Can you tell me what sort of uniform he is wearing, and can you tell me if he is a cadet, enlisted, or commissioned. Here’s the story behind the photo. His name is Wilhelm Wöhst. He was a German spy that Abteilung III, Sektion Politik sent to the United States in November 1916 to operate with an established sabotage cell in Baltimore, Maryland, run by an American citizen, Paul G. L. Hilken. In the three months he was in the United States, he worked primarily with two US citizens who were also members of the Baltimore cell, Carl Dilger and Friedrich Herrmann, in an Anthrax and Glanders lab in Chevy Chase, MD, for the purpose of spreading Anthrax and Glanders among livestock being shiped to the Allies. He was also involved in the setting of Kingsland Fire, 11 January 1917.
When the United States broke diplomatic relations with Germany on 3 February 1917 he went to ground in Rochester, NY where he remained until 14 February 1917 when he went aboard the SS Frederik VIII with the German embassy staff for return to Germany.
When he arrived in Baltimore in November 1916, he told his sister, who was living there, that he was an Oberleutnant in the German Army and had been wounded in France, and the General Staff had been sent him to the United States to work with Paul Hilken in Baltimore on various sabotage operations. The General Staff, Abteilung III, selected him for the mission to the US probably because of his excellent English. He was given $10,000 in credits through Guaranty Trust and the Corn Exchange Bank in New York City to finance his operations.
He was born in 1879 and this photo was taken before the war when he was probably in his early 20’s, ca. 1900-1905. His sister in Baltimore gave the photo to the Bureau of Investigation, the forerunner of the FBI in March 1917. I know it’s poor quality, but it’s all I have. Anything you have to offer or suggest that will tell me something about him will help. Thanks, Dwight
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