Joined: 25 Jul 2005
Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
|Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:10 pm Post subject: Gestapo chief Heinrich 'Nazi' Muller hid in S America
|Gestapo Chief - the CIA and Heinrich Muller
Mueller and the End of the War
In the war's final year, it seems that Heinrich Mueller stubbornly believed in a Nazi victory. He
told one of his top counterespionage case officers in December 1944 that the Ardennes offensive (known in
the U.S. as the Battle of the Bulge) would result in the recapture of Paris.1 (Comment: The sole and wellknown
goal of the Ardennes Offensive was to capture the port of Antwerp. Since the SS was heavily
involved in the intelligence preparations for this operation, Müller would certainly have known this and it
is doubtful in the extreme if he would have made such a statement to anyone) Mueller also reportedly
redoubled efforts to drive a wedge between the Soviets and the Western allies by using his double agents.
Not everyone was convinced of his sincerity. There were rumors among German intelligence
officers that Mueller had himself been turned by the Soviets. Walter Schellenberg, chief of the RSHA's
Foreign Intelligence Branch (Amt VI) and a bitter rival of Mueller, was the source of some of this
speculation. When interrogated by OSS in 1945, Schellenberg claimed that Mueller had been in friendly
radio contact with the Soviets, and Schellenberg's postwar memoirs contain verbatim exhortations from
1943 by Mueller on Stalin's superiority to Hitler as a leader.2 SS-men close to Mueller considered such
rumors unfounded and illogical. (Comment” Schellenberg’s “memoirs” written at the time of his death and
published post-mortem were forgeries by his wife and literary agent. Comments by Schellenberg about
Müller in this book are very much a matter of fiction. ) Mueller's immediate superior Ernst Kaltenbrunner
(Chief of the RSHA), later insisted under Allied interrogation that Mueller could never have embraced the
Soviets. Similarly, Heinz Pannwitz, Mueller's Gestapo subordinate who ran Rote Kapelle, categorized the
notion that Mueller had turned as "absolutely absurd" in a 1959 CIA interrogation.3
The First Search for Gestapo Mueller
Months before the fall of Berlin, Anglo-American counterespionage officers began their postwar
planning. Under the combined leadership of British MI 5 and MI 6 and the X-2 (counterespionage) branch
of the American Office of Strategic Services, the SHAEF G-2 Counter Intelligence (CI) War Room began
operating in February 1945. Using Allied lists of Nazi intelligence officers, the War Room supervised the
hunt for the remnants of Germany's military and police intelligence services. Initially, the chief concern of
the officers of the CI War Room was that Nazi intelligence units would survive the war and, financed with
looted assets, launch paramilitary operations in the Bavarian Alps. Intelligence reaching the War Room in
the last months of the war did not mention Mueller as a possible leader of postwar Nazi operations, but
given his command of the Gestapo, Mueller remained an important man to capture.(Comment: If there was
no mention of Müller in these studies, how could he remain an important man to capture? Müller was a
very private man and very little was known about him during the course of the Third Reich.)
On May 27, 1945 the Counter Intelligence War Room issued a statement about its priority targets
for interrogations in what it called the German intelligence service. At the top of the list were Nazi
intelligence officials involved in foreign intelligence (RSHA Amt VI). Next in priority were security police
and SD units in occupied countries. Gestapo officials came farther down the target list. A War Room
instruction to interrogators of captured RSHA officers listed the top missing persons: interrogators were to
ask: "Where are: SCHELLENBERG, OHLENDORF, MUELLER, STEIMLE, SANDBERGER?"4 (All but
Mueller were subsequently located and interrogated.) A War Room fortnightly report covering the period
ending June 18, 1945 stated that no leading officials of the Gestapo had yet been arrested, and "it seems
clear from most reports that Mueller remained in Berlin after the collapse."5 His fate was contrasted with
that of other Gestapo personalities who fled south. A separate OSS X-2 (counterintelligence) report at the
end of the month repeated that no highranking Gestapo officials had yet been captured and that Mueller had
remained in Berlin.6
A War Room monthly summary in late July 1945 reported that Amt VI officials had largely
surrendered, while most Amt IV (Gestapo) officials remained at large. Mueller's fate was still unknown:
"Some of our evidence, though it is by no means conclusive, suggests that Mueller himself may have
remained in Berlin until the last [while]… the greater part of Amt IV collected itself at Hof, near Munich,
and at Salzburg and Innsbruck.7 A War Room intelligence arrest target list, dated August 21, commented
about 'H. Mueller, head of the Gestapo': "Last reported Berlin, Apr. 1945."8 A later revision to the arrest
target list reported the arrest of several Gestapo officials, including Walter Huppenkothen who was part of
the Red Orchestra team. But not Heinrich Mueller.9
Ultimately the Allies would find many Heinrich Muellers in occupied Germany and Austria, but
not the right one. Heinrich Mueller is a very common German name. By the end of 1945, American and
British occupation forces had gathered information on numerous Heinrich Muellers, all of whom had
different birth dates, physical characteristics and job histories. Documentation on some of them is includedone
might say mistakenly jumbled together-in the "Gestapo" Mueller Army IRR file, which the National
Archives released in 2000. Part of the problem for U.S. record-keepers stemmed from the fact that some of
these Muellers, including Gestapo Mueller, did not appear to have middle names. An additional source of
confusion was that there were two different SS-Generals named Heinrich Mueller. In at least one instance,
an index card purporting to collate information on Gestapo Mueller, which was prepared by an American
official after the war, actually contains two different birth dates, as well as data about a third man of the
same name. A Heinrich Mueller was held briefly at the Altenstadt civilian internment camp in 1945.10
Another killed himself along with his wife and his children in April 1946.11
Throughout this period the Counter Intelligence War Room functioned as the ULTRA/top secret
collecting point for information about the locations of the Allies' top intelligence targets. Although the
occupation forces had encountered quite a few men named Heinrich Mueller, the War Room's verdict was
unambiguous: Gestapo Muller had not been found.
In the initial period after the Nazi surrender U.S. counterintelligence attempted to track down all
leads to Mueller. Information reached U.S. army intelligence that Gestapo Mueller had taken the assumed
name Schwartz or Schwartzer and had gone south from Berlin with another Gestapo official Christian A.
Scholz. But no traces of either man were ever found.12 In 1947, British and American authorities twice
searched the home of Gestapo Mueller's mistress Anna Schmid for clues, but found nothing suggesting that
Mueller was still alive. With the onset of the Cold War and the shift of resources to the Soviet target, the
assumption took hold in U.S. intelligence that Gestapo Mueller was dead.13
The West German Investigation
The dramatic Israeli abduction of Mueller's subordinate Adolf Eichmann from Argentina in May
1960 created new interest in Nazi war criminals and particularly in Mueller. Imaginative theories that
Mueller (along with Eichmann) had escaped Berlin and were still alive had been in the press for some time,
as well as in the best selling memoir by Wilhelm Hoettl, himself a former SS officer.14 Eichmann himself
helped to fan speculation about in Mueller, when during his Jerusalem trial, he voiced his belief that
Mueller survived the war. Already in July 1960, the West German office in charge of the prosecution of
war criminals [Zentralle Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen] charged local police authorities in Bavaria
(Mueller's family still lived in Munich) and Berlin to investigate. The West Germans were skeptical that
Mueller was working for the Soviets, but did think it possible that Mueller was corresponding from
somewhere with his family or possibly with his former secretary Barbara Hellmuth. All of these West
German citizens were closely watched, and in May 1961 the Bavarian police asked the U.S. occupation
forces to put Mueller's relatives and Hellmuth under surveillance. West German police also searched the
Berlin home of Anna Schmid, Mueller's former mistress, and spoke with her. Schmid told the West German
investigators that she had not seen Mueller since 24 April 1945, when he gave her a vial of poison and then
disappeared. Her own efforts to find him in the subsequent days and weeks had been fruitless.15
According to various witnesses interviewed by the West German police in 1961, the last time
Mueller was seen alive was the evening of May 1, 1945, the day after Hitler's suicide. Several eyewitnesses
placed Mueller at Hitler's Chancellery building that evening while recounting his refusal to leave with the
breakout group that night. Hans Baur, Hitler's pilot and an old friend of Mueller's, recounts Mueller as
saying, "We know the Russian methods exactly. I haven't the faintest intention of … being taken prisoner
by the Russians." Another claimed that Mueller refused to leave with the rest of Hitler's entourage, and was
overheard saying "the regime has fallen and…I fall also." He was last seen in the company of his radio
specialist Christian A. Scholz.(Christian Scholz was not Müller’s radio specialist. Scholz, who was a
personal friend, worked for the Luftwaffe Radio Interception unit at Wildpark-Werder and was with him
just before he vanished.) And while the bodies of others that remained that night were recovered and
identified, no one in the final group witnessed the death of Mueller or Scholz.16
West German authorities pursued three major leads in an effort to confirm Mueller's death and
burial in Berlin in 1945. First, there was the testimony of Fritz Leopold, a Berlin morgue official who had
reported in December 1945 that Mueller's body was moved (along with many others) from the RSHA
headquarters at Prinz Albrecht Strasse (2000 feet from the Chancellery) for reburial in a local municipal
cemetery on Lilienthalstrasse (Berlin-Neukoelln) in the Western half of the city. Leopold was later deemed
an unreliable source, but the burial was officially registered with the Berlin authorities and a headstone
would be placed at Mueller's "grave" which read, "Our loving father Heinrich Mueller - Born 28 April 1900
- Died in Berlin May 1945." A second story came from Mueller's ex-subordinate Heinz Pannwitz, who had
been captured by the Soviets and returned to West Germany in 1957, whereupon he told the German Secret
Service [Bundesnachrichtendienst - BND] that his Soviet interrogators revealed to him that "your Chief
[Mueller] is dead." The body, they said, had been found in a subway shaft a few blocks from the
Chancellery with a bullet through the head and with its identity documents intact.17
The final story came from Walter Lueders, a former member of the German Volkssturm (civilian
fighters) who maintained that he had headed a burial detail in the summer of 1945. Of the hundreds of
bodies buried by the detail, only one, said Lueders, wore an SS-General's uniform, and it was found in the
garden of the Reich Chancellery with a large wound in the back. Though the body had no medals or
decorations, Lueders recalled with certainty that the identity papers were those of Gestapo Mueller. It was
moved to the old Jewish Cemetery on Grosse Hamburgerstasse in the Soviet Sector, where it was placed in
one of three mass graves. In fact, in 1955 the German Armed Forces Information Office
(Wehrmachtsauskunftsstelle - WASt) inquired with district authorities in East Berlin and received
confirmation that Gestapo Mueller was buried at the Grosse-Hamburgerstrasse cemetery in 1945. Since the
grave was a mass grave, however, there was no actual plot.
The Fritz Leopold story was checked first, and in September 1963, the Mueller "grave" at the
Lilienthalstrasse cemetery in West Berlin was exhumed. Investigation revealed that in fact, the grave
contained the remains of three different people, none of whom were Mueller. The skull, moreover,
belonged to a man ten years younger than Mueller would have been in 1945. The German authorities had
no means by which to verify either Pannwitz's or Lueders' story. Pannwitz's information had come from
Moscow, and there was no official liaison between Soviet intelligence and the West Germans on the
Mueller case. Lueders's story could not be checked since Grosse Hamburgerstrasse was on the other side of
the two-year old Berlin Wall. Adding to the confusion was the mystery of Mueller's effects. WASt,
according to its own records, returned to Mueller's family in 1958 not only the Gestapo Chief's papers,
some of which Lueders claimed to have found on the body, but also Mueller's decorations, which neither
Leopold not Lueders claimed to have found. These items were never checked for authenticity.18
The CIA investigation
The CIA started its involvement in the hunt for Mueller at roughly the same time as the German
search, albeit from a different source base. The January 1961 defection and interrogation of a Polish
intelligence officer brought Western counterintelligence tips that led to several Soviet and Polish agents
active in the West, including George Blake, a mole in the British MI6, Harry Houghton, a clerk in the
British navy, and Heinz Felfe, a highlevel West German intelligence officer. The defector surely was Lt.
Col. Michal Goleniewski [TN], the Deputy Chief of Polish Military Counter Intelligence until 1958, who
had also operated as a mole for the KGB in the Polish service. In recounting his work as an interrogator of
captured German officials in Poland from 1948 to 1952, Goleniewski revealed information about the fate of
some Nazi intelligence officials, including Gestapo Mueller. Goleniewski had not actually met Mueller.
However, he had heard from his Soviet supervisors that sometime between 1950 and 1952 the Soviets had
picked up Mueller and taken him to Moscow.19 There was little with which to evaluate this claim, and some
reason to be skeptical of this hearsay. Pannwitz, after all, had recently dismissed as "nonsense" to CIA
interrogators the idea that Mueller worked for the Soviets while claiming that his own Soviet interrogators
repeatedly said that Mueller was dead.20
The CIA tried to track down the men Goleniewski named as having worked with Mueller in
Moscow. The CIA determined that Jakob Loellgen, the former Gestapo chief of Danzig, was alive and
resided in West Germany. In 1945 the Soviets had captured Loellgen but then released him, whereupon he
returned to West Germany, working as a local police chief and as a private investigator. The CIA turned
this information over to the Germans and the BND located Loellgen in 1961.
The Germans dropped the ball. Although the BDN (sic. BND )apparently began assembling
material for his arrest, Loellgen was never arrested. The CIA never quite figured out what had happened.
The BND seemed to be preoccupied throughout 1961 with another of Goleniewski's leads, Heinz Felfe.
Felfe was a highlevel BND officer, who had already provided thousands of West German secrets including
names of agents, cover names, addresses, and documents, to Moscow. In the midst of the Felfe scandal,
West German investigation of Loellgen just fell between the cracks.21
The CIA did collect some information on its own that bore on the "Mueller in Moscow" thesis. In
June 1961, another source was asked to assess Goleniewski's information on Soviet contacts with former
Nazis. The source, who appears to have been a KGB officer, reported having read a "Mueller file," in
which Mueller is described as having been captured by Soviet intelligence at the end of World War II. The
identity of this source is not given in the CIA file, but is likely Petr Deriabin [TN]. (Deriabin had worked
on counterintelligence matters in the Austro-German department of the First Chief Directorate of the
KGB.) The defector wrote in a 1971 memorandum for the record that in 1952 he had heard from his own
superiors that Moscow had recruited Mueller and that he himself had read excerpts from an interrogation.
He even included the names of four Soviet officers who had once debriefed Mueller in 1951.22 Comment:
As Heinrich Müller was an expert in Soviet espionage and had wrought terrible havoc in the ranks of
Stalin’s spies, executing the ones he could not turn, there is no conceivable reason for the Soviets to wish to
“turn” Müller. Had he extensive knowledge of Western intelligence operations equal to his knowledge of
Soviet operations, then the Soviets would have found a use for him.)
Despite the partial corroboration of the information from Goleniewski, the CIA appears to have
relied on the West Germans to take the lead in the investigation of Mueller's whereabouts and did little
follow-up in the 1960s. The remainder of the decade saw various news reports that Mueller had escaped to
various points in the West (Argentina, Cuba), as well as tragicomic episodes. In 1967, a false sighting of
Mueller in Panama led to the arrest there of one Francis Keith, who was released once fingerprints revealed
he was not Mueller. (Comment: Keith was an American citizen working on construction projects in
Panama.) Later the same year, two Israeli operatives were caught by West German police in an attempted
break-in at the Munich apartment of Mueller's wife. Reams of newspaper copy were produced by such
episodes, but there was only limited CIA interest. Comment: The Mossad agents were instructed to search
for letters from Müller and to plant electronic listening devices in Frau Müller’s flat. This information was
published in several Munich newspapers. The Mossad agents were jailed for common burglary and later
released at the urgent request of the Israeli Ambassador in Bonn. If Müller was dead, as the American
authorities wished so badly to prove, why would Israel go to so much trouble to locate a dead man over
twenty years after his alleged death?)
Yet one particular report did catch CIA's attention. In the aftermath of the Eichmann trial, the
West German weekly Stern ran two articles by the journalist Peter Staehle that appeared in January and
August 1964. Staehle said that after having followed a path after the war that included the Soviet Union,
Romania, Turkey, and South Africa, Mueller became a senior police official in Albania before fleeing for
South America.23 From the very start, CIA suspected that Staehle's articles were a "plant" - part of a "clever
bit of [disinformation] work" to mislead the public, as well as intelligence agencies.24 The CIA checked -
and disproved Staehle's claim that Mueller was in fact an Albanian police official named Abedin Bekir
Nakoschiri.25 The BND and CIA also discovered that Staehle had failed to get his articles printed in the
more respected weekly Die Zeit thanks to a suspect source base about which Staehle had reportedly lied.26
In May 1970 a Czech defector, very likely Ladislas Bittman [TN], a disinformation specialist
himself, weighed in.27 Bittman said that the Stern article was planted from Prague in order to neutralize
rumors that Mueller might in fact be in Czechoslovakia. Bittman added for good measure that within Czech
intelligence circles, it was common knowledge that the KGB had used Nazi war criminals for intelligence
purposes and that key sections of Nazi archives had also been captured by the Soviets for use in
These comments caught the eye of the CIA's Counter-Intelligence (CI) Staff, headed by the
legendary James Angleton. If Mueller really had been in the USSR or elsewhere in Eastern Europe, and if
he had taken RSHA central files with him (many of which had indeed vanished after the war), then
numerous leading West Germans (presumably on the political right) could still be compromised. It was
crucial to discover what had happened, not necessarily to Mueller, who well might have been dead in any
case, but to the files. Angleton also had a special interest in Soviet disinformation. The CI Staff undertook a
through-going inquiry of Mueller starting in late 1970, and it is likely that this inquiry resulted in Mueller's
name file (along with the above-mentioned material on the West German search) being assembled by CIA
at all. It certainly resulted in a forty-page Counter Intelligence Brief - "The Hunt for 'Gestapo' Mueller" -
which was circulated as an internal report of the Directorate of Plans in December 1971. A memo in the file
dated 9 December 1971 explaining the purpose of the report states that:
Our principal original objective in preparing the attached study of the MUELLER case
was to produce a training aid illustrating the vagaries and pitfalls of protracted
investigations. In the past, MUELLER had been viewed mainly as a missing war
criminal. As the material was collected, however, we became aware of another important
possibility: that MUELLER had defected to World War II Soviet counterintelligence
(SMERSH) and had taken with him a large assortment of files. (The central files of the
German National Security Service (RSHA), of which Mueller was de facto chief…in the
last weeks of the war, were never recovered by the Western Allies….) If SMERSH
actually seized MUELLER and the best part of the RSHA records, Soviet capabilities to
control important Germans and some other Europeans would far exceed those heretofore
attributed to them."29
In the process of putting together the report, the CI staff undertook some new inquiries of its own.
A re-reading of a 1963 article in the German weekly Der Spiegel, which discussed the exhumation of
Mueller's West Berlin "grave" that year, revealed that a mysterious woman in Berlin unrelated to Mueller
had purchased the headstone. 30 Perhaps this purchase too was part of a disinformation campaign designed
to hide the fact that Mueller was used by the Soviets after the war.31 In December 1970 the West Germans
allowed CIA to examine the exhumation records for the identity of the mysterious woman who had
purchased the Mueller tombstone, albeit with no results. CI also hoped that the West German government
would locate and interview Walter Lueders (who had found the body buried in the Grosse-
Hamburgerstrasse cemetery) and verify, if they could, the authenticity of the personal effects returned to
Mueller's family in 1957.32 German memoirs from the 1950s with cryptic clues on Mueller were reread.33
CI also asked Soviet defector Peter Deriabin to write a memorandum for the file in November 1971.
The CI team found fault with how Goleniewski's leads had been handled in 1961 and wanted to
return to that trail. Loellgen, wrote one CI investigator, "must have an interesting tale to tell about what
happened to Heinrich Mueller and how the [Soviet] operation to penetrate the Nazi stay-behind operation
fared"34 "How do we get Loellgen to talk?" asked another. "Have we [an] interviewer that might
'accidentally' look [him] up?" But reasons for skepticism remained. "It seems to me," the same agent said,
"that [Soviet intelligence] would never have let LOELLGEN go back to the West if in fact they had
MUELLER. The scandal of sheltering this number one war criminal would have been too risky."35 In any
event, Loellgen was not questioned.
The 40-page CI report ended on a note of skepticism. "No one appears to have tried very hard," it said,
to find MUELLER immediately after the war while the trail was still hot, either in the
West or the East….The presumption is that Allied officials searching for MUELLER soon
stumbled over the…holdings of his effects and the…burial record and considered these
sufficient proof that he was dead….There is little room for doubt, however, that the Soviet
and Czech services circulated rumors to the effect that MUELLER had escaped to the
West. These rumor were apparently floated to offset the charges that the Soviets had
sheltered the criminal….There are strong indications but no proof that MUELLER
collaborated with [the Soviets]. There are also strong indications but no proof that
MUELLER died [in Berlin]….One thing appears certain. MUELLER and SCHOLZ had
some special reason for entering the Berlin death trap and remaining behind in the
Chancellery. If their object was to carry out a memorable and convincing suicide, they
really bungled the job.
The CI Staff requested a deeper CIA investigation to find proof that would confirm or disprove
these competing theories. Yet it appears that the CI Staff's request for a full-fledged investigation of the
Mueller matter was not accepted.36 The Mueller file itself ends in December 1971 with the circulation of
the CI Staff report.
The Integrity of the CIA File
The heart of the file comprises documentary support for all the key judgments in the 1971 CI Staff
report "The Hunt for Gestapo Mueller." Whatever confidence one can have in the integrity of the file's
declassified contents thus hinges on judgments regarding the CI Staff's objectives in assembling and
writing its report. In 1971 the United States was not being accused of having harbored Gestapo Mueller.
Instead it seems that the CI Staff was prompted to investigate the Mueller case both as a possible example
of Soviet deception and as a check on the reliability of key CIA defectors and West German informants. If
the CIA had evidence that Mueller had been contacted by the West and not the Soviets, then the CI Staff's
handling of theses defector cases that most likely involved Bittman, Deriabin, and Goleniewski makes no
sense. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the CIA was riddled with doubt over the reliability of its stable of
Soviet defectors. There were fears that Moscow had sent agents to the West to mislead the Allies about
Soviet capabilities and intentions. It was in the interest of the CI Staff in particular and the CIA in general
to determine whether high profile defectors like Bittman, Deriabin and Goleniewski were telling the truth
about Mueller. Moreover, in assembling materials for its report, the CI Staff had no reason to believe that
these documents would eventually be declassified. Therefore it is reasonable to assume that the CI Staff
report, and by extension the CIA Mueller name file, represents a compilation of the best information on
Gestapo Mueller available to CIA at that time.
More information about Mueller's fate might still emerge from still secret files of the former Soviet Union.
The CIA file, by itself, does not permit definitive conclusions. Taking into account the currently available
records of the War Room as well as other documents in the National Archives, the authors of this report
conclude that Mueller most likely died in Berlin in early May 1945.
(Comment: In a letter to the author under date of 11 January, 1995, Mr. John H. Wright, Information and
Privacy Coordinator for the CIA, wrote the following:
“We located two documents (on Müller. Ed), a report dated 18 December 1959 and one
undated report, reviewed them, and determined that they must be denied in their entirely on the basis of (b)
(1) and (b) (3) exemptions of the FOIA. An explanation of exemptions is enclosed.
(b) (1) applies to material which is properly classified pursuant to an Executive order (by the
President. Ed) in the interest of national defense or foreign policy.
(b) (3) applies to the Director’s statutory obligations to protect from disclosure intelligence
sources and methods, as well as the organization, functions, names, official titles, salaries or numbers of
personnel employed by the Agency….” (emphasis added)
Now, from the current official account, the CIA has a considerable number of reports on
Müller in its files, not just two. The word ‘integrity’ ought not to be used on conjunction with anything
emanating from the CIA or its paid, subservient, researchers. The great bulk of evidence is that Müller did
not die in Berlin in 1945 and at least one report in the US Army’s files, now open to one and all, states that
Müller escaped to the south, using the name of Schwartz or Schwartzer. Since that was the name Müller
used while working for Swiss intelligence between 1945 and 1948 [when he was hired by the CIA’s James
Critchfield] it is interesting this information, a matter of public record, has somehow escaped the quartet of
CIA researchers’ attentions.
But then, these individuals were not paid to question Müller death but to affirm that he must
have died in Berlin and therefore, was not in a position to work for the CIA between 1948 and 1952.
The prevarications and obfuscations uncovered in the 9/11 investigations on the part of the CIA
are not a recommendation for their veracity in the Müller or any other matter.)
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung
Joined: 25 Jul 2005
Location: St. Pauls, Bristol, England
|Posted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 1:41 am Post subject:
|The quiet alpine town in Argentina that housed thousands of Nazis after the war - and Hitler may have been one
9,000 Nazi cronies fled to Bariloche, where they continued to celebrate the Third Reich, even recreating the Fuhrer's holiday home
By Rod McPhee 22:26, 21 JUN 2017
With its Alpine-style houses, Bariloche would not look out of place amid the mountains of Europe.
It is not surprising, then, that the Argentinian town in the foothills of the Andes has attracted German immigrants for over 100 years.
Or that Nazis fled there after the Second World War – possibly including Adolf Hitler himself.
It was in Argentina this week that police found chilling evidence of the region’s appeal in a huge stash of swastika-emblazoned artefacts.
When the Fuhrer was defeated in 1945, 9,000 Third Reich cronies and collaborators escaped to South America. As well as Argentina, where Bariloche became known as “The Third Reich Capital in Exile”, they flocked to Brazil, Chile and Bolivia.
They included Josef Mengele, Auschwitz’s Angel of Death, and Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust.
He allegedly died aged 95, though the claim is dubious. But Bariloche certainly became a home from home for Nazis. Historian Hermann Rueder said: “Bariloche was the place where they recreated Berchtesgaden, site of Hitler’s holiday home.
“The old Nazis would celebrate, often not so secretly, all the high days of Nazism there – Hitler’s birthday, the founding of the Third Reich, numerous other anniversaries.”
NAZI OBJECTS FOUND STASHED BEHIND SLIDING PANEL IN ARGENTINA
So was Hitler the guest of honour? What is beyond doubt is the draw of South America for Nazis. It boasted remote locations, corrupt leaders and the pioneering plastic surgery that was being developed in the region.
Other Nazis who went there include Erich Priebke, a Gestapo boss who became director of the town’s German school, the Colegio Aleman. He and his wife held Nazi-themed evenings with dancing to old Third Reich tunes.
He was finally tracked down, arrested and got a life sentence in Rome, where he died in 2013.
Exorcising Bariloche’s many ghosts is not easy. Mengele would visit to lap up the town’s German architecture and festivals. It also boasted a mountaintop restaurant called The Berghof – the name of Hitler’s Bavarian mountain retreat.
One of Priebke’s regular guests in Bariloche was SS colonel Walter Rauff, a hero of Hitler’s who created gas vans that murdered 100,000.
He had fled to Chile, where he blended in as an air-conditioning salesman. He died there in 1984.
He was joined in Chile by Paul Schafer , a one-eyed Nazi soldier who became a pastor, establishing Villa Baviera – which was essentially a paedophile’s paradise. In 2006, Schäfer was sentenced to 33 years for sexually abusing 25 children. He died in 2010, aged 88.
Uki Goni, author of The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina, said: “Argentina stands out among the countries on the American continent that Nazis escaped to. It was Argentina that made a concerted effort to rescue as many Nazis as possible.
“Some of the first SS and Nazi officials who arrived in Argentina were received by President Juan Perón at the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s equivalent of the US White House. They were sent back to Europe with Argentine passports on a Nazi rescue mission that facilitated the arrival of the worst mass murderers of the 20th century.”
With Peron sympathetic to the fascist regime and desperate for the technology and scientific advances the Nazis brought, Argentina became one of the greatest refuges for fleeing Germans.
His wife, Eva Peron , also gained financially from the scheme. “It is still suspected that among her possessions, there were pieces of Nazi treasure that came from rich Jewish families killed in concentration camps,” said Leandro Narloch and Duda Teixeira in their book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Latin America.
Nazis fled Europe through undercover routes to Italy and Spain, before being transported across the Atlantic. Several high-level figures in the Catholic Church are alleged to have been helpful in smuggling them.
Up to 2,000 went to Argentina, where Eichmann posed as Ricardo Klement in Buenos Aires. After being kidnapped by Mossad agents, he was tried in Israel and executed in 1960.
Auschwitz Angel of Death Josef Mengele also made South America his home after fleeing Germany at the end of the war (Image: Getty)
But it was not just corrupt leaders in South America who aided the fleeing Nazis.
Gestapo chief in France Klaus Barbie – The Butcher of Lyon – set up home in Bolivia with the help of America’s CIA. They smuggled him in and used his deadly skills to hunt down revolutionary Che Guevara. The Americans may have hated Nazis but they had one thing in common – a loathing of Communism.
Perhaps the most notorious Nazi to flee to South America was Mengele. Germany issued a warrant for his arrest but he was never found. Some say he had plastic surgery.
He fled to Argentina initially, around 1950, and briefly lived in neighbouring Paraguay. He lived out the rest of his days in Brazil, where he died of a stroke in 1979, aged 67.
Disturbingly, while in South America, he adopted the pseudonym Dr Helmut Gregor and performed abortions in an illegal practice. In 2009, a book claimed Mengele’s continuing experiments may have been responsible for one in five pregnancies in the Brazilian town of Candido Godoi resulting in twins – most of them blond-haired and blue-eyed. Residents say Mengele made repeated visits in the early 1960s.
In 1978 film The Boys from Brazil, Gregory Peck played Mengele in exile in Paraguay as he continued his experimentation and attempted to conspire with other Nazis in the region. The idea also featured in Frederick Forsyth’s 1972 book, The Odessa File – the 1974 film adaptation of which led to the capture of Nazi fugitive Eduard Roschmann, known as the Butcher of Riga, in Argentina.
Forsyth said it was “screened in a fleapit cinema south of Buenos Aires, where a man said, ‘I know that man, he lives down the street from me’.
“He decided to make a run for it to Paraguay and died of a heart attack on the river crossing. They buried him in an unmarked gravel pit. I hope they tossed a copy of the book in.”
The idea that Hitler fled to South America surfaced as early as 1945 – suggested by Soviet Marshall Georgi Zhukov. Abel Basti, in his book Hitler in Exile, claims the Fuhrer escaped his Berlin bunker via a tunnel and a helicopter whisked him to Spain.
From there, he was said to have travelled to the Canary Islands, where a U-boat waited to take him to Argentina. Hitler allegedly spent a decade there before moving to Paraguay, where he lived under the protection of President Alfredo Stroessner, who had German roots.
Basti believes he died there in 1971. He said: “Wealthy families who helped him over the years were responsible for his funeral. Hitler was buried in a bunker, which is now an elegant hotel in the city of Asuncion.
“In 1973, the entrance to the bunker was sealed and 40 people came to say goodbye to Hitler.”
Eichmann was not the Architect of the Holocaust. Architects design things. Heydrich (later assassinated in Prague) designed the Holocaust. Eichmann facilitated the transport and administration.
Point of Order: Erich Priebke was a Sipo Captain (Uniformed SS Police) . Gestapo - short for GeheimStaatPolizei (Secret State Police) wore civilian clothes
"The maintenance of secrets acts like a psychic poison which alienates the possessor from the community" Carl Jung