In His Own Words: Parachuting into the Emsland

On September 1, 1944, at 24.00hr., I was dropped into Germany as good as exactly on the prearranged pinpoint.  It was a perfect landing with no wind going and a bright full moon shining…

My father Jupp Kappius “did his bit” in WWII in a somewhat unusual manner.  In his effort to work for a new Germany to emerge after the war was over, he was first exiled, and then sent back by his own organization, the ISK, aided by British and American intelligence services alike though not as their agent, into Nazi Germany.  He was to parachute into a remote area north of his final destination Bochum (near Soegel in the Emsland, just east of the Dutch border) and make his way south by using public transport, then contact his old friends once he arrived in his hometown at the Ruhr.

His application for the OSS you can find here:

Application for Employment and Personal History Statement

The instructions he got for his infiltration – the name he went by was Jack Smith –  you can read here:

Jack Smith:  Instructions, Objectives and Intelligence Directives

After the operation, he wrote a report about his experiences which by now is printed in a book containing not only his, but other reports from ISK members as well.  But we also still own the original report, written on very thin paper in pencil and in tiny handwriting.

Here is how his report starts; follow the link below to read the whole thing on Jupp’s site.

On September 1, 1944, at 24.00hr., I was dropped into Germany as good as exactly on the prearranged pinpoint.  It was a perfect landing with no wind going and a bright full moon shining.  While I was swinging in the air after the parachute opened I was suddenly startled by a strong light shining full in my face which I first thought to be searchlight but which a little later I realized was the reflection of the moon in some nearby water.

fullmoonAfter folding up the chute I carried my suitcase and chute over to a wood some 4-500 yards away where I arrived completely exhausted so I had a two hour sleep after which I started digging a hole to bury the chute.  The strip-tease I buried separately and afterwards covered both places with leaves and fallen branches.  The spade I buried in two parts, hitting the blade into the ground until it had completely disappeared.  The handle went into the ditch.

Here I should like to relate an experience which might be of interest for future occasions.  After finishing the burial I was again very tired, a state which was probably caused not so much by the physical exertion but rather by the mental strain of dropping alone from a plane into something which was rather experimental.  It was then that I suddenly noticed I had lost my identification disc.  It had been there while I was digging, because I noticed it had got loose and slipped from the neck right down to the ankles.  But when I got out of the strip-tease I had not remembered to look for it and now it was gone.  I looked for it all over the ground but could not find it again.  Probably it was buried together with the strip suit, only I couldn’t be sure.  The moon light was fading already and anyway it was a terrible blunder to loose so important a piece of identification just at that particular spot.  It was then that I experienced a period of extreme despair and a strong temptation to give up there and then, realising, or rather magnifying, the difficulties of the task ahead of me and on the other hand despairing of my abilities to go through with it.  How could I be confident any longer after such a terrible blunder right at the start?

It took several hours to come out of this awful state of mind, the sense of duty finally getting the upper hand and confidence being restored to the point that I could at least try to do the job I had undertaken.

The temptation to give up would not have been so strong had I not been in such a weak condition physically and it might have made things much easier had I had a strong stimulant, a drug or some thing, which could have helped from the physical side to overcome that state of despair.  As it was, I had to fight it out mentally with a physical handicap which could have become a fatal factor.

The success of a mission may be endangered, in my opinion, by such a mood of despair which springs from the realisation that a dangerous situation has been created through one’s own carelessness – or some other mistake – which, when coupled with extreme fatigue, is very hard to overcome.

Read more on Jupp’s site


The report can also be found in:
Ruether, Schuetz and Dann (Hrsg.): Deutschland im Ersten Nachkiregsjahr” (Germany’s First Year After the War”), Volume 10: “Berichte von Mitgliedern des Internationalen Sozialistischen Kampfbundes (ISK) aus dem besetzten Deutschland 1945/46”.  Muenchen 1998, p. 34ff.

Author: Anne

~ In the right order of nature, the flesh is subject to the spirit and not the reverse. ~ The Cloud of Unknowing

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