territory between the Elbe and the Oder, were all discovered by the Russians and their stock was liquidated.


the dahlem kreis of the Kaiser-wilhelm-gesellschaft


The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institute for Physical Chemistry and Electrochemistry ( Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für physikalische Chemie und Elektrochemie) had stayed behind in Berlin in full working strength. After the capitulation of Berlin, deputies appeared from Moscow (trophy skeleton staffs under technical officers), who began at once the work of dismantling. These measures were undertaken precipitately, only partially in a more reasonable manner, according to the probability of the approach of the American or Western Allied forces. During this dismantling work the head of the institute—Professor Thiessen—was told that he could have his institute back in Russia. Professor Thiessen is going to Russia with some of his scientific coworkers. However, his change-over, at first to the Russian zone in Berlin, took place only after the arrival of the American troops in Dahlem. Three younger scientific co-workers escaped being taken by means of disappearing (under threat of force). Except for a small amount of stock, the institute has been cleared out.


The Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics ( Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Physik ) was headed until the outbreak of war in 1939 by Professor Debye, the well known physicist of Netherlands nationality, who went to the United States during the war and is probably still there. The management of the institute was taken over by Professor Heisenberg, who moved himself and the greater part of the institute to Hechingen.

The low-temperature physics (Kaltephysik) section remained in Berlin under the management of Dr. Bewilogua, and has been moved to Moscow. In this connection, the whole institute, together with apparatus from other sections, for instance high tension and Rontgen plants, was moved out. This move embraced the most primitive furnishings, such as water faucets, washbowls, doorknobs, etc.; even the name Max-Planck-Institut was taken along.

In this institute there were the general administration archives of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft, which had been saved from the [Page 839] demolished Berliner Schloss. In spite of urgent representations, the safe with all foundation and tradition documents, senate decisions and all other important deeds was carried off to the East.

Dr. Bewilogua has already left for Moscow, and together with him the Nobel-prizewinner Hertz, the physicist von Ardenne (V–l and, V–2), as well as other inventors and outstanding technical scientistfs].


Furthermore, of the Dahlemer subsidiary institutes (main institute moved to southwestern Germany), the following have been affected by the dismantling program:

  • Institute for Biology (Institut für Biologie)
  • Institute for Biochemistry (Institut für Biochemie)
  • Institute for Chemistry (Institut für Chemie)
  • Institute for Anthropology (Institut für Anihropologie)
  • Silicate Research Institute (Institut für Silikaiforschung).


kaiser wilhelm institutes between the elbe and the oder


Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Seed Cultivation Research ( Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Züchiungsforschung ) in Müncheberg (Mark Brandenburg).

The buildings have been preserved as a whole; at present a Russian staff is in the institute. The plants, particularly the extensive greenhouses and laboratories, are in Russian hands.


Institute for Cell-Physiology ( Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Zellphysiologie ), Director Professor Warburg.

Professor Warburg had moved his institute to Schloss Liebenberg bei Lowenberg i[n] d[er] Mark. In Dahlem the Russians promised that Professor Warburg’s institute (Rockefeller Foundation, relationship of Professor Warburg with the banking house New York, Hamburg) was to be safe from evacuation measures. Nevertheless, the stock of the institute was removed from Liebenberg. This stock is supposed to be still in Spandau.


There is as yet no reliable news regarding the Institute for Raw Fibre Research (Institut für Bastfaserforschung) in Sorau.