Unmasking a spy

Karel Richter, Agent of the German Intelligence Service, 1941-1942 (KV 2/31)
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Who was Karel Richter?

This workshop aims to develop pupils’ historical research skills, introducing concepts of reliability and usefulness. Just like the ‘What is history’ workshop, this session starts with a discussion led by the education officer, considering what types of evidence a historian needs in order to find out about the past. Pupils are also asked to consider the types of questions a historian needs to ask when interrogating this evidence.

Pupils are then introduced to documents taken from secret Security Service files compiled during the Second World War. All of the documents relate to the German spy, Karel Richter, who was caught and executed in 1941. Documents include a letter written by Richter, newspaper cuttings about the case, his fake passport and Ration Book as well as photographs of the field where his parachute landed and images of the equipment that he was carrying.

Pupils work in groups, examining each set of documents in turn, to try and piece together why Karel Richter was executed. They are given workbooks to guide their investigation, and to help them develop their skills of historical questioning and research.

For the final part of the workshop, pupils are given the opportunity to feed back on their findings and time to ask the education officer any questions they would like about the documents they have been investigating.

This session is delivered as a workshop. Find out more about the types of session we offer.

Session options

This session is delivered as a:


at The National Archives

2 hours

Available: All year

Cost: Free to UK schools

Suitability: Key stage 2

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Contact us

All activities must be booked in advance.

Tel: +44 (0)20 8392 5365

Fax: +44 (0)20 8487 9202

Contact the education team