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Good Assassins

iHeartPodcasts and Diversion

True Crime, History

4.8 • 3.4K Ratings


Season 2 is the unbelievable but true story of the greatest spy of World War II. The Nazis don't know her name, but they want this woman dead. A mysterious agent is strategically dismantling their violent grasp on France and not only leading her own resistance factions but inspiring others. The Gestapo sends their devious double-agent, the priest Robert Alesh, to hunt down The Limping Lady before she threatens their entire push for Western Europe. But Virginia Hall was tougher and more resilient than they ever expected. Season 1 was a Top 10 hit with millions of listeners, making it one of the Top 20 new podcasts of 2021. Bestselling author and journalist Stephan Talty returns with Season 2 of Good Assassins: the dramatic story of a different kind of spy. Written by CD Carpenter (“American Hostage”) and produced by the award-winning team at Diversion Audio.

29 Episodes

Introducing: The Burden

New York Times journalist Frances “Frenchy” Robles gets a tip about a group of wrongfully convicted men in the New York State prison system. The common denominator: many were arrested by the same detective. Frenchy tracks down the story in a surprise visit to prison. The Burden will be available everywhere you get your podcasts on March 19. All episodes will be available one week early and ad free, along with exclusive bonus content on Orbit’s newly launched “True Crime Club House” subscription channel on Apple Podcasts. The Burden is a production of Orbit Media in association with Signal Co. No1.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Transcribed - Published: 19 March 2024

Introducing: The Godmother

In the 1930s, Lucky Luciano, one of American history’s most notorious mobsters, was finally taken down by a rookie prosecutor. Eunice Carter was one of the first Black Women ever to become a prosecutor in America. She operated from the heart of the Harlem Renaissance to navigate the corrupt world of downtown Manhattan politics, and a deeply racist and sexist pre-civil rights American society. But her pioneering role in what became known as the “trial of the century” has been forgotten by popular history. Hers is the story of a writer, social worker, mother, teacher, sister, socialite, political candidate, community organizer and unheralded pioneer. This eight part immersive podcast is hosted by poet and writer, Nichole Perkins. It tells the story of Eunice Carter: a bad-ass anti-hero unafraid to bend the rules in pursuit of ambition, justice and legacy. Listen to The Godmother on the iHeartRadio App or wherever you get your podcasts. https://www.iheart.com/podcast/1119-the-godmother-141201920/See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Transcribed - Published: 15 January 2024

Introducing: Burden of Guilt

Burden of Guilt is an emotionally harrowing audio docu-series that tells the story of Tracyraquel Berns, a woman who has spent four decades at the center of one of the most bizarre and disturbing criminal cases in American History – surrounding the devastating and mysterious death of her baby brother. This podcast explores Tracyraquel’s pursuit for justice and her journey to confront the burden of guilt she has carried with her for the majority of her life. Listen to Burden of Guilt on the iHeartRadio App or wherever you get your podcasts. https://www.iheart.com/podcast/1119-burden-of-guilt-125035763/See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Transcribed - Published: 18 October 2023

10. The Boy Who Shot the Nazi (Season 2)

Kristallnacht was the violent uprising against German Jews in November 1938 that was the opening to the eventual genocide of six million Europeans Jews—and then millions of others—during World War II. This final episode of Good Assassins Season 2 tells the story of Herschel Grynszpan, the young man whose story is at the dead center of the Holocaust. He became an assassin, and the assassination he committed on November 7, 1938 in Paris is the spark that set off the inferno that was the Nazi Holocaust. In 1938 Herschel Grynszpan was just 17 years old.

Transcribed - Published: 6 December 2022

9. Agents of Sabotage (Season 2)

Virginia Hall was back in occupied France, but she was no longer working for the British. She was an agent of the OSS, the forerunner of the CIA. Virginia was living in the farmhouse of a respected Resistance leader. She was spending her existence in disguise as an old woman, decked out in multiple wool skirts, makeshift prosthetics, and dyed gray hair; all the while constantly walking by wanted posters stapled around town with sketches of The Limping Lady. But this new life promised Virginia something she’d been waiting for since she’d had to flee France almost 18 months earlier: the opportunity to take the fight directly to the Nazis.

Transcribed - Published: 29 November 2022

8. Return of The Limping Lady (Season 2)

Virginia Hall’s prison cell in northeastern Spain was something out of a nightmare. Hall imagined the moment in which the Spanish police would hand her over to the Gestapo and their glee at having finally captured "The Limping Lady." Hall knew the Nazis wouldn’t risk letting her escape. They’d transfer her to a secret facility, interrogate her, torture her, and kill her. Or sometimes the Nazis kept their prisoners alive and attempted to leverage them against the Allies. Months of psychological torture would give way to more physical punishments. Dousing with freezing water. Electric shocks. Beatings and cutting. This was the way of the Nazis. Virginia's Hall's American nationality was maybe the one thing that could save her. In late 1942, Spain was still considered technically neutral in the war. The Spanish dictator Francisco Franco had offered Hitler Spain’s allegiance in return for aid in nation-building. There was a division of Spanish volunteers fighting for the German army, but Spain still remained reluctant and fickle. Andrew Orr says, "Franco's regime is ideologically complex and people still fight over whether or not it was fascist or just really authoritarian and traditionalist. Regardless of how anyone's individual sees it, the regime was very friendly to Nazi Germany and especially fascist Italy because Italy and Germany had backed Franco in the civil war. So Spain tended politically to like the Axis powers a lot." But Virginia Hall’s capture by the Spanish was too big a threat to the British. Hall knew too much, and the Nazis could assume that the British would change battle strategy once the Special Operations Executive, Hall’s intelligence agency, discovered she’d been captured. Hall’s information would be useless to the Axis Powers, and so she was as good as dead.

Transcribed - Published: 22 November 2022

7. Escape into the Mountains (Season 2)

Virginia Hall’s identity was exposed. Now she had to get out of France and into Spain, and that meant an excruciating climb over 30 miles of tumultuous mountain terrain. Virginia knew that attempting the trek alone would mean death, especially given that she’d be hiking with her prosthetic leg. Luckily, Perpignan, the town she’d landed in, had a Resistance contact she knew fairly well. A man known to her by his codename: Gilbert.

Transcribed - Published: 17 November 2022

6. Spy Versus Spy (Season 2)

Virginia Hall had been expecting company. One of the Resistance leaders in France had informed her of a new courier that could be of use to HECKLER, Virginia’s faction of the Resistance. But what Virginia didn’t know was that the courier was Robert Alesh—a Nazi operative who had managed to infiltrate the Resistance while posing as a priest. Right away, Virginia suspected something was off.

Transcribed - Published: 10 November 2022

5. Enemy Territory (Season 2)

Robert Alesh’s hunt for “The Limping Lady” brings him to the doorstep of Resistance operative Dr. Jean Rousset. Alesh tricks the doctor into believing he is a new courier for the French Resistance. In reality, he was a Nazi spy working directly for infamous SS officer Klaus Barbie.

Transcribed - Published: 3 November 2022

4. Spy Games (Season 2)

Virginia Hall joins the UK's spy agency, the Special Operations Executive. The SOE was created to "set Europe ablaze" and wreak havoc on the battlefield: sabotage plus a little espionage, paramilitary operations, make things blow up.

Transcribed - Published: 27 October 2022

3. The Priest (Season 2)

A Nazi spy is tasked with uncovering underground Allied resistance networks. He was favored by the SS as a top hunter. Robert Alesh was a Luxembourger priest better known in France by his alias: "Father Robert Ackuin." The raids, arrests, and executions that Alesh’s treacherous work made possible set British intelligence back months. Alesh’s time as a priest served him well in his search for Jews and the Allied spies. Alesh begins working for one of the most evil men in history: the head of the Nazi Gestapo in Lyon, France: Klaus Barbie. Alesh receives his first hard evidence of the existence of “The Limping Lady,” the Allied spy running prison breaks and sabotage operations. So Robert Alesh and Virginia Hall begin a game of cat and mouse.

Transcribed - Published: 20 October 2022

2. The Death of Old Lives (Season 2)

Virginia Hall enlists in France's organization that provided medical assistance to French soldiers on the battlefield. It would be a grueling endeavor. Virginia is given basic medical training, learning how to apply tourniquets and bandages on some of the worst wartime injuries recorded in human history. They were supposed to work in the echoes of gunfire, long after the battle was over, but she often found herself closer to firefights and exploding shells than she expected. Virginia was given a job as an ambulance driver and stationed near the Maginot Line. She was to witness hell.

Transcribed - Published: 20 October 2022

1. The Greatest Spy of WWII (Season 2)

The story of one of the most consequential spies in American history. Her name was Virginia Hall, and she was known to the Nazis as "The Limping Lady." The Nazis called her “the most dangerous of all Allied spies.” From spy to resistance leader, her story is a thrilling tale of a woman whose efforts in the face of fascism, racism, sexism, and ableism saved thousands of lives.

Transcribed - Published: 20 October 2022

Trailer: Good Assassins Season 2

This season of Good Assassins is the dramatic story of a different kind of spy: the greatest spy of World War II. A mysterious agent is strategically dismantling the Nazis’ violent grasp on France. They send a devious double-agent to hunt down “The Limping Lady” before she threatens their genocidal plans. But Virginia Hall was tougher than they ever expected. With deep archival research, rare primary source tape, expert interviews, powerful recreations, and a heavy dose of thriller, author and journalist Stephan Talty is back with Good Assassins: Season 2. Run for your life. Learn more at diversionaudio.com/good-assassinsSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Transcribed - Published: 13 October 2022

Coming Soon: Season 2

The woman in the jail cell was proving to be a problem. It was November 13, 1942, and she’d arrived in San Juan de las Abadesas the day before. She was discovered at the train station with three strange men. When the Spanish officers demanded to see their passports, none of them could produce one. The woman was separated from the group and thrown into a cold, isolated cell. The notes in her arrest file only deepened the mystery of her identity. Her Spanish was formal and her accent sounded French to their ears. Among other notes in the woman’s arrest report were her dirty clothes, and a general appearance that made it seem like she hadn’t slept or eaten well in days. And notably, she couldn’t move without displaying a bad limp. Whoever this woman was, she certainly didn’t belong in San Juan de las Abadesas, a small mountain town in the far northeast of Spain just over the border with France. With her formal Spanish and slight French accent, the woman was obviously not a Spanish citizen. So she was transferred to Miranda del Ebro prison some 40 miles away, outside the town of Figueres, where her only comfort was a blanket as dingy and tattered as her dress. Though they didn’t know it at the time, the Spanish Guard had managed to achieve what the Nazis had not, despite years of intensive searching: they had captured Virginia Hall, a woman who would go down in the annals of history as the greatest spy of World War II. Learn more at diversionaudio.com/good-assassins See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Transcribed - Published: 1 September 2022

News About Season 2

Good Assassins fans, this is Stephan Talty, jumping back into your podcast feed with some exciting news: Good Assassins Season 2 is coming soon!

Transcribed - Published: 7 March 2022

S1-E12: New Questions & Conspiracies

We asked listeners for your questions: Things you didn’t hear in "Hunting the Butcher" and were curious about, or other stories the podcast got you thinking about. Many of your questions prompted new research. In this episode, Stephan Talty answers listeners' questions and digs deeper into the issues the audience brought up.

Transcribed - Published: 11 June 2021

S1-E11: Mossad's Greatest Hits & Misses

The Cukurs operation barely scratches the surface of what Mossad has done over the years. Mossad has been, “involved in special operations and activity in the service of the State of Israel, such as the pursuit of Nazi criminals.” This episode explores some of the most important operations the agency has carried out. Stephan Talty describes missions you’ve probably never heard of but that shaped the Middle East and the whole world.

Transcribed - Published: 4 June 2021

S1-E10: Motives for Murder

The story of the spy and the murderer isn't over. There is something missing in the story: the answer to the question of *why*. Why did Herbert Cukurs go from being a national hero to a mass murderer? Stephan Talty speaks to some striking characters to try and finally answer that question. It turns out to have more sides than we originally thought.

Transcribed - Published: 28 May 2021

S1-E09: Judgment Day

Judgment Day had arrived: February 23, 1965. Herbert Cukurs carried his gun in a leather holster as he boarded the plane to Uruguay and headed off into what he must have imagined was his new life. The men of the Mossad kill team were spread out in various hotels across Montevideo. They woke up early on that February morning and began to get ready for the Butcher’s arrival.

Transcribed - Published: 21 May 2021

S1-E08: The Ticking Clock

The spy was happy to be back home, but his mission wasn’t complete. The final act was still to take place in Uruguay. So in the Mossad apartment in the heart of Paris, the kill team started to plan the assassination. They were going ahead with the plan. The debate in the German Parliament was coming up in a few months. They all hoped a successful mission would influence it.

Transcribed - Published: 14 May 2021

S1-E07: The Method of Death

By the winter of 1964, the mission was coming into focus. In Brazil, the spy continued to meet with Herbert Cukurs, stoking The Butcher's excitement for his coming wealth and making sure he’d be willing to travel outside of Brazil. Yosef Yariv had chosen his kill team and they were training under the Krav Maga master, Imi Lichtenfeld.

Transcribed - Published: 7 May 2021

S1-E06: The Kill Team

The spy had gotten a step closer to the Butcher. Comparing Israel's mission to assassinate Herbert Cukurs to the US mission to assassinate Osama Bin Laden, the latter was revenge. But when Israel and Mossad decided to kill The Butcher of Latvia, it was to prevent more killing of Jews. Things were starting to heat up with the Statute of Limitations, which was the whole reason for the mission: to stop Germany from giving Nazi killers a free pass for their atrocities. Importantly, a famous Nazi hunter joined the cause: Simon Wiesenthal. Wiesenthal was a master publicist and self-promoter and was obsessed with finding the men and women responsible for the Holocaust and bringing Nazis to justice.

Transcribed - Published: 30 April 2021

S1-E05: Baiting the Hook

Herbert Cukurs invited "Anton Kuenzle" to visit him at his home, not knowing, of course, "Kuenzle" is the spy Mio, undercover. So the spy prepares for the meeting. He doesn't know what Cukurs wants, which was the real question. Most spies use a handful of motives to get people to do what they want: money, sex, patriotism. But Cukurs was an odd fish. He seemed to want to be a hero again, to be beloved. The spy couldn’t offer him that - so what could he dangle in front of the Butcher?

Transcribed - Published: 23 April 2021

S1-E04: Acquiring the Target

The spy surveils his target and finally meets Herbert Cukurs — The Butcher of Latvia — in person. Mio had known people like the Butcher earlier in his life. He’d grown up in Germany during the rise of Hitler. Now he was getting to know a Nazi again, being friendly, even drinking with him. Mio kept his parents in his mind constantly. He actually dreamt about them during the mission — bad dreams. So for Mio it was something he could not forget and he could not forgive. Mio said when he was given the mission in September 1964 to assassinate Herbert Cukurs, it was like reopening a book; the unfinished story of his parents and their fate during the war. He felt there was a final chapter to be written.

Transcribed - Published: 16 April 2021

S1-E03: The Man of 100 Identities

The spy transforms into his cover identity. He will travel to Brazil, where his assassination target is living, and attempt to lure him into a trap. If his cover fails, Herbert Cukurs — The Butcher of Latvia — may kill him. But before Cukurs could be placed on a kill list, and before Mossad could begin to track him down, Cukurs’ pursuers had to be sure he was the right guy. Was this really the Butcher of Latvia?

Transcribed - Published: 9 April 2021

S1-E02: The Killer's History

Who was the Butcher of Latvia? Before World War II Herbert Cukurs was a a national hero. He put Latvia on the map. If you’re looking for an American equivalent, think Amelia Earhart or Charles Lindbergh. Cukurs was a big deal. But after the Nazis occupied Latvia, Cukurs became a monster, participating in the murder of 30,000 men, women, and even children. How did this decorated and ingenious aviator betray friends and neighbors and became a savage criminal with the blood of thousands on his hands?

Transcribed - Published: 2 April 2021

S1-E01: The Spy & The Murderer

A spy named Mio is called to a secret meeting in Paris. The Israeli government — and its spy agency, Mossad — has decided that Herbert Cukurs, "The Butcher of Latvia", one of the most savage and prolific Nazi killers, must be tracked down and assassinated in South America, where's he's now living. Mio must assume a secret identity, fly to Brazil, hunt down The Butcher and gain his trust, maybe even befriend him. The German government is considering an amnesty law for all the murderers of the Holocaust and Mio must complete his mission and send a message to the world before it's too late.

Transcribed - Published: 2 April 2021

Trailer: Good Assassins Season 1

A spy story. A detective case. The mission was simple: to arrange the death of one man. The goal was to send a message to all Nazi fugitives around the world: "we can find you and we can kill you." This is the true story of an undercover mission to hunt down a savage Nazi murderer who helped Hitler’s forces kill 30,000 men, women, and children. The survivors gave him a name after the Holocaust: The Butcher of Latvia. The spies would travel halfway around the world to carry out the sentence. The mission wasn’t for one life. It was for 6 million. Listen to “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” for free. Join the hunt. April 2nd.

Transcribed - Published: 17 March 2021

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