According to The Hornet’s Sting by Mark Ryan, Sneum lay in ambush in occupied Copenhagen armed with a bow and arrows to kill Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS. He planned to strike from a penthouse that belonged to a Danish film starlet he had seduced. Sneum chose a longbow because he did not want the sound of a bullet to be traced back to her flat.
“He was a real-life 007, getting through a tremendous number of women and doing all kinds of spectacular stunts to evade the Nazis,” said author Mark Ryan who interviewed Sneum at length before the former spy died last year aged 89., “When he was holed up in Copenhagen he was sleeping with both the mother and daughter of the house, without either knowing.”
Himmler was due to visit Copenhagen in February 1941 en route to Berlin after visiting SS recruits in Norway. Sneum was a handsome 23-year-old Danish aviator who, dismayed at the capitulation of his country, had become a British spy. He had struck up a relationship with the actress Oda Pasborg, whose flat he wanted to use. In the end, however, Himmler failed to appear. After landing at Copenhagen airport he felt ill and flew on to Berlin.
Having added a book about Roald Dahl’s espionage exploits in the US to my reading list last Sunday, I will be adding another WWII espionage story this week...