In 1939, a German-born woman, working as a hotel maid in New York, married the wireless operator on Cat Cay, a remote cay, in the Bahamas. In 1940, as Hitler began his military campaign, igniting the fires of World War II, this hotel maid of German, American, and now British/Bahamian nationality, was caught sending messages and money from the remote rock, Cat Cay, to the enemy state of Nazi Germany; the enemy state of Great Britain in 1940.

German-born, New York hotel-maid, Kate Rinn Saunders, married John Saunders from Cat Cay in 1939.

She was arrested in 1940, after it was discovered she was sending messages and envelopes of money from Cat Cay to Germany, through a post box in Miami, Florida.

(Miami News, Friday 24 May, 1940)



On 1st September 1939, Hitler and his Nazi forces invaded Poland. By 3rd September 1939, both England and France, declared war on the Third Reich. 3rd September, 1939 also committed all of Britain’s colonies and territories to be in an active state of war as well. This, quite naturally, included the Bahamas.

There were however, many signs, for a number of years, well before 1939, that foretold of ominous things to come. Countries therefore didn’t wait for war to actually be declared before they sent covert spies and intelligence officers across the globe. Untold numbers were sent to important, strategic areas, in order to gather as much information as possible, no matter how insignificant, to send back to their home intelligence agencies for processing.

Governments, on both sides, during the war needed allies across the globe. They needed rich sympathisers to covertly fund their armament needs. They needed hand picked, skilled assassins, saboteurs and sleeper cells to carry out special war assignments. They also needed, many ordinary unassuming citizens, sympathisers to their cause and plight, who would, stealthy organise the foreign effort for information and support money.

The Bahamas, for some inexplicable reason, which undoubtedly had to do with the number of millionaires who had winter homes in the Bahamas (potential money men), and the plethora of disparate islands and cays (excellent for smuggling and hiding) the country of little islands, had more than its fair share of Nazi sympathisers. From Swedish industrialist Alex Wenner-Gren on Paradise Island, to, of course, the newly appointed Governor, The Duke of Windsor, there were any number of people, hiding in plain sight, who saw Hitler’s dream as one they shared in as well.

(Miami News, Friday 24 May, 1940)

(The Windsor Star, Friday 24 May 1940)

(The Gazette, Montreal, Thursday, 23 May 1940)