Letters defend Nobel laureate against Nazi charges

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Peter Debye, the Dutch winner of the 1936 Nobel Prize in Chemistry whose reputation was sullied in 2006 by allegations that he was a Nazi sympathizer, could in fact have been an anti-Nazi informer to the Allies during the approach to the Second World War.

Jurrie Reiding, a retired chemist in the Netherlands, examined Debye's private correspondence and concluded that he might have supplied information to a spy working for the British intelligence agency MI6 in Berlin. The finding is published in Ambix1.

Reiding says that Debye was a friend of Paul Rosbaud, an Austrian working at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physics in Berlin, of which Debye was director between 1935 and 1939. Rosbaud, who loathed the Nazis, was recruited by MI6 to supply them with scientific information including details of the development of the V1 and V2 rockets and German attempts to develop an atomic bomb. He remained in Berlin throughout the war. Even now, information about Rosbaud's activities under the codename Griffin remain classified....

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