Soon after the fascist Nazis took the reign of the German nation in the 30’s, a whole host of covert activities spurred out to control every aspect of the social fabric and regulate everything and everyone that came into or went out of Germany.
A famous brothel called “Salon Kitty” was one of those facilities.
A high-class brothel in Germany under Nazi Intelligence’s watchful eye, Sicherheitsdienst (SD) used the women in the brothel for espionage purposes before and during the Second World War.
German Intelligence had been watching the activities of the brothel and its growing fame all through the early 30’s, but was finally taken over by Reinhard Heydrich and his subordinate Walter Schellenberg as the Second World War broke out in 1939.
The original owner of the brothel was a lady named Kitty Schmidt, who owned the facility all through her life.
The aim of the brothel during the war was to seduce German dignitaries/diplomats with women and alcohol so that they could express their true and honest opinions about Nazis and to have a better understanding of what the world thought of the regime.
Some of the prominent visitors of the Salon include Reinhard Heydrich, Joseph Dietrich, Galeazzo Ciano and Joseph Goebbels to name a few. The facility operated until 1942 when it was bombed and completely demolished and later lost its importance.
Since the Nazis rose to power in 1933 the owner of Salon Kitty had been secretly sending money to British banks through fleeing refuges, as she wasn’t sure of her fate and wanted to have a backup plan.
However, when she decided to join the refugees and leave the country on June 28, 1939, Kitty was apprehended by Sicherheitsdienst on Dutch borders and was brought back to Berlin.
Kitty was given a straight forward choice by the Sicherheitsdienst’s counter intelligence officer Walter Schellenberg, to either work for the Nazis or face the concentration camp.
Kitty made the logical choice and helped Sicherheitsdienst set up an espionage brothel in Berlin.
The idea to put the Kitty Salon to the Nazi’s use came from none other than Reinhard Heydrich, who was a prominent SS general and police chief within Nazi Germany.
Other officers advised to infiltrate the brothel, but Heydrich decided to take it over altogether and wired the building up entirely to catch everything and anything that was being said within the rooms by the visitors.
The basement of the brothel was set up as a workshop or a listening post, where five agents continuously listened and prepared transcripts of the conversations taking place in the ‘love-making’ rooms upstairs. The rooms of the brothel were lavishly decorated with the best of the furniture and decoration pieces of the time, and women were trained to seduce the men so much that they would spit out everything that was on their mind.
After taking over the Salon a special circular prepared by the Schelleberg’s administrative unit was printed out, asking women and girls with high intelligence and multilingual skills to join the facility, a preference would be given to nationalistically minded and man-crazy women. In another recruiting attempt, a number of local prostitutes were arrested, and a handful of beautiful women were selected from the lot to work in the brothel.
Later on, all the women were given detailed training regarding the operations and how to seduce men for getting as much information as possible. Women were not told about the microphones installed in the rooms, however, they were told to submit a report after each encounter regarding any specific information that they heard during the time with dignitaries and diplomats.
Some of the famous visitors to the salon included the son in law of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, Galeazzo Ciano who was also the Foreign Minister of Fascist Italy and did not hold very favourable views for the Nazi regime of Germany.
Additionally, German elite frequently visited the brothel, but during their visits microphones were turned off and they were let loose to have their way with women freely.
Heydrich visited the brothel on multiple occasions along with SS General Sepp Dietrich who had ordered all twenty girls of the brothel to have an all-night orgy.
Joseph Goebbels also visited Kitty and reportedly enjoyed lesbian displays, which at that time was considered anti-social in the German society.
The clientele of the Salon significantly decreased as the war in Europe progressed, and after an air raid in July 1942 destroyed the facility the brothel was shifted to another location. Soon after the bombing, Sicherheitsdienst ordered Kitty to carry on her work but told her to keep quiet about Nazis’ involvement in the operations, or else be prepared to face the consequences.