A Would-Be Nazi James Bond

Erich Gimpel and William Colepaugh were the last Nazi spies to land in the United States. But just six weeks before they arrived, another spy, 40-year-old Oskar Mantel, had made the attempt to reach the coast of Maine.

Mantel had lived in New York City for 12 years before the war, working in the wholesale cosmetics business, a job perhaps related to his sister’s ownership of three beauty shops. According to notes from an interrogation conducted after his mission failed, Mantel left New York in 1941 for Japan and then went on to Russia. He also was "stationed in Paris for one a half years where he was ‘always laying up with the women,’" the note stated; "said he had a lovely time. From the smile of recollection that shone on his face, he pparently did."

Mantel was captured with 40 other survivors of the sinking U-1229 on August 20, 1944. He told the investigators it was his first submarine voyage. They wrote that he was carrying only American money, a large sum "about which he is quite concerned." They concluded their report with the admonition "Suggest this man be kept by himself. He appears to be ready to sell out to save himself.… Might be a potential spy about to be landed in [America] well supplied with United States money."

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