Spy ar­ti­facts get new home

The Niagara Falls Review - - WORLD NEWS -

selves on an op­er­a­tion gone awry.

A print­ing plate was used by Nazi in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cers to print bo­gus Bri­tish cur­rency dur­ing the war. They rounded up about 100 peo­ple, in­clud­ing mas­ter Jewish forg­ers, in con­cen­tra­tion camps and told them if they could pro­duce un­de­tectable Bri­tish notes, they wouldn’t be killed.

Af­ter be­ing re­leased, the forg­ers dumped the weighty crates of fake cur­rency, print­ing plates and presses into a lake in the Aus­trian Alps as they fled to al­lied lines.

A nearby innkeeper dis­cov­ered the bills float­ing on the sur­face of the lake in 1952. But it took a mini submarine in the early 1990s to re­cover the print­ing plates. Mel­ton got the items from some­one in­volved in the re­cov­ery op­er­a­tion.

Mel­ton’s big­gest coup — the item he looked for the long­est — is the ice axe that was used to kill Trot­sky at his com­pound out­side Mex­ico City in 1940. The as­sas­sin was Ra­mon Mer­cader, a com­mu­nist and sus­pected agent of Soviet lead­erJosephS­tal­in­whowas­jailed for years in Mex­ico.

A man who op­er­ated a teach­ing mu­seum within the Mex­i­can po­lice checked out the axe from a po­lice prop­erty room in the 1940s. He then got it in the 1960s as a re­tire­ment present.

“He gave it to his daugh­ter and it had been un­der her bed un­til 2008,” Mel­ton said. “She pulled it out. I made three trips to Mex­ico City and we were able to prove that it was the right axe.”

JACQUELYN MARTIN/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

H. Keith Mel­ton holds an Enigma Ma­chine with four ro­tors and Ja­panese char­ac­ters that was to be used in the Sec­ond World War to en­code mes­sages be­tween Nazi Ger­many and Ja­pan. The ma­chine is one of the many items that he is do­nat­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Spy Mu­seum from his col­lec­tion of spy ob­jects.

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