Berlin – Salon Kitty

Salon Kitty was a brothel in central Berlin that opened in the early thirties. The brothel quickly gained a good reputation and was visited by both domestic and foreign dignitaries. The very fact that foreign dignitaries visited the brothel gave head of SS Security, Reinhardt Heydrich, an idea of attracting interesting visitors to the brothel and wire the rooms in order to obtain information. The owner of the brothel was called Kitty Schmidt and she tried in the summer of 1939 to leave Germany but was arrested and faced with an ultimatum to either work for the Nazis or end up in concentration camp, she chose the former. The Brothel was closed and Walter Schellenberg, who was head of RSHA’s department IV, organised the work of installing listening devices in the rooms.

About twenty prostitutes were carefully selected and trained in espionage, including recognizing uniforms and discretely finding out information and other things that could be important from an intelligence perspective. The prostitutes were asked after the visits to write down all the information they came across during the meeting. In 1940 the brothel was reopened but never really became the success Heydrich had hoped for. After the war broke out in 1939 it was scarcely or never visited by foreign dignitaries. In 1942 the brothel was damaged during an allied bomb raid. The espionage business was gradually phased out and completely ceased at the beginning of 1943. The brothel was returned to Kitty Schmidt, who continued the business in the usual way. However, she had to promise not to tell about the spy business.

Current status: Preserved (2011).

Address: Giesebrechtstrasse 11, 10629 Berlin.

Get there: Metro to Adenauerplatz Station.

My comment:

Of course, there were rumors that high Nazi leaders such as Goebbels visited the brothel. Goebbels was a famous womanizer who did not shy away from extramarital love affairs. Inevitably, there have also been rumors that Heydrich also visited the brothel ”on duty”, so to speak, but it has not been confirmed.

Follow up in books: Doerries, Reinhard R: Hitlers’s Intelligence Chief: Walter Schellenberg (2009).