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EDRS Secret Listeners Review

A review of the Secret Listens Project written by the young people from the Edgware District Reform Synagogue who took part in the workshop at the Jewish Museum.

On the 20th January 2013, 3 pupils braved the snow on a trip to the Jewish Museum in Camden. Leon Hirsh, Millie Bard and Jonathan Lubin from the EDRS religion school and were accompanied by Nigel Williams, Ben Braverman and Hannah Mendoza-Wolfson. When we arrived we were greeted by two ladies from a West End production company called Del and Ariel; who we worked with throughout the morning learning about the Secret Listeners and what happened at Trent Park in London.
The Secret Listeners were a group of German-speaking translators who put the Germans in a place of luxury in the form of Trent Park in North London to give them a false sense of security so the translators could listen in to the conversations to gain intelligence that would help the Allied forces in Europe. They worked in a separate outhouse in Trent Park in room called the M-Room were they operated.
Once we were comfortable with the topic, we then from scratch started to form ideas on a small production to present in the afternoon. We were all intrigued by the ways that the British manipulated the German Generals into releasing information on the on-going conflict in Europe and the Concentration Camps. We rehearsed our small show in the hall just before lunch with an audience just about reaching five. When we arrived back after lunch we were shocked to see that in the twenty minutes were gone, so many people had arrived and there was an audience of over 60 were now sitting waiting for the show to start. We had not realised that it wasn’t just us presenting but actually a small convention about the Secret Listeners.
After our performance, there was a short Q&A with just us 3 kids. We were also shown a short film made by a man called Mark Norfolk featuring Fritz Lustig, one of the only remaining Secret Listeners. After the film there was another panel discussion with Mark Norfolk (editor), Thomas Kampe (director), Julia Pascal (producer), Mike Tsang (photographer), Nick Ryan (audio), and Jonathon Meth (playwright) along with Fritz Lustig. Jonny and Millie participated in the panel discussion, both asking Fritz their questions. We arrived back at Edgware Station, excited to tell our parents about our amazing experience.
We would like to thank Nigel, Ben and Hannah for taking us, even on that very snowy day.
Millie Bard and Jonathan Lubin

Secret Listener Phase 2 – Review

Read The Arty Semite’s review of the Secret Listeners phase 2 event at The Jewish Museum on 20th January

World War II ‘Secret Listeners’ Revealed By Anne Joseph


Pascal Theatre Company production 2012.
THE SECRET LISTENERS at Middlesex University, Trent Park,  Sunday July 22 2012.
Site-specific installation reveals secrets of when the British bugged Nazis in a Middlesex mansion
German and Austrian refugees – many of them Jewish – who had fled Nazi Germany before the Second World War, were recruited by British intelligence to spy on top-ranking Nazi prisoners in a secret project based at an Enfield mansion.
Now this secret work will be explored  in an event  at Trent Park – the place where it happened. The project has been made possible by a grant  from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Pascal Theatre Company, working with Middlesex University, The Jewish Military Museum, The Jewish Museum and the Wiener Library, will train up 20 young volunteers to undertake the research needed to pull the information together. Trent Park is currently home to Middlesex University where the performance is scheduled for 22 July, 2012.
The project, called The Secret Listeners, will show how the refugees provided vital information because of their extensive knowledge not only of the German language but also cultural traditions. They recorded and made detailed transcripts of private conversations between Nazi senior officers, which yielded valuable strategic information to the Allies, including to what extent the German army was aware of and implicated in the Holocaust.
Nazi prisoners, including many generals and other high-ranking officers, lived a relatively comfortable existence in the mansion, previously the home of the Sassoon family, and where Charlie Chaplin and Lawrence of Arabia had once been house guests.  The British plan was to make the POW’s feel relaxed enough to discuss issues among themselves, unaware that every room throughout the building was bugged.
Young people working on the project will be recruited from students and graduates at the University as well as volunteers from the North London Jewish Community. They will have access to transcripts of the original recordings held in the National Archives.
A subsequent performance of the resulting drama will be held at The Jewish Museum in 2013  and a permanent record of the project will be available at the University and the Jewish Military Museum.
For the Heritage Lottery Fund, Head of HLF London Sue Bowers said: “This is a fascinating but little-known slice of national history which underlines the vital contribution made by this group of refugees. The young people taking part will help ensure that the story is much more widely known while at the same time gaining a range of valuable skills.”
Director Thomas Kampe
Sound Designer Nick Ryan
Artistic Consultant Adam Ganz
Further information
Julia Pascal, Director, Pascal Theatre Company, on: 020 7383 0920, email