After a UN official blew the whistle on a UN coverup of Soviet atrocities in Hungary, he was fired, persecuted, and eventually died in a suspicious “suicide.” Here is his story.
After blowing the whistle on the UN, Paul (Povl) Bang-Jensen (shown), a United Nations official from Denmark, warned his wife and friends never to believe it if they were told that he had “committed suicide.” Then, supposedly, he “committed suicide.” That tragedy took place more than 50 years ago.
More recently, UN persecution of whistleblowers has made headlines around the world. Most infamous, perhaps, was the case of Swedish whistleblower Anders Kompass, a senior UN human rights official in Geneva. When he learned that international peacekeeping troops on a UN mandate in the Central African Republic were systematically raping children under 10 years old, he did the only thing a reasonable person could do: He tried to protect the children by passing the information along to somebody who might be able to act on it, French prosecutors in this case. Instead of being handed a medal, though, Kompass was escorted from his office under armed guard, “investigated” for alleged violation of “protocol,” humiliated, publicly smeared, and forced out of the UN. But at least he survived to tell the tale.
Long before the UN sought to destroy Kompass for trying to protect innocent children from barbarous “peace” troops, another heroic UN official was destroyed — and eventually murdered, it seems — for similarly trying to do the right thing in the face of monstrous evil. Bang-Jensen stood against communism and for truth. And he kept his word until the end. For that, he paid the ultimate price. But his saga still cries out from history, exposing early the real nature of the UN. Today, as the UN continues to terrorize any and all insiders who speak out about UN crimes, the Bang-Jensen tragedy shows that the lawlessness and evil that permeate the UN are nothing new. The tale deserves to be heard — and the lessons it provides need to be understood.
Unfortunately, the crucial history of the Bang-Jensen saga has been largely ignored by modern-day pro-UN historians and scholars, even among those who focus on the UN. And it is not hard too understand why. If the story were more widely known, efforts by the UN and its apologists to portray the outfit as a benevolent organization working toward “world peace” and “human rights” would be in serious trouble, to put it mildly.
But the tragic saga is re-examined here, almost six decades later, in order that Americans and people of goodwill around the world may better understand that the UN has been hopelessly under the control of ruthless totalitarians from the very beginning. It is, and always has been, irredeemable. The Bang-Jensen story also helps put the growing global outcry surrounding the UN’s ongoing war on whistleblowers into historical perspective — the recent wave of persecution against those who do the right thing at the UN is, in fact, nothing new.
Indeed, the Bang-Jensen tragedy shows that the UN’s relentless war on truth and freedom has been integral to the UN as an institution since its founding. The story also highlights in gruesome detail the lengths to which the UN, its member regimes, and the globalist establishment will go to protect tyrants and suppress truth — even if it means viciously smearing and then apparently murdering a hero who actually believed in the UN and its ostensible mission. The lesson is clear: The UN needs to be dismantled. It grew from a poison seed, and so its fruit will inevitably be poisonous.
Bang-Jensen, born in 1909, always stood against tyranny. When the National Socialists (Nazis) overran his homeland of Denmark, the liberty-minded patriot organized fierce resistance efforts to the Nazi war-machine. He even helped form a free government in exile, and was eventually tried for treason by Hitler’s puppet regime in Denmark.
After that, Bang-Jensen ended up as a senior official at the recently formed UN. There, he was eventually appointed to serve as deputy secretary of the UN Special Committee on the Problem of Hungary, which was charged with investigating Moscow’s savage suppression of an anti-Soviet uprising by Hungarian freedom fighters in 1956.
That is when the campaign to destroy him began. For refusing to tolerate the deliberate sabotage of the investigation into Soviet atrocities, and for refusing to give up the list of witnesses in order to protect their relatives in Hungary from torture and execution by the Soviets, the “powers that be” moved to crush him. They succeeded. But by doing so, they exposed the UN and its Soviet boosters as barbarians willing to do anything — lie, cheat, maybe even murder — to conceal the truth and protect tyranny.
Official UN history records that Bang-Jensen was fired by then-UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold for alleged insubordination. The reality is much more sinister. In fact, he was attacked and crushed for exposing the deliberate UN coverup of Soviet barbarism in quashing the anti-communist 1956 uprising in Hungary.
That year, the U.S. government had, through radio broadcasts, convinced Hungarian freedom fighters that they would be supported if they rose up against their communist masters, who had enslaved the nation with Soviet backing in 1949 after World War II. When the freedom fighters did rise up to overthrow the communist regime, however, the U.S. government not only failed to provide support, but it even worked to block weapons shipments to the anti-communists. In the end, Soviet tanks rolled over and crushed the beleaguered rebellion in the most brutal and bloody manner conceivable. The uprising had failed. The mass-murdering Soviet military unleashed a campaign of unspeakable terror across the nation. Thousands were murdered, including women and children machine-gunned by Soviet troops who shot at rescuers and engaged in “haphazard shooting at defenseless passers-by,” according to testimony by witnesses. Soviet tanks “fired indiscriminately at every building from which they believed themselves to be under fire,” even when there was no return fire and people lived inside. Almost a quarter of a million people fled the country amid mass arrests.
The UN committee Bang-Jensen served on gathered testimony from witnesses to the Soviet atrocities who, for obvious reasons, demanded that their identities be concealed. The UN outfit was supposed to document the Soviet horrors perpetrated in Hungary for the UN General Assembly by compiling the evidence. Instead of pursuing that mission honestly and faithfully, however, Bang-Jensen discovered that saboteurs within the UN itself were undermining the “investigation” deliberately, at every turn. Operating within the system, Soviets, communists, and their many agents worked to conceal the truth. From using Soviet guards to intimidate witnesses at hearings, to blocking witnesses, and even deliberately changing their testimony in official reports, it was obvious that powerful forces were intent on sabotaging the investigation — from the inside.
Bang-Jensen tried to bring this sabotage to the attention of his superiors in the UN Secretariat — going all the way to the top, including sending an official memorandum about the problems to Hammarskjold, the secretary-general of the whole UN. “Sabotage of various kinds has gone on from the very beginning,” Bang-Jensen wrote to the UN chief, adding that some of the efforts had been “extremely clumsy.” Unfortunately, nobody, including Hammarskjold, seemed to be interested. In fact, Bang-Jensen was ordered by his superiors to keep quiet about what he was seeing.
Another sore point with the UN’s leadership was that Bang-Jensen refused to hand over to the UN Secretariat the names of 81 Hungarian witnesses who had testified about the Kremlin’s savagery and mass murder unleashed in their homeland. The Danish diplomat knew what would await those witnesses and their families in Hungary. Plus, after receiving official authorization to do so, as documents later proved, he had promised to protect their identities — even from Secretary-General Hammarskjold, at the request of multiple Hungarian witnesses who knew something about the UN chief, and that he was not to be trusted.
Of course, the witnesses had been reluctant to testify at all before the UN committee, knowing full well that their friends and relatives still trapped behind the “Iron Curtain” would end up paying the price for it. With official approval, though, Bang-Jensen had promised the witnesses anonymity if they would testify before the Special Committee on Hungary in Vienna and other European cities. After being assured that even UN boss Dag Hammarskjold would not be allowed to gain possession of the list, the witnesses agreed to come forward.
Bang-Jensen and the witnesses had good reason to be concerned. As far back as 1953, a high-ranking Soviet diplomat seeking to defect to the West had warned Bang-Jensen of a high-ranking American in the UN who was passing sensitive U.S. intelligence onward to Moscow. Unfortunately, according to a Newsweek article, when Bang-Jensen tried to pass the information along through official U.S. channels, it was eventually put in writing, contrary to the wishes of the Soviet source seeking to defect. Finally the information ended up with that same high-ranking American working at the UN, and the Soviet diplomat in question was promptly shipped back to the USSR before disappearing completely. So Bang-Jensen, who felt tremendously guilty about the whole affair, already knew firsthand the dangers of allowing sensitive information to float around in the communist- and spy-infested UN Secretariat.
Later, despite official documents proving Bang-Jensen had authority to grant absolute anonymity to the Hungarian witnesses, UN leadership changed its mind, demanding the list of names from Bang-Jensen. Considering the Soviet regime’s prominent position as a founder and leading member of the UN, and the fact that the murderous regime’s agents held countless senior posts within the UN system, Bang-Jensen knew that giving up the list of witnesses (and breaking his promises to them) to UN officials would very likely result in the names being leaked to Moscow. That would put all of the witnesses and certainly their loved ones still trapped at risk of torture, imprisonment, and even murder. Like any decent human being, Bang-Jensen kept his promises and refused to comply with the demand, eventually going so far as to burn the list to protect the people on it.
And so, in December of 1957, in violation of the UN’s own policies and procedures, Bang-Jensen was suspended from his post and escorted from his office under armed guard like some sort of criminal. Eventually, in July of 1958, he was officially fired. In addition to Bang-Jensen ultimately being fired for his efforts on behalf of the truth, vast swaths of the UN apparatus, as well as UN and Soviet lackeys in the United States, dedicated themselves to utterly destroying him for his heroic stand.
Early on, for example, UN leaders started “leaking” information to the media accusing Bang-Jensen of being a liar, highly emotional, “oversensitive,” driven “out of his mind,” and more. The leaks also accused him of being irrational. Not long after that, the demonization and vilification of the Danish diplomat by the UN’s leadership increased. He was accused of being an alcoholic, a homosexual, a “psychopathic troublemaker,” and more — even though the UN’s own doctor had refuted the charges about Bang-Jensen’s alleged mental illness. In leaks parroted by the press, UN insiders referred to him as a “McCarthyite” who was “disordered.” Lies also were spread accusing him of being “off his rocker” and potentially violent, and of having been separated from his job “under a cloud” of troubling circumstances. None of it was true, of course — even the UN shrink he was ordered to see gave him a clean bill of mental health — but it was typical of establishment and communist character assassination tactics.
The UN also organized pseudo-investigations into Bang-Jensen by kangaroo panels and committees that were dominated by corrupt UN cronies, as well as known and unrepentant communist agents, activists, and sympathizers. Indeed, so fraudulent were these hearings that Bang-Jensen and his lawyer were not even given access to necessary documents for his defense. Nor was he given an opportunity to enter into the record many official documents that were needed to defend himself from the false charges of “insubordination” being made against him. He often was not even given an opportunity to respond to charges as they were fabricated.
From claiming he was “mentally ill” to publishing all manner of libelous smears about him in the press and conducting sham “investigations” to demonize him, the UN did everything possible to destroy his reputation. But because he so valiantly fought to protect the UN’s sources, anti-communists and defectors from Eastern Europe had a great deal of trust in him. More than a few sources passed along information to him showing that Soviet agents were embedded all across the UN Secretariat, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and other key bureaucracies. (Even the chief of the conference that created the UN, U.S. State Department official Alger Hiss, was proved in court to have been a communist agent.) Unfortunately, despite the efforts of Bang-Jensen and others, not much was done to seriously address the enormous and dangerous problem of communist infiltration.
Eventually, Bang-Jensen “committed suicide,” though the evidence indicates that he was more likely “suicided.” He was found dead in a park in Queens County, New York, with a gunshot wound to the head on November 26, 1959. The official cause of death was ruled to be a “suicide.” As more than a few investigators have concluded after examining the evidence, however, the facts in the case suggest very strongly that Bang-Jensen was in fact murdered in what was made to look like a “suicide.”
In a note sent to a number of his friends, for example, the Dane made absolutely clear that, as he put it, “under no circumstances whatsoever would I commit suicide.” While acknowledging that he did not want to sound hysterical, he said his wife had become concerned and so, he wanted to make sure others knew he would never kill himself no matter what. “This would be completely contrary to my whole nature and to my religious convictions,” Bang-Jensen added in the letter to his friends. “If any note was found to the opposite effect in my handwriting, it would be a fake.” He wrote a similar note to his wife, which was published after his death.
There is no reason to suspect that his religion or his views on the subject of suicide ever changed. And his alleged “suicide note” made no mention of the previous letters he had sent out warning friends and family that he would never commit suicide. Indeed, many of his friends and family, including his wife, publicly shared their suspicions about Bang-Jensen’s alleged “suicide.”
One theory, published in leading American newspapers at the time and consistent with other Soviet murders, is that Soviet agents may have forced Bang-Jensen to kill himself by threatening his American wife and his five children. But the bullet wound was to his right temple, and Bang-Jensen was left-handed, fueling suspicions among researchers.
Another theory is that Soviet agents killed him, then carefully arranged the scene and the body to make it appear like a suicide. That would make more sense, based on the circumstances and the likelihood that, as a left-handed person, he would have used his left hand to shoot himself in the left temple, rather than the other way around.
Yet another view holds that Bang-Jensen may have been given some sort of mind-altering drug or hypnotized in order to induce him to kill himself. But because his body was cremated just three days after his death, whether psychotropic substances were involved may never be known for certain.
Perhaps the best examination of the evidence surrounding the Bang-Jensen tragedy appeared in May of 1960, when American Opinion (one of The New American magazine’s predecessor publications) published The Bang-Jensen Tragedy: A Review Based on the Official Records. The investigation and recounting of history was conducted by celebrated journalist and scholar Julius Epstein, an Austrian Jewish émigré who fled Europe to escape the National Socialists (Nazis) in 1938. The full issue can be downloaded for $5 from shopJBS.org by non-members.
In his career, Epstein had served in the Office of War Information. Separately, he had worked as a research associate for the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, in addition to writing for the National Review, Human Events, and many European newspapers. He also wrote the first serious, in-depth study of WWII’s “Operation Keelhaul,” which took place at the end of the war, blowing the lid off then-General Dwight Eisenhower’s program to send millions of refugees who were fleeing from communism back to Soviet butcher Stalin and his puppets. The forcibly repatriated refugees were sent to gulags and tortured, and many were executed. The history is known today in large part due to Epstein’s herculean efforts. Epstein also played a major role in exposing the truth about the savage Katyn Forest Massacre of over 20,000 Polish patriots and officers by the Soviet military.
“One of the mysteries still not solved (there is little probability that it ever will be solved) concerns the question: Did Paul Bang-Jensen commit suicide or was he murdered?” explained Epstein. “This question cannot be answered until we know where he was and what he did during the thirty to forty-eight hours before his body was found in a park, near his home at Lake Success, L.I., N.Y. Why did he not contact his wife during those hours? Was he kidnapped, put under some drug like scopolamine, or perhaps hypnosis? Was he forced under such circumstances to write the suicide note, later found in his pocket? These possibilities cannot be dismissed lightly.”
“There is at least one strong indication that the death of Paul Bang-Jensen was not brought about by suicide,” Epstein continued, pointing to the letters he wrote warning his friends and relatives not to believe any claims about him committing suicide. “Under normal conditions, we should assume that Paul Bang-Jensen, having solemnly excluded the possibility of suicide, would have referred to this memorandum in his final suicide note if he ever felt himself forced to change his mind. Because he must have known very well that his friends would immediately suspect foul play if his body was found with a suicide note, penned in his own handwriting. They would rightly suspect foul play, because he had so carefully warned them against such an occurrence.”
“It must be further assumed that he would have included in his suicide note a reference to this earlier memorandum, in order to protect anybody against the suspicion of having murdered him, a suspicion necessarily created by that memorandum,” Epstein continued in the introduction to his excellent and detailed study of the documents and evidence surrounding the case. “Bang-Jensen did nothing of the sort. Doubts, therefore, are not unjustified.”
Epstein was hardly alone in doubting the official story and suggesting that Bang-Jensen was in fact murdered. In 1961, even the U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, citing evidence pointing to a murder, questioned the decision to label the highly suspicious death a suicide. The subcommittee argued that Bang-Jensen might have been the victim of “political murder dressed up as suicide.” “There are too many solid arguments against suicide, too many unanswered questions, too many serious reasons for suspecting Soviet motivation and the possibility of Soviet implication,” the Senate subcommittee said in a report.
The document also suggested that the Soviet Secret Police (MVD), aware that the Danish diplomat had been approached by a would-be defector with information on Soviet penetration of the UN and U.S. intelligence, “may very well have decided to take Bang-Jensen in for the purpose of finding out what contacts he had, how much he knew, and how much he had already told the American authorities. If Bang-Jensen was taken into custody for such an interrogation, his liquidation would have been the inevitable sequel.” That would also explain why Bang-Jensen was missing for days before being found dead, clean-shaven, on Thanksgiving.
Amid the Senate investigation, led by Senator Thomas Dodd (D-Conn.), the New York City Police Department, despite classifying the death as a suicide early on, told UPI that Bang-Jensen’s death was still regarded as an “open case.”
More than a few editorials in newspapers and magazines also indicated that the Danish diplomat had likely been murdered. The Indianapolis Star, for example, noted on January 29, 1960, that “the ‘suicide’ of Paul Bang-Jensen was suspect from the start.” Calling the UN official an “authentic hero” for defying the UN and the communists to protect the Hungarian witnesses, the Star added, “Today … there is every reason to believe that he was murdered.” The paper’s own investigators had even interviewed Bang-Jensen and most of the principal characters in the saga. “It was their opinion that he was not at all the kind of person who would commit suicide under any circumstances,” the editorial continued, adding that evidence confirming that view — from Bang-Jensen’s own pen — had now confirmed it.
In the 1961 book Betrayal at the UN, DeWitt Copp and Marshall Peck also concluded that it was, indeed, murder. After a massive study of the evidence, they found that Bang-Jensen was either shot or forced to shoot himself by Soviet agents because, as the Chicago Tribune put it, “he knew too much about communist control of the U.N. secretariat and about efforts of a Russian official to defect to the United States.”
Even whitewashes of the scandalous saga that denied actual murder have concluded Bang-Jensen was “murdered,” though in a different sort of way. “There can be no reasonable doubt that Bang-Jensen was murdered,” wrote Chesly Manly, who reviewed the book and used to cover the UN for the pro-UN Tribune, an establishment media organ. “The probability, however, is that he was murdered by mental torture — humiliated, degraded, and hounded to self-destruction by the U.N. And several highly placed Americans were parties to that infamous crime.” In an earlier article, Manly noted that Bang-Jensen had, “single handed,” “fought the whole United Nations and the world communist conspiracy.”
While Manly concluded that the murder was perpetrated via mental torture, many of the other independent researchers and investigators from around the world who have examined the evidence concluded that actual murder was more likely. Writing in the U.K. Spectator after the ostensible end of the Cold War, for example, K. L. Billingsley summarized some of the evidence pointing to Bang-Jensen’s likely murder by Soviet assassins.
Billingsley also pointed out that Bang-Jensen’s psychiatrist, Frederick Freidenborg, seen as the UN demanded that he undergo psychiatric evaluation, contended that Bang-Jensen was “entirely normal and positively anti-suicidal.”
That psychiatrist later told Manly at the Chicago Tribune: “I have difficulty believing it was a suicide. It was not in his make up.” Freidenborg, who saw Bang-Jensen for some six months prior to the supposed “suicide” and called him “possibly the most intelligent man I ever met,” said publicly that he “could very well believe there was dirty work behind his death.” Indeed, the UN’s own doctor, Dr. Szeming Sze, who saw Bang-Jensen at the UN’s demand and was told that the Danish diplomat was “under a great nervous strain,” also concluded that the charge was unfounded.
In his 1989 Spectator article, Billingsley also pointed out that the KGB had become known for staging phony suicides to dispose of its enemies. “Many believe that [Bang-Jensen] was a victim of a simulated suicide perpetrated by the KGB,” he explained. “One such case was that of the defector Walter Krivitsky, the former head of Soviet military intelligence in Europe. He was found dead in a Washington hotel, with a suicide note in his pocket. But it was widely believed that he had been murdered.”
Murder is the most likely explanation, the researcher concluded. “Without the UN’s smear campaign to distort judgment, this explanation seems the most plausible in the Bang-Jensen case,” Billingsley argued, echoing similar conclusions that had been printed decades earlier in newspapers and publications around the world before being disappeared down the Orwellian memory hole of pro-UN propaganda history. “Motive, means, and opportunity all point to the Soviet Union. Perhaps the case could be re-opened by the United States, the UN and, in the interests of glasnost, the Soviet Union.” The Danish government apparently never responded to inquiries about its position on the death of its heroic citizen.
Bang-Jensen’s Significance Today
After helping lead the Danish underground opposition to National Socialism (Nazism), and then helping set up a government in exile opposed to the Nazis and their puppet regime in Denmark, Bang-Jensen was branded a “traitor” by the National Socialist butchers occupying his homeland. Later, his devotion to truth and his efforts to expose communist infiltration and control over the UN resulted in his death.
But even though nearly six decades have passed since the apparent murder of this brave UN whistleblower, the Bang-Jensen tragedy remains as relevant as ever — especially as the UN faces worldwide scrutiny over its ongoing ruthless persecution of whistleblowers, particularly those who expose sordid UN crimes such as the rape of children.
In 1960, writing in American Opinion, Epstein touched on the importance of this case. “During the fifteen years of the United Nations’ existence, nothing has shed more light on the organization’s character than the case of Paul Bang-Jensen,” he wrote. “The case, still wrapped in deep mystery, will continue to plague the United Nations’ Secretary General, Dag Hammarskjoeld [sic], as well as its Secretariat, for years to come. This will be due to the fact that the United Nations — whether undeservedly or not — had gained tremendous prestige among peoples of the world who believed that it can do no wrong.”
“But the same people who held such opinion have been shocked to no end by the destruction of a man whose ‘crime’ was: (1) having promised Hungarian witnesses, to Khrushchev’s and Kadar’s atrocities in Hungary, that he would keep their names a secret from Mr. Hammarskjoeld [sic] and the rest of the Secretariat, in order to protect their friends and relatives still living in Hungary; and (2), having faithfully kept his promise.”
Robert Welch, the founder of The John Birch Society and one of the earliest men to see the danger posed by the UN, also offered his comments on the significance of Bang-Jensen’s tragic story. After praising Epstein and explaining what went into the massive investigation the journalist conducted into the saga, Welch compared it to “a powerful tragedy by Euripides, or Racine.” Then he explained why this case was so important.
“The Bang-Jensen affair, as a part, is greater than its whole,” Welch explained in the introduction to the May 1960 issue of American Opinion containing Epstein’s 40-plus-page article. “For this study by Epstein becomes a case history of all the sophistry, subversive practices, utter lack of humane or civilized standards, and general rottenness which permeate the United Nations through and through. It shows that, despite the large number of noble and idealistic men and women, dedicated to the theoretical principles of the United Nations, who are still working their hearts out in trying to metamorphose a monstrous deception into the reality of their dreams, the actual organization is hopelessly venal, immoral, and degraded at every level. It also shows — what many of us have long suspected — that the driving force behind every act and every decision of importance is a determination to help the Communists and harm their enemies.”
Another voice touching on this significance, who was quoted by Epstein, was Dr. Gunnar Leistikow, a UN correspondent for several Danish newspapers, a fellow Dane, a friend of Bang-Jensen, and “one of the best experts” on the case according to Epstein. According to Leistikow, the Bang-Jensen tragedy has made it “quite clear that the UN is not the model of law and order for all nations it ought to be by definition and which we had hoped it was.” “Like Caesar’s wife this organization ought to be beyond suspicion,” Leistikow continued. “Instead, it is not even able to carry out a strictly objective investigation [into the UN’s accusations against and firing of Bang-Jensen and his accusations of sabotage], because its highest ranks are implicated. That’s exactly what is the case.”
Even back then, Epstein recommended that the immunity from legal action enjoyed by UN staff should be curtailed to prevent such travesties of justice. He called on the U.S. Congress to amend the Privileges and Immunities Act. Unfortunately, to this day, UN staff continue to enjoy immunity from laws all over the world, something that inevitably leads to widespread criminality, lawlessness, and impunity. Perhaps the most grotesque example of the implications of this is the ongoing, systematic sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children by UN “peace” troops all over the world. The persecution of UN whistleblowers has gotten so bad that the U.S. Congress has even taken action to withhold some U.S. funding from UN agencies that refuse to adopt proper whistleblower protections, though not much has changed.
Today, the UN continues to wage war on freedom, it continues to protect and empower totalitarian regimes, and it continues to relentlessly persecute those brave men and women who dare to blow the whistle on UN crimes. If people and organizations are to be judged by their fruit, and by their actions, it is clear that the UN is beyond redemption. With Bang-Jensen and other heroic victims of the UN in mind, civilized and liberty-loving people everywhere must work to get the United States out of the UN and to expose the UN for what it is. Human decency, and the survival of liberty, requires nothing less.
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