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My Father, the Spy – A Family Story (Mother was Also a Spy) – A Conversation with Les Fossel, Jr. at the Camden Public Library

March 24 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT

Before there was the CIA there was the OSS, and before the OSS there was the COI – the Coordinator of Information, established under President Franklin Roosevelt as the first American spy agency in WWII – and Les Fossel, Sr. was present at the creation. He was one of the first ten members of the new agency that would morph into the Office of Strategic Services in 1942. Fossel ran the Scandinavian operations of the OSS and was awarded the King Haakon Freedom Cross by the king of Norway after the war. Meanwhile his wife-to-be, Virginia Van Brunt, smuggled the first photos of Nazi concentration camps out of Germany.

“My parents ran towards trouble,” said Les Fossel, Jr. who will tell his parents’ stories in what promises to be a fascinating afternoon at the Camden Public Library in the Picker Room on Sunday, March 24 at 2:00 pm. This will be a hybrid program, in person at the Camden Public Library and on Zoom. For the Zoom registration link visit the “What’s Happening” adult events calendar at or register here:

“I cannot prove everything in Dad’s resumé,” Fossel said, “but it is quite likely the truth.”

Some of the items in that resumé: Fossel, Sr. lived with Trigve Lie in London during the war; Lie would become the first Secretary General of the United Nations. Fossel served in the fledgling OSS under General William “Wild Bill” Donovan; may have conducted secret negotiations with high-ranking Nazi officials over an early peace deal; and apparently knew how close the Nazi regime came to developing the first atom bomb.

Fossel hopes that his talk will attract people who might be able to flesh out his father’s story through discussion, questions, and curiosities that may further connect the dots. Camden has been a favorite retirement community for former State Department and CIA employees, some of whom organized the first Camden Conference in 1987. Please visit the event page on to view and download associated materials before attending the event.


March 24
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm EDT
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Camden Public Library
(207) 236-3440
View Organizer Website


Camden Public Library
55 Main Street
Camden, ME 04843 United States
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(207) 236-3440
View Venue Website