2 Replies Latest reply on Jul 15, 2021 11:01 AM by Stephen Joy

    Seeking where Robert Lindner actually served during WWII

    Stephen Joy Wayfarer

      With whom did psychologist Robert Lindner actually serve during World War II?  I have been conducting research relating to a case study written by Robert Lindner and published in his popularized book The Fifty-Minute Hour.


      Lindner, who trained at Cornell and later under Theodor Reik, worked for a few years as psychologist at the federal prison in Lewisburg. But during World War II he enlisted. His obituaries (he died in the mid-1950s) state that he was a Lieutenant Junior Grade in the Uniformed Health Service, but to my surprise, that department claims to have no record of his having been in their ranks. So where did he serve? There is little to no doubt that he did; he was a well-known figure at the time.


      Internal evidence in the cases and scattered reminiscences from the years after his death indicate that he had some sort of security clearance and had worked, during the war, in some sort of intelligence or counterintelligence capacity. I do not, however, find him named in the O.S.S. files. I wonder about the intelligence services of the army, navy, and state department (especially the latter). I also have reason to believe that he was stationed in the New York City area, quite possibly on Ellis Island (which was administered by the Uniformed Public Health Service and where many suspected Nazi sympathizers were interned - his job may have entailed evaluating them & trying to identify the actual Nazi agents in their midst). It seems likely that whatever agency he did work for managed to insert him into the Ellis Island staff in the guise of a Uniformed Public Health Service officer. But which agency? And where are his service records?

        • Re: Seeking where Robert Lindner actually served during WWII
          Thomas Richardson Tracker

          Dear Mr. Joy,


          Thank you for posting your request on the History Hub!


          Personnel records of Public Health Service Commissioned Corps officers are available upon request by completing a GSA SF 180 and mailing it to the Division of Commissioned Corps Officer Support, ATTN: Records Officer, 1101 Wooton Parkway, Plaza Level, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20852. Their web site is https://www.usphs.gov/.


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the Records of the Public Health Service (Record Group 90), but were unable to find any specific references to Robert Lindner at Cornell in NY or Lewisburg, PA. For additional information, please contact the National Archives at New York (RE-NY) at newyork.archives@nara.gov and the National Archives at Philadelphia (RE-PA) at philadelphia.archives@nara.gov.


          We also located the Personnel Files of the Office of Strategic Services, 1942 - ca. 1962 in the Records of the Office of Strategic Services (Record Group 226) but were unable to locate a file for Robert Lindner. For a search of the Name Index to most of the documents in Record Group 226, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) at archives2reference@nara.gov.


          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RE-NY, RE-PA, and RDT2. We apologize for any inconvenience.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!

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            • Re: Seeking where Robert Lindner actually served during WWII
              Stephen Joy Wayfarer

              A belated thank you for your efforts! I had previously written to the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, who surprised me by stating that they had no record of his service. Hence this question!


              I did recently encounter a lead, though it cannot be followed up further until the pandemic eases up a bit more. There is a file under the name Robert Lindner (F8110279) that I had previously overlooked because it is contained in a site (record group 319, intelligence and investigative dossier series) dated 1979-2009. So I assumed it to be a different Robert Lindner (there was somebody of that name associated with the Ford administration, I believe). But when I peeked inside, it turned out that most of the material actually dated from 1939-1950 and was part of the widespread declassification of Nazi-era investigations. So maybe this will answer the question!