Crack­ing the Nazi Code: The Untold Sto­ry of Agent A12 and the Solv­ing of the Holo­caust Code

  • Review
By – May 13, 2024

In this is an excep­tion­al­ly well-writ­ten work of his­tor­i­cal non­fic­tion, Dr. Jason Bell deliv­ers the pre­vi­ous­ly untold account of Agent A12 — a sto­ry with­out which no world his­to­ry or Holo­caust library would be com­plete. Winthrop Bell (no rela­tion to the author) puts fic­tion­al coun­ter­parts like James Bond and Jason Bourne to shame. The book is extreme­ly infor­ma­tive with­out being over­ly com­plex. Although it describes polit­i­cal, philo­soph­i­cal, and eco­nom­i­cal the­o­ries in detail, Bell’s writ­ing is clear and engag­ing. Those who are unfa­mil­iar with these schools of thought should have lit­tle trou­ble under­stand­ing the ter­mi­nol­o­gy and the con­text in which it is used. 

Read­ers will be fas­ci­nat­ed by the infor­ma­tion that was, until now, unknown to the pub­lic. They will be cap­ti­vat­ed by Bell’s prose; his descrip­tions of fight­ing, land­scapes, and his­tor­i­cal fig­ures car­ry the read­er into the sto­ry in a way that is gen­er­al­ly reserved for the most intri­cate fan­ta­sy nov­els. Bell intro­duces us to peo­ple we thought we already knew — and even more whom the world should have known, who have been for­got­ten in the dust of time and obscu­ri­ty. Bell grips his audi­ence with the bril­liance and skill of his main sub­ject: Agent A12, the British Cana­di­an Ger­man Spy who saved uncount­able num­bers of human lives, all because he was deter­mined to do what was right. He frankly seems too good to have been real.

The cur­rent rise in anti­semitism world­wide makes Crack­ing the Nazi Code a very time­ly work. Some of the warn­ings giv­en by Agent A12 in the First World War might be rec­og­niz­able today. A12 col­lect­ed infor­ma­tion from a wealth of sources and, with some of the best minds in the world at his dis­pos­al, pre­sent­ed pre­cise and bril­liant plans to pre­vent a Sec­ond World War and the Holo­caust from ever com­ing to fruition. How­ev­er, like the sci­en­tist at the begin­ning of near­ly every sci­ence fic­tion hor­ror film, Dr. Winthrop Bell must over­come polit­i­cal ego and for­eign pow­er play. The read­er expe­ri­ences frus­tra­tion as Bell nav­i­gates the red tape of inter­na­tion­al rela­tions, know­ing exact­ly what actions will pre­vent war and cre­ate a win-win for every­one involved. Jason Bell some­times makes us for­get that A12 can­not be com­plete­ly suc­cess­ful; we know that World War II would still hap­pen. Yet this will not stop us from mar­veling at a hero we nev­er knew was fight­ing for us. 

Sele­na A Nau­moff, Holo­caust Aware­ness Insti­tute at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Den­ver, holds a Mas­ter of Divin­i­ty and is a spe­cial­ist in com­par­a­tive reli­gious stud­ies. She is a read­er and writer of young adult fan­ta­sy and enjoys the gen­res of mys­tery, sci­ence fic­tion, clas­sic lit­er­a­ture, and non-fic­tion. She is also a spe­cial­ist in Holo­caust and non-fic­tion graph­ic novels. 

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