Richard Quirin
Richard Quirin was a German-American executed as an enemy agent for the Germans
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 in World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. He was one of eight agents involved in Operation Pastorius
Operation Pastorius
Operation Pastorius was a failed plan for sabotage via a series of attacks by Nazi German agents inside the United States. The operation was staged in June 1942 and was to be directed against strategic U.S. economic targets...

, and gave his name to the Supreme Court decision on the trial, Ex parte Quirin
Ex parte Quirin
Ex parte Quirin, , is a Supreme Court of the United States case that upheld the jurisdiction of a United States military tribunal over the trial of several Operation Pastorius German saboteurs in the United States...


Early life

Born in Berlin, Germany in 1908, Quirin moved to the United States in 1927, living in Schenectady, New York
Schenectady, New York
Schenectady is a city in Schenectady County, New York, United States, of which it is the county seat. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 66,135...

. He worked as a mechanic
A mechanic is a craftsman or technician who uses tools to build or repair machinery.Many mechanics are specialized in a particular field such as auto mechanics, bicycle mechanics, motorcycle mechanics, boiler mechanics, general mechanics, industrial maintenance mechanics , air conditioning and...

 during this time for General Electric
General Electric
General Electric Company , or GE, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation incorporated in Schenectady, New York and headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut, United States...

. He lived in the United States from 1927 to 1939, and was a member of the German American Bund, as well as an open supporter of the Hitler regime. In 1939, Quirin and his wife returned to Germany. Upon his return, he got a job with Volkswagen
Volkswagen is a German automobile manufacturer and is the original and biggest-selling marque of the Volkswagen Group, which now also owns the Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, SEAT, and Škoda marques and the truck manufacturer Scania.Volkswagen means "people's car" in German, where it is...

. He worked with Heinrich Heinck at the plant in Braunschweig
Braunschweig , is a city of 247,400 people, located in the federal-state of Lower Saxony, Germany. It is located north of the Harz mountains at the farthest navigable point of the Oker river, which connects to the North Sea via the rivers Aller and Weser....

, and the two became the first recruited by Walter Kappe, the publisher of the Bund newspaper Deutscher Weckruf und Beobachter, for what became Operation Pastorius.

Operation Pastorius

After the men were recruited, they were given pseudonyms and false stories to blend in as they returned to America. Quirin's new identity was Richard Quintas, a Portuguese
Portuguese people
The Portuguese are a nation and ethnic group native to the country of Portugal, in the west of the Iberian peninsula of south-west Europe. Their language is Portuguese, and Roman Catholicism is the predominant religion....

 man who moved to Upstate New York from Lisbon
Lisbon is the capital city and largest city of Portugal with a population of 545,245 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Lisbon extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of 3 million on an area of , making it the 9th most populous urban...

 when he was three. He was considered by Kappe to be a "cool, cruel man who would not hesitate to kill anyone to accomplish the mission's objectives." On June 13, 1942, Quirin was one of the first four to come to America as he, George John Dasch
George John Dasch
George John Dasch was a German spy and saboteur who landed on American soil during World War II. He helped to destroy Nazi Germany’s espionage program in the United States by defecting to the American cause, but was tried and convicted of treason and espionage.-Early life:Georg Johann Dasch was...

, Heinck, and Ernst Peter Burger
Ernst Peter Burger
Ernst Peter Burger was a German spy and saboteur who landed on American soil during World War II. He was captured but escaped execution. He was deported to Germany in 1948.-Operation Pastorius:...

 landed on American soil on a U-boat
U-boat is the anglicized version of the German word U-Boot , itself an abbreviation of Unterseeboot , and refers to military submarines operated by Germany, particularly in World War I and World War II...

. A couple of months later, when Dasch turned himself in to the FBI, he named Quirin as one of the "true believers" of the operation. On June 20, Quirin was the first of the group to be arrested as the FBI officers surrounded him as he tried to escape.

Trial and execution

At the trial, Quirin took the stand after Heinck. He stated that he did not know the purpose of Operation Pastorius, and was just interested in returning to the United States. However, a cross-examination showed that Quirin saw himself as a loyal Nazi, and made no effort to get out of the operation. Quirin was emotionless as he was sentenced to death, only displaying some sentiment upon telling a guard that he wanted his contacts to know that Dasch had "ratted" him out. Quirin was electrocuted on August 8, 1942, and he and the five others executed were buried in a potter's field
Potter's field
A potter's field was an American term for a place for the burial of unknown or indigent people. The expression derives from the Bible, referring to a field used for the extraction of potter's clay, which was useless for agriculture but could be used as a burial site.-Origin:The term comes from...

 with numbered graves.

External links

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