Recognition for Spymaster Hero

Colonel Thomas Kendrick was a member of the British Secret Intelligence Service who was posted to the Consulate in Vienna in 1925 as Station Chief Europe. He and his colleagues were given cover stories as employees of the Consulate`s Passport Office.

He was still in Vienna when Germany annexed Austria in March 1938 – changing the situation of Austria’s Jews dramatically. As Passport Control Officer, Kendrick and his colleagues managed to grant around 10,000 Austrian Jews entry permits to the British Mandate territory of Palestine.

Colonel Thomas Kendrick


Dr Helen Fry wrote a book about him titled ‘Spymaster: The Secret Life of Kendrick’ which was published in 2014. In it she says,

‘Kendrick faced a human catastrophe of immeasurable proportions.
Many of his Jewish friends were now at risk. The massive volume
of applications from Jews seeking to emigrate was something for which
the passport office was ill prepared.’

Kendrick and his staff were pushed to breaking point. He pleaded for more staff and saw his team double in the attempt to cope with the unfolding disaster. They eventually managed to process thousands of applications by working 15 hours a day.

According to Dr Fry, Col Kendrick saved a ‘generation of Austrian Jews’ but never spoke about what he had done after the war. She said:

“This was a man who lived in the shadows.
I have come to appreciate through writing this biography
just how significant he was.”

She recently noticed that the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial organisation in Israel had changed its rules to accept documentary evidence about people who helped Jews.

So, Dr Fry has submitted an application for the Yad Vashem to recognise him as a Righteous Gentile, which would place him alongside people like Oskar Schindler.