Project Paperclip – the U.S.’ secret project to collect post-World War II German scientists and win the Cold War



This album is a rare look at post-World War II life in Germany, specifically showing photographs of individuals and places connected with Operation Paperclip, a US government program aimed at bringing German war-time scientists into service for the United States.

This beautiful 7.25″ x 5.5″ Photo-Kino Wegert photo album was a gift to Franz Joseph Biermann from a Mr. A. Hinz, in Berlin, in 1954.

For several years (the 45 photographs cover the time period 1945 to 1954), Biermann FullSizeRender_7worked for the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), a secret program in which more than 1,600 German scientists, engineers, and technicians (many of whom were formerly registered members of the Nazi Party) were brought to the U.S. and made citizens, reportedly purging some of their work with the Third Reich.

After working with the JIOA after the war, Biermann and his wife, Ruth, returned to the U.S. in 1954, where he joined the CIA that same year. According to his obituary in the Washington Post in 1996, his work for the Agency centered on intelligence and operations involving African and German issues. He was stationed in Germany from 1963 to 1968, retiring from the CIA in 1973 but remained as a consultant until 1978.


The album contains 45 crisp black-and-white photographs of before and after comparisons of some German locations, a number of personnel involved in Operation Paperclip (including Dr. Carl Nordstrom, a high-level JOIA member directly involved in convincing German scientists to defect to the American side), buildings used by the JOIA and other related efforts.

There are also two photographs of German Nobel Prize laureates, Max Von Laue and Otto Warburg. Another photo shows Mrs. John Foster Dulles’ wife with other officials during one of the future CIA director’s visits to Germany.


Mr. Hinz has also included several hand-drawn caricatures of some of the Operation Paperclip leaders, including Mr. Biermann, who retired as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Please examine the photographs of this album and its contents carefully. There are few opportunities to obtain an item of this quality and historic significance, especially as it pertains to a secret post-World War II U.S. government project.



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