British intelligence, on Monday, revealed that during World War II, Nazi Germany planned to infiltrate the Catholic Church, with the use of spies dressed up as monks. A Nazi sympathizer residing in Rome formulated the plan in 1943 and had won the support of the Third Reich. Senior Nazi officials saw it as a way to follow the Allied Forces on their way to conquer Italy.
Operation Georgian Convent consisted of the purchase of a building in Rome by Michael Kedia, a Russian anti-communist Nazi sympathizer from Georgia.
The plan (involved the)…”set up of a Georgian cloister in Rome under Vatican protection and among the monks introduce agents who were to keep contact with German intelligence,” the MI5 report says.
The operation was thwarted by Giuseppe Dosi, an Italian policeman who was acting as an informant to the British intelligence service. Dosi wrote to agents in London that the Nazis planned to set up two rooms “for the use of the agents for storage of transmitters, batteries and any other secret material.”
The Nazis believed that dressing up the spies as monks would be the perfect cover due to the Vaticanâ€™s neutrality during the war. Vatican officials became suspicious because of the agentsâ€™ ignorance of Catholic doctrine and observed interest in women. Later the Vatican received confirmation of their suspicions by an anonymous warning sent by British intelligence. The agents were subsequently sent back to Germany and the Vatican complained to Berlinâ€™s ambassador.
The operation was the second to be revealed by the MI5 after when last week it disclosed that the Nazis also planned to infiltrate the Boy Scouts in order to gain the support of its founder.