Venlo Incident

Captain Payne Best used his own car to make the trip from The Hague to Venlo

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Cafe Backus on the Dutch-German border near Venlo where two British SIS agents Captain S. Payne Best and Major Richard Stevens where kidnapped less than 20 hours after the Elser's bomb exploded  in Munich.


Also captured was Jan Lemmens, Best's driver. Another Dutchman, Lieutenant Dirk Klop of the Dutch intelligence service was killed in the brief gun fight with the German 'kidnappers' lead by Major Alfred Naujocks.


The British agents had been lured to Cafe Backus to met with  a dissident German general said to be planning a military coup against the dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.   


Lieutenant Dirk Klop



Dirk Klop, was given the name Captain Coppens by Stevens to pass him off as an English officer. His participation in the British espionage activities later aided the German argument The Netherlands had broken their neutrality.

Jan Lemmens



January Frederick Lemmens (born 11.5.1998) was the owner of an auto repair shop in The Hague (88 Binckhorststraat in Bezuidenhout) and the occasional driver of Best. Lemmens was released from Sachenausen concentration camp and returned to The Hague on 02/10/1940.

Captain Sigismund Payne Best

Major Richard Henry Stevens

Dr. Franz Fischer, the SD agent who acted as a middleman to arrange the covert meetings between the British agents and the Germans.

Walter Schellenberg, German intelligence officer, used the alias Captain Schaemmel

Alfred Naujocks, commander of the SD squad sent to Venlo.

Download Document-6-page-001

Press and Journal (Aberdeen) November 23, 1939