"Nicholas" property

The history of the BND (Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service)

„Code Name Nicholas“
Essay by Ch. Schaden

Site Plan of BND – Pullach Site


History of BND - Standort Pullach (BND – Pullach Site)

Site Plan  - click to enlarge

The history of the Bundesnachrichtendienst
(Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service)

Following a decision of the Federal Cabinet, West Germany’s own foreign intelligence service was founded on April 1st, 1956. The decision also included a decree for the incorporation into the Bundesnachrichtendienst, Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, of the “Organisation Gehlen” which up to then had been run by the USA – namely by the CIA, since 1949.

The Organisation Gehlen

After the end of World War II, former General of the Wehrmacht Reinhard Gehlen, who had been head of the department “Fremde Heere Ost“ (FHO, foreign armies east) in the German army’s High Command, had brought his former colleagues as well as the FHO’s documents into the service of the United States. Working for the US, they were to gather intelligence concerning the USSR’s Red Army and its allies, as well as about the military and political situation in the Soviet Occupation Zone – the future GDR. Since 1946, the clandestine organisation, which was financed and run by the US, operated from the territory of the American occupation zone. At first, its headquarters were located at Oberursel in the Taunus. In December 1947, they were relocated to Pullach which is south of Munich.   more...


Code Name Nicholas

“Victory above all will be to see well into the distance,
to see everything up close and that everything has a new name.”


Who gives names leaves tracks. The informational value of a name is not necessarily determined by the degree of its comprehensibility. As members of the clandestine “Organisation Gehlen” took possession of a property between Großhesselohe and Pullach near Munich, which was to become the base for their organisation’s intelligence activities, they felt an acute need to find a suitable name for the area. With an ironic sensitivity, they named the premises of the estate after that famous Metropolitan of Myra, of all people, whose anniversary was celebrated on precisely that day: Camp Nicholas. In retrospect, the title does indeed seem like a pre-Christmas gift that attests to a childish, playful, possessive reflex, rather than to sophisticated coding strategies. However, looking at the image the Bundesnachrichtendienst, Germany’s foreign intelligence service, has cultivated for decades, one cannot help but speculate whether or not this assessment is an erroneous conclusion. Tracing back the etymology of the name Nicholas leads to a double meaning which, in its ambiguity, points in a decidedly different direction: “Victor from the people, victor over the people”.  more...