This was Otto Skorzney, considered to be “the most dangerous man in Europe” during the Second World War. He was also one of the most recognizable, as you can see from his photograph – not to mention the dueling scar which would have made him a standout in any crowd. Further, he was 6’ 4” in an era when a 6’ foot man in Europe was a giant. Yet, according to a somewhat reputable television program on Nickola Tesla, it was claimed that Hitler ordered Skorzney to go to the United States and kill Tesla. At that time – allegedly – Tesla was working on a death ray which could destroy airplanes in midflight. And, according to the program, Skorzney went to New York, failed to get the death ray, and strangled Tesla in his hotel room. In New York. In January of 1943. While we were at war with Germany.
Truth may be stranger the fiction but sometimes the truth you are peddling is fiction. In 1943 we were in the middle of a war with Germany and it is hard to believe that one of the most recognizable Nazis in the world – who stood 6’ 4” with a visible dueling scar – could slip into New York unrecognized. On top of that, the FBI was keeping a close watch on Tesla. How do we know this? Because shortly after Tesla’s death the FBI ordered the Alien Property Custodian to seize all of Tesla’s belongings – read papers. Odd because Tesla was an American citizen.
For the record, the official cause of Tesla’s death was coronary thrombosis.
As an aside, Tesla was an odd duck. In his last years he lived alone in a hotel and always had dinner, precisely, at 8:10 p.m. at Delmonic’s. He would telephone his order ahead of time to the headwaiter who was the only one Tesla would let serve the meal. Tesla would rise at work until 3 a.m. and sleep until 6 a.m. and work the rest of the day. Quoting from Wikipedia, “For exercise, Tesla walked between 8 and 10 miles (13 and 16 km) per day. He curled his toes one hundred times for each foot every night, saying that it stimulated his brain cells.” At the end of his life he subsisted on vegetable juices, bread, honey and milk which emaciated his to a 6’ 2” from to 142 pounds.
American authorities kept Tesla’s papers for nine years before sending them back to Serbia. No death ray was found in his papers. [See my books at https://authormasterminds.com/master-of-the-impossible-crime.]