Format Hardcover
Publication Date 07/04/23
ISBN 9781639364299
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 320

Request a review copy or press kit

The Madam and the Spymaster

The Secret History of the Most Famous Brothel in Wartime Berlin

Nigel Jones Julia Schrammel Urs Brunner

This extraordinary story of a high-class Berlin brothel—taken over by the Nazi secret service—is one of the last untold tales of World War II.

There is no book in English about the wartime Berlin ‘salon’ run by Kitty Schmidt under the secret control of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the architects of the Final Solution.

"Salon Kitty" was the most notorious brothel in the decadent Berlin of the Weimar Republic - the city of "Cabaret." But after the Nazis took power, it became something more dangerous: a spying centre with every room wired for sound, staffed by female agents specially selected by the SS to coax secrets from their VIP clients.

Masterminded by Reinhard Heydrich, the spymaster whom Hitler himself called "the man with the iron heart," the exclusive establishment turned listening post was patronised by the Nazi leaders themselves, not knowing that hidden ears were listening.

The Madam and the Spymaster reveals the sensational true story of this forgotten part of espionage history. The deep research undertaken by Nigel Jones, Urs Brunner and Dr Julia Schrammel sheds new light on Nazi methods of control and coercion, and the way sex was abused for their own perverse purposes.

Historian and journalist Nigel Jones is the author of eight books.  An authority on the poets of the Great War and the rise of Nazism and Fascism between the world wars, he has also guided historical tours of the Western Front, Germany and Italy for several years. A former deputy editor of History Today and a founding editor of BBC History magazine, he writes and reviews regularly for these and other national newspapers and magazines, and frequently appears in historical documentaries.

Dr. Julia Schrammel is an Austrian journalist who studied at the University of Salzburg and works with several media companies.

Urs Brunner studied History, Politics, and Literature at the University of Zurich and the American University of Cairo. She currently works as a freelance journalist.  

Buy it now in print:

Buy it now in ebook:

Endorsements & Reviews

"Journalists Brenner, Nigel Jones, and Julia Schrammel focus on Heinrich Himmler’s spymaster Reinhard Heydrich, who, in 1939, opened a high-end brothel in Berlin and bugged its bedrooms and parlors to capture the pillow talk of its influential clients. A successful madam, Kitty Schmidt, was tapped to run it. The client list included Gian Galeazzo Ciano, Mussolini’s son-in-law, but just as interesting to Heydrich were German notables. In the vicious world of Nazi Germany, with seven intelligence services vying for dominance, Heydrich was looking for an edge: blackmail was an effective weapon." Library Journal
"After sundown, at a respectable address in Berlin, Nazi libertines went in and out of Salon Kitty, a brothel that was an illicit little toast to the Weimar years. Inside, a single mother from Hamburg popped corks for Hitler’s minions and adversaries alike. The S.S. used the louche environment to spy on Kitty’s besotted patrons, through mikes in the upholstery and clerks in the basement. The transcripts are lost to time, and we can’t be sure whether the sex workers even knew about the side hustle. But the authors of The Madam and the Spymaster listen carefully, sorting through eight years of echoes.”

Air Mail
"Historians Brunner and Jones, along with journalist Schrammel, present the story of a brothel in wartime Berlin, “Salon Kitty,” run by Kitty Schmidt, an elusive madam." Booklist