2 Replies Latest reply on Jan 14, 2021 10:41 AM by Stephen Joy

    Seeking information about William Gerald Bishop

    Stephen Joy Newbie

      I am seeking information about William Gerald Bishop (also known as William Arneck and under a number of other names). Bishop was a leader in the American Nazi movement before and during World War II, a propagandist and organizer who went so far as to plan a coup d'état. I already have located a great deal regarding his activities from 1935-1947 and am working with various national archives to extract more. However, there are two topics on which I have found very little. One is his history prior to 1935 (other than the various stories he told, all of which are highly suspect). I do not think anyone can help much with this, as he seems to have risen from total obscurity, but would be grateful for any pointers.


      However, his fate after November 1947 is of great interest and there may be some relevant records. After being detained in federal facilities (including Ellis Island) during the war, he was subject to deportation (some claimed he was actually Austrian, though he denied this). Ultimately he exhausted his legal appeals and was deported to Austria on or about 11/18/1947. He may have been turned over to the Soviet authorities as a kind of indirect execution, but there are indications that he survived. The right-wing paper "Common Sense" (not a trustworthy source, but the editor was a friend of his) reports that he was alive and well shortly after the deportation. And a 1951 CIA report regarding Dr. Wilhelm Hoettl and Raimund Strangl alludes to him in a way that suggests he was still living and probably connected with some sort of low-level intelligence work. The CIA disavows all knowledge. I suspect that he may have been recruited to work for the CIC or CIA due to his multilingual fluency and credibility with the former Nazis they often employed, but he also may have been freelancing. There is a likelihood that he died (probably executed by the Soviets) in the early 1950s, but it is also possible that this did not happen until years later.

        • Re: Seeking information about William Gerald Bishop
          Cara Jensen Tracker

          Dear Mr. Joy,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located the series titled Intelligence and Investigative Dossiers (IRR) Personal Files in the Records of the Army Staff (RG 319) that contains a personal name file for William G. Bishop XE066676.  For access to the declassified non-digitized records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RDT2) via email 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 RDT2. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We also suggest that you request a search for records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for William Gerald Bishop.  For instructions, please visit their website at Requesting FBI Records.  In addition, you may wish to contact the National Archives of the United Kingdom, the State Archives of Belgium, and the Austrian State Archives  to request any records regarding the earlier reported deportations of William Gerald Bishop.  


          These files may give you background information on the birthplace and parentage of William Gerald Bishop which you may use for further research. 


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


          2 people found this helpful
            • Re: Seeking information about William Gerald Bishop
              Stephen Joy Newbie

              Thank you, Ms. Jensen!


              I had requested records from the FBI and CIA (among other agencies) with limited success (CIA will neither confirm nor deny, etc.). But I had not found the file to which you refer! It is an exciting discovery, and I have reached out to the Archives in hopes of clearing up some of the lingering questions about this man. Given that he dropped out of sight well before I was even born (and I'm no kid), his history and doings seem surprisingly relevant today - especially in the aftermath of the January 6th insurrection, in which he would certainly have played a major role.


              I am less sanguine about finding information regarding his life before his first FBI contact in 1935. Nearly every story he ever told was a lie (we know this because there were so many different ones). My sense is that he probably was an American who rose from obscurity - there is some indication that he was in the Civilian Conservation Corps at one point, and he is believed to have worked in various menial capacities. But maybe the file you located will contain some information about this as well!