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The Somerton Man Case. The body of a man found on an Australian beach close to a major Atomic Testing ground, he was probably poisoned, a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and an unbroken Code page found and associated to him. Set against a Cold War background in 1948, was this man a spy? We think so and this blog focuses on the evidence that was left behind and in some cases missed, the Code page, Dry Cleaning numbers, A Poem and a small, torn piece of paper bearing the words TAMAM SHUD.

Friday, 11 November 2016




The above image is a form signed by Tibor as Dr. Tibor Kaldor. This is the only reference we have to him being qualified as a Dr. apart from the ad in the Age newspaper dated 1944 and found by Misca. The question is, what kind of Dr.?

The image below is of the original Metropolitan Police 'Exemption From Internment' Certificate dated 18.12.1939, in the name of Tibor Kaldor. You can see that at the time of its issue, Tibor was unemployed and he has as his occupation, 'Secretary, Insurance Co.'.  His address was 65 Parliament Hill, London NW 3. I have darkened this image as the original was quite faded.

65 Parliament Hill Road, NW3.

The form has been overstamped with 'INTERNED CIRCULAR 21.6.40' That was the date that all 'enemy' aliens were arrested and then placed in Internment camps first in the UK prior to many of them, including Tibor, being put aboard the HMT Dunera for deportation to Australia. For some there was a step prior, they were placed initially on the Andora Star and headed for Canada. 24 hours out on that ill-fated trip, the Andora Star was in fact torpedoed with the loss of many lives most of whom were Internees and some were German POWs.

The internees that survived the sinking were rescued and then later put aboard the HMT Dunera. Once again just 24 hours out, the HMT Dunera was attacked by a U-Boat but the torpedoe, whilst hitting ts target, failed to explode. You can imagine the panic on board especially for those that had escaped the Andora Star. For one reason or another, the British guards threw  the belongings of many internees overboard shortly after the attack. It is recorded that many personal items including false teeth, were amongst the items ditched.

The fact that the vast majority of the internees aboard the Dunera were German meant that the belongings thrown overboard would contain obviously German markings and perhaps documents. So, whilst it is thought by some that the action of dumping the belongings was done in anger, others suggest that it was a deliberate ploy by the British to fool the lurking U-Boat Commander into thinking that the Dunera had German POWs aboard which would hopefully lead him to cease the attack. Whatever the reason, the Dunera completed the rest of its journey to Australia without any further enemy action.

For the record, there is a common misconception that there were German POWs on board the Dunera on that trip which is incorrect according to records and to the interview with Bern, one of the survivors of the original Dunera boys.

As you can see the house, number 65 Parliament Hill, NW 3, and  at which Tibor lived, was quite an attractive property and would have been even more so in those times.

We do not know at this stage just who owned that property and whether Tibor was boarding there or in fact, it was he who owned it. the initial thought is that a refugee from Europe would have been unlikely to carry much money with him but then again more than a few refugees did. In Australia, the practice was to record details of an Internees property if owned or part owned, there is no such entry for Tibor in his Australian documents.

Apart from knowing where Tibor's mother, Rosa, lived, we have been unable to trace any details of Tibor's life in Vienna prior to his escaping Europe at least up to this stage. The district of Josefstad was quite heavily populated and, in the early days, it was a working class area close to the City Centre. In more recent times the area has become a middle-class enclave.

As you will read in the following excerpt from Wikipeia, these were extremely dangerous times for those of Jewish faith in Vienna.

Rosa's Home. Vienna.

Vienna: The Holocaust (1938–1945) WIKIPEDIA

Immediately after the Anschluss, Vienna’s Jews were forced by the local population to clean the city’s pavements.

Just one day after the Anschluss in March 1938, Jews were being harassed in Vienna. They were driven through the streets of Vienna, their homes and shops were plundered and the process of Aryanisation began. These events reached their climax in the Kristallnacht pogrom of 9–10 November 1938. All synagogues and prayer houses in Vienna were destroyed – the Stadttempel was the sole survivor because its location in a residential area prevented it from being burned down. Most Jewish shops were plundered and then closed down; over 6000 Jews were arrested in this one night, the majority were deported to the Dachau concentration camp in the following days. The Nuremberg Laws applied in Austria from May 1938; they were reinforced with innumerable anti-semitic decrees. Jews were gradually robbed of their freedoms, were blocked from almost all professions, were shut out of schools and universities, and were forced to wear the Yellow badge.

The Nazis dissolved Jewish organisations and institutions, hoping to force Jews to emigrate. Their plans succeeded – by the end of 1941, 130,000 Jews had left Vienna, 30,000 of whom went to the USA. They left behind all of their property, but were forced to pay the Reich Flight Tax, a tax on all émigrés from the Third Reich; some received financial support from international aid organisations so that they could pay this tax. Following the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, where the Nazis resolved to completely annihilate the Jewish population, the majority of the Jews who had stayed in Vienna became victims of the Holocaust. Of the more than 65,000 Viennese Jews who were deported to concentration camps, only a few more than 2000 survived.


(An NAA Document. Search 'POWS and Internees')

For reference only at this stage but it does contain some very interesting information. You will read of the practice of issuing internees with writing materials but not just ordinary writing materials. The reference is to 'NOTELOPES' these were combined letters and envelopes made of light weight paper akin to what we may have been used to calling an 'aerogramme', 'PAR AVION' air mail stickers were also issued to internees.

I have darkened this document as once again it was quite faded.

Note that the paper from which the 'Notelopes' were made had to be specially glazed, that was done to prevent the use of secret inks, there was a real fear that a good number of the internees may have been involved in espionage and would communicate to overseas locations in what would appear to be ordinary and non-suspicious letters home though the reality could be that secret messages could be concealed using secret ink preparations. Notelopes were used specifically for airmail where weight of each letter was an important factor.

Note also that should the 'Notelopes' not be available, then plain white paper measuring 10 inches by 6 inches was to be issued together white envelopes.

Another Link To The Somerton Man Case

Amongst the contents of the man's suitcase, there were what were referred to as 'Lettercards' and Par Avion airmail stickers. There were also plain white envelopes found in SM's suitcase.

Whilst we have many photographs of the suitcase contents, no photographs exist of the letter cards, the Par Avion stickers nor the large white envelopes. You should also consider the fact that letter cards as such were for local, within Australia, postage, they would not need Par Avion stickers which were for overseas air mail and therefore lightweight letter grammes or 'Notelopes'

I think that it would be a worthwhile exercise to go through SM's belongings and identify those items listed but for which no photographs exist and then test to find out whether such items would tend to identify something about the man. It seems to me that at the very least, the writing materials , from their description alone, could well provide another link between the Somerton Man and the German Internees/ POWs of Hay and Tatura.

An Unreasonable Fear?

The fear of espionage agents being amongst Australias Internees was not without foundation, work by the intelligence services, including the men and women who interviewed internees on their arrival, had uncovered an extensive ring of Russian Fascists within the Internment Camps. Not only were there fascists but communists, nazis and not a few religious fanatics. This will form the basis of a separate post to follow:

Tibor Kaldor & The SA Police Process For Sudden Deaths.

I have recently spoken with a former SA Police officer who had some 25 years service dating back to the 1960s. I asked him specifically what the procedure was in the event of a Sudden Death being reported. But first let's consider briefly what actually happened and we will concern ourselves just with the process.

The Process Used

The Police had a report of a man found dead at a Hindley street hotel on December 14th 1948. Two weeks to the day of the discovery of SM's body at Somerton Beach.

The body was examined by Police, a substance was found in a glass, there were two letters apparently written by the man found in the hotel room. The body was removed to the morgue where it joined the body of the Somerton Man, the only other occupant at that time.

The Receptionist at the Hotel identified the man to the Police as the same man who had signed in as Tibor Kaldor on the 11th. December 1948.

The report from the autopsy was that the man's death appeared to be consistent with an overdose of Barbiturates.

The Normal Police Process

On receiving information of a Sudden Death, a uniformed Police Officer would attend the scene and a Detective would also be present. So far so good.

The event is automatically treated as suspicious until proven otherwise.

Any evidence is removed for testing. The glass and contents were removed but there is no record of any test taking place.

There were 2 suitcases referred to in a letter found in the room. There is no Police record of the suitcases or their contents in the Police files.

Whilst the autopsy found that the death was consistent with Barbiturate overdose, no actual cause of death was recorded.

The standard Police procedure at the time when a body was found and it was ascertained that the deceased was from outside the police area, then a report goes to the local Detective Superintendent who in turn contacts hs opposite number in the originating Police area and sends a photograph and report, in this case, to the Melbourne City Division. The Melbourne Detective Superintendent organises for the address, if known, of the deceased to be visited and a photographic identification occurs and is certified. The certified ID information and statement of the officer together with a statement from the person identifying the man is forwarded to the originating Detective Superintendent. That information is added to the file.

There is no mention of such a procedure having taken place in this case. The identification was provided by the receptionist at the hotel, she was someone who did not know who the deceased man was prior to his checking in on the 11th December 1948.

Only One Example of Photograph Identification Found.

On the question of identification in the case of Tibor Kaldor, Clive and I have both carried out extensive research on the man and we agree that we should be cognisant of the  following facts:

1. There are no known photographs of Tibor whilst he was in London
2. On arrival at Australia's first Port, Fremantle, all POWs and internees were photographed and fingerprinted. There are no records we can find of that nature for Tibor.
3. There are no known photographs of Tibor at Hay or at Tatura internment camps nor any mention of him in any camp activities nor any photographs in any of the books covering the subject that I have thus far read.
4. The only photograph we have of Tibor is the one shown on his application for registration as an Alien dated 21st January 1948. His later notification of Naturalisation as a British subject, dated 9th November 1948, does not have a photograph. Note that his Naturalisation notification is barely 1 month prior to his taking his own life.
5. The British National Archives at Kew have no record of Tibor Kaldor or his application for naturalisation as a British Citizen. This included a search for his Naturalisation Certificate number 'A (1) 24198' and the date of 20th October 1948.
6. The SA Police files have no image of Tibor following his death.

Thanks to Misca, we can say that Tibor, now addressed as Dr., Kaldor was providing language lessons from his home address of 10 The Avenue, Windsor in Melbourne:

GERMAN. — Lessons and coaching, single or in groups, by exp. German teacher (Univ. graduate). Dr. T. K., 10 The Avenue Windsor.

This is the same address that Tibor listed in his intention to apply for naturalization.
August 12, 1944:

To this date we have been unsuccessful in finding any further records of Tibor Kaldor but the search will continue.

In the next post we will examine other aspects of Tibor's demise and the records that we have been able to find.


  1. That doesn't really look like 'Dr' to me - especially when you look at the very prominent 'D' in 'KALDOR', the title looks very squishy.
    I wonder if it's instead some sort of representation to the Hungarian version of 'Mr' - which as far as I can find seems to be 'ur' (with an acute diacritical mark above the u) - although not sure the name order would be consistent with Hungarian.

    TBH, to me it most looks like an 'f' - which seems off....

  2. Thanks for your comment. I first found this unusual prefix some weeks ago and wondered then whether it was Dr. In old English style it was a capital D with a lower case 'r' situated at the top right of the D. When Misca last week found the Teacher of Languages ad in the Age I think, it stated Dr. T.K and gave the correct and known address for Tibor. I subsequently found another ad, since published on the latest post, which talks of a Phd teacher from Vienna. For those reasons, I was convinced that the prefix was Dr. Having said that, if you can point us to a link or an image that shows what you have described I would be more than happy to run a comparison image. Thanks again.

  3. There has been a very interesting development, well it's more of a find really. We kno that there were more than 400 German men who were arrested by the British in Iran, they were transported to Australia but interestingly at least 70 of these men were identified as agents. The majority of the 70 were German agents whilst others were referred to as Russian albeit that they were of German origin.

    I was able to find the list of agents together with notes on each, there are photographs and fingerprints for mose of these men.

    Working with Clive we were quickly able to find one man in particular who could be connected to the SM case by virtue of the work he did whilst in Iran. He worked with Zoroastrian Persians. We will be posting more about this man on 28th November.