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Aktion Feurland: Did Hitler Escape?

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COMMENT: A recent book examines the very real possibility that Adolf Hitler may have escaped at the end of World War II–his “suicide” a carefully planned and executed ruse. Furthermore, the book highlights that gambit in the context of known collusion between the Third Reich and the Western Allies as the war drew to a close.

The authors posit that the key players in the realization of Aktion Feurland–the code-name for the operation–were names well known to regular listeners and users of this website: Allen Dulles on the Allied side and Martin Bormann for the Third Reich. (The authors give great credence to Paul Manning’s work and reference it heavily.)

Centered on a quid pro quo arrangement, the authors hypothesize that Aktion Feurland involved the transfer of Nazi technology to the U.S. and the West (known as Project Paperclip) and the saving of priceless works of art from destruction. In return, Dulles  et al guaranteed the safe passage of Hitler, Eva Braun, SS General Hermann Fegelein (Braun’s brother in law), General Heinrich Muller (head of the Gestapo) and Bormann himself.

In the second text excerpt below, the authors italicize those parts of their argument that are logical deduction from the documentation, for purposes of emphasis on what is logical speculation and confirmed fact.

Note that documents from the late 1940’s on Hitler and his possible escape and whereabouts at that time are STILL classified, the better part of a century after the end of World War II. Stalin and General Zhukov (the Red Army’s top general) didn’t believe that Hitler was dead. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was deeply skeptical, as well.

Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler by Simon Dunstan and Gerrard Williams; Sterling [HC]; Copyright 2011 by Simon Dunstan, Gerrard Williams and Spitfire Recovery Ltd.; ISBN 978-1-4027-8139-1; p. xxx.

EXCERPT: . . . . To the end, Bormann was determined to save the looted wealth of Germany for his own nefarious ends and to sustain a select band of Nazis following military defeat and the fall of Berlin. Massive funds were channeled abroad, while large stashes of bullion and stolen artworks were hidden underground in deep mines across the Third Reich. These were primed with explosives for demolition, which Bormann considered preferable to allowing them to fall into the hands of the Bolshevik hordes. But to Bormann, the artworks were also a bargaining tool. It seems evident that Bormann offered the OSS a Faustian pact: the fruits of one thousand years of Western art, together with the secrets of Nazi Germany’s advanced military technology in exchange for the escape of one man–Adolf Hitler. The alternative was the total destruction of the jewels of Western civilization. This was the key to Aktion Feurland. The deal was done and on the night of April 28, 1945, the plan was put into place. The Grey Wolf was on the run. . . .

Ibid. pp. 133-134.

EXCERPT: . . . . In Bormann’s characteristic style–the carrot and the stick–Kaltenbrunner and [SS Lt. Col. Hans Helmut von] Hummel indicated to Dulles that Bormann was willing to provide the Allies, as an inducement or “carrot,”  with information as to the whereabouts of all the Nazi looted art. It would be handed over intact, together with the national treasure of Germany, including its gold deposits, currency reserves, bearer bonds, and industrial patents–except, of course, for the substantial part of this treasure that Bormann had already secreted abroad. An additional and supremely attractive carrot was Bormann’s undertaking to deliver to the Allies examples of the most modern weapons technology together with the whereabouts of the designers, such as Werner von Braun and his V-2 team, and the nuclear scientists of the Uranium Club. Furthermore, the ceasefire in Italy would be ratified immediately. But what was the desired price for such treasures? A blind eye turned to the escape of Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, Martin Bormann, Heinrich “Gestapo” Muller, Hermann Fegelein, and Ernest Kaltenbrunner. The rest of the Nazi hierarchy was to be abandoned to their fate.

The “stick” was simple. Germany now claimed to be capable of bombarding the eastern seaboard of the United States with weapons of mass destruction: considerable effort had been invested in selling the disinformation to U.S. intelligence agencies, with some success. (See Chapter 16). These weapons incorporated warheads armed with the most toxic nerve agents ever devised, sarin and tabun. In addition, many repositories of the greatest works of artroduced during centuries of Western civilization was now held hostage, and this threat was entirely credible, following Hitler’s “Nero Decree” or March 19. Officially titled “Demolitions on Reich Territory,” this decree ordered the utter destruction of all German industrial infrastructure and technology; although not included in the official order, it also implied the destruction of cultural assets and the elimination of any key personnel who might be useful to the Allied powers. . . .

Ibid.; p.242.

EXCERPT: . . . . During this period [the late 1940’s], the FBI was taking reports of Hitler being in Latin America very seriously. Thousands of documents pertaining to Hitel from these years are  still classified as Top Secret on both sides of the Atlantic; nevertheless, and despite the very heavy censorship of the few files released into the public domain, some information can be gleaned. . . .

Ibid.; p. xxii.

EXCERPT: . . . . Stalin never believed Hitler was dead, insisting at the Potsdam Conference on July17, 1945, that he had escaped–probably to “Spain or Argentina.” Stalin’s top general, Marshal Georgy Zhukov, said on August 6, 1945; “We found no corpse that could be Hitler’s.”

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower stated publicly on October 12, 1945, “There is every assumption that Hitler is dead, but not a bit of conclusive proof that he is dead.” He told the Associated Press that “Russian friends” had informed him that they had been “unable to unearth any tangible evidence of his death.” One U.S. senator went as far as offering one million U.S. dollars for proof of Hitler’s death. It has never been claimed. . . .


6 comments for “Aktion Feurland: Did Hitler Escape?”

  1. http://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/170529/bariloche-nazi-haven?all=1

    In Argentine Haven for Fugitive Nazis, April Means Chocolate Eggs and Hitler Parties

    Twenty years after the capture of Erich Priebke, some in Bariloche are trying to come to terms with the city’s legacy of silence
    By Meredith Hoffman|April 29, 2014 12:00 AM|Comments:

    As a little boy Hans Schulz, the blue-eyed son of a Hitler Youth member, would walk uphill half a block each afternoon from the German school to his white stucco house in the Argentine ski resort of Bariloche, steps from an icy lake hugged by Andean peaks. Inside he’d often find his dad—the president of the town’s German Argentinian Cultural Association—sitting with his vice president and close friend, an austere, well-respected delicatessen owner named Erich Priebke.

    Priebke, who was also director of the town’s German school, the Colegio Aleman, would bring his wife over, and they’d all dance in the living room. At Halloween, he appeared dressed up as a pirate. Eventually, Priebke—who arrived in Argentina after World War II—ousted Schulz’s father, a native of the town, as president of the German association. “He entered Bariloche,” Schulz remembers, “and climbed, climbed, climbed.”

    Last October, Priebke died in Rome, where he spent his final years under house arrest serving a life sentence for his role in carrying out the massacre of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine Caves in 1944, when he was a captain in the Nazi SS. But from 1946, when he was smuggled to Argentina, until 1994, when the TV journalist Sam Donaldson confronted him on a Bariloche street, Priebke lived a comfortable, if fabricated, life in this Bavarian-styled city at the bottom of the world.

    Priebke’s interview with Donaldson and subsequent extradition to Italy to face trial for war crimes drew the world’s attention to the fact that Bariloche, founded more than a century ago by a Chilean of German ancestry, had become a quiet haven for fugitive Nazis. Priebke was outed by his former comrade Reinhard Kops, a Nazi espionage agent who lived in the town under the name Juan Maler. Josef Mengele reportedly turned up there, briefly, after fleeing Buenos Aires following the Mossad capture of Adolf Eichmann in 1960; an entire cottage industry sprang up around the legend that Hitler himself faked his suicide and took up residence at a compound outside the town.

    Today, 20 years after Priebke’s arrest, Bariloche is still struggling to come to terms with its Nazi legacy. Some, including members of the alpine town’s small Jewish community, say they are happy to simply forget and let the past die with the Nazis who lived there; others are determined to leverage the link to draw tourists. Yet others, like Schulz, insist it’s past time for their remote German colony to come to terms with the Third Reich and the Holocaust in the same way Germany itself has. “Bariloche has stayed in the past,” said Schulz, now a balding schoolteacher with a stately demeanor. “Priebke died, but the ghosts are still here.”


    I spent Easter morning watching men in white chef shirts and hard hats drive pick-axes into a three-story chocolate egg. Bariloche is famous for its German chocolate, and the annual celebration, next to a stone bell tower in the Plaza San Martin, has made the Guinness Book of World Records. This year there were thousands of people crowded in the square: sweet tooth-crazed kids with bunny ears leaping fiercely for pieces of chocolate tossed to the crowd; giddy women scaling security gates to photograph the stenciled monstrosity; the city’s mayor and other local officials smiling benignly on the chaos.

    Meanwhile, just outside of town, a more exclusive all-night celebration was winding down. April 20 wasn’t just Easter—it was Adolf Hitler’s birthday, his 125th, in fact. The journalist Abel Basti, who has written a controversial book claiming that Hitler escaped to Bariloche and lived here for decades, told me the birthday parties used to be held at a hotel downtown but have moved to obscure estates in the years since Priebke’s arrest. Basti, who has also written tour guides to Bariloche’s Nazi sights, said he had a spy at this year’s party but laughed when I asked if he could get me in. “It’s too dangerous,” Basti told me when I suggested tagging along. He had been cracking jokes and chuckling through our interview at a German biergarten, but suddenly he shifted tones. “I’m not sure he’s going to talk to you,” Basti told me. The “spy,” he said, was supposed to be helping him find the last picture of Hitler alive in Latin America, proof that has so far remained elusive. “This is serious territory,” Basti went on. “I laugh to be able to deal with this all the time. Otherwise I’d write and I’d write and then I’d commit suicide.”

    A few days later, Basti agreed to give me a phone number for his alleged spy, a stocky telephone-company worker in a baseball hat who told me he wasn’t Basti’s spy at all. “I’m writing my own guide,” the man, Pedro Filipuzzi, told me. And that wasn’t all. “I’m thinking of starting a tourist company out of this,” he went on, excitedly. “Abel was smart because he made the first tourist guide to Nazis in the world, but I’m making the first one for Buenos Aires.”

    The Bariloche Hitler party, he explained, was closely linked to a Buenos Aires Nazi. The night before, he told me, he’d called the host club pretending to be a guest and asked, “Is Adolf’s party still on?” They told him yes, he insisted—but he hadn’t been able to get past security. “I counted 48 cars just outside the gate, and there were many, many more inside,” Filipuzzi told me, his eyes wide and his voice amplifying. “In Buenos Aires,” he went on, “there’s a restaurant that has a Hitler toast, but here’s the grand party.”

    “I thought you were looking for the last photo of Hitler alive, to help out Abel?” I asked. “Well, of course I’m looking for it, too,” Filipuzzi replied. “But on my own. Everybody’s looking for it.”

    A few hours before I met Filipuzzi, a taxi driver had claimed he could drive me to a “Nazi commune” four hours away for a few thousand pesos, or a few hundred dollars. I’d told him I was interested, but then he showed up red-eyed to my hostel door and said he’d actually need to drive me to another German town three hours away to find someone there who could help us access the supposed Nazi mecca—and wanted payment up front. “This is the only chance,” he said, angry, when I told him I would pass on the offer. He stormed off.


    Bariloche is a sizable city, but most of its Nazi attractions are within a few-block radius, including Priebke’s Colegio Aleman, also known as Primo Capraro, and other German cultural institutions. Along with its thriving ski and chocolate industries, it attracts hippies and intellectuals; yet, as with tourist towns everywhere in the world, there are always people like Filipuzzi or my taxi driver looking to expand the trade. Even the city’s official tourist office, located in the Plaza San Martin, will provide information from Basti’s tour guide to Nazi landmarks if visitors ask for it.

    One place rarely visited by tourists is the home of Jorge Priebke, son of Erich, a quiet cabin with a flower garden patrolled by a pack of ferocious Dobermans. The house, across from a lush pine-filled park and two blocks from the Colegio Aleman, is sealed off by two metal gates. I opened the first and called out for Jorge at the second, where I met the dogs barking and pouncing at my legs. A mousey gray-haired woman with glasses asked what I wanted; when I said I was a journalist, she yelled that he’d gone out of town and added that he’d had a heart attack. Jorge Priebke has given a handful of interviews, but now that his father’s dead, the woman—his wife—told me, he wanted to be left alone. “He’s done,” she said. But then she kept talking about her late father-in-law. “It’s really not fair, they all said he was such a bad man, like it was all his fault,” she whined through the metal gate. “And after he died they were all like ‘poor man.’ But you know how they are.”

    “Who? The world? The town?” I asked.

    “The Jews,” she replied. “They’re always like that. But Señor Priebke did a lot for this town.” Then she shooed me off her property, telling me she had guests inside awaiting food. “All right, ciao ciao,” she said, by way of goodbye.

    Hers was far from the only defense of Erich Priebke I fell upon in Bariloche. “It was unjust,” said Luis Schlik, the manager of a bar where I sat down to eat and write, when he learned what I was working on. A native of northern Argentina, Schlik is of Austrian descent and moved to Bariloche 12 years ago, long after Priebke had been removed to Rome. Yet his opinions were firm: “He followed orders. What about a pilot with his plane that threw bombs over a city and killed civilians? Why isn’t he an assassin? They received an order. It’s the same with Priebke.”

    At the Casa Raul bookstore, where I bought a copy of Basti’s Nazi guide, the owner, Nelly Garcia, leaped to defend her children’s former leader at the Colegio Aleman, calling him “this poor guy.” When I asked if the school had the Holocaust in its history curriculum, she said no. “There are worse massacres that don’t get taught,” she said, “like Russians killing gypsies. Why do we have to study the Holocaust?”


    One of the most prominent Jewish leaders in Bariloche is Carlos Suez, whose DVD store is a block away from Erich Priebke’s old house and across the street from Reinhard Kops’. When I visited him, he shrugged off questions about his town’s Nazis. “In every place in the world you’ll find anti-Semitism,” he told me. At this point, he insisted, most local residents don’t know who Priebke is any more and don’t care. “He doesn’t have importance,” Suez said. “I see Nazism here as something overcome.”

    But that laissez-faire attitude isn’t good enough for Schulz, the history teacher, who believes that even if other townspeople have moved on, he still has a responsibility to atone for his own complicity in allowing men with a direct role in the Holocaust live out their days undisturbed by justice. “In Bariloche there was never a public debate about Nazis,” Schulz told me when we met for tea at the famed German chocolate shop Rapa Nui in downtown Bariloche. “It’s like having an assassin in your house and never talking about it. You get sick.” For him, the town’s Hitler industry is necessarily evil. “It’s a way to rescue Hitler, to say they didn’t kill him,” he said. “I lived with negators of the Holocaust. I came from the inside. It’s a very personal thing.”

    Schulz sifted through piles of old photos at our cafe table, including one of his dad with the mayor of Bariloche and a young, grinning Priebke. Schulz shows this picture when he gives the lecture “Argentina and the Nazis,” in a new discussion series by an American tour company that passes through Patagonia. “I kept talking to Priebke when he was in jail in Italy, we’d send letters back and forth. I wanted to learn why all this happened,” Schulz told me. “He died still saying that the gas chambers didn’t exist … claiming he never had any problems with the Jews in Berlin.”

    That revisionism still finds an easy home in Bariloche, a festering infection inside the lake’s aqua waves and mountains that bleed like powder into the clouds. The city is so far from Europe that, even in today’s hyperconnected world, it can create its own version of the past, even as it tries to model itself after European cities. Carlos Echeverria, a Bariloche native who produced a documentary about Priebke called Pact of Silence, says the Nazis were honored for their German roots, in a region that often favored Europeans over native people. “There are people who continue remembering that era with nostalgia,” Echeverria told me of Bariloche’s Nazi zenith. Despite the film, released in 2006, Schulz insisted the dangerous silence still continued and that the “Nazi mentality” continued in forms of anti-Semitism and minimizing the Holocaust.

    Now 58, Schulz found himself galvanized by Priebke’s arrest. “I saw him as a good neighbor,” he told me, using a phrase—“buen vecino”—I heard over and and over again by those who wanted to excuse Priebke’s Nazi crimes. He started by joining the board of directors of the Colegio Aleman, which is known as one of the best schools in Bariloche. The school, an arm of the German Argentinian Cultural Association, officially taught a state-mandated curriculum and was open to students of all backgrounds. But Schulz said when he joined the board, it was known that the contracts of teachers who taught much about the Holocaust were generally not renewed. His hope that he could change the institution from the inside was quickly dashed: In 2008, after Schulz attended an observance of the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence held by the town’s small Jewish community, his fellow board members called him. “They asked me, ‘What were you doing there? Were you representing us?’ I told them I just went on my own, and they said they didn’t support that,” Schulz recalled. That year the directors didn’t invite him back to the board.

    Schulz decided to take his two children, then 10 and 13, out of the school, and dove into working on a memoir about his family, his childhood in Bariloche, and the discrimination he saw embedded in the town’s culture. Most of the book, Mandato Paterno“Paternal Mandate”—focuses on Schulz’s father, who was born in Argentina of German descent and had been sent as a teenager to a six-month Nazi training camp in Germany to become a “Hitler Youth” just before the war. “When I published my book, the Colegio Aleman board asked why I didn’t present it to them, since they were German,” Schulz told me. “But to me the Colegio Aleman is not the Germany that exists now. I said ‘I’m German too and I don’t think like you.’ ”

    School administrators never responded to my requests for interviews, and when I visited the campus—a four-story beige building with a green shingle roof—staff who greeted me insisted they had nothing to tell me about Bariloche’s Nazi culture. At least one graduate, a 26-year-old named Pablo Roig, said he remembered being shown a video documentary about Priebke and the Ardeatine Caves massacre a few years after Priebke’s arrest. Afterward the students asked the teachers what should happen to Priebke, whose case was still being appealed at the time. “She said he was older, and that people can change, and he seemed to have repented,” Roig told me, when we met in Buenos Aires.


    Merlin Maler, Reinhard Kops’ grandson, is a scruffy blond bohemian who makes his living as a snowboard instructor. As a kid, he idolized his grandfather, who went by Juan Maler, the older man a devoted geologist who taught his grandson about rocks and often took him on fishing trips. As a teenager, he once sold Kops’ Nazi medals for money to buy a skateboard; the neighbor who paid him drew a swastika shape in the air so the boy would know what to look for as he rifled through his granddad’s cabinet.

    “I was so stupid, I didn’t know what the sign meant,” Maler, now 28, told me. He lives in a plant-stuffed roof loft in his grandfather’s old house, a lavender cottage just uphill from the Colegio Aleman and Priebke’s deli. “My friend explained to me that the symbol was bad, so I didn’t sell anything else because my skateboard suddenly felt unclean,” he went on. “But the neighbor kept coming back to ask for more.”

    The day Kops outed Priebke, Maler’s liberal classmates greeted him with applause at school, he remembers, but many in the German community shunned the boy for his relative’s defection. “I asked my family when I was a child, ‘Why don’t we speak about it?’ ” Maler recalled as we sat at his handmade wooden table. “My grandmother said it was too painful, and that they were taken advantage of. I always saw my grandmother as a victim of the Nazis.” The family legend, he explained, was that his grandfather fled to Argentina because he turned against the Nazis at the end of the war.

    But Kops is infamous for writing anti-Semitic books and helping start a neo-Nazi community in Chile once he moved to Argentina. “He never taught me that,” Maler insisted. “I’m a lover of nature, and [my grandfather] made me that. And human beings are a part of nature, so I love them all.”

    Posted by Vanfield | April 29, 2014, 10:14 am
  2. I wonder if tourism has been picking up recently in Bariloche. On the serious side, the information on the so-called Monuments Men puts a completely different spin on them than the recent movie (and related books, I guess)and points to yet more perfidy on the part of Allen Dulles. More about him should be gleaned from the recent book about him and John Foster in Stephen Kinder’s Brothers. Of particular interest is some information on his relationship with Karl Wolff, the SS General who negotiated Operation Sunrise with him. Modern historiography hopefully is catching on at the usual glacial pace.

    Posted by Brad | May 3, 2014, 8:59 am
  3. @Brad–

    The information in the Dunstan & Williams text also sheds interesting light on the recent imbroglio concerning the Munich art dealers, the Gurlitts.


    I strongly recommend the Dunstan/Williams book.



    Posted by Dave Emory | May 3, 2014, 3:49 pm
  4. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/wehrmacht-veterans-created-a-secret-army-in-west-germany-a-969015.html

    05/14/2014 05:33 PM
    Files Uncovered
    Nazi Veterans Created Illegal Army

    By Klaus Wiegrefe

    Newly discovered documents show that in the years after World War II, former members of the Nazi Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS formed a secret army to protect the country from the Soviets. The illegal project could have sparked a major scandal at the time.

    For nearly six decades, the 321-page file lay unnoticed in the archives of the BND, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency — but now its contents have revealed a new chapter of German postwar history that is as spectacular as it is mysterious.

    The previously secret documents reveal the existence of a coalition of approximately 2,000 former officers — veterans of the Nazi-era Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS — who decided to put together an army in postwar Germany in 1949. They made their preparations without a mandate from the German government, without the knowledge of the parliament and, the documents show, by circumventing Allied occupation forces.

    The goal of the retired officers: to defend nascent West Germany against Eastern aggression in the early stages of the Cold War and, on the domestic front, deploy against the Communists in the event of a civil war. It collected information about left-wing politicians like Social Democrat (SPD) Fritz Erler, a key player in reforming the party after World War II, and spied on students like Joachim Peckert, who later became a senior official at the West German Embassy in Moscow during the 1970s.

    The new discovery was brought about by a coincidence. Historian Agilolf Kesselring found the documents — which belonged to the Gehlen Organization, the predecessor to the current foreign intelligence agency — while working for an Independent Historical Commission hired by the BND to investigate its early history. Similar commissions have been hired by a number of German authorties in recent years, including the Finance and Foreign Ministries to create an accurate record of once hushed-up legacies.

    Kesselring uncovered the documents, which were given the strange title of “Insurances,” while trying to determine the number of workers employed by the BND.

    Instead of insurance papers, Kesselring stumbled upon what can now be considered the most significant discovery of the Independent Historical Commission. The study he wrote based on the discovery was released this week.

    An Ease in Undermining Democracy

    The file is incomplete and thus needs to be considered with some restraint. Even so, its contents testify to the ease with which democratic and constitutional standards could be undermined in the early years of West Germany’s existence.

    According to the papers, German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer didn’t find out about the existence of the paramilitary group until 1951, at which point he evidently did not decide to break it up.

    In the event of a war, the documents claimed, the secret army would include 40,000 fighters. The involvement of leading figures in Germany’s future armed forces, the Bundeswehr, are an indication of just how serious the undertaking was likely to have been.

    Among its most important actors was Albert Schnez. Schnez was born in 1911 and served as a colonel in World War II before ascending the ranks of the Bundeswehr, which was founded in 1955. By the end of the 1950s he was part of the entourage of then Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss (CDU) and later served the German army chief under Chancellor Willy Brandt and Defense Minister Helmut Schmidt (both of the SPD).

    Statements by Schnez quoted in the documents suggest that the project to build a clandestine army was also supported by Hans Speidel — who would become the NATO Supreme Commander of the Allied Army in Central Europe in 1957 — and Adolf Heusinger, the first inspector general of the Bundeswehr.

    Kesselring, the historian, has a special connection to military history: His grandfather Albert was a general field marshal and southern supreme commander in the Third Reich, with Schnez as his subordinate “general of transportation” in Italy. Both men tried to prevent Germany’s partial surrender in Italy.

    In his study, Kesselring lets Schnez off easily: He doesn’t mention his ties to the right-wing milieu, and he describes his spying on supposed left-wingers as “security checks.” When asked about it, the historian explains that he will deal with these aspects of the file in a comprehensive study in the coming year. But the BND has recently released the “Insurances” files, making it possible to paint an independent picture.

    The army project began in the postwar period in Swabia, the region surrounding Stuttgart, where then 40-year-old Schnez traded in wood, textiles and household items and, on the side, organized social evenings for the veterans of the 25th Infantry Division, in which he had served. They helped one another out, supported the widows and orphans of colleagues and spoke about times old and new.

    Fears of Attack from the East

    But their debates always returned to the same question: What should be done if the Russians or their Eastern European allies invade? West Germany was still without an army at the time, and the Americans had removed many of their GIs from Europe in 1945.

    At first, Schnez’ group considered allowing themselves to be defeated and then leading partisan warfare from behind the lines, before relocating somewhere outside of Germany. In the event of a sudden attack from the East, an employee with the Gehlen Organization would later write, Schnez wanted to withdraw his troops and bring them to safety outside of Germany. They would then wage the battle to free Germany from abroad.

    To prepare a response to the potential threat, Schnez, the son of a Swabian government official, sought to found an army. Even though it violated Allied law — military or “military-like” organizations were banned, and those who contravened the rules risked life in prison — it quickly became very popular.

    The army began to take shape starting at the latest in 1950. Schnez recruited donations from businesspeople and like-minded former officers, contacted veterans groups of other divisions, asked transport companies which vehicles they could provide in the worst-case scenario and worked on an emergency plan.

    Anton Grasser, a former infantry general who was then employed by Schnez’ company, took care of the weapons. In 1950, he began his career at the Federal Interior Ministry in Bonn, where he became inspector general and oversaw the coordination of German Police Tactical Units in the German states for the event of war. He wanted to use their assets to equip the troop in case of an emergency. There is no sign that then Interior Minister Robert Lehr had been informed of these plans.

    Schnez wanted to found an organization of units composed of former officers, ideally entire staffs of elite divisions of the Wehrmacht, which could be rapidly deployed in case of an attack. According to the lists contained in the documents, the men were all employed: They included businesspeople, sales representatives, a coal merchant, a criminal lawyer, an attorney, a technical instructor and even a mayor. Presumably they were all anti-Communists and, in some cases, motivated by a desire for adventure. For example, the documents state that retired Lieutenant General Hermann Hölter “didn’t feel happy just working in an office.”

    Most of the members of the secret reserve lived in southern Germany. An overview in the documents shows that Rudolf von Bünau, a retired infantry general, led a “group staff” out of Stuttgart. There were further sub-units in Ulm (led by retired Lieutenant General Hans Wagner), Heilbronn (retired Lieutenant General Alfred Reinhardt), Karlsruhe (retired Major General Werner Kampfhenkel), Freiburg (retired Major General Wilhelm Nagel) and many other cities as well.

    Records Have Disappeared
    Schnez’s list wasn’t passed on, but the documents state he claimed it included 10,000 names, enough to constitute the core staff of three divisions. For reasons of secrecy, he inducted only 2,000 officers. Still, Schnez had no doubts that the rest would join them. There didn’t seem to be any dearth of candidates for the units: After all, there was no lack of German men with war experience.

    It remained to be determined where they could relocate to in case of emergency. Schnez negotiated with Swiss locations, but their reactions were “very restrained,” the documents state he later planned a possible move to Spain to use as a base from which to fight on the side of the Americans.

    Contemporaries described Schnez as an energetic organizer, but also self-confident and aloof. He maintained contacts with the League of German Youth and its specialized organization, the Technischer Dienst (Technical Service), which were preparing themselves for a partisan war against the Soviets. The two groups, secretly funded by the United States, included former Nazi officers as members, and were both banned by the West German federal government in 1953 as extreme-right organizations. Schnez, it seems, had no qualms whatsoever associating himself with former Nazis.

    Schnez also maintained a self-described intelligence apparatus that evaluated candidates for the “Insurance Company,” as he referred to the project, and determined if they had suspicious qualities. A criminal named K. was described as “intelligent, young and half-Jewish.”

    US documents viewed by SPIEGEL indicate that Schnez negotiated with former SS Obersturmbannführer Otto Skorzeny. The SS officer became a Nazi hero during World War II after he carried out a successful mission to free deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who had been arrested by the Italian king. The former SS man had pursued plans similar to those of Schnez. In February 1951, the two agreed to “cooperate immediately in the Swabia region.” It is still unknown today what precisely became of that deal.

    In his search for financing for a full-time operation, Schnez requested help from the West German secret service during the summer of 1951. During a July 24, 1951 meeting, Schnez offered the services of his shadow army to Gehlen, the head of the intelligence service, for “military use” or “simply as a potential force,” be it for a German exile government or the Western allies.

    A notation in papers from the Gehlen Organization states that there had “long been relations of a friendly nature” between Schnez and Reinhard Gehlen. The documents also indicate that the secret service first became aware of the clandestine force during the spring of 1951. The Gehlen Organization classified Schnez as a “special connection” with the unattractive code name “Schnepfe,” German for “snipe”.

    Did Adenauer Shy Away?

    It’s likely that Gehlens’ enthusiasm for Schnez’s offer would have been greater if had it come one year earlier, when the Korean War was breaking out. At the time, the West German capital city of Bonn and Washington had considered the idea of “gathering members of former German elite divisions in the event of a catastrophe, arming and then assigning them to Allied defense troops.”

    Within a year, the situation had defused somewhat, and Adenauer had retreated from this idea. Instead, he pushed for West Germany to integrate more deeply with the West and for the establishment of the Bundeswehr. Schnez’s illegal group had the potential to threaten that policy — if its existence had become public knowledge, it could have spiraled into an international scandal.

    Still, Adenauer decided not to take action against Schnez’s organization — which raises several questions: Was he shying away from a conflict with veterans of the Wehrmacht and the Waffen-SS?

    There were misgivings within the Gehlen Organization, particularly surrounding Skorzeny. According to another BND document seen by SPIEGEL, a division head raised the question of whether it was possible for the organization to take an aggressive stance against Skorzeny. The Gehlen Organization man suggested consulting “the SS”, adding, the SS “is a factor and we should sound out opinions in detail there before making a decision.” Apparently networks of old and former Nazis still exercised considerable influence during the 1950s.

    It also became clear in 1951 that years would pass before the Bundeswehr could be established. From Adenauer’s perspective, this meant that, for the time being, the loyalty of Schnez and his comrades should be secured for the event of a worst-case scenario. That’s probably why Gehlen was assigned by the Chancellery “to look after and to monitor the group.”

    It appears Konrad Adenauer informed both his American allies as well as the political opposition of the plan at the time. The papers seem to indicate that Carlo Schmid, at the time a member of the SPD’s national executive committee, was “in the loop.”

    Little Known about Disbanding of Army

    From that point on, Gehlen’s staff had frequent contact with Shnez. Gehlen and Schnez also reached an agreement to share intelligence derived from spying efforts. Schnez boasted of having a “particularly well-organized” intelligence apparatus.

    From that point on, the Gehlen Organization became the recipient of alert lists including the names of former German soldiers who had allegedly behaved in an “undignified” manner as Soviet prisoners of war, the insinuation being that the men had defected to support the Soviet Union. In other instances, they reported “people suspected of being communists in the Stuttgart area.”

    But Schnez never got showered with the money he had hoped for. Gehlen only allowed him to receive small sums, which dried up during the autumn of 1953. Two years later, the Bundeswehr swore in its first 101 volunteers. With the rearmament of West Germany, Schnez’s force became redundant.

    It is currently unknown exactly when the secret army disbanded, as no fuss was made at the time. Schnez died in 2007 without ever stating anything publicly about these events. His records on the “Insurance Company” have disappeared. What is known stems largely from documents relating to the Gehlen Organization that made their way into the classified archive of its successor, the BND.

    It appears they were deliberately filed there under the misleading title “insurances” in the hope that no one would ever find any reason to take interest in them.


    Related SPIEGEL ONLINE links:

    Obscuring the Past: Intelligence Agency Destroyed Files on Former SS Members (11/30/2011)
    Intelligence Agency’s Murky Past: The Nazi Criminals Who Became German Spooks (02/16/2011)
    From Nazi Criminal to Postwar Spy: German Intelligence Hired Klaus Barbie as Agent (01/20/2011)
    SPIEGEL Interview With Green Party Chief Claudia Roth: ‘Each Ministry Must Examine Its Own Nazi Past’ (10/28/2010)

    All Rights Reserved
    Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH

    Posted by Vanfield | May 15, 2014, 10:14 pm
  5. Interesting to note that this mentions Otto von Bolschwing who rarely is cited. Of course no mention of his connections and activity in the US.


    While Jewish DPs languished, Nazi criminals given refuge by US

    Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Eric Lichtblau’s ‘The Nazis Next Door’ explores how America became a safe haven for Nazis through CIA recruitment
    By Jack Schwartz October 29, 2014, 11:50 am 2

    NEW YORK — In the waning days of World War II, Waffen SS general Karl Wolff, made a deal with the American intelligence operative Allen Dulles that he would surrender his men in Northern Italy in exchange for immunity from war crimes. With the imminent collapse of the Third Reich, Wolff had more to gain from this understanding than Washington, but Dulles kept his promise, protecting Wolff from prosecutors at Nuremberg.

    This was the beginning of a dutiful friendship, not just between these two men but among the interests they represented. It serves as prologue to “The Nazis Next Door,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014, $28) Eric Lichtblau’s riveting account of how America became a refuge for war criminals with the collusion of US agencies who recruited them for the Cold War and then sought to insulate them from justice.

    While aspects of this story are known, the significant contribution made by Lichtblau, a Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter for The New York Times, is to piece it all together through declassified files and extensive interviews in a devastating indictment of an American intelligence and military establishment that made a pact with the devil — a bad bargain in terms of espionage results but one that encompassed mass murderers, run-of-the-mill killers and assorted collaborators.

    In the end, a reinvigorated Justice Department successfully prosecuted, denaturalized and deported more than 100 of them but, according to Lichtblau, an estimated 10,000 “with clear ties to the Nazis” lived freely in the U.S. to the end of their days, hiding in plain sight as factory workers, janitors and car salesmen.

    While many lesser fry slipped by a porous immigration system through their own devious means, Lichtblau focuses on a cluster of Nazis who entered the US with a little help from their friends in the CIA. He follows several notorious figures who lived successful lives in this country and, even when exposed, managed to evade the full consequences of their pasts. The book traces them through decades of deception from the early postwar era to the Reagan years.

    Among Lichtblau’s cast of characters:

    Hubertus Strughold, who took part in gruesome medical experiments for the Luftwaffe using human guinea pigs for tests on how the body could withstand ice-cold waters and sudden changes in air pressure. Strughold was spirited to an Air Force base in San Antonio where he was venerated as “the living sage of space medicine.”

    Arthur Rudolph, who managed Hitler’s V-2 rocket facility at Dora-Mittelwerk for Wernher von Braun where thousands of prisoners were beaten, starved, executed and worked to death. Rudolph arrived in the US as part of “” — a stratagem that brought 1,600 German scientists to America — and became the leading engineer on the Saturn V space program which brought him the sobriquet “Mr. Saturn.”

    Otto von Bolschwing, an early influence on Adolf Eichmann in the Nazi Jewish Affairs office, and the author of a white paper on “The Jewish Problem” that served as a blueprint for the despoliation of German Jews. His handiwork included instigating a horrendous pogrom in Bucharest in which hundreds of Jews were butchered. After the war, von Bolschwing ran an anti-Soviet spy network for the CIA that later brought him to America first-class on the Andrea Doria and got him a State Department agency job.

    For Jews, a very different fate

    And while the CIA was providing red carpet treatment for the perpetrators what was the fate of the Jews who had survived their onslaught?

    While prominent Nazis were prepared for the fall of the Third Reich with exit routes to South America and the Middle East, their victims were not. Between 1946 and 1948 little more than 40,000 refugees were admitted to the U.S., two-thirds of them Jewish, a remnant of the remnant that had survived.

    For the most part, the rest languished for years in Displaced Persons camps in Europe, often living in abject misery alongside the very Nazis who had victimized them. General Patton, who commanded the American zone in Bavaria, held them in disdain. And stateside, the plight of Jewish DPs evoked little sympathy. A postwar survey showed that 72 percent of Americans did not want the survivors in the U.S.

    As for the Nazis, it took years before the political climate changed and their pasts caught up with them. Early whistle-blowers were treated as outliers and themselves harassed by the FBI for seeking to blow the cover of the war criminals who were by now established as US citizens. One of the activists was Chuck Allen, a left-wing journalist. For his pains, Allen was designated a national security threat by J. Edgar Hoover.

    It wasn’t until the mid-70s that the tide turned, culminating in 1979 with the creation of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in the Justice Department after Congressional hearings in 1977-78. The unit had been forged through the efforts of people like Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, a Brooklyn Democrat, who had fought for seven years to bring hidden Nazis to justice.

    But prosecutors seeking to denaturalize and deport them faced legal stumbling blocks. In one case, Tom Soobzokov, a former CIA recruit and a prominent citizen in Paterson, N.J., implicated in war crimes in the Black Sea region of Krasnodar, acknowledged that he was a member of the Waffen SS. His defense was that he’d told this to the American authorities when he entered the US, thereby demonstrating that although he was a Nazi collaborator, he hadn’t lied about it, a Catch-22 loophole that saved him from deportation.
    Nazi-hunters tilting at ghosts

    But the tide was turning. TV series such as “Holocaust,” and best-sellers like Howard Blum’s “Wanted,” brought the face of genocide and the shame of ex-Nazis in our midst to public attention. The CIA was no longer the sacred cow it had once been and neither was the FBI any longer in very good odor. Moreover, a new cadre of prosecutors in Germany had shown an interest in going after war criminals.

    Hungarian occupation troops in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, Nov 25, 1941, prepare the gallows for the public execution of members of the People’s Liberation Resistance. A largely unknown archive documenting thousands of cases against World War II criminals, from Hitler to many average participants in the Holocaust who were never brought to trial, are being made public and unrestricted for the first time at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington after being locked away for decades at the United Nations. (AP Photo/Muzej Revolucije Narodnosti Jugoslavije via United States Holocaust Memorial Museum)

    A determined team of Nazi hunters in the Justice Department went after their quarry with real teeth in tightened regulations and procedures. The heroes of Lichtblau’s chronicle are these men — Neal Sher, Eli Rosenbaum, Mike MacQueen — led by Allan Ryan, who relentlessly pursued those who for decades had felt impervious to retribution.

    By then, however, the Nazi-hunters were virtually tilting at ghosts as their quarries aged and died. Arthur Rudolph, when confronted with the evidence linking him to the underground slave labor factory at Dora-Mittelwerk renounced his U.S. citizenship and voluntarily exiled himself to West Germany rather than face a public scandal.

    Otto von Bolschwing admitted to investigators that he’d been a high-ranking Nazi and agreed to surrender his citizenship but, in failing health, was allowed to remain in the country.

    As for Huburtus Strughold, OSI lawyers were preparing to confront him, but death reached him first. His legacy by then had been tarnished, but not completely. It was only last year that the Space Medicine Association agreed to withdraw presentation of its annual Strughold Award named for its patron saint.

    Age did not provide an escape for everyone. Aleksandras Lileikis, living quietly for 35 years in a Boston suburb, was unearthed as chief of the security police in Vilnius who had turned over thousands of Jews to their Nazi executioners at the death pits of Ponary.

    Despite Lileikis’s stonewalling, determined sleuthing by Mike MacQueen turned up documents linking him to the massacres. Lileikis was one of the many Nazi henchmen recruited after the war by the CIA, which later resettled him in the U.S. He was deported to Lithuania in 1996 and died there at 93 awaiting a verdict on genocide charges.

    Lichtblau’s well-documented account might have been augmented with a fuller exploration of the altered social and political conditions that ultimately brought some of these men to justice: The Israeli triumph in the Six-Day War which provided a new assertiveness to a younger generation of American Jews, together with the civil-rights movement of the 60s that inspired them to activism on behalf of their own people. The flowering of Jewish studies programs in the early 70s and its sub-set of Holocaust studies, turning a spotlight on a once taboo subject; Watergate which had alerted the public to Government malfeasance and cover-ups, and a surfeit of films and literature — Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah,” and Elie Wiesel’s “Night” — that captured the public imagination.

    This aside, Lichtblau has provided a compelling account of American complicity in recruiting Nazi war criminals, bringing them to our shores, cleansing their records and shielding them from justice. Lichtblau cites a 2010 internal Justice Department study that he wrote about for The Times as providing the impetus for his book.

    The report acknowledges that “America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became — in some measure — a safe haven for persecutors as well.”

    How this came to be is the burden of Lichtblau’s gripping chronicle, informed by the reportorial skills of a journalist and impelled by the moral imperative to bear witness.

    The author is the former Book Editor of Newsday.

    Posted by Vanfield | October 29, 2014, 9:21 am
  6. @Vanfield–

    It is indeed interesting to see Von Bolschwing mentioned, although–predictably–there is no mention of the Crusade For Freedom or Helene von Damm.

    That is among the most important points–that the GOP is essentially a front for the Underground Reich at this point in time.

    Richard Nixon–Dulles’protege–oversees the CFF, Ronald Reagan is its chief spokesman, William Casey handles the State Department machinations to bring them into the country and George H.W. Bush makes the GOP’s Nazis a permanent part of the Republican Party.

    That Reagan’s administrative personnel were selected from lists drawn up by von Bolschwing’s protege von Damm doesn’t get mentioned.

    In that context, I came across an interesting picture on the Internet.


    The picture purports to be of Ykaterina Chumchenko, Reagan’s Deputy Director of Public Liaison and a member of the UCCA–the top OUN/B front group in the United States.

    She is allegedly leading the cheers at a meeting of the National Alliance.

    The picture is alleged to have been made in 1989.

    I can neither confirm nor disprove that this is, in fact, Chumachenko, who later married Victor Yuschenko and became first lady of Ukraine.

    There certainly is a distinct resemblance between the two, although the available pictures of Chumachenko/Yuschenko are from a number of years afterward–the early years of the new century.

    IF the National Alliance photo is actually Chumachenko, she appears to have aged quite a bit in the fifteen years or so between 1989 and the point in time when she became Yuschenko’s wife. That is certainly possible.

    IF the photo is, actually, Chumachenko, it is possible that the photo was taken earlier, perhaps in 1979, with the poster having made a typo.

    One also wonders if she would be so indiscreet as to lead a Nazi cheer at a meeting like this.

    On the other hand, the media are almost completely blacked out on the Nazis in Ukraine and the Nazis in the Reagan administration.

    With a National Alliance associate–Bob Whitaker–having held a key position in the Reagan White House it would not be altogether unlikely to have Chumachenko pumping up the crowd in ’89.

    About Whitaker: http://www.stormfront.org/forum/t141702/

    I haven’t been able to find any good, clear photos of Chumachenko/Yuschenko that show the underside of her right wrist, which features a prominent tattoo in the National Alliance photo.

    Of course, in the age of Photoshop, pictures can be doctored.

    Chumachenko/Yuschenko is certainly a fascist–the UCCA/OUN/B is about as bad as it gets.

    Svoboda’s street fighting cadre–Combat 14–takes its name from the fourteen words, minted by David Lane–the driver of the getaway car in The Order’s murder of Alan Berg.

    That places the National Alliance and the Svoboda/OUN/B milieux in intimate proximity.

    Don’t expect our media to pursue this one to make an exact determination of fact.

    Watch the Nazified GOP regain control of the Senate on Tuesday.

    It will be interesting to see what happens then.



    Posted by Dave Emory | October 29, 2014, 5:01 pm

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