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"We know, however, that in the 70’s, a plethora of paper documents on the Nazi flying discs started to appear in the German UFO community."

Ufologists debate Nazi UFO propaganda

In early November 1997, I had the great pleasure to travel to Italy with a group of renowned UFO researchers heading to the “International Conference: The Contact” held in Montesilvano. Sitting in a comfortable shuttle bus, during a boring three hours coast to coast journey from Rome to the pretty town on the Adriatico sea, I took the chance to engage two important figures in UFO research in an improvised double interview.

Desmond Leslie and Michael Meseman in Italy, 1997. (image credit: Mauazio Baiata)

Desmond Leslie and Michael Hesemann in Italy, 1997. (image credit:Paola Harris)

Desmond Leslie

Desmond Leslie

World War II British RAF Spitfire Pilot and aristocrat, Sir Desmond Leslie, co-author of The Flying Saucers Have Landed with famous contactee George Adamski, and German anthropologist Michael Hesemann

The animated conversation that followed came to focus on the possibility that the Nazis actually built disc-shaped flying objects (or flying saucers) in the 1930’s or early 40’s, as many do believe. Here’s the never before released full transcript of the interesting dialogue between Hesemann and Leslie.

Michael Hesemann:  The real German flying saucers program -called V-7 Program – was originally conceived in 1938 by the German engineer Andreas Epp after he saw the first helicopter flying over the fields of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany. Andreas Epp developed the project because he was worried about the danger of a collision of the helicopter blades with birds or trees. He therefore designed a jet-propelled aircraft with internal blades, a capsule in the center, and wheels turning around with a crown-shaped dome to protect the wheels.

Epp suggested this project to Ernst Udet, general of the German Aviation Ministry and Udet informed Hermann Göring [Chief of the Luftwaffe, President of the Reichstag, and designated successor to Hitler]. Fascinated by the project, Göring presented it to Adolf Hitler. The “Fuhrer” however did show any interest and refused to finance it, and Göring then decided to take the project under his sole responsibility and the auspice of the Luftwaffe. He called three engineers, who already had military security clearance, Rudolf Schriever, Heinrich  Richard Miethe and Otto Habermohl.

German engineer Andreas Epp in 1997.

German engineer Andreas Epp in 1997.

For further development they used the Skoda factory in Prag, in the Nazi occupied Bohemia. There they built the craft, and in 1944 the first test flights were conducted.
The problem was that the airplane actually never flew in a satisfactory manner, nor was possible to maneuver and that is why it never entered the production line. Nevertheless, Göring promised Hitler that the project that he led to his attention, was the V-7 weapon, but it never worked.

After World War II, the three engineers were unemployed and had heard about Operation Paperclip [the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) program used to recruit the scientists of Nazi Germany for employment by the United  States] and thought to do a good job with the Americans. At that point, they told the media that a prototype was flying with an acceleration of 1.400 km/h (870 mi): a spectacular performance.

The Americans then became interested and invited Schriever and Miethe – Habermohl had disappeared, maybe captured by the Russians as a POW. The AVRO company financed the project and built the so-called AVRO disc, very similar to the initial design. They obtained the same discouraging results as before, handling problems were insurmountable.  Andreas Epp is still alive [Epp actually died in 1997, shortly after this interview.] I He was an engineer and never was a member of the Nazi Party.

Maurizio Baiata: Is it correct to say that Epp was both, an engineer and a pilot?

German engineer Andreas Epp at work on thw AVRO in the 1960's.

German engineer Andreas Epp at work on the model of the Omega Diskus in the 1960's.

M.H.: Yes, but he was never a Nazi and he never had a “political” clearance. That’s why he was never commissioned any project.  He is still looking for sponsors for his idea of a disc shaped aircraft with a jet engine, propellers and internal rotation, but cannot find anyone as the project is not very promising.

M.B.: When did the Americans and Russians discover that the Germans were building and had an arsenal of disc-shaped objects?

Desmond Leslie: I know about a woman who saw the arsenal and took aerial reconnaissance photographs. They analyzed the photos and thought it was a small air base. Churchill spoke about this publicly. After a heated discussion on this, through espionage they later confirmed the installation was there and ordered its elimination. Unfortunately, they missed it by two miles and killed all the poor slaves who worked there.  The Americans flew over it and destroyed a large part of it. In 1943 we knew everything on the subject and we used to call it the “Rocket Run.” Normally, our flight missions were launched every afternoon and we bombed the places where they were building the V-1. The B-25 Mitchell bombers hit the buildings and we were ensuring protection from above.

M.B.: From your aircraft were you able to spot the Nazi installations?

D.L.:  No, we were just escorting the bombers, flew right over and then attack the targets missed by the bombers.

M.B.: They were surface installations?

D.L.: No, they were built in concrete defenses, along the coast of France. Churchill was very concerned that the V-1, able to carry two tons of explosives, could be armed with nuclear bombs. The V-1s hit London for twenty consecutive days. Terrified people were rushing to the shelters every time they heard the noise of the missiles.  
One night I was invited to a very pleasant and elegant dinner at the Grand Duke of Austria mansion. Suddenly the noise came and we dove under the table. Then we heard the crash, we were all terrified, and the Grand Duke rose from the table saying, as a true gentleman: “I must say: if we hear the sound, we are safe.”  Sure the bombs were scary. However, as they go faster than sound, if the first thing you felt was the crash that meant that you survived.

M.B.: I think that the allied secret services would have known that the Germans were building new deadly weapons in secret bases.

D.L.: Well, as you know, we were able to capture a V-1. The French helped us, they arrived in a field and found one that had landed on a wet ground. Despite the conditions we managed to have it take off before the Germans arrived. It was brought to a warehouse in England. The engine was very simple, it looked like an electric fan, it had thousands of small dots in spirals -like a jet- and it was a simple and well made device.

M.H.: Desmond, you are fully aware of the situation. The war was almost at its end and Hitler was desperate and wanted to introduce everything they were building and have it applied as an instrument of war, without even testing it. Half of the V-2 went down and destroyed villages in Germany and killed German citizens. However, he did not wait to solve these errors. He used everything he had, and if he would have had a disc shaped anti-gravity aircraft he would certainly have attacked the British pilots with it. But he did not have it. In the meantime, Foo Fighters [from the French term “feu”, fire, used to describe the mysterious lights appearing in the skies during World War II] were observed by the German and the Allied pilots, but they have never attacked anyone.

M.B.: We know, however, that in the 70’s, a plethora of paper documents on the Nazi flying discs started to appear in the German UFO community.

Desmond Leslie (left) with George Adamski.

Desmond Leslie (left) with George Adamski.

M.H.: They came from the Tempelhof Society, which claimed to be descendants of the New Templars, a lodge founded by the Austrian Lanz von Liebenfels in the late 19th century. At the end of the 70’s the Austrian Journal of the Tempelhofgesellschaft published a document which allegedly proved, so to speak, that the George Adamski flying saucer was actually a German construction, called “Haunebu”. 
But what does it mean, “Haunebu”, where does the name come from? In 1953 a German protestant preacher, Jürgen Spanuth, went to Egypt and he visited the Temple of Medinet Habu where he saw the depiction of the Battle against the “Peoples of the Sea”, who came from a country called Haunebu and attacked Egypt. This is a real event that happened at the time of Ramses III.  This people attacked Egypt and later, after being defeated by Ramses III, settled in the area of Gaza and they became the Philistines of the Bible. Their provenance from a Greek island is provable because its’ ceramics is identical to that of Greek and Aegean cultures of that period, the 12th century BC.

Anyway, Spanuth noticed that some of them had helmets with horns on their head like those falsely attributed to the Vikings 2,000 years later. He thought then they could be German tribes of the past. Haunebu actually means “islands in the north (of Egypt)” and is a good description of the Greek islands since they were right north of Egypt. But Spanuth, the deluded German protestant preacher, believed this to be the Egyptian name for the Frisian Islands in the North Sea! He thought that the story told at the walls of the Medinet Habu temple was actually the true story of Atlantis and Atlantis was Helgoland, one of the German islands in the North Sea!

Of course the idea of Spanuth was absurd, but it became popular in Germany. The German right wing, the Neo-Nazis, were fascinated by his theory and considered it an evidence of the superiority of the Teutonic German culture. His book was published by a Neo-Nazi publishing house. But his claim that Haunebu is the Egyptian term for ancient Germany became only popular in the late ‘50s among the right wing neo Nazi activists, not any time before. Indeed Spanuth only visited Egypt and had this idea in the early 1950s, after WW2. Therefore we can be sure that nobody in the Germany of the Third  Reich knew the word Haunebu, nor thought to connect it to the German pre-history. This is why when the Haunebu documents surfaced, we immediately knew they were fakes. No Nazi Engineer of the Third Reich would have had any reason to call a German Nazi weapon project Haunebu, since this term at that time was only known among Egyptologist, meant Greek islands and therefore had no relevance to the Nazis. Only in the late 1950s, in Neo-Nazi circles, it received a new meaning, it suddenly became an Egyptian name for the German “Atlantis”.

Indeed, the “Haunebu-Disc” shown on this faked document is nothing more than the George Adamski saucer, copied from his book “Inside the Spaceship”. And suddenly the Neo-Nazis claimed that Adamski photographed a German flying saucer. Indeed, they blamed Desmond Leslie, as Adamski’s co-author, for launching a disinformation campaign, claiming that “their” German Nazi disc was indeed an extraterrestrial craft. Since Desmond is the grandson of Winston Churchill and George Adamski was a Polish immigrant (some say he was a Jew but I do not think he was) this is in their eyes evidence enough for a conspiracy.

D. L. (joking): Yes, we said that to irritate them.

M. H.: And you think that the SS were kind enough to meet George Adamski and invite him for a ride? Sure, the SS were real nice to everyone, especially to the Polish people! No, honestly, this claim is too ridiculous!

M.B.: Was there any researcher familiar with the SS documents?

M.H.: No, no serious researcher was actually involved.

D.L.: What most irritates me is that at the end it eventually turned out to be a well-made exposure of the five cosmic laws taken from the White Lodge, a very secret association to which I belonged, and they printed them. They were good laws, Law of Peace, Control, Balance et cetera, but they claimed that they were their own laws.

M.H.: I asked a criminologist to check if the typewriter of these documents was a machine of the ‘40s, since that’s the first thing to check: If the only thing you have is a photocopy of a document, you start with the typewriter. The typewriter turned out to be a model called “Gabriele”, built by the German typewriter manufacturer “Triumph Adler”, in ca. 1972 – and the drawing reproduced on the document was actually taken from the book “Space Gravity and the Flying Saucers” written by Leonard Cramp.

D.L.: You are referring to the drawings of the Haunebu.

M.B.: But I’ve seen them, I have seen many drawings of different schemes and projects of the Nazi discs with the SS symbol.

D.L.:  Yes, everyone can find them easily.

M.H.:  Of course, anyone with knowledge of engineering can make a design of any project and can draw one.

D.L.: They were wonderful drawings. My brother was prisoner in a concentration camp. The prisoners were making German stamps from potatoes. You can make a copy of a document from potatoes.  Prisoners who wanted to escape did use these false documents.

M. H.: Anyone can falsify a document.

D.L.: Ohh… that video documentary, had such a stupid narrator’s voice and the music so horrible, it seemed made by space maniacs.

M.B: I know this video, “UFO’s Secret of the Third Reich” as I know very well Gerd Burde, the producer. I met him in Cannes at the 1992 MIP TV market and I wonder if he really knew what he was doing at that time.

Video cover to the documentary "UFO Secrets of the Third Reich".

Video cover to the documentary "UFO Secrets of the Third Reich".

M.H.: Gerd Burde is one of the most deluded persons I have ever known. He claimed to be an alien from the constellation of Antares and now says he is the reincarnated prophet Eliah and he organizes workshops for a mere $2000 for a two days admission. He has published a series of books where he claims to be the Prophet Eliah and a series of videos about Atlantis.

D.L.: I’d call him a liar.

M.H.: His behavior is intentional.

D.L.: There are so many people like him in America.

M.B.: I think he is one of a kind and a type of person that surely you do not find in the United States.

M.H.: He moved to Tasmania and I know he is there now.

D.L.: I sincerely hope he stays there forever.

M.B.: Let’s talk about the video and its contents.

D.L.: False.

M.H.: The photos of the Nazi discs are a ridiculous hoax, because the object is blurred when the clouds in the background are in focus – it must be a model close to the camera. I did not know the concept of the documentary, I never said that the Haunebu were real: I only talked with Burde about the V-7 project and that this happened. I still do not know who put the photos in that film.

M.B.: Desmond, what is your opinion about this video?

D.L.: It’s a fake: They took the George Adamski’s flying saucer and they attributed it to the Germans and created a video with bad ear piercing music, and a disgusting narration.

M.H.: It’s a Nazi propaganda film.

D.L.: Yes, but a very bad propaganda and half of the book is anti-Semitic propaganda. It is all about the Rothschild-Jewish world conspiracy?

M.H.: They thought that the God of Israel was a negative extraterrestrial who took the Jews as leaders to take control of the planet. And Adolf Hitler was the messiah who would rid the world of the Jewish conspiracy. The book is written by a young fanatic, calling himself Jan van Helsing, certainly it was inspired by the story of Dracula. The book was banned by the German government because it contained anti-Semitic and Nazi propaganda, both prohibited in our country.

D.L.: Was this part of a secret government strategy? And why they did not have it work better? I really think it was an international conspiracy.

M.H.: Maybe.

D.L.: Their mission is to continuously ignite new wars.


D.L.: For example, the Vietnam War was one of the weakest wars, organized just to test on new weapons.

M.B.: I once asked Colonel Corso [who was traveling with us but in a different car] to give me his insight, since he was in the US Military Intelligence long enough. How could the US allow the Vietnam War to escalate, once they knew how difficult the Korean War had been and how insidious the Far East scenario was. It was clear that the escalation would lead to a complete downfall and to thousands and thousands of US casualties. Corso replied: “I remember one day, I participated in a meeting at the Pentagon in Washington with General Troudeau. The point you are making was discussed during the briefing. A general stated that our expected casualty number exceeded 50,000. A huge and useless death toll for us, for a generation of young units. Everything was planned. And it was systematic: the elimination of youth.”

Leslie with Colonel Corso in Rome. (image credit: Mauazio Baiata)

Leslie with Colonel Corso in Rome. (image credit: Paola Harris)

D.L.: America has been punished enough, by the drug culture. Many Vietnam veterans came back as drug addicts.

The tape recording ended here. I would again have opportunities to talk to Sir Desmond Leslie, during his visits in Italy. He was a hilariously, eccentric and incredibly intelligent person. Leslie dies in his house in Antibes, France in 2001 at the age of 79.

About Maurizio Baiata

Maurizio is an investigative reporter, magazine editor and UFO researcher He started his journalistic activity in the late Sixties as a free lance journalist and then editor of several Rock Italian magazines, reaching the peak of his career as Editor in chief of "Rolling Stone" magazine’s Italian edition. In 1981 he moved to New York working as radio correspondent for the Italian state network RAI and then becoming editor-cultural page of the daily newspaper “Il Progresso Italo Americano”. Seven years later Baiata moved back to Italy and concentrated on UFO research, focusing on the Roswell incident. He produced many documentaries with large diffusion through all media and released the Autopsy Footage in 1995. In 1997 he published two books of the late Col. Philip Corso, “The Day After Roswell” and “Dawn of a New Age” (Corso’s original diary never published elsewhere). In Italy Baiata directed “Notiziario UFO", "UFO Network", “Dossier Alieni”, "Stargate"”Area 51” and “X Times” and two multimedia encyclopedias: “UFO Dossier X” and "Stargate - Enigmi dal Cosmo". He has presented at numerous lectures worldwide, including two appearances at the International UFO Congress in Laughlin.


  1. the secrets of thrid reich was produced by medien gruppe austria in cooperation with gerd burde, who never paid cent for this production. he lost all.

  2. I found many interesting explanation on this website, not the usual “I believe anything that’s strange” stuff 🙂

  3. The SS might of made up the town name of Hauneburg and subsquently the name Haunebu to throw off snoopers. They could have gotten the name from Egyptian studies which they were known to be interested in. But again the whole thing is very fraught with issues and contradictions. Why is it always smoke and mirrors?

  4. Regarding the one-sided comments about Jurgen Spanuth (“deluded”, etc.), your comments are little more than a raw ‘ad hominem’ attack. For your information, Jurgen’s hypothesis about the ‘sea peoples’ was not a Nazi-Propagands topic, rather he continued his study of the subject throughout his life long predating the Nazi era and resuming after WWII. If one conducts first hand (unbiased) examination of the artifacts and research that Spanuth builds upon (from research by mostly non-German sources) it is clear that his conclusions are based upon substantial facts. I suggest that You visit Museums in and around the Mediterranean (Sardinia, Egypt, etc.) and view the many pre and bronze age artifacts … you will clearly see that the helmets, ships, ornaments, etc., are all clearly adorned with ‘reindeer antlers’ or a similar specie of animal not native to the eastern Mediterranean. Historical accounts of the Sea Peoples by Ramses III, did not clearly identify the “Greeks” as the Sea Peoples. While Ramses III references placed the invaders in “the North”, the descriptions did not locate the Sea Peoples “immediately north” of Egypt, and they certainly were not “Greeks” because Ramses III descriptions left them as an unidentified peoples “from the North”. If you are going to post this stuff then please do it in a courteous, non-inflammatory manner and then, even when people disagree, you will garner greater respect.

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