During World War II, Captain John Schmidt was known as a Nazi hunter. He worked for a Jewish lawyer who created an unofficial spy network without support from the US government. His name was Leon Lewis, and here’s how his unofficial US intelligence organization became the source of the latest and hottest Nazi news during that time.

Early Life

Leon Lawrence Lewis was born in 1888 to German Jewish immigrant parents who migrated to Wisconsin, named Edward and Rachel. The future lawyer would grow up in Milwaukee and study at the University of Wisconsin and George Washington University. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1913.

Leon Lewis counter-Nazi spy and one of the founders of the Anti-Defamation League. (Courtesy ADL via timesofisrael.com)

He would become the Anti-Defamation League’s first national executive secretary, where he handled discrimination cases in the Midwest. When the United States entered World War I in 1917, he was one of the many men who enlisted and served in the army infantry and army intelligence in England, France, and Germany. He would climb his way up to the rank of major. When the war was over, he returned to the United States. He continued his previous battle, fighting against anti-Semitism for the Anti-Defamation League, mainly in Chicago and other parts of the Midwest.

Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles

In late 1920, Lewis would take his family and move to Los Angeles. There, he would start the Los Angeles Jewish Community Committee, which would later be knowns as the Jewish Federation Council of Greater Los Angeles Community Relations Committee. The organization’s purpose was pretty straightforward: To gather intelligence operations and prevent many Nazi acts of sabotage and assassinations on the West coast area.