Peron, Argentina and the Nazis

Perón, Argentina and the Nazis
Daniel Correa
Western Oregon University
Spring 2016

With the fall of the Third Reich imminent in April 1945, many members of the Nazi party sought to escape the advancing Allied forces in Europe. Options for the Nazis became limited as Allied troops closed in on Berlin. One option for former Nazis was to stay in Europe but this meant living in constant fear of being arrested and facing trial. Another option was to flee Europe and find a country that was willing to offer asylum. Fleeing Europe became more desirable as Allied governments began looking to acquire the research and personnel behind the Nazi war machine.

As early as 1944, the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union began offering jobs, asylum, and the complete whitewashing of pasts, in exchange for the research, technology and science that Germany developed during the war.

In late 1943 Roosevelt had sent Moe Berg as a special OSS envoy to Rome whilst it was still under German occupation. Wernher von Braun's brother Sigismund was a diplomat at the Vatican and private talks were held there which resulted in further talks between Wernher von Braun and two GEC officials at Lisbon in December 1944.

-- "The Secret History of the Rockets and Flying Craft of the Third Reich" by Friederich Georg. English language edition published by Helion & Company Ltd. in the UK citing a previously classified document by the Headquarters Mediterranean Allied Air Forces Target Intelligence Section.

It should be recalled that 450 Penemünde scientists and engineers were sent by train south to Oberammergau to await the Americans.

Walter Dornberger noted he and von Braun were freed from arrest at the barracks in Oberammergau by SS Lt Gen Dr Hans Kammler who drove them west to Oberjoch, where they came in contact with the 772th Tank Batalion at Reutte.

Krafft Arnold Ehricke was a German rocket-propulsion engineer and advocate for space colonization.

Born in Berlin, Ehricke believed in the feasibility of space travel from a very young age, influenced by his viewing of the Fritz Lang film "Woman in the Moon". At the age of 12, he formed his own rocket society. He attended Technical University of Berlin and studied celestial mechanics and nuclear physics under such luminaries as Hans Geiger and Werner Heisenberg, attaining his degree in Aeronautical Engineering.

He worked at Peenemünde as a propulsion engineer from 1942 to 1945 with Walter Thiel, then went to the United States with other German rocket scientists and technicians under "Operation Paperclip" in 1947. He worked for a short time with the von Braun Rocket Team at Huntsville.

In 1948, while working for the U.S. Army, Ehricke wrote a story about a manned mission to Mars called "Expedition Ares". It anticipated the many challenges that still face explorers who will make the journey in the future. In the same year he wrote a book with Wernher von Braun, "The Mars Project", which detailed how man could travel to Mars using a ferry system.

Upon leaving government service Ehricke worked at Bell Aircraft, and then for Convair in 1952. While at Convair, he designed the D-1 'Centaur', the world's first upper-stage-booster that used liquid hydrogen and oxygen. He also created an early space station design, based on launch by Convair's Atlas rocket.

The NEXUS reusable rocket was a 1960s concept design by a group at General Dynamics led by Krafft Ehricke. Also, during his stay at General Dynamics, he participated on Project Orion [nuclear propulsion].

Krafft Ehricke undertook a major, multi-decade study of the industrial development of the Moon, which he described as Earth's "seventh continent". His lunar industrialization concept was based on the most advanced technologies, such as nuclear-powered freight transporters, and using fusion energy to power his city, Selenopolis, on the Moon.

Ehricke received a space burial on 21 April 1997, when a rocket sent a small amount of his cremated remains into Earth orbit.

Contributions to space flight dynamics

Ehricke was an accomplished practitioner in the field of astrodynamics and its applications. His two-volume work entitled "Space Flight" is probably the most complete and surely the most useful introduction to this complex subject ever written. It focuses on methods for exploration of the solar system. He clearly demonstrated the so-called "gravity assist" method for utilizing hyperbolic encounters with an intermediate planet to increase [or decrease] the velocity and orbital elements of a space vehicle.

This technique had opened the entire solar system to robotic exploration by using what he called "Instrumented Comets". Examples include the 'Voyager' missions to the outer planets and the recent successful 'New Horizons' mission to Pluto.

His contribution to this important field of exploration has been neglected for many decades and incorrect claims of "invention" of what is now called gravity assist were made by Michael Minovitch.

Extraterrestrial Imperative

Ehricke promoted a philosophical concept called the "Extraterrestrial Imperative". This idea refers to Ehricke's belief that it was the responsibility of humanity to explore space and exploit the resources of the Solar System, in order to sustain the development of the species. There are no external "limits to growth", Ehricke insisted, because while the Earth is a "closed system", the exploration of space opens the universe to humanity. For Ehricke, human creativity has no limits.

When Dornberger went to work for Bell, Bell recruited another former German army scientist, Krafft Ehricke, "who had been an adviser on the German wartime atom bomb project" according to Jack Manno, "Arming The Heavens" [Dodd, Mead & Co. 1948]. 

Manno also said that Wolfgang Nöggerath was brought in and put in charge of what became the Polaris missile.

In Germany from the mid-1930s through World War II, rocket propellants were broadly classed as monergols [monopropellants]; hypergols [where  components spontaneously ignite when they come into contact with each other]; non-hypergols [bi-propellants which required external ignition]; and lithergols [solid/liquid hybrids]. Hypergolic propellants [or at least hypergolic ignition] are far less prone to hard starts than electric or pyrotechnic ignition. The "hypergole" terminology was coined by Dr. Wolfgang Nöggerath, at the Technical University of Brunswick, Germany.

The only rocket-powered fighter ever deployed was the Messerschmitt Me 163B Komet. The Komet had a HWK 109-509A rocket motor which consumed methanol/hydrazine as fuel and high test peroxide as oxidizer. The hypergolic rocket motor had the advantage of fast climb and quick-hitting tactics at the cost of being very volatile and capable of exploding with any degree of inattention. Other proposed combat rocket fighters like the Heinkel Julia and reconnaissance aircraft like the DFS 228 were meant to use the Walter 509 series of rocket motors, but only the Bachem Ba 349 Natter vertical launch expendable fighter was ever flight-tested with the Walter rocket propulsion system as its primary sustaining thrust system for military-purpose aircraft. 

Willy Fiedler was brought in and made chief of planning of the underwater launch systems for submarines.

Willy Achim Fiedler completed his studies at the Technical University of Stuttgart as a graduate engineer and  together with Erich Bachem, took part in gliding competitions in the Rhön.

He began his professional career at the Ruhrtaler Maschinenfabrik Schwarz & Dyckerhoff GmbH, which belonged to Bachem's father-in-law.  He then worked for British Aircraft [1936] and the German Aerospace Center in Berlin.  In 1938 he became chief test pilot at the Fieseler works in Kassel.  On 9 July 1941 he carried out the first flight with the Fi 256 V1 in Kassel-Waldau.

In the Second World War, he was decisively involved in the development of the German flying bomb V-1 in Peenemünde. His department in Berlin-Schönefeld was called Segelflug Reichenberg GmbH, and there the single-seater Fi 103 [Reichenberg III] was built, and Fiedler himself was at the helm, at the airfield Lärz near Rechlin, when the first manned V-1 was towed by a He 111 to launch altitude.  As an experienced skier, he managed a smooth landing from the glide despite a very high final speed.  Then further testing by Heinz Kensche and Hanna Reitsch, was carried out.

In 1942 he was co-founder of the Bachem-Werke and in 1944 he developed the "Natter" together with Erich Bachem, according to an idea of ​​Wernher von Braun from 1939. In September 1944, he was decorated with the "Ritterkreuz des Kriegsverdienstkreuzes mit Schwertern".

In 1948, he emigrated to the United States with his family of four to work on missile development at the United States Naval Missile Test Center in Point Mugu, initially with Robert Lusser on the Republic-Ford JB-2 [Loon], and served as an advisor for the Regulus and the SM-62 Snark of Northrop.

In the summer of 1955, he and his friend Sydney Sharp visited a military-industrial conference in which the US Navy announced plans to build larger submarines from which guided missiles could be launched.  The issue of how these could be launched underwater has not yet been thought through.  Fiedler suggested shooting them with compressed air from the tubes, and then launching the rocket engines. In 1956 he was hired by Lockheed, which had just received the development contract for the 'Polaris' medium range rocket, to work in the newly founded Rocket and Space Department in Sunnyvale. He became chief scientist in 1958 and helped in the development of the 'Polaris' and 'Poseidon'. 

In the context of this postwar occupation, the government of Argentina began secretly facilitating the transport of former Nazis with technical and military acumen out of Europe and into this South American country. Juan Perón’s efforts to bring technical and military specialists from defeated Nazi Germany were part of a larger economic plan to industrialize, and ultimately promote Argentina’s emergence as a world power. 1 However, rather than getting specialists, Perón largely received lower level assistants without the qualifications or the experience to bring about the economic transition Perón desired. Furthermore, Peron’s Argentina was significantly behind in industrialization, which became too much to overcome for the Nazi technicians.

Juan Perón and the Argentinean government were responsible for secretly importing, employing and protecting Nazi war criminals in effort to gain scientific and technological intelligence Nazi Germany had developed. This research paper argues that Perón was inspired by Fascist governments and had sympathy for their citizens following the end of World War II. Furthermore, Perón saw an opportunity to help Argentina. Specialists and technicians were the original targets of Perón’s clandestine operations. However, Perón and his government could not compete with the job offers from the United States, Soviet Union or Great Britain. The truly elite minds in Hitler’s Third Reich were not available to Perón and Argentina. Instead, Perón got common soldiers and non-specialists who worked closely with the science and technology coming out of Germany during the war but not the specialists themselves. The knowledge Perón was able to get out of Germany was very limited and did not work out as he had hoped.

Argentina was in political turmoil as World War II was ending. From 1943 to 1946, alone, Argentina saw three coup-d’états. In 1946, Juan Perón was finally elected as President of Argentina and brought stability to the country. Perón had developed an obsession with Fascism and idealized the Fascist work ethic while on a tour of Italy. Perón especially liked the role unions played in the Italian-Fascist state. 2 Perón sympathized with former Nazis and felt it was unfair to prosecute men who were just obeying orders. Perón described the Nuremberg trials as "an infamy, unworthy of the conquerors". 3 Being a military man, the trials unnerved Perón. The Nazis had knowledge that Perón coveted and Perón sought to bring some of this Nazi Intelligence into Argentina. In exchange for protection and asylum, he wanted the former Nazis to use their knowledge to help boost Argentina’s struggling economy and bring technology to the country and raise Argentina to the status of world power along with the United States and the Soviet Union.

Argentina had been a country of immigration since its unification as a nation in 1853. In the 1853 Constitution, article 25 describes "encouraging European immigration" and not taxing those that come to work the land. 4 The idea of bringing large numbers of Germans to Argentina was not new, but creating secret networks for Nazis to get there, however, would be.

Secret networks were designed by former Nazis as way to protect themselves and their friends from Allied troops. These secret networks have been the subjects of research by scholars. The studies often focused on individual infamous Nazi members and their escape routes. Uki Goñi, an Argentine writer, researched the secret networks, and those responsible for the organizations that were set-up. In his book, "The Real Odessa", he uncovers the shameful past of Argentina. 5 Goñi studied the role of the Vatican, Swiss authorities and the Argentine government to organize a network for getting Nazi war criminals out of Europe and into Argentina. President Juan Perón harbored and provided asylum to Nazi war criminals that allowed for these men to live a protected and prosperous life with only a small chance of facing a jury for their crimes. The most ardent Nazis and those who committed war crimes knew that they would be hunted for the rest of their lives. The book outlines the web of connections that start in Madrid and spread out to Scandinavia, France, Italy and Buenos Aires.

One route by which "a great number of people were able" to escape to Argentina was via Perón’s newly established DAIE [Delegation for Argentine Immigration in Europe] which he set up in Italy, with its main offices split between Rome and Genoa. Ostensibly, the organization was there to facilitate the emigration of Italians and other Europeans to Argentina, but covertly it was processing all the false documentation that was required by fleeing Nazis before they left Europe for South America. Although the DAIE was extremely efficient, prior to approaching it any prospective émigré also had to obtain a landing permit from the Argentine Immigration Office as well as a travel permit from the Red Cross. Acquiring a Red Cross permit using a false name was not as difficult as it might at first seem because the Red Cross documents were intended for refugees who had lost all other forms of identification. Armed with all of the above it was relatively straightforward for the unscrupulous Nazi fugitive to gain entry into his newly-adopted country. Without the offices of, among others, the Catholic Church both in Europe and in Argentina, however, Perón’s plans would never have reached fruition.

One church official, Bishop Alois Hudal, wrote to President Perón on 31 August 1948 expressing the wish to obtain 5,000 visas for German and Austrian men, who were not refugees as such, but fighters who had made great sacrifices to save their country. Hudal was named by the Vatican as its special envoy to visit the German internees at the numerous ‘civilian’ camps dotted all over Italy, camps in which hundreds, if not thousands of Nazi officers were hiding among real refugees. Indeed, Hudal was later praised by several leading Nazi officers for his help during these years, including the Luftwaffe hero Hans-Ulrich Rudel, who wrote:

"Rome became a sanctuary and salvation for many victims of persecution after the 'liberation'. More than a few of our comrades found the path to freedom through Rome, because Rome is full of men of good will".

Nor was Hudal reticent about documenting his post-war efforts, for in his book "Roman Diary" he noted:

"I felt duty bound after 1945 to devote my whole charitable work mainly to former National Socialists and Fascists, especially the so called 'war criminals'.

Joining him in these efforts were numerous other dignitaries of the Catholic Church, including Archbishop Giuseppe Siri of Genoa [one of the main points of departure from Italy to Argentina], who founded the National Committee for Emigration to Argentina. But perhaps the most shocking of all the Catholic Church’s officials to help the Nazis was the Pope himself – Pius XII. For many years the Catholic Church denied any involvement of Pius in supporting Germany’s war criminals, let alone his sanctioning of the Church’s efforts to help them escape Italy. What cannot be ignored, however, is that between 1946 and 1952 Pius sent several pleas to those presiding over the Nuremberg war trials to commute the death sentences hanging over key Nazi officials.

Among the death sentences the Pope wished to see commuted were those of Arthur Greiser, convicted for the murder of 100,000 Jews in Poland; Otto Ohlendorf, who had murdered some 90,000 people as commander of the mobile killing squad Einsatzgruppe D; and Oswald Pohl, head of WHVA, the vast SS agency that ran the Nazi concentration camps, overseeing a slave force of 500,000 prisoners and supervising the conversion of victims’ jewelry, hair and clothes to hard currency.

Sadly, the Pope and the Catholic Church weren’t the only ones aiding and abetting the escape of Nazi officers. In his book on the subject, Uki Goni explains how the Swiss Federal Archives still hold records revealing that several prominent Swiss officials permitted 300 Nazi Germans to travel through Switzerland, no questions asked, on their way to Argentina.

When Adolf Eichmann was abducted from Argentina by an Israeli commando kidnap squad and spirited away to Israel, the Argentine government was incensed at the kidnapping of one of its "citizens" and demanded that Israel return Eichmann to Buenos Aires. Argentina’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Mario Amadeo, even made a formal protest before the Security Council in New York, but to no avail.

Other prominent figures also joined the fray, notably the Argentine Cardinal Antonio Caggiano, who had also been involved in ODESSA’s escape network. Speaking to the press Caggiano said:

"He [Eichmann] came to our fatherland seeking forgiveness and oblivion. It doesn’t matter what his name is, Riccardo Klement or Adolf Eichmann, our obligation as Christians is to forgive him for what he’s done".

The primary sources used for this research comes from United States records that were highly classified during the Cold War. In 1998, the United States Congress passed the "Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act". This act, a part of the Freedom of Information Act, released 8.5 million pages of confidential and classified paperwork related to the Nazi war criminals. 6 These documents include correspondences between American military leaders discussing the whereabouts of known Nazi criminals, documents discussing and detailing alleged ratlines 7 and memos between United States intelligence operatives with alleged conspirator names received through extensive interrogation. The documents are dated from 1945 to 1955.

Thousands of documents are available in the archive but the trouble lies in finding the useful ones that contain fact and not inference or hearsay. Other limitations to research include not having access to documents that are only available within archives in Washington D.C. and Buenos Aires and not being able to read Spanish, German or Latin. Other Scholars have benefited from being able to access  documents that were not in print or on the Internet but rather archived in Belgium, Argentina, Spain and the Vatican.

This paper will focus on the escape routes taken to Argentina, which often included secretly transporting Nazis across the European continent to different checkpoints before the could escape to the Americas. The paper will also examine the contacts that Perón maintained in Europe to assist him, as well as the Nazis, Perón himself targeted for their expertise. Finally, this paper will examine Perón’s motives and whether they were selfish or if they were to benefit Argentina.

Secondary sources alluded to ultra-secret organizations established during World War II that are credited with getting Nazi war criminals out of Europe and into foreign countries as well as providing jobs for them. Perón and the Argentinean government were responsible for secretly importing, employing and protecting Nazi war criminals in effort to gain the scientific and technological Intelligence.

Perón’s ODESSA

The existence and validity of an underground Nazi organization called ODESSA that helped former Nazis escape Europe is debated amongst historians. ODESSA stands for "Organisation der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen", meaning: Organization of Former SS Members. 8 ODESSA was an organization purportedly set up and financed by former SS officers seeking asylum towards the end of World War II. Simon Wiesenthal, an Austrian-Jewish holocaust survivor who dedicated his life to hunting Nazis following the war, coined the name and alleged that ODESSA was a European-wide network setup to aid the Nazis escape to South America. 9

According to Simon Wiesenthal, the ODESSA was set up in 1944 to aid fugitive Nazis. However, a documentary produced by the German TV station ZDF also suggested that the ODESSA was never the single world-wide secret organization that Wiesenthal described, but several organizations, both overt and covert, that helped ex-SS men. The truth may have been obscured by antagonism between the Wiesenthal organization and West German military Intelligence. It is known that Austrian authorities were investigating the organization several years before Wiesenthal went public with his information.

 -- "Mysteryquest": 'Rise of the Fourth Reich' [Season 1, Episode 6]

Uki Goñi agrees with Wiesenthal’s terminology, even naming his book "The Real ODESSA". 10 However, Goñi argues that ODESSA was much larger than Wiesenthal originally asserted. Goñi described ODESSA as a worldwide conspiracy that "consisted instead of layered rings on non-Nazi factions: Vatican institutions, Allied intelligence agencies and secret Argentine organizations that overlapped at strategic points with French-speaking war criminals, with Croatian Fascists and even with the SS men of Wiesenthal’s ODESSA". 11 The large and complicated reach of Goñi’s idea of ODESSA should have been enough to dissuade him of ODESSA’s actual existence. That large of a network surely would have cost an unreasonable amount of capital, not to mention its many contact points, members and moving parts. Maintaining secret communication between the members would be an impossible task. Smaller organizations did exist and were successful, and they benefited from their small nature.

The ODESSA network was a purported international Nazi underground organization set up towards the end of World War II by a group of SS officers with the aim of facilitating secret escape routes – later known as ratlines – allegedly to allow the SS members to avoid capture and prosecution for war crimes and to escape to Argentina, Brazil, or the Middle East under false names.

The codeword "Odessa" –as known by the Allies– appeared for the first time in a memo dated 3 July 1946, by the American Counterintelligence Corps [CIC] whose principal role was to screen displaced persons for possible suspects. The CIC discovered ODESSA at the KZ Bensheim-Auerbach internment camp for the former SS men who used this watchword in their secret attempts to gain special privileges from the Red Cross, wrote historian Guy Walters in his book "Hunting Evil" 33, but neither the Americans nor the British were able to verify the claims extending any further than that.

The existence of the organisation is not supported by experts. Guy Walters stated he was unable to find any evidence of the existence of the network although numerous other organisations such as "Konsul", "Scharnhorst", "Sechsgestirn", "Leibwache", and "Lustige Brüder have been named", including "Die Spinne" [The Spider] run in part by Hitler's commando chief Otto Skorzeny.

Historian Daniel Stahl in his 2011 essay stated that the consensus among historians is that ODESSA did not actually exist.

-- Daniel Stahl, "Odessa und das 'Nazigold' in Südamerika: Mythen und ihre Bedeutungen" [Odessa and "Nazi Gold" in South America: Myths and Their Meanings] Jahrbuch für Geschichte Lateinamerikas "2011], Vol. 48

Joseph Wechsberg, a musician who moved to the U.S. in 1939, claims to have verified the organisation's existence and provided details of its operations. Wechsberg used Simon Wiesenthal's memoirs on the ODESSA in the book "The Murderers Among Us". Experts have not been convinced by his claims.

Gitta Sereny, a historian and research journalist, based on interviews with the former commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp, Franz Stangl, attributes ODESSA to the intersection of popular culture and conspiracy theories. The secretive nature surrounding the Cold War era made these theories popular. Especially since there was little evidence of its existence, it became highly believable. A conspiracy theory was a convenient way to provide an explanation for how Nazis were able to immigrate to South America with little resistance.

At the end of the war, Stangl fled without concealing his name. He was detained by the American Army in 1945 and was briefly imprisoned pending investigation in Linz, Austria in 1947. Stangl was suspected of complicity in the T-4 euthanasia programme. On 30 May 1948, he escaped to Italy with his colleague from Sobibór, SS sergeant Gustav Wagner.

Gustav Wagner was sentenced to death in absentia, but escaped with Franz Stangl to Brazil. Clergy at the "Collegio Teutonico di Santa Maria dell'Anima" in Rome assisted Wagner in his flight from justice. Wagner was admitted as a permanent resident on 12 April 1950 and on 4 December 1950 a Brazilian passport was issued in the name of "Günther Mendel", his new identity. He lived in Brazil undisturbed until he was exposed by Simon Wiesenthal and arrested on 30 May 1978. Extradition requests from Israel, Austria and Poland were rejected by Brazil's Attorney General. On 22 June 1979 the Brazilian Supreme Court also rejected a West German extradition request.

Wagner, in a 1979 BBC interview, showed no remorse for his activities in running the camp [Sobibór], remarking:

"I had no feelings. ... It just became another job. In the evening we never discussed our work, but just drank and played cards".

In October 1980, Wagner was found with a knife in his chest in São Paulo. According to his attorney, Wagner committed suicide. His date of death was determined to be 3 October 1980.

Roman Catholic Bishop Alois Hudal, a Nazi sympathizer, forced in 1952 to resign by the Vatican, helped Stangl to escape through a "ratline" and to reach Syria using a Red Cross passport. Stangl was joined by his wife and family and lived in Syria for three years before they moved to Brazil in 1951. After years of other jobs, he found work at the Volkswagen plant in São Bernardo do Campo with the help of friends, still using his own name.

Although his role in the mass murder of men, women, and children was known to the Austrian authorities a warrant was not issued for Stangl's arrest until 1961. Despite being registered under his real name at the Austrian consulate in São Paulo, it took another six years before he was tracked down by Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal and arrested by Brazilian federal police on 28 February 1967. He never used an assumed name during his escape, and it is not clear why it took so long to apprehend him. After extradition to West Germany by Brazil, he was tried for the deaths of around 900,000 people. He admitted to these killings but argued: "My conscience is clear. I was simply doing my duty..."

 Stangl died of heart failure nineteen hours after the conclusion of his final interview with Sereny, in Düsseldorf prison on 28 June 1971.

Through her research Sereny was unable to prove that ODESSA existed, and wrote in her book "Into That Darkness": 

"I have spent a great deal of time seeking documentary evidence which would support or contradict the Stangl story of how they, and others like them, escaped from Europe; and the real facts, it turns out, are neither dramatic nor unequivocal; they are complex, ambiguous and merely prove again that in the final analysis, history is not made by organizations, but by individual men, with individual failings, and individual responsibilities". 12

"The prosecutors at the Ludwigsburg Central Authority for the Investigation into Nazi Crimes, who know precisely how the postwar lives of certain individuals now living in South America have been financed, have searched all their thousands of documents from beginning to end, but say they are totally unable to authenticate [the] ODESSA". 

Not that this matters greatly: there certainly were various kinds of Nazi aid organisations after the war — it would have been astonishing if there hadn't been.

This view is supported by historian Guy Walters in his book Hunting Evil, where he also points out that networks were used, but there was not such a thing as a setup network covering Europe and South America, with an alleged war treasure. For Walters, the reports received by the allied intelligence services during the mid-1940s suggest that the appellation "ODESSA" was "little more than a catch-all term used by former Nazis who wished to continue the fight."

Nazi concentration camp supervisors denied the existence of the ODESSA. The US War Crimes Commission reports and the American OSS neither confirmed nor denied claims about the existence of such an organisation. Wechsberg, who after emigrating to the United States had served as an OSS officer and member of the US War Crimes Commission, however, claimed that in interviews of outspoken German anti-Nazis some asserted that plans were made for a Fourth Reich before the fall of the Third Reich, and that this was to be implemented by reorganising in remote Nazi colonies overseas: "The Nazis decided that the time had come to set up a world-wide clandestine escape network".

As early as 1947, Simon Wiesenthal began to identify routes used by Nazis to escape from Germany knowing that the fugitives had little or no difficulty obtaining false papers and seemed to have enough money available to establish new lives. Wiesenthal concluded that a secret organization with substantial resources had to be involved in helping these fugitive Nazis.

As it turned out, this organization not only existed then but its seeds had been planted even before World War II ended.

By 1944, it was clear that the fortunes of war had turned against Nazi Germany. Many Germans began to anticipate defeat and to plan for that eventuality. On 10 August 1944, a secret meeting of top German industrialists and bankers was held at the Maison Rouge hotel in Strasbourg to devise a means of insuring a secure future for the Nazis. Among those attending were coal tycoon Emil Kirdorf, Georg von Schnitzler of IG Farben, Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach, steel magnate, Fritz Thyssen, and banker Kurt von Schröder.

The Nazis recognized that Germany's assets would fall into the hands of the rapidly approaching enemy if they were not transferred and hidden. The nation's wealth, much of it acquired through the plunder of the nations it invaded and the people the Nazis murdered, had to be transferred so they would be out of judicial reach, but accessible to fund a future movement to resurrect the party and build a new Reich. Leading Nazi officials also feared retribution from the Allies and, rather than face likely punishment for their war crimes, they decided to seek safe havens outside Germany, and beyond the reach of justice. According to the protocol from the meeting:

The party leadership is aware that, following the defeat of Germany, some of her best-known leaders may have to face trial as war criminals. Steps have therefore been taken to lodge the less prominent party leaders as "technical experts" in various German enterprises. The party is prepared to lend large sums of money to industrialists to enable every one of them to set up a secret post-war organization abroad, but as collateral it demands that the industrialists make available to it existing resources abroad, so that a strong German Reich may re-emerge after the defeat.....

The outcome of the meeting in Strasbourg was the genesis of an organization; one well-financed and well-organized, with the express purpose of helping fleeing Nazis escape justice. This organization was called the "Organization Der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen" [The Organization of former SS members] — better known as ODESSA.

Wiesenthal learned of ODESSA accidentally during conversations with a former member of German counter-espionage who he met during the Nuremberg trials. The source said the organization was set up in 1946 after many Nazis already had been imprisoned. Those in jail contacted friends and aid committees that had been established to promote the welfare of prisoners. The assistance often went beyond humanitarian aid to abetting their escape.

In short order, ODESSA, built a large and reliable network geared to achieve its ends, and began operations. Routes were mapped and contacts were established. Influential Nazis vanished as they were secretly ushered out of Germany and assisted in starting new lives under false names in foreign countries. At the end of the war, only a handful of high-ranking Nazi officials stood trial. Many who were guilty of war crimes escaped with the help of ODESSA.

Some war criminals remained in Germany and took on new identities, managing to get themselves smuggled out of Germany and to freedom during the chaos at the end of hostilities. An underground network called "Die Spinne" [The Spider] supplied false papers and passports, safe houses, and contacts that could smuggle war criminals across the unpatrolled Swiss borders. Once into Switzerland, they moved on quickly to Italy, using what some called "The Monastery Route". Roman Catholic priests, especially Franciscans, helped Odessa move fugitives from one monastery to the next until they reached Rome. According to Wiesenthal, one Franciscan monastery, Via Sicilia in Rome, was virtually a transit station for Nazis, an arrangement made possible by a Bishop from Graz named Alois Hudal. Wiesenthal speculates that the motive for most of the priests was what he viewed as a misguided notion of Christian charity. Once in Italy, the fugitives were out of danger, and many then dispersed around the globe.

Some countries may not have known about their new immigrants' pasts, but many did and chose to look the other way. Others, including the United States, looked to exploit the knowledge of Nazis. Fascist countries, such as Spain under Franco, as well as those in South America, became safe havens. The establishment of the state of Israel after World War II led some Arab nations to welcome Nazis who shared their hatred of the Jews in the hope they would use their expertise in areas such as rocketry to tilt the balance in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Adolf Eichmann was one of the most notorious of the Nazis to escape Germany thanks to ODESSA, but he was eventually captured in South America by Israeli Intelligence agents and brought back to Israel to stand trial for his crimes against the Jewish people.

Sources: Simon Wiesenthal, "Justice Not Vengeance". NY: Grove, 1990; Lee Saunders, from "The Puzzle" project, Crystal Music International 

"They used Germans who had been hired to drive U.S. Army trucks on the Autobahn between Munich and Salzburg for the 'Stars and Stripes,' the American Army newspaper. The couriers had applied for their jobs under false names, and the Americans in Munich had failed to check them carefully... [the] ODESSA was organized as a thorough, efficient network... Anlaufstellen [ports of call] were set up along the entire Austro-German border... In Lindau, close to both Austria and Switzerland, [the] ODESSA set up an 'export-import' company with representatives in Cairo and Damascus.[10]

In his interviews with Sereny, Stangl denied any knowledge of a group called the ODESSA.

As the Russians advanced in the east and the Allies in the west, Adolf Eichmann, the bureaucrat behind the sending of at least two million Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau, took on the disguise of a German Luftwaffe corporal. The "corporal" was caught by the Americans at Ulm in southern Germany. They knew he was not a Luftwaffe corporal by the SS tattoo on his arm. Eichmann admitted that he was a junior SS lieutenant called Otto Eckmann. However, in the chaos and confusion of the time, "Eckmann" was considered to be a minor figure and he was sent to a camp that was poorly guarded. Eichmann escaped from this camp in February 1946.

Obtaining new identity papers, he took on the disguise of "Otto Henninger", a Bavarian businessman and relocated frequently over the next several months.

In February 1947, British records show that the “exhaustive" hunt for Eichmann was called off because it was assumed that he had committed suicide. Therefore, based on this report the hunt for a highly wanted man was called off.

Moving to the Lüneburg Heath, Eichmann initially got work in the forestry industry and later leased a small plot of land in Altensalzkoth, where he lived until 1950, turning his hand to chicken farming. He was tolerably successful at this but became convinced that he would be caught and made to pay for his crimes. It was this fear that drove him to leave for Argentina.

In 1948 Eichmann obtained a landing permit for Argentina and false identification under the name of "Ricardo Klement" through an organisation directed by Bishop Alois Hudal, an Austrian cleric then residing in Italy with known Nazi sympathies. These documents enabled him in 1950 to obtain an International Committee of the Red Cross humanitarian passport and the remaining entry permits that would allow emigration to Argentina. He travelled across Europe, staying in a series of monasteries and convents with the full cooperation of the Catholic clergy. that had been set up as safe houses. [According to Simon Wiesenthal, one Franciscan monastery in particular, the Via Sicilia in Rome, was a virtual transit station for Nazis hoping to flee Europe and establish a new life abroad]. Departing via ship from Genoa on 17 June 1950, he arrived in Buenos Aires on 14 July.

Eichmann initially lived in Tucumán Province, where he worked for a government contractor. He sent for his family in 1952, and they moved to Buenos Aires. Eichmann held a series of low-paying jobs until finding employment at Mercedes-Benz, where he rose to department head.

Ironically by fleeing to Argentina, Eichmann probably served up his own execution. If he had stayed in western Germany, it is highly likely that he would have faded into the background unnoticed. The Allied investigators were putting a great deal of effort into capturing Germans who had committed atrocities against Allied servicemen –such as the Malmedy Massacre– and far less effort was being put into hunting for criminals such as Eichmann.

Of particular importance in examining the postwar activities of high-ranking Nazis was Paul Manning's book "Martin Bormann: Nazi in Exile", which detailed Bormann's rise to power through the Nazi Party and as Hitler's Chief of Staff.

During the war, Manning himself was a correspondent for CBS News in London, and his reporting and subsequent researches presented Bormann's cunning and skill in the organization and planning for the flight of Nazi-controlled capital from Europe during the last years of the war—notwithstanding the strong possibility of Bormann's death in Berlin on 1 May 1945, especially in light of DNA identification of skeletal remains unearthed near the Lehrter Bahnhof as Bormann's.

According to Manning, "eventually, over 10,000 former German military made it to South America along escape routes set up by [the] ODESSA and the Deutsche Hilfsverein..."

The ODESSA itself was incidental, says Manning, with the continuing existence of the Bormann Organisation a much larger and more menacing fact.

None of this had yet been convincingly proven.

Recent biographies of Adolf Eichmann, who also escaped to South America, and Heinrich Himmler, the alleged founder of the ODESSA, made no reference to such an organization.

-- David Cesarini, "Eichmann: His Life and Crimes" [Vintage 2004]; Peter Padfield: "Himmler: Reichsführer SS" [Macmillan 1990]

However, Hannah Arendt, in her book, "Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil". New York: Viking [1963] states that "in 1950, [Eichmann] succeeded in establishing contact with ODESSA, a clandestine organisation of SS veterans, and in May of that year, he was passed through Austria to Italy, where a priest [a Franciscan monk, Father Edoardo Dömöter] fully informed of his identity, equipped him with a refugee passport in the name of Richard Klement and sent him on to Buenos Aires".

Sereny attributed the escape of SS members to postwar chaos and the inability of the Catholic Church, the Red Cross and the American military to verify the claims of people who came to them for help, rather than to the activities of an underground Nazi organisation. She identified a Vatican official, Bishop Aloïs Hudal, not former SS men, as the principal agent in helping Nazis leave Italy for South America, mainly Brazil.

Notorious Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele also escaped to Brazil.

Josef Mengele, disguised as a Wehrmacht officer, traveling westward  to avoid being captured by the Soviets, was taken prisoner of war by the Americans in June. Mengele was initially registered under his own name, but because of the disorganization of the Allies regarding the distribution of wanted lists and the fact that Mengele did not have the usual SS blood group tattoo, he was not identified as being on the major war criminal list. He was released at the end of July and obtained false papers under the name "Fritz Ullman", documents he later altered to read "Fritz Hollmann".

After several months on the run, Mengele found work near Rosenheim as a farmhand. Worried that his capture would mean a trial and death sentence, he fled Germany on 17 April 1949. Assisted by a network of former SS members, Mengele traveled to Genoa, Italy,  where he obtained a passport under the alias "Helmut Gregor" from the International Committee of the Red Cross. He sailed to Argentina in July, settling in Buenos Aires. Beginning in 1951 he made frequent trips to Paraguay as sales representative for a farm equipment company for that region.

After obtaining a copy of his birth certificate through the West German embassy in 1956, Mengele was issued an Argentine foreign residence permit under his real name. He used this document to obtain a West German passport, also under his real name, and embarked for a visit to Europe. Upon his return to Argentina in September, Mengele began living under his real name.

Mengele's name was mentioned several times during the Nuremberg trials, but Allied forces were convinced that he was dead. Working in West Germany, Nazi hunters Simon Wiesenthal and Hermann Langbein searching  public records, found Mengele's address listed in Buenos Aires. They pressured West German authorities into drawing up an arrest warrant on 5 June 1959, and starting extradition proceedings. Initially Argentina turned down the request, because the fugitive was no longer living at the address given on the documents. By the time extradition was approved on 30 June 1960, Mengele had already fled to Paraguay, where he was living on a farm near the Argentine border.

In spite of having provided Mengele with legal documents in his real name in 1956, thus enabling him to regularize his residency in Argentina, West Germany offered a reward for his capture. Ongoing newspaper coverage of his wartime activities [accompanied by photographs of the fugitive] led Mengele to relocate again in 1960. Former pilot Hans-Ulrich Rudel put him in touch with the Nazi supporter Wolfgang Gerhard, who helped Mengele get across the border into Brazil to São Paulo. West Germany, tipped off to the possibility that Mengele had relocated to Brazil, widened its extradition request to include Brazil in February 1961.

When Wolfgang Gerhard returned to Germany in 1971 to seek medical treatment for his seriously ill wife and son, he gave his identity card to Mengele.

Mengele's health had been steadily deteriorating since 1972, and he had a stroke in 1976. He had high blood pressure and an ear infection that affected his balance. While visiting friends in the coastal resort of Bertioga on 7 February 1979, he suffered another stroke while swimming and drowned.

The personalized and individualized nature of Nazi escape organizations is summarized in oral interview with Vagner Kristensen, an SS officer in the Third Reich. 13 In his interview, Kristensen, states that after 1945, he “helped get people out of Germany by way of Denmark". 14 The places of destination that he lists are Argentina, Egypt, Tonga and Morocco. 15 In the interview Kristensen talks about showing his SS tattoo at a pub in Egypt. 16

When asked about this organization he described it as:

"When I was in jail up in Denmark, we all agreed that when we got out we would try and help our friends who were still in English or American prisoner of war camps, so that they could get across the border, and then if they wanted to get further away we could get them to Sweden, they went through Sweden mostly…" 17  

He continues to describe the organization as "unofficial" and that "nothing was official"; and that the only way to know about it was through "word of mouth". 18 There was not a worldwide conspiracy to further the Third Reich’s plans. Instead it was the individual men looking out for their brothers-in-arms. Such escape routes were pulled off by necessity and the reality of the situation, not because of a sinister singular organization founded during the war. Like Sereny, historian Gerald Steinacher believes ODESSA was coined by Wiesenthal and made into a media fueled conspiracy theory that was heavily influenced by the secret nature of the Cold War years. 19 "The ODESSA File", a book and film published in 1972, was a work of fiction whose key points were eventually adopted as fact in support of the existence of ODESSA. 20

This research suggests that ODESSA is a fictional organization whose idea grew because of its secretive nature and lack of credible evidence. Escape organizations on an incredible scale existed all over Europe following the war but there was not a singular organization founded and financed by SS agents early in the war. Instead, small groups of individuals created networks out of necessity because they found themselves suddenly on the wrong side of history. Their motivations were to help themselves and their fellow Nazis find a way to continue their lives without fear and without having to answer for their crimes. Argentina became this beacon of hope. It could provide stability and comfort that other countries could not. Not all Nazis were specialists or excelled in their fields. Most were foot soldiers obeying orders that made them suddenly war criminals as Allied Powers began the process of denazification throughout Europe. ODESSA did not exist; rather many networks were started with different motivations and destinations, concocted out of necessity.

A largely under-industrialized country on the southern tip of South America, Argentina was an interesting choice of destination for Nazis fleeing Europe following the war. Argentina became the choice nation of immigration of Nazis because of a nuanced combination of factors. Argentina had a rich tradition of encouraging European immigrants since its unification in 1871 and large communities of German immigrants had already been established. Furthermore, Juan Perón and the Argentinian government made immigration easy for former Nazis by passing laws that specifically targeted the Europeans. Lastly, Perón and Argentina would take all the risk in creating networks and providing official documents to get the former Nazis out of Europe and into Argentina where they would be protected from extradition.

Argentina and Immigration

Argentina has had a long tradition of accepting immigrants, especially from Europe. Between 1871 and 1917, there were nearly 6 million immigrants living in Argentina. 21 Many were of German or Jewish heritage. German immigrants in Argentina flourished. They established themselves in local politics and established social-reform organizations to help with their transition into Argentinian society. Benjamin Bryce, a historian at the University of British Columbia, has focused his research on the social history of immigration from Germany to Argentina. In one of his articles he discusses the role of German immigrants working within the government of Argentina to create a safe haven for immigrants to prosper within their own unique communities. 22 He argues that wealthy German immigrants were actively involved in the political sector and therefore gave large groups of German migrants a voice in politics. Along with immigrant women working in these social welfare organizations, German immigrants had created little communities that were almost entirely autonomous within Argentina. 23 Furthermore, German immigrant participation in politics allowed for large German communities to have an active role in how their community looked and acted. These social welfare organizations helped find employment for German-speaking immigrants who were fresh on Argentinian soil. These communities of German immigrants helped ease and expedite the transition of assimilation that immigrants from other countries experienced.

When Hitler assumed power in 1933, there was another large immigration of Germans to Argentina. Some 30,000 to 40,000 Germans arrived. Of these immigrants, most were Jews fleeing persecution in Germany. 24 When the new German immigrants arrived in 1933, they were able to assimilate quickly due to these established communities. When intense nationalism became the rallying cry for the Third Reich, most Germans in Argentina answered the call and supported their mother nation by flying Nazi flags and being proud of Germany despite being half a world away. 25 When Nazis began to secretly immigrate following the end of the war, Argentina’s large autonomous communities welcomed these men. They were able to offer quick assimilation, jobs and a sense of national community.

Large groups of Jewish peoples had immigrated to Argentina around the turn of the 19th century. Anti-Semitism towards the Jews in Argentina was a held by many Argentines. Historians Kessel Schwartz and Carl Solberg each examined the literature that that was written in Argentina around the turn of the 19th century. Schwartz’s article, published in 1978, analyzed anti-Semitism in Argentinian fiction at the turn of the 19th century. Solberg’s book, published in 1970, dedicated a chapter to the examination of literature and anti-Semitism. Schwartz and Solberg’s works overlap when they discuss the Argentinian book "La Bolsa" in their respective works. 26 Both agree that "La Bolsa", written by Julian Martel in 1890, painted the Jews in a negative light, giving credence to the notion that some Argentinians held anti Semitic beliefs.

The danger of "La Bolsa", argues Solberg, is that it became popular. 27 The popular novel, set in Argentina, tells the story of the fictional financial crisis in which the Jews were solely responsible. Schwartz states that Martel, "attributes to the Jews a set of repulsive characteristics". 28 Schwartz does not list what characteristics, but does go on to say that the characteristics "made it credible to blame the financial crisis on the Jews". 29 Solberg’s analysis includes much of the same. Solberg agrees with Schwartz and surmises that, "the Jewish characters who appear in 'La Bolsa' are all sinister and amoral". 30 "La Bolsa’s popularity in Argentina shows a society that harbored anti-Semitic thoughts. Uneasy with the Jewish migration of 1880, native Argentinians were unhappy with the economic success of immigrants.

Both Solberg and Schwartz attribute the embracement of "La Bolsa" as illustrative of how Argentinian society viewed the Jew. Native Argentinians were harboring anti-Semitic thoughts that were reinforced by "La Bolsa". Solberg even writes that, "Newspapers later published 'La Bolsa' in serial form and later was regarded as an accurate picture of Argentina in 1890". 31 Schwartz’s article does not reference Solberg’s book, but both authors come to the same conclusion seven years apart. "La Bolsa" alludes to the harbored feelings of anti-Semitism held by many native Argentinians towards the Jewish immigrant.

Argentina’s large German population never forgot their home country. When Adolf Hitler rose to power riding a wave of extreme nationalism, the Argentina Germans followed their motherland in supporting the cause. Naturally, when the war ended, sympathies ran high for their brother-in-arms that lost the war. Bringing the former Nazis in from Europe and protecting them from prison or the gallows was an easy choice, no matter the difficulty.

Argentina’s open immigration policy already had produced a large German population estimated at about 240,000 between World War I and II. When Hitler rose to power in Germany, another 30,000 to 40,000 Germans fled for political or racial reasons to Argentina. 32 Naturally, Nazism became popular amongst the Germans in Argentina, turning parts of Argentina into small Nazi colonies. Perón always admired the German refugees, stating what he liked about them; "their proverbial honesty, their tireless devotion to work, and their pacific character". 33. Even after declaring war on Germany, Perón vowed to not give up on the German community.

Laying the Foundation

Juan Perón wanted to bring Nazi officials into Argentina for a number of reasons. He wanted what Germany had; a large Army, the pomp of parading through the capital, the colorful banners, and the scientists and technicians to improve a struggling industry. Perón wanted it all and did not try to hide it either. In his memoirs Perón said, "What better bargain could the Argentine Republic have made, than to bring these scientists and technicians here? All we paid for was their plane tickets, whereas Germany had invested millions of marks in their training". 34 Germany’s human capital of scientists, technicians and military specialists appealed to Perón’s efforts to move Argentina forward under his leadership.

Perón’s fascination with Fascism began seven years before he was elected president. In 1939, Juan Perón was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Argentinian army, when the minister of war sent him to Europe to train with Italian armed forces. Perón’s own dossier accounted an eleven-month period in which he trained with Italian troops in the Alps learning mountain warfare. 35 This period influenced Perón in numerous ways. The mobilization and organization of the German and Italian peoples, mass spectacle as a political tool and the anti-Communist movement that was "providing much of the intellectual and emotional impetus behind the Fascist and Nazi movements". 36 While in Europe, Perón witnessed Benito Mussolini’s speech urging Italy to follow Germany into war. 37 Although Perón said he met with Mussolini, no known evidence exists to corroborate those statements. 38 According to Page’s biography of Perón, he became enamored with the Fascist way of life. He saw ways that Fascism could improve Argentina. 39 Italy and Germany both being driven by the strength of their military appealed to Perón’s military background. Perón wanted what Italy and Germany had; a robust economy, trains that kept to a schedule, military parades, and the complete mobilization of its work force. Perón saw first-hand the how a Fascist army worked and trained. 40 Perón brought this fascination back to Argentina with him.

When the Argentine military seized power in 1943, the colonels, including Perón, began actively pursuing a secret alliance with Hitler and Germany. After Colonel Arturo Rawson appointed himself president, and was abruptly replaced, lasting only three days, Pedro Pablo Ramírez was sworn in. 41 Ramírez lasted less than a year, but in that time he kept diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany open. A number of anti-Semitic groups started in Argentina, as well. The Alianza Libertadora Nacionalista [Nationalist Liberation Alliance] began attacking Jews and their institutions in the capital and in some provincial towns. 42 Furthermore, authorities did doing nothing to neither prevent the attacks nor stop them once started. Keeping these links open with Germany made Argentina uniquely hospitable and to fugitives as well as open to the capital and expertise that the Nazis could bring. 43 Any exchange of goods between Germany and Argentina were alleged until English military arrested Ernesto Hoppe in Gibraltar.

Ernesto Hoppe was a German-Argentine who revealed the larger scope of what Germany and Argentina were trying to accomplish as allies. 44 Hoppe was arrested in England in October of 1943. While being interrogated, Hoppe allegedly revealed the relationship of Germany and Argentina. Germany was getting set to send U-Boats [German submarines] to Buenos Aires loaded with documents, jewels, gold, cash and bonds, all of which was worth more than ten million Reichmarks. 45 This large sum of valuables were to have been used to invest in property, businesses, and industries promoting Nazism in Argentina. It was also meant to buy an escape destination, should Germany lose the war.

Upon returning to Argentina, Juan Perón’s military and political career soared. He was promoted to full Colonel before Argentina went through significant political turmoil between 1943 and 1946. Each time a new president took office, Perón was promoted. At first he was named the head of the Department of Labor. In this position, Perón passed numerous social welfare laws that reflect his time in Europe. These laws affected labor unions in an attempt to empower them against the communist movements. Perón said in a speech in August of 1944, "It is necessary to know how to give up 30 percent rather than lose everything". 46 The head of the Department of Labor was converted into a Cabinet position, the Secretariat of Labor. In 1945, he was appointed vice-president. Finally in 1946, Juan Perón was democratically elected President of Argentina. His ideology, however, was more Fascist than democratic.

Upon being elected President, Perón had to figure out a way to secretly immigrate Nazis to Argentina. Getting the Nazis into Argentina was not as simple as handing out passports. German immigration from Europe ceased in the months after World War II ended. 47 Allied forces wanted to contain the Nazi leadership as much as possible during this time, so that they could properly vet, arrest, and prosecute war criminals. If Juan Perón were to get the Nazis he desired, he was going to have to get creative in his methods. Perón was aware that the United States, England and the Soviet Union were engaged in offering Nazi specialists large contracts in an attempt to gain their knowledge and keep them away from the enemies.

Perón did not operate as openly as the Allied forces when recruiting former Nazi specialists. 48 He acted more clandestinely for various reasons. The first, the poorly kept secret of a Nazi German-Argentine treaty. Argentina was supposed to be the bottom tip of the Third Reich triangle that included Germany and Japan as the other points. Secondly, Argentina remained neutral through most of the war, only declaring support for the Allies once Axis defeat was imminent and because of mounting pressure from the United States.

The pressure from the United States began in early 1946 while Perón was serving as Vice-President to Edelmiro Farrell. 49 Perón was already an expert manipulator of Argentine politics. He recommended Farrell declare war against the Axis powers to ease these tensions with the United States who were convinced that the Argentine government was pro-Nazi. 50 Perón was aware that the victors of World War II would dominate world politics for the foreseeable future. Perón’s recommendation of a declaration of war on Germany was a calculated risk, one that he presented to Germany and one that would help Argentina in the future. It was a false declaration of war.

Uki Goñi summarizes Perón’s thoughts and feelings in "The Real ODESSA":

"This false declaration of war had a clear purpose: 'We hadn’t lost contact with Germany, despite the break in diplomatic relations", Perón would say in 1967. 'Things being so we received an unusual request. Even though it may seem contradictory at first, Germany benefits from our declaration of war: if Argentina becomes a belligerent country, it has the right to enter Germany when the end arrives; this means that our planes and ships would be in a position to render a great service. At that point we had the commercial planes of the FAMA line [Argentine Merchant Air Fleet] and the ships we had bought from Italy during the war. That is how a great number of people were able to come to Argentina. We preferred to make the imperialist powers of the day believe we had finally given in to their belligerent requests. By then we were better off showing some good behavior, especially to win time', Perón said. 'There was, of course, a group of idiots who accused us of weakness. Those are sorry souls who never understand anything of what’s going on'. 51

Argentina would not have had access to Germany at all if it remained neutral and were already facing economic sanctions by the United States for refusing to declare war on Germany in 1944. 52 These sanctions caused Perón to reevaluate Argentina’s position in world politics and to assess ways in which he could remain loyal to Germany without crippling Argentina’s economic future.

During World War II, Argentina’s economy moved away from its agriculture base and into the modern industrial age. Troubles between Buenos Aires and Washington forced Argentina to move away from importing goods and towards producing their own and their exports of agriculture products had produced a favorable trade balance. 53 Postwar Europe would need Argentina’s meats and grain to feed its citizens. However, Argentina would need the machinery to manufacture these goods and importing them from abroad would be the only way. Great Britain was Argentina’s only hope for these machines but they were in a financial crisis and could not afford to send any machinery. Perón had to look elsewhere for the technology that could boost Argentina into the modern age. With importing and trade leading to a dead end, Perón decided to import the knowledge behind the machines and not the machines themselves.

Perón’s first step was to reevaluate Argentina’s immigration policy. Perón’s fascination with Germany and Italy led him to make decrees that favored the immigration of persons from Fascist countries. Perón introduced forty guidelines for immigration during the presentation of his first five-year plan in 1947. Gerald Steinacher sums up Perón’s new immigration policy in his book, Nazis on the Run.

He states:

"Immigration was to be specific and selective. Certain groups of people, particular specialists, and those from a list of preferred countries of origin were given preferential treatment. In additions, immigrants were targeted who came from a particular cultural and linguistic background which would make them easily integrated into society. 54 Perón’s new laws essentially stated that Argentina was targeting Nazis and members of the Italian-Fascist regime without actually saying it. Perón was easing the transition and was expediting the process of immigrants from 'targeted backgrounds'. 

Former Nazis were able to easily assimilate to Argentinian society from the moment they arrived.

Perón received his Nazis but not in the fashion he envisioned. The end of the war coincided perfectly with Perón’s ascent to president. Had Perón been elected president during the war, he very well might have given his support to Germany. However, his presidency in 1946 came at a time where there was a mad scramble in Europe for former Nazi personnel. Because he was elected after the Axis lost, it meant that if he was to get Nazis, they likely were not the ones he wanted. Argentina simply could not compete with the other Allied nations in offering competitive contracts. Furthermore, it was much more difficult to get them to Argentina with the Allied forces actively hunting them for possible prosecution.  

Juan Carlos Goyeneche was an Argentine Catholic nationalist politician, highly sympathetic to Nazism, during the Second World War. Goyeneche travelled to Nazi Germany where he met a number of leading figures. He was the son of Mayor of Buenos Aires Arturo Goyeneche and the grandson of a President of Uruguay.

During his time as a Colonel in the Argentine Army Juan Perón had Goyeneche as his confidential agentHe was a close collaborator of the Ausland-Sicherheitsdienst, the overseas Intelligence service of Nazi Germany, and was a prominent far right journalist, serving as the editor of the "Sol y Luna" journal as well as a writer for the "Cabildo" magazine. He was notorious for the anti-Semitism in his writing.[6]

In April 1942 Goyeneche travelled to Europe as a diplomat, ostensibly to attend a function of the "Hispanic Council", supposedly a cultural group established by Francisco Franco but in fact a front group set up by Enrique Ruiz Guiñazú and Mario Amadeo to send men into Axis territory. Goyeneche went to Madrid where he met with the Argentine ambassador Adrián Escobar and consul Aquilino López and the following the month the three crossed into France where they held a meeting with Pierre Laval, president of the collaborationist Vichy regime. In Paris Goyeneche made contact with Schutzstaffel officer Herbert Knochen who agreed to arrange for Goyeneche to make a trip to Berlin.

Before this could happen however Goyeneche and Escobar went to Rome where they held a meeting with Pope Pius XII. At this meeting they discussed the possibility of an Argentine intervention in Europe in an attempt to negotiatie an end to the war, as well as Escobar's Hispanidad vision of a new Spain-led sphere of influence in Latin America. The plan was not taken seriously anywhere, and met particular derision in Brazil where the press mocked both Argentina's delusions of grandeur and the pro-Nazi agenda of their diplomats.

Goyeneche finally made it to Berlin in October 1942 where he was placed at the Hotel Adlon at the expense of the Nazi state. Accompanied by Gottfried Sandstede, an old friend of Goyeneche who had worked in the German embassy in Buenos Aires before being expelled for his spying activities, he visited the Eastern Front to inspect the men of the Blue Division. Upon his return from Russia Goyeneche met Otto Reinebeck, the chief of the Latin American Bureau at the Nazi Foreign Ministry, and requested for him to arrange meetings with Adolf Hitler and Joachim von Ribbentrop.

On 30 November 1942 Goyeneche met with Ribbentrop at the latter's Westphalian estate, with the Hispanophone Sandstede present as an interpreter. The meeting lasted several hours and Ribbentrop suggested that Germany was favourable to Argentina's three main wishes i.e. closer trade between the two countries following a Nazi war victory, support for Argentina taking the Falkland Islands and encouragement of close links between Argentina and Spain. Despite this Goyeneche found Ribbentrop a wholly dislikable individual, dismissing him as "pedantic and close-minded".

Goyeneche's next meeting was with Walter Schellenberg, the head of the Ausland-Sicherheitsdienst, a group with which Goyeneche was already familiar. Under instructions from Ribbentrop, who hoped that Argentina might be enticed into the war, details of the meetings were allowed to be wired by telegram back to Guiñazú and Amadeo by Goyeneche. The heavily coded messages were nonetheless intercepted and translated by the US War Department.

Whether or not Goyeneche met Hitler during his time in Germany is a matter of some debate. The United States diplomat W. Wendell Blancke claimed that, while in service to General Dwight Eisenhower at the end of the war in Germany, he saw captured Nazi documents that described a meeting between the two taking place on 7 December 1942 at which Hitler reiterated Ribbentrop's pro-Argentina stance. A secret meeting in the Black Forest was also said to have taken place in 1944 amongst Goyeneche's friends. Goyeneche himself claimed that Ribbentrop had given him a letter written by Hitler but that no meeting had ever taken place. Reinebeck meanwhile, under interrogation, denied that there had been any contact between Goyeneche and Hitler whatsoever.

In January 1943 however Goyeneche did meet Heinrich Himmler after Schellenberg took him the eastern headquarters of the Reichsführer-SS. The discussion was largely limited to general ideas, although Himmler expressed similar supportive ideas as Ribbentrop and Goyeneche found him to be much more pleasing company than he had the Foreign Minister.

Soon after the Himmler meeting Goyeneche left Germany and briefly returned to Spain to have lunch with Ramón Serrano Súñer. He informed the Spanish Foreign Minister that he intended to return to Rome to host a conference at which Catholic delegates from across Europe would meet to discuss how they could "integrate the Christian order in the New Order".

Returning to Rome he held a series of meetings with Monsignor Giovanni Montini as well as two more with Pius XII before eventually meeting Benito Mussolini. Goyeneche obtained a number of concessions from the Italian dictator, including a pledge to support Argentina's claim to the Falklands and a guarantee that he would obtain the same unequivocal support from Germany and Japan. Mussolini also publicly supported a plan to overthrow President Ramón Castillo and the 1943 Argentine coup d'état followed quickly after this pronouncement. Goyeneche also sought and received a guarantee from Mussolini that the Axis powers had no desire to end Argentine independence or that of any Latin American state, a common claim of Allied propaganda in the region. Mussolini also intimated that whatever shape South America would take after an Axis victory he envisaged Argentina as being the leading power.

Goyeneche spent the final months of the war in Spain and from his base in Cadiz he was in contact with Himmler until near the end. Indeed, it has been claimed that Goyeneche facilitated communication between Himmler and Peron at this stage.

When Peron was overthrown in 1955 Goyeneche initially found himself remaining in favour as his close friend Pierre Daye had him appointed culture and press secretary at the Casa Rosada. Goyeneche and Daye however were soon persona non grata as the new government under Pedro Eugenio Aramburu decided to purge the Nazi sympathisers from public life. Nonetheless he was a strong ideological influence on the activities of the violent "Tacuara Nationalist Movement" that emerged in the 1960s.

Juan Carlos Goyeneche became Perón’s advisor whose job was to make connections with high-ranking officials of the Third Reich. 55 Goyeneche came from an affluent, political family. He worked closely with the Ausland-SD, an Intelligence branch of the SS. 56 The Ausland-SD was a global espionage group who worked to spread the Nazi ideology around the globe. 57 Their main headquarters was located in Argentina. Goyeneche also had close ties to the Argentine foreign minister. While on a trip to Rome, Goyeneche met Perón who was on his military training trip with the Italian army. Perón and Goyeneche established a professional relationship based on the mutual appreciation of Fascism. Goyeneche had already established alliances with Germany and Italy. When Perón began sending Argentines to Europe to establish contacts with potential Nazi immigrants, Goyeneche was originally supposed to act alone in secret.

Perón wasted no time setting up contacts in Europe to begin the process of locating and recruiting Nazis. Classified United States documents show that Argentinian secret networks were known to exist as early as 1946, which is the year Perón was elected president. 58 Along with Perón changing the immigration policy to target Germans specifically, its clear that Perón knew he had to act quickly if he was going to get the Nazis he thought could help Argentina the most.


The secretive nature surrounding the escape networks in Europe made research difficult when attempting to cross check names and routes for verification. These escape routes are known as ratlines. The purpose of ratlines was to establish a secret and organized network of contacts to make contact, house, protect and facilitate the movement of former Nazis through Europe and into countries that granted asylum, without alerting Allied Forces. Throughout the research for this paper, hundreds of names have come up as having been involved in the ratlines. Very few names come up in multiple sources and there can be little doubt that some men changed their names or used aliases for protection. This was the case for Adolf Eichmann who used the alias Ricardo Klement according to his Italian identity card. 59 Names do not often appear between primary and secondary sources. Most names appear in many texts while few others appear once but are given a large significance in the overall picture, as in the case of Goyeneche. Goyeneche’s name is mentioned throughout Uki Goni’s research but does not appear in Steinacher’s nor Wiesenthal’s. This shows that although sufficient research has been done on ratlines, a lot of research and analysis remains. With the clandestine nature of ratlines, written documentation is scarce.

Once Perón had determined he could get actually get Nazis and positioned Argentina to receive them with his new immigration policies, all that was left was to get the Nazis across the Atlantic Ocean without the United States or the Soviet Union finding out. Juan Perón needed a way to get former Nazis into Argentina without alerting Allied authorities that were in Europe attempting to locate and arrest these men. Most ratlines were designed to move former Nazis to South America. It is unclear exactly when these ratlines began in Europe and there is little evidence that Perón started them while acting as the Minister of Labor, however, a document written in July of 1946 that was retrieved from the United States Freedom of Information Act indicates that Sweden was aware of and trying to shatter these networks as early as July 1946. 60 Many networks existed and they went by various names. Some networks were designed to target ardent high-ranking Nazi officials; others were aimed at any Nazis who feared for their lives.

Creating these networks clandestinely was important. Allied forces tried to stop these men from escaping to non-extradition countries. In actuality, the Allied forces, more specifically the United States, knew about these ratlines and made little attempts to stop them. The United States viewed these escape routes as "anti communist movements". The earliest mention of Nazi ratlines found in the CIA archives is a document between an unnamed USFA 61 agent and the United States Army in 1948.

According to the document by 1945, the U.S. already knew that these ratline networks existed. Furthermore, the document states that, "...some high officers held it necessary to organize all these elements in some way, not as a clandestine movement but as a kind of anti-communist legion, ready to fight Bolshevism, at the moment by Intelligence work, and in the case of another war with arms". 62 By the end of 1945, the US Army already knew that these networks existed but allowed them to continue under surveillance because they were viewed as anti-Communist movements and not to spread the Nazi ideology. The U.S. was already setting itself up against the Soviet Union and preparing for the Cold War. The same document discussed the liberation of known Nazi war criminals from Allied prisons in Europe and accuses a Harmut Lauterbacher as being the leader of this operation. 63 Most importantly the document states, "Finally the Ambassador of Argentina in Rome offered Harmut Lauterbacher to go for some time to Argentina to look for the possibilities of bringing Germans, …, and factories to Argentina for work". 64 Ratlines to Argentina are confirmed to exist by 1945, although they likely existed before and were not uncovered until 1945.

Many people acted as contacts and facilitators along the ratlines. Depending on where the Nazi member’s final destination was, the contacts were entirely different. Ratlines were responsible for getting former Nazis into Argentina, the Soviet Union, Syria, Egypt, Brazil and even Canada. 65 In Argentina’s case, there were many contacts in Europe. Perón did not want to leave anything to chance. The routes used for these ratlines varied tremendously. To get into Argentina, these men went through Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, or Turkey. This shows just how many people were involved and just how prominent Perón’s people were in Europe. The most prominent escape routes ventured through Scandinavia, into Madrid before finally heading to Argentina.

Many former Nazis fled to Sweden and Denmark once it was clear the war was over. Perón sent his people into these countries to make contact and discuss the possibility of employment in Argentina. Perón’s number one recruiter was a man named Carlos Warner Eduardo Schulz. He was tasked with finding Nazi soldiers and Nazi aeronautical experts. This link to Scandinavia was bankrolled by Perón’s newly founded aeronautics program, according to Uki Goñi. 66 Schulz was successful in recruiting men and getting them into Argentina. A letter written sometime after November 1947, between unknown members of the OSS states that Schulz was arrested in connection to passport fraud. 67

Passport fraud was the preferred way to get Nazis "legally" into Argentina. According to Goñi, Schulz arrived in Denmark carrying a thousand landing permits issued by Perón’s immigration office, as well as letters of recommendation to free prisoners of war. 68 Perón was making a large commitment to former Nazis by sending Schulz with a thousand authorized permits to hand out.

The same document accuses Perón’s legations sent to Europe as receiving payments by the Perón government. 69 Although Perón is not identified by name, legations are part of government delegation and consist of government employees and are therefore on the government payroll. One correspondence from an American Intelligence official states that the Argentine Legation in Denmark, including the counselor and first secretary, were receiving payments for every "body" 70 that arrived in Argentina. 71 The document makes it sound as if any former member of the Third Reich was being recruited and that the Argentine Legation was performing these duties simply for monetary gain. Denmark accused the Argentine Legation with issuing passports to suitable Germans. 72

This aligns with Schulz’s admission to Swedish authorities. The legation was asked to leave Denmark. The Argentine legation to Sweden was also accused of participating in the smuggling of Germans to Argentina. Sweden chose not to take any action in fear of jeopardizing business contracts in Argentina. 73 An unfortunate outcome of the war in Europe was the destabilization of the European economy. Losing government contracts abroad could affect trade and further hurt the economy.

Spain became a popular destination for Nazis on the run. A secret and heavily redacted information report sent to unknown persons on 20 February 1948 had the subject: Nazi Aid Organization in Argentina. 74 The document gives details to two escape organizations in Spain. Spain was a popular destination for Nazi war criminals because of its neutrality during the war and many sources indicate that Spain was usually the last destination for former Nazis before boarding a plane or boat headed to Argentina. 75 The information report states that, "A Franco-Spanish religious order is at the bottom of a powerful escape organization..." and that "…the congregation takes escapees into Spain disguised as priests…." 76 Using priests attire as disguise to move former Nazis through Europe fits with the clandestine nature of the secret networks.

Perón was actively sending personnel into Europe to make contact with potential Nazi refugees in 1947. What started as a small clandestine operation quickly became a co-ordinated effort to secure as many Nazis as possible before the Soviet Union and the United States could. He made it known what he was attempting by not only sending personal contacts into Europe but also eventually recruiting his legations in Europe to help facilitate. This was a bold strategy that if discovered, immediately incriminated Perón. He was able to act somewhat openly knowing that Allied forces were also active in recruiting Nazis for their own programs.

Nazis in Argentina

Horst Carlos Fulder was born in Buenos Aires on 16 December 1910 to a family of German immigrants.

In 1922 his family returned to Germany. Ten years later he joined the "Stahlhelm", a paramilitary organization that emerged in Germany after its defeat in World War I, and in 1932 the SS and the NSDAP. In 1935, because of problems related to economic fraud in the SS, he tried to escape to Argentina, but was discovered by the Gestapo in Bremerhaven and expelled from the SS.

In 1941, he joined the Spanish Blue Division to fight and act as an interpreter on the Eastern Front. He would return to Germany in 1943. In 1944 he returned to the SS and in the same year was promoted to the rank of Hauptsturmführer. 

Walter Schellenberg instructed him at the time to study the possible escape routes of National Socialists outside Europe. At the end of 1944, he arrived from Berlin in Madrid to spy for the SD and the Argentinian Secretary of State Intelligence [Secretaría de Inteligencia del Estado - SIDE] in Spain. 

After Germany's defeat, he was exiled in Spain and in 1946 began to be persecuted by the Allies.  In 1947 he arrived in Argentina and from that year, with the support of the President Juan Domingo Perón, he helped many Nazis flee to South America, among them Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele, Ronald Richter, August Siebrecht, and Gerhard Bohne. 

In his native country, he founded the company CAPRI, which was dedicated to the installation of hydroelectric plants and the exploitation of other natural resources.

Providing work for Nazi refugees was an important aspect of convincing the men to immigrate to Argentina. Perón provided work to Nazi exiles. The "Compañia Argentina para Proyectos y Realizaciones Idustriales" or CAPRI 77 was the main employer of Nazis in Argentina. 78

CAPRI was founded by Horst Carlos Fuldner, an ex SS officer who was born in Argentina. Fuldner became Perón’s key recruiter in Europe and was tasked with securing and transferring Nazis through Europe and into Argentina. 79 He returned to Argentina because of fears of being arrested for his transgressions. Along with a generous state contract from Perón, Fuldner started his surveyor business and hired fellow Nazi refugees.

Carlos Schulz, the same Schulz that was arrested in Sweden on suspicion of passport fraud, was also key in the CAPRI operations. Schulz was the Argentine contact in Scandinavia. Schulz was arrested in 1947 in Sweden and told officers he was in Sweden offering generous contracts to aviation experts to work in South America. 80

At its peak, CAPRI employed nearly 300 people, most of them being Nazi refugees. 81 CAPRI allowed those German immigrants who lacked science and technology skills, and Spanish speaking capabilities to live and work in close quarters with other German speakers.

CAPRI helped in communications between employees and their families still in Europe and sometimes fronted money needed to bring the families of the Nazis to Argentina. 82 Perón allegedly visited the CAPRI headquarters in Northern Argentina. The German magazine "Bunte" ran a picture of Perón on a train sitting next to the infamous war criminal Adolf Eichmann in 1960, but it is unknown when the picture was taken. 83

CAPRI operated as an umbrella company to provide work and pay for Nazi refugees while they planned their next moves. No record exists of any actual work or projects being completed by CAPRI. Some Nazis used their time at CAPRI as a springboard for other jobs and professions.

Internationally famous hydrologist Armin Schoklitsch spent time working for CAPRI before finding a home as emeritus professor at the University of Tucumán. 84 While others, like Fritz Maria Kuper, stayed at CAPRI for many years. Kuper was Hitler’s inspector at the transport ministry and engineer at the Nuremburg port and the Reich’s expert bridge builder. 85 Perón funded CAPRI until 1953 when Argentina’s economy began to struggle again.

CAPRI serves as an indictment to Perón’s insistence on bringing Nazi refugees to Argentina. He was not satisfied with just securing former Nazis in Argentina because he was sympathetic. Perón bankrolled an entire company to employ up 300 former Nazis to provide work and income, even if no actual work was performed.

Perón's Nazis

Juan Perón was successful in his pursuit, bringing in over 300 former Nazis. While most were just seeking asylum from Allied forces, Perón had specifically targeted a number of former Nazis to improve Argentina scientifically, technologically, and militarily. Some Nazis recruited by Perón produced exactly what they said they would, even if the costs outweighed the benefits, as was the case with the Pulqui II jet that was canceled in the prototype stage. Others oversold their accomplishments to gain an all expenses paid trip out of Europe and a blank check to continue their research. Others simply fulfilled their obligations and left to find better paying contracts. All in all, Perón’s attempts at rapid industrialization, and boosting Argentina’s economy failed. The money he spent far outweighed the services received. Argentina was so far behind Germany as far as industrialization goes, that simply getting the Argentina infrastructure caught up to the modern standards of the time period used up all the money Perón made available.

Perón was responsible for bringing Adolf Eichmann to Argentina. Adolf Eichmann was the man in charge of logistics in the mass killing of Jews during the Holocaust. He organized the deportation of Jews to ghettos and extermination camps. Author Uki Goñi describes Eichmann’s job as, "Eichmann’s office for 'Jewish Affairs' fed the furnaces for the industrial extermination of the Jews by arranging their registration, roundup and deportation to Hitler’s concentration camps in German-occupied Europe". 86 Eichmann’s immigration could best be seen as a token gesture of good faith. Perón would import even the most notorious Nazi war criminals.

After Germany fell in 1945, Eichmann went into hiding. Moving around Europe between Germany, Austria and Italy before securing his trip to Argentina. Once in Argentina, Eichmann learned that Buenos Aires had a firmly rooted German community, with its own neighborhoods, private clubs, schools and restaurants 87. Eichmann, now using the name Ricardo Klement for security purposes, started working at Perón’s CAPRI soon after arriving. Once the government contracts for CAPRI dried up and they were forced to declare bankruptcy, Eichmann moved to Tucumán, a rural area in Northern Argentina. Eichmann remained there until his capture in 1960.

Eichmann benefited from CAPRI, which offered him a job and the government contracts that helped pay his wages. While with CAPRI, Eichmann’s sole job was to monitor and manage a group of surveyors. Perón received little if anything in return for bringing Eichmann to Argentina. No evidence exists of Perón recruiting Eichmann to Argentina, instead according to Goñi, Eichmann initiated the contact to some of Perón’s men in Europe to help him. 88 Perón brought in other Nazi refugees for more useful reasons, although they too were based in fantasy. Ronald Richter was specifically brought to Argentina to help advance the industrialization, militarization and modernization of the country but failed to deliver.

Ronald Richter was a low ranking German physicist who convinced Perón that he had understood the technology of nuclear fission, which he had not. He also convinced Perón that he knew numerous other scientific secrets of Nazi Germany, such as how to create the hydrogen bomb. 89 Convinced that Richter could push Argentina’s nuclear power program forward, Perón offered unlimited capital to reproduce his research. Richter received the money and built a state-of-the-art facility on Huemul Island in the middle of Patagonia. Richter began his experiments in 1950 and by 1951 he wrote Perón announcing his success of nuclear power. Perón assembled the world’s media and announced that Argentina had nuclear power and could sell atomic energy in "Liter and half-Liter bottles for family and industrial use". 90 This turned out to be a total farce as Richter was never able to reproduce his results on an industrial scale. Later that year, Perón sent a group of scientist to check on Richter’s research, noting that all he had managed to do was "explode hydrogen in an electrical arc". 91 Perón shut down the nuclear program in 1951 at a loss of $62 Million Dollars. 92

Not all of Perón’s Nazi refugees were failures. Many enjoyed successful careers at institutions, especially the scientists. However, few would make the significant impact that Perón was hoping for when he actively recruited men with checkered pasts.

Kurt Tank was a famous airplane designer in Germany and worked on many designs for the Luftwaffe. During the "brain drain" of post-World War II Germany, Tank had the option to emigrate to the United States, the Soviet Union or Argentina. Tank decided on the latter because of the free hand they offered him. 93 In 1947, Tank arrived in Buenos Aires with numerous designs for aircraft that he had taken from his airbase in Germany. Tank quickly convinced Perón that he could improve the Argentine Air Force if he could bring his former colleagues in to work with him. Perón obliged and notified his contacts throughout Europe of the names he was seeking. When his colleagues arrived, Tank began working on the Pulqui II jet fighter. 94 In 1951, Perón and Tank presented the aircraft to the world media. Perón hoped to prove that Argentina could be a technological leader in the world on the cusp of innovation. The prototype of the Pulqui II jet worked as described. However, Argentina still had a policy of import-substitution industrialization, meaning that parts that should have been expertly made and imported had to be manufactured locally with primitive technology. 95 Parts that should have been made on special machinery, such as the fuselage, were instead constructed by hand in Argentina. Furthermore, the divide in scientific knowledge between the Nazi scientists and the Argentine scientists was too great to overcome or teach in a timely fashion. 96 The plane never advanced past the prototype stage as money dried up. Perón’s second term was hit with an economic crises and the project had to be canceled.

The success of the Pulqui jet fighter got the attention of Hans-Ulrich Rudel, the most decorated German soldier and pilot in all of World War II. 97 Rudel understood that he had no future in post-war Europe and elected to immigrate to Argentina. In Argentina Rudel was fascinated by the respect he received.

In Steinacher’s book, "Nazis on the Run", he quotes Rudel as saying:

The offer of a job as air force adviser in Argentina led me to cross the Atlantic. Two days after my arrival in Buenos Aires, I was received by the then-aviation minister, Brigidier Major Cesar Ojeda. He extended the President’s greetings and welcomed me with a respect and friendliness that made a considerable impression on me after the bitter years of imprisonment and the time that followed, for throughout the whole world, hatred was directed at all things German. Here in the circles of the Argentinian army, we encountered no prejudices. In their eyes, we might have lost the war, but not our honour". 98 

All Argentinians warmly received Rudel and admired his work in Germany during the war. He had found a place that accepted former Nazis hospitably. Rudel had finally found a home. However, Rudel’s time in Argentina was short. Following the ouster of Perón in 1955, Rudel left for other parts of South America to offer his services and find consistent income.

Perón’s Nazis were largely failures whose projects routinely ran over budget without producing any results. Perón was unable to compete with the United States, the Soviet Union and Great Britain for the truly remarkable specialists. The Third Reich was on the cutting edge in science, technology, and warfare. Perón’s Nazis were never able to recreate their successes because Argentina lacked the infrastructure and industrialization to provide a stable backbone to the research and technology that the Nazis were bringing. Furthermore, most of the Nazis were largely frauds who lied about their knowledge and capabilities to entice Perón to get them out of Europe and set them up with large contracts.


Using declassified CIA documents for this research presented a unique perspective. While the U.S. Government, especially the state department, had a bias against Argentina following the war because of Argentina’s actions during the war, the CIA documents offer a unique perspective of a world power adjusting its focus from World War II to the Cold War. The United States did little to stop these illegal immigrations despite knowing about them as early as 1945. After the war, holding former Nazis accountable became less of a concern than the spread of communism. According to a 1948 document by a U.S. official, these Nazi immigration networks were anti-Communist movements. 99 The United States quickly moved on from the Nazis. They continued their own operation to recruit and hire Nazis for work in the United States and seamlessly moved on to the next threat, the spread of Communism from the Soviet Union. The CIA documents used in this paper show a "watch and see" approach to these Nazi escape networks. The U.S. was content to monitor the routes and record "who and where" rather than making any attempts to stop the networks from facilitating the illegal immigration of Nazis to Argentina.

Juan Perón knowingly brought Nazi refugees to Argentina in exchange for their science and technology and made sure the infrastructure was in place to provide for and ease their assimilation to Argentinian society. When World War II ended, Nazis fleeing persecution needed a country to grant them asylum and not extradite them back to Europe. Perón wanted to modernize and industrialize Argentina to make it a world power even though it lacked the science and technological acumen to achieve the feat on its own. However, none of this would have been possible unless there was a government official helping pull the strings necessary to help the Nazis flee to Argentina under the careful watch of the Allied powers. In his memoirs, Perón states that he often delivered speeches against the Nuremberg trials, which were an outrage that history will not forgive. 100 In reality, the CIA documents demonstrate that Juan Perón’s motivations were much different. He saw an opportunity for Argentina to get to the cutting edge of science, technology and modern warfare by accelerating the development of it internally. Perón’s Nazis largely failed in their exploits and he was left with a significant number of Nazi war criminals, unfilled contracts, and a struggling economy. Likewise he was under the watch of Allied forces and paid the price of a tainted reputation. The science and technology that Perón received from these men is tainted with the blood of thousands minorities used as slave laborers, live testing subjects and/or as human collateral.

Argentina’s long history of European immigration allowed it to become a destination of choice for Nazis fleeing Europe. Argentina’s large autonomous German communities allowed Nazi immigrants to assimilate and "disappear" among the other Argentinians of German descent. These communities, as well as Juan Perón’s government, offered jobs to these men that allowed them to restart their lives. The jobs offered stability and a way for the illegal immigrants to eventually bring their families to Argentina. Argentina already had the community infrastructure to handle immigrants and assimilate them efficiently.

The decisions Juan Perón made after being elected president regarding the illegal immigration of Nazis into Argentina are directly related to his career in the military. Juan Perón was a military man at heart. He loved the military and he loved Argentina. Seeing nationalism and militarism blend in Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy appealed to his desires as President of Argentina, to move Argentina forward. Perón was not a Nazi nor a Fascist but the fundamentals of these ideologies appealed to him as a military leader.

Joseph Page describes Perón’s feelings towards Nazism and Fascism:

"A fundamental premise guiding Perón held that Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany were developing an alternative to capitalism and communism. World War II, in [Perón’s] view, was no more than a concerted effort by these dominant systems to crush their budding competitors". 101

Germany and Italy were not aggressors to Perón; they were just trying to protect their ideology against the Capitalist Americans and Communist Soviets. The middle ground appealed to Perón and to Perón, this meant strengthening the state through the working class. 102 Argentina’s economy was most important in modernizing Argentina to the levels of Germany, the United States and Great Britain. When his trade requests fell short, it created a unique intertwining of Perón’s sympathies for former Nazis and his need to modernize Argentina. 

1. Argentina was not the only South American country that received Nazis from Europe. Brazil, Chile and Bolivia also received Nazis and provided safe havens.   
2. Joseph A. Page, Peron: A Biography. [New York, New York: Random House, 1983]
3. Page, Peron: A Biography

The Nuremberg trials [German: die Nürnberger Prozesse]


"You'll see. A few years from now the lawyers of the world will condemn this trial. You can't have a trial without law".

—Joachim von Ribbentrop
  20 November 1945

Critics of the Nuremberg trials argued that the charges against the defendants were only defined as "crimes" after they were committed and that therefore the trial was invalid as a form of "victors' justice".

-- Zolo, Danilo [2009]. "Victors' Justice: From Nuremberg to Baghdad". New York & London: Verso Books.
-- Prof. Anthony Nicholls of St. Antony's College, Oxford,  state, that "[t]he Nuremberg trials have not had a very good press. They are often depicted as a form of victors' justice in which people were tried for crimes which did not exist in law when they committed them, such as conspiring to start a war".

The alleged double standards associated with putative victor's justice are also evident from the indictment of German defendants for conspiracy to commit aggression against Poland in 1939, while no one from the Soviet Union was charged for being part of the same conspiracy. As Michael Biddiss observed, "the Nuremberg Trial continues to haunt us. ... It is a question also of the weaknesses and strengths of the proceedings themselves".

-- Biddiss, Michael [1995]. 'Victors' Justice? The Nuremberg Tribunal'. "History Today"
-- See: BBC Article by Prof. Richard Overy "[T]hat the war crimes trials... were expressions of a legally dubious 'victors' justice' was [a point raised by]... senior [Allied] legal experts who doubted the legality of the whole process... There was no precedent. No other civilian government had ever been put on trial by the authorities of other states... What the Allied powers had in mind was a tribunal that would make the waging of aggressive war, the violation of sovereignty and the perpetration of what came to be known in 1945 as 'crimes against humanity' internationally recognized offences. Unfortunately, these had not previously been defined as crimes in international law, which left the Allies in the legally dubious position of having to execute retrospective justice – to punish actions that were not regarded as crimes at the time they were committed".
-- See: Paper of Jonathan Graubart, San Diego State University, Political Science Department, published online 'Graubart Article', referring to the ex post facto nature of the charges.

Quincy Wright, writing eighteen months after the conclusion of the International Military Tribunal [IMT], explained the opposition to the Tribunal thus:

"The assumptions underlying the Charter of the United Nations, the Statute of the International Court of Justice, and the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal are far removed from the positivistic assumptions which greatly influenced the thought of international jurists in the nineteenth century. Consequently, the activities of those institutions have frequently been vigorously criticized by positivistic jurists ... [who] have asked: How can principles enunciated by the Nuremberg Tribunal, to take it as an example, be of legal value until most of the states have agreed to a tribunal with jurisdiction to enforce those principles? How could the Nuremberg Tribunal have obtained jurisdiction to find Germany guilty of aggression, when Germany had not consented to the Tribunal? How could the law, first explicitly accepted in the Nuremberg Charter of 1945, have bound the defendants in the trial when they committed the acts for which they were indicted years earlier?"

 -- Wright, Quincy [July 1946]. 'The Nuremberg Trial'. "Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science".

Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court Harlan Fiske Stone called the Nuremberg trials a fraud. " [Chief U.S. prosecutor Robert H.] Jackson is away conducting his high-grade lynching party in Nuremberg," he wrote. "I don't mind what he does to the Nazis, but I hate to see the pretense that he is running a court and proceeding according to common law. This is a little too sanctimonious a fraud to meet my old-fashioned ideas".

-- Mason, Alpheus Thomas [1968] [1956]. "Harlan Fiske Stone: Pillar of the Law". Hamden, CT: Archon Books.

Jackson, in a letter discussing the weaknesses of the trial, in October 1945 told U.S. President Harry S. Truman that the Allies themselves "have done or are doing some of the very things we are prosecuting the Germans for. The French are so violating the Geneva Convention in the treatment of prisoners of war that our command is taking back prisoners sent to them. We are prosecuting plunder and our Allies are practising it. We say aggressive war is a crime and one of our Allies asserts sovereignty over the Baltic States based on no title except conquest".

-- Luban, David [1994]. "Legal Modernism: Law, Meaning, and Violence". Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press
-- "The Legacy of Nuremberg". PBS Online/WGBH. 1 March 2006.

Associate Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas charged that the Allies were guilty of "substituting power for principle" at Nuremberg. "I thought at the time and still think that the Nuremberg trials were unprincipled," he wrote. "Law was created ex post facto to suit the passion and clamor of the time."

-- "Dönitz at Nuremberg: A Reappraisal", H. K. Thompson, Jr., and Henry Strutz, [Torrance, Calif.: 1983]

U.S. Deputy Chief Counsel Abraham Pomerantz resigned in protest at the low caliber of the judges assigned to try the industrial war criminals such as those at I.G. Farben.

Many Germans who agreed with the idea of punishment for war crimes admitted trepidation concerning the trials. A contemporary German jurist said:

"That the defendants at Nuremberg were held responsible, condemned and punished, will seem to most of us initially as a kind of historical justice. However, no one who takes the question of guilt seriously, above all no responsibly thoughtful jurist, will be content with this sensibility nor should they be allowed to be. Justice is not served when the guilty parties are punished in any old way, even if this seems appropriate with regard to their measure of guilt. Justice is only served when the guilty are punished in a way that carefully and conscientiously considers their criminal errors according to the provisions of valid law under the jurisdiction of a legally appointed judge".

-- "The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial, 1963–1965: Genocide, History, and the Limits of the Law" by Devin O. Pendas, Boston College, Massachusetts.

The validity of the court has been questioned on a number of grounds:

The defendants were not allowed to appeal or affect the selection of judges. A. L. Goodhart, Professor at Oxford, opposed the view that, because the judges were appointed by the victors, the Tribunal was not impartial and could not be regarded as a court in the true sense. He wrote: "Attractive as this argument may sound in theory, it ignores the fact that it runs counter to the administration of law in every country. If it were true then no spy could be given a legal trial, because his case is always heard by judges representing the enemy country. Yet no one has ever argued that in such cases it was necessary to call on neutral judges. The prisoner has the right to demand that his judges shall be fair, but not that they shall be neutral. As Lord Writ has pointed out, the same principle is applicable to ordinary criminal law because a burglar cannot complain that he is being tried by a jury of honest citizens".

-- A. L. Goodhart, 'The Legality of the Nuremberg Trials', "Juridical Review", April, 1946.

One of the charges, brought against Keitel, Jodl, and Ribbentrop included conspiracy to commit aggression against Poland in 1939. The Secret Protocols of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact of 23 August 1939, proposed the partition of Poland between the Germans and the Soviets [which was subsequently executed in September 1939] however, Soviet leaders were not tried for being part of the same conspiracy.

--Bauer, Eddy "The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of World War II" Volume 22 New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation 1972

Instead, the Tribunal proclaimed the Secret Protocols of the Non-Aggression Pact to be a forgery. Moreover, Allied Powers Britain and Soviet Union were not tried for preparing and conducting the Anglo-Soviet invasion of Iran and the Winter War, respectively.

In 1915, the Allied Powers, Britain, France, and Russia, jointly issued a statement explicitly charging, for the first time, another government [the Sublime Porte] of committing "a crime against humanity". However it was not until the phrase was further developed in the London Charter that it had a specific meaning. As the London Charter definition of what constituted a crime against humanity was unknown when many of the crimes were committed, it could be argued to be a retroactive law, in violation of the principles of prohibition of ex post facto laws and the general principle of penal law nullum crimen, nulla poena sine praevia lege poenali.

-- 'Motion adopted by all defense counsel'. "The Avalon Project: Nuremberg Trial Proceedings" volume 1. Lillian Goldman Law Library. 19 November 1945.

The court agreed to relieve the Soviet leadership from attending these trials as war criminals in order to hide their crimes against war civilians, war crimes that were committed by their army that included "carving up Poland in 1939 and attacking Finland three months later". This "exclusion request" was initiated by the Soviets and subsequently approved by the court's administration.

-- BBC News: 'Nuremberg trial of Nazis begins'. 20 November 1945.

The trials were conducted under their own rules of evidence. The Charter of the International Military Tribunal permitted the use of normally inadmissible "evidence". Article 19 of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal [IMT] Charter specified that "The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence ... and shall admit any evidence which it deems to have probative value". Article 21 stipulated: "The Tribunal shall not require proof of facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof. It shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and reports of the United [Allied] Nations, including acts and documents of the committees set up in the various allied countries for the investigation of war crimes, and the records and findings of military and other Tribunals of any of the United [Allied] Nations.Though the ICTY later held it to be flawed in principle", the tu quoque argument, adduced by German defendants, was admitted as a valid defense during the trials, and the Admirals Karl Dönitz and Erich Räder were not punished for waging unrestricted submarine warfare.

-- Yee, Sienho [1 January 2004]. 'The Tu Quoque Argument as a Defence to International Crimes, Prosecution or Punishment'. "Chinese Journal of International Law". Oxford University Press in association with the Chinese Society of International Law, Beijing, and Wuhan University Institute of International Law, Wuhan, China. 3 [1]. ". . . in the light of the similar conduct of the British Admiralty and the United States Navy, the tribunal did not impose any punishment on the Admirals for these violations; they were punished for other violations only. . . the tu quoque argument received recognition at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. . . the [ICTY] Trial Chamber argued that 'the tu quoque argument is flawed in principle' . . ."

The chief Soviet prosecutor submitted false documentation in an attempt to indict defendants for the murder of thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn forest near Smolensk. However, the other Allied prosecutors refused to support the indictment and German lawyers promised to mount an embarrassing defense. No one was charged or found guilty at Nuremberg for the Katyn Forest massacre.

-- 'German Defense Team Clobbers Soviet Claims'. 26 August 1995.

In 1990, the Soviet government acknowledged that the Katyn massacre was carried out, not by the Germans, but by the Soviet secret police.

-- BBC News: 'Russia to release massacre files', 16 December 2004

Freda Utley, in her 1949 book "The High Cost of Vengeance" ['The Nuremberg Judgments'.] charged the court with amongst other things double standards. She pointed to the Allied use of civilian forced labor, and deliberate starvation of civilians[88][89] in the occupied territories.

-- Richard Dominic Wiggers, "The United States and the Refusal to Feed German Civilians after World War II"
-- Davidson, Eugene [1999] [1959]. "The Death and Life of Germany". Columbia, MI: University of Missouri Press. US military personnel and their wives were under strict orders to destroy or otherwise render inedible their own leftover surplus so as to ensure it could not be eaten by German civilians.

She also noted that Lieutenant-General Roman Rudenko, the chief Soviet prosecutor, after the trials became commandant of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. [After the fall of East Germany the bodies of 12,500 Soviet era victims were uncovered at the camp, mainly "children, adolescents and elderly people"].

-- 'Germans Find Mass Graves at an Ex-Soviet Camp', "The New York Times", 24 September 1992

Luise, the wife of Alfred Jodl, attached herself to her husband's defense team. Subsequently, interviewed by Gitta Sereny, researching her biography of Albert Speer, Luise alleged that in many instances the Allied prosecution made charges against Jodl based on documents that they refused to share with the defense. Jodl nevertheless proved some of the charges made against him were untrue, such as the charge that he helped Hitler gain control of Germany in 1933. He was in one instance aided by a GI clerk who chose to give Luise a document showing that the execution of a group of British commandos in Norway had been legitimate. The GI warned Luise that if she didn't copy it immediately she would never see it again.

-- Sereny, Gitta [1995], "Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth", London: Macmillan

The main Soviet judge, Iona Nikitchenko, presided over some of the most notorious of Josef Stalin's show trials during the Great Purges of 1936 to 1938, where he among other things sentenced Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev.

-- "Encyclopedia Krugosvet" [Russian]

According to the declassified Soviet archives, 681,692 people arrested for "counter-revolutionary and state crimes" were shot in 1937 and 1938 alone–an average of over 900 executions a day.

-- Abbott Gleason [2009]. "A Companion to Russian History". Wiley-Blackwell

The Soviet prosecutor, Roman Rudenko, later became commandant of NKVD special camp Nr. 7.

-- Parish, Matthew [2011]. "Mirages of International Justice: The Elusive Pursuit of a Transnational Legal Order". Edward Elgar Publishing

By the time the camp closed in the spring of 1950, at least 12,000 prisoners had died due to the catastrophic prison conditions, hunger and psychological or physical exhaustion.

-- 'The Soviet special camp No.7/No. 1 1945 – 1950'.

The Tribunal itself strongly disputed that the London Charter was ex post facto law, pointing to existing international agreements signed by Germany that made aggressive war and certain wartime actions unlawful, such as the Kellogg-Briand Pact, the Covenant of the League of Nations, and the Hague Conventions.

-- 'International Military Tribunal, Judgment of the International Military Tribunal' [1946]

In an editorial at the time "The Economist", a British weekly newspaper, criticised the hypocrisy of both Britain and France for supporting the expulsion of the Soviet Union from the League of Nations over its unprovoked attack against Finland in 1939 and for six years later cooperating with the USSR as a respected equal at Nuremberg. It also criticised the Allies for their own double-standard at the Nuremberg Trials: "...nor should the Western world console itself that the Russians alone stand condemned at the bar of the Allies' own justice. ... Among crimes against humanity stands the offence of the indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations. Can the Americans who dropped the atom bomb and the British who destroyed the cities of western Germany plead 'not guilty' on this count? Crimes against humanity also include the mass expulsion of populations. Can the Anglo-Saxon leaders who at Potsdam condoned the expulsion of millions of Germans from their homes hold themselves completely innocent? ... The nations sitting in judgement have so clearly proclaimed themselves exempt from the law which they have administered".

-- 'The Nuremberg Judgment' editorial, "The Economist" [London], 5 October 194; See also: J. McMillan, 'Five Men at Nuremberg'


One criticism that was made of the IMT was that some treaties were not binding on the Axis powers because they were not signatories. This was addressed in the judgment relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity,[avalon 26] which contains an expansion of customary law: "...the [Hague] Convention expressly stated that it was an attempt 'to revise the general laws and customs of war', which it thus recognised to be then existing, but by 1939 these rules laid down in the Convention were recognised by all civilised nations, and were regarded as being declaratory of the laws and customs of war which are referred to in Article 6 [b] of the [London] Charter".

-- 'The trial of German major war criminals: proceedings of the International Military Tribunal sitting at Nuremberg, Germany'

4. The Constitute Project, 'Argentina’s Constitution of 1853, Reinstated in 1983, with Amendments through 1994'.
5. Uki Goñi, The Real Odessa. [New York, New York: Granta Books, 2002]
6. Central Intelligence Agency, 'Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act', Freedom of Information Act
7. "Ratlines" comes from the escape routes soldiers would take if stranded behind enemy lines. They would follow these routes to certain checkpoints that guaranteed their safety until they could get back into friendly territory. When World War II ended, the term was repurposed to describe the routes war criminals would take to avoid being apprehended and prosecuted.
8. The acronym for ODESSA comes from the German translation, which is "Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen". 
9. Simon Wiesenthal, "The Murders Among Us", ed. Joseph Wechsberg [New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967]
10. Uki Goñi, The Real ODESSA
11. Uki Goñi, forword to The Real ODESSA
12. Gitta Sereny, "Into That Darkness", [New York: Vintage Books, 1974],
13. Transcript, Vagner Kristensen Oral History Interview I, 26 May 2004, by Alexander von Plato, Trans. Avery Morrison, United States Holocaust Museum

Interview Summary: Vagner Kristensen, born 1927 on Fyn Isle, Denmark, describes his family; joining a Danish right wing youth organization in 1937; volunteering for the Waffen SS in 1943; traveling with his Danish unit to Hamburg; fighting in France; being wounded; fighting on the Eastern Front; withdrawing from the Eastern Front to Germany; suppressing the Warsaw ghetto uprising; the initial Danish support for German policy, which shifted during occupation; going into hiding at the end of the war in Germany; his sentencing in Denmark in 1945 for treason; his parents cutting off their relations from him because of his support of Germany; his time in prison from 1945 to 1947; joining a group called "Stille Hilfe"; his life after the war, during which he founded right-wing organizations; and an Israeli radio station that revealed his pro-Nazi work.

Die Stille Hilfe für Kriegsgefangene und Internierte, German for "Silent assistance for prisoners of war and interned persons" and abbreviated Stille Hilfe], is a relief organization for arrested, condemned and fugitive SS members, similar to the veterans' association HIAG, set up by Helene Elisabeth Princess von Isenburg in 1951, which helped condemned Nazi war criminals leave Germany and go to Argentina.

"Frikorps Danmark" [SS-Freiwilligen-Verband Dänemark] provided over 5500 anti-Bolshevik, non-Nazi volunteers for the Waffen SS during the Second World War, serving primarily on the Eastern Front, often fighting under appalling conditions.  They swore an oath to the commander of the Wehrmacht and not the usual oath to Adolf Hitler.

After the war Kristensen spent his time trying to win recognition for the Danish SS volunteers who fought for Hitler Germany against the Soviet Union during World War II.

In addition to an interview in "Ekstra Bladet" that stretched over three days in December 2011, Kristensen fulfilled his desire to get his version of the story out to the public in the book "On the wrong side" by the two historians Søren Bill Schou Christiansen and Rasmus Hyllested that appeared almost simultaneously with the newspaper articles. 

Earlier, the SS veteran had told his story in "Preparing for Denmark", Mikkel Kirkebæks book about the National Socialist Youth [NSU] from 2004.  

14. Vagner Kristensen, Oral History
15. Ibid.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. Vagnar Kristensen, Oral History
19. Gerald Steinacher, forword to Nazis on the Run, [New York, Oxford University Press, 2011]
20. The ODESSA File, directed by Ronald Neame, 18 October 1974 [West Germany, Columbia Pictures, 1974] and Frederick Forsyth, The ODESSA File [London, Hutchinson, 1972]
21. Daniel K. Lewis, The History of Argentina. [Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 2001]  
22. Benjamin Bryce, 'Paternal Communities: Social Welfare and Immigration to Argentina', Journal of Social History [2015]
23. Ibid.
24. Steinacher, Nazis on the Run
25. I say "most Germans" here because there is no way of knowing if all German-Argentines supported the Nazi ideology or not.
26. Jose Maria Miro, La Bolsa [Buenos Aires, 1905]
27. Carl Solberg, Immigration and Nationalism: Argentina and Chile, 1890-1914. [Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970]
28. Kessel Schwartz, 'Anti-Semitism in Modern Argentine Fiction'. Jewish Social Studies 40, no 2 [Spring 1978]
29. Schwartz, Antisemitism in Modern Argentine Fiction
30. Solberg, Immigration and Nationalism
31 Ibid.
32. Steinacher, Nazis on the Run
33. Guy Walters, Hunting Evil: The Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and the Quest to Bring Them to Justice [London, Random House, 2009]
34. Raanan Rein, Argentina, Israel and the Jews: Perón, The Eichmann Capture and after [Bethesda, Maryland: University Press of Maryland 2003]
35. Page, Peron: A Biography
36. Ibid.
37. Ibid.
38. Ibid.
39. Ibid.
40. Ibid.   
41. Lewis, The History of Argentina
42. Rein, Argentina, Israel, and the Jews
43. Walters, Hunting Evil
44. Hoppe’s records are sealed from researchers in England. Most accounts of his role were taken from interviews with others who were involved.

"Unprincipled Ruffian" told MI5 of Nazi plot to get gold to Argentina
Michael Evans
Sunday Times
4 September 2007

MI5 uncovered a plot by Nazi leaders to smuggle plundered jewellery, gold and other valuables in a submarine to Argentina two years before the end of the Second World War, according to newly released secret files.

The details emerged from 30 days of interrogating an "unprincipled ruffian" called Ernesto Hoppe, a naturalised Argentinian of German birth, who was an agent of the German Intelligence service and was to have played a key role in the "unique mission".

Hoppe, codenamed "Herold", was arrested in Gibraltar in 1943, while on his way by ship from Bilbao in Spain to Buenos Aires, after a tip-off from an MI6 informant in Argentina. He was taken to MI5's interrogation centre at Camp 020 in Ham, Surrey.

The MI5 file on Hoppe, one of more than 180 released yesterday by the National Archives in Kew, West London, said:

"The adventures of Hoppe would run well in serial form in the "Servants' Penny Weekly". Espionage, loot, U-Boats, clandestine landings, wireless transmitters, passwords, fast cars, pregnant wives, Spanish brothels, denunciations, forgeries, secret service prisons, escapes in hospital blue, all these things and more have come under consideration during the official investigation into the life of this man".

According to this hitherto secret document, KV2/2636, Ernest August Paul Hoppe was born in Brand, Germany, on 7 July 1891, and emigrated at age 16 to Argentina, where he obtained naturalization in 1918. He had a garage and a driving school on Bulnes Street , in Buenos Aires.

On a trip to Germany, around 1940, Hoppe was contacted by the Nazis to work with them on Intelligence work, reveals the file, containing about ten documents that the British Intelligence service MI5 recently delivered to the British National Archives in Kew Gardens, west London.

According to these documents, Hoppe was recruited by the German espionage service and worked for the Nazis on a secret mission that consisted of transferring money and documents from senior dignitaries of the Third Reich to Argentina.

First, the Nazis wanted him to travel on a U-2 submarine, that was to be moored on the south coast of Buenos Aires, at a place called El Rancho owned by a smuggler, during the Carnival season, so that it would go unnoticed, but then it was decided that he would travel on a commercial ship along with his wife because she was pregnant.

He was told that he would receive the cargo in Argentina, which he would then have to deliver.

At first, Hoppe refused to cooperate with his MI5 interrogators, proving to be "one of the most obstinate cases ever handled at Camp 020". He even escaped from a secure hospital where he had gone for treatment and tried unsuccessfully to contact the Argentine Embassy in London before being grabbed by Special Branch. 
Back at Camp 020, Hoppe, a rotund individual in his early fifties, decided to tell all, and the story of the Nazi smuggling plot began to unravel. He claimed that he had never intended to go through with his part in the plot, but admitted he had been approached by a German Luftwaffe colonel named Rosentreter, who had outlined his secret mission. The Nazis appeared to be planning for a quick exit to Argentina once Germany was defeated and the submarine cargo, estimated to be worth ten million German Marks, was to be their nest egg.

The MI5 file disclosed that the plan was for Hoppe to travel to Buenos Aires: He refused to go in the submarine – to receive about 40 boxes filled with the Nazi contraband, which were to be delivered at a coastal landing point by the crew of the U-Boat and then loaded into a three-tonne lorry.

"Cases marked A were to be handed [by Hoppe] to a bank [in Buenos Aires], B [boxes], marked `Vorsicht' [with care], were to go to Villa Balestero outside Buenos Aires owned by two Nazi brothers, and C [boxes] were to be delivered to an address in BA," the Hoppe file said.

The MI5 file added: "The contents of the cases marked C were politically the most dangerous, Rosentreter said, and would be of corresponding value to the British". 

On arrival in Argentina with his pregnant wife, Hoppe was to have been met by a man using the password: "Vengo para toma leccion, deme la hora" [I have come for a lesson, give me the time].

Hoppe told his MI5 interrogators that he intended to reveal the Nazi plot to the Argentine Government once he reached Buenos Aires and had hoped to get a reward. He denied the claim by MI6's informant, a German named Enrique Jurges living in Argentina, that he was a trained spy and had been engaged in espionage in Poland and also in the brutal treatment of Dutch citizens in Groningen in 1940.

MI5 had been warned that the informant was unreliable and a letter Hoppe was supposed to have written, boasting of his exploits, proved to be a forgery. But he was picked for the secret submarine mission after he became friends with a German major who guarded the estate of Hermann Goering, commander-in-chief of the Luftwaffe, and used to go out visiting "women friends" with him.

MI5 remained unsure of how serious a spy Hoppe was, and suggested feeding a story about him to the press with a headline, "Nazi leaders on the run". It was reckoned that the story would have a "profound effect on world opinion at the present time".

MI5 concluded:

"Patriotism means nothing to him as he is willing to work for the Argentine, Germany and England. Money means everything to him. Yet it would be unchivalrous to deny that he has been a doughty opponent and it would be untrue to say he is devoid of courage and resource". 

Hoppe was deported to Argentina after the war, in October 1945; the British services no longer knew about him.


45. Walters, Hunting Evil
46. Page, Peron
47. Steinacher, Nazis on the Run

48. Allied forces did not act as openly as this suggests but the United States, Great Britain and Soviet Union were all aware of each other’s actions during this period. Peron would have to act even more secret as to not alert the allied governments.
49. Page, Peron
50 Ibid.
51. Goñi, The Real ODESSA, 
52 Page, Peron
53 Ibid.
54 Steinacher, Nazis on the Run
55 Goni, The Real ODESSA
56. Ibid.
57. Hugo Fernandez Artucio, The Nazi Octopus in South America [London, England: Robert Hale Limited, 1943]
58. Central Intelligence Agency [CIA], 'Illegal immigration of Germans to Argentina Document' 
59. Goñi, The Real ODESSA
60. CIA, 'Illegal immigration of Germans to Argentina Document'
61. It is unclear if USFA stands for the United States Fire Association, which would make little sense in this context or if it’s a misprint of USAF, the United States Air Force

62. CIA, 'Anti-Communist Covenant in Germany'
63. Harmut Lauterbacher is the best translation from the heavily faded document in the CIA archives. Another document produced in 1950 refers to Harmut as Hans and labels him a leader of the Hitler Youth. 

Hartmann Lauterbacher [24 May 1909 in Reutte, Tyrol – 12 April 1988 in Seebruck, Bavaria] was a senior regional leader [Obergebietsführer] of the Hitler Youth, as well as Nazi Gauleiter of South Hanover-Braunschweig and an SS Gruppenführer.

Already by 1923, the then 14-year-old Hartmann Lauterbacher had become a member of the Austria-based NSDAP's youth organization. It is even said that Lauterbacher founded the first ever NSDAP youth local in Austria, in Kufstein. In 1925, when he was 16 years old, Lauterbacher was the leader of the Deutsche Jugend [German Youth], which he transferred to the Hitler Youth in 1927.

Between 1932 and 1933, Lauterbacher was appointed leader of the Westphalia-Lower Rhine area, and between 1933 and 1934 he was appointed high area leader of the Hitler Youth West.

On 22 May 1934, Baldur von Schirach appointed Lauterbacher his Deputy and Stabsführer. In 1936, Lauterbacher functioned as a member of the Reichstag, as of April 1937 as a ministerial adviser.

While von Schirach was away performing a short stint in the military, Lauterbacher took over the Hitler Youth's commissary leadership. When he likewise found himself having to spend a few weeks at military service, in the shape of an SS formation, he suffered an accident and was wounded badly enough to make deployment anywhere other than on the homefront quite impossible.

However, since a Hitler Youth leader could not show any sign of physical flaw or marring, Lauterbacher had to hand his position over to Artur Axmann, who now became Baldur von Schirach's Deputy. Helmut Möckel became Stabsführer [Möckel was killed in a car accident in Darmstadt on 15 February 1945 whilst recruiting Hitler Youth volunteers for Operation Werwolf. There were rumours that his death was faked and he had fled to Spain, but this has never been substantiated].

In August 1940, Lauterbacher was appointed acting Gauleiter of South Hanover-Braunschweig, and on 8 December 1940, as Science and Education Minister Bernhard Rust's successor, he was appointed full-fledged Gauleiter. At the same time he received an appointment as Honorary Leader of the Academy for Youth Leadership in Braunschweig

In January 1941, Lauterbacher was appointed to the Prussian State Council, and took over as High President [Oberpräsident] of the Province of Hanover on 1 April 1941 as SA Chief of Staff Viktor Lutze's successor. At about the same time came his promotion to SS Gruppenführer. Lauterbacher's last promotion came in November 1942, when he was appointed Reich Defence Commissar.

On 10 April 1945, shortly before the Allied forces marched into Germany, and only 20 days before Adolf Hitler killed himself, Lauterbacher took his family to safety in the Harz, but not without having announced over wired radio the requisite exhortations to hold out against the onslaught. Two days earlier, on 8 April, he had loaded his car up with cigarettes so that he could flee south from the Harz posing as a cigarette sales agent. Nonetheless, only a day after leaving his family in the Harz, on 11 April, after making it as far as Carinthia, Hartmann Lauterbacher was seized and taken prisoner by the British.

Early in July 1946, the High British Military Court in Hanover acquitted Lauterbacher of the charge of having ordered early in April 1945 the murder of German and Allied detainees at the prison in Hamelin.

In August 1947, new proceedings against Lauterbacher began at the Dachau International Military Tribunal. At issue this time was an order allegedly given by Lauterbacher in September 1944 for the shooting of twelve American airman who had been shot down over Goslar. In October 1947, this trial, too, ended in acquittal.

Lauterbacher, who since the end of the war had been interned in the Sandbostel camp near Bremervörde, managed on 25 February 1948 to flee detention owing to circumstances that are still unclear.

He went underground, until he was arrested in Rome in April 1950. Here he was dealing with people smugglers who took people from former fascist states with warrants or charges outstanding against them to South America or the Middle East.

Sent to the La Frachette camp near Rome by the Italians, who had declared him an "undesirable foreigner", Lauterbacher still managed to flee a few months later, in December 1950, to Argentina, following the same route Adolf Eichmann took the same year. In Buenos Aires he helped develop ratlines for other Nazis seeking to flee from Europe.

From there he went to Egypt with the assistance of the CIA and West German Intelligence to train anti-Israel guerrillas.

He was reported by the police in Munich on 4 September 1956. As more intensive investigations got underway, Lauterbacher once more went underground, this time, though, without leaving any trail.

In the early 1980s it came to light that between 1977 and 1979, Lauterbacher had been working as an adviser in the Omani Ministry of Youth. The last few years of his life he spent very reclusively in Germany. Only his death certificate establishes that he died in Seebruck.

64. CIA, 'Anti-Communist Covenant in Germany'
65. Kristensen, Oral History
66. Uki Goñi, The Real ODESSA
67. CIA, 'Illegal Immigration of Nazis from Germany to Argentina'
68 Goñi, The Real ODESSA
69 CIA, 'Illegal Immigration of Nazis from Germany to Argentina'
70. In this instance, body refers to a live person and not a dead body
71. CIA, 'Illegal Immigration of Nazis from Germany to Argentina'
72. Ibid.
73. CIA, 'Illegal Immigration of German to Argentina'
74. CIA, 'Nazi Aid Organization in Argentina Information Report'
75. Sources include Raanan Rein’s Argentina, Israel, and the Jews, Uki Goñi’s The Real ODESSA, Gita Sereny’s Into That Darkness, and Gerald Steinacher's Nazis on the Run.
76 CIA, 'Nazi Aid Organization in Argentina Information Report'
77 The Compañia Argentina para Proyectos y Realizaciones Idustriales directly translated to English is Argentine Society for Industrial Projects and their Execution.
78 Steinacher, Nazis on the Run

79. There is some disconnect between sources when referring to Perón’s number one recruiter. Some list Goyeneche while others list Fuldner. Goñi lists Goyeneche while Steinacher lists Fuldner as Perón’s number one recruiter in Europe.
80. CIA, 'Illegal immigration of Nazis from Germany to Argentina'
81. Steinacher, Nazis on the Run
82. Walters, Hunting Evil
83. Goñi, The Real ODESSA
84. Steinacher, Nazis on the Run
85. Goñi, The Real ODESSA 
86. Goñi, The Real ODESSA
87. Neal Bascomb, Hunting Eichmann [New York: Houghton Mifflin]
88. Goñi, The Real ODESSA
89. Ronald C. Newton, The Nazi Menace in Argentina [Stanford: Stanford Press] 
90. Newton, The Nazi Menace in Argentina
91. Walters, Hunting Evil
92. Mariscotti, 'El Secreto Atomico de Huemul', Physics today, March 2004
93. Newton, The Nazi Menace in Argentina
94. Walters, Hunting Evil 
95. Jonathon D. Hagood, abstract to 'Why Does Technology Transfer Fail? Two Technology Transfer Projects from Peronist Argentina', Comparative Technology Transfer and Society 1 [2006]
96. Ibid.
97 Steinacher, Nazis on the Run
98 Ibid.
99. CIA, 'Anti-Communist Movement in Germany'
100. Goñi , The Real ODESSA
101. Page, Peron
102. Robert J. Alexander, The Peron Era [New York: Columbia University Press, 1951]
101. Page, Peron
102. Alexander, The Peron Era

Operation Paperclip [(originally Operation Overcast] was the secretive Office of Strategic Services [OSS] program in which over 1,600 German scientists, technicians, and engineers [many of whom were formerly registered members of the Nazi Party and some of whom had leadership roles in the Nazi Party]  from Nazi Germany and other foreign countries were recruited and brought to the United States for government employment in the aftermath of World War II. It was conducted by the United States Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency [JIOA], to gain a military advantage in the burgeoning Cold War, and later Space Race, between the U.S. and Soviet Union. One purpose of Operation Paperclip was to deny German scientific expertise and knowledge to the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, as well as inhibiting post-war Germany from redeveloping its military research capabilities. The Soviet Union had competing extraction programs known as "trophy brigades" and Operation Osoaviakhim.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff [JCS] established the first secret recruitment program, called Operation Overcast, on 20 July 1945, initially "to assist in shortening the Japanese war and to aid our postwar military research." The term “Overcast” was the name first given by the German scientists’ family members for the housing camp where they were held in Bavaria. In September 1945, the JCS established the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency [JIOA] to directly oversee Operation Overcast and later Operation Paperclip. In November 1945, Operation Overcast was renamed Operation Paperclip by Ordnance Corps [United States Army] officers, who would attach a paperclip to the folders of those rocket experts whom they wished to employ in America. President Harry Truman formally approved Operation Paperclip in a secret directive, circulated on 3 September 1946.

Although the JIOA's recruitment of German scientists began after the Allied victory in Europe on 8 May 1945, U.S. President Harry Truman did not formally order the execution of Operation Paperclip until August 1945. Truman's order expressly excluded anyone found "to have been a member of the Nazi Party, and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazi militarism". However, those restrictions would have rendered ineligible most of the leading scientists the JIOA had identified for recruitment, among them rocket scientists Wernher von Braun, Kurt H. Debus and Arthur Rudolph, and the physician Hubertus Strughold, each earlier classified as a "menace to the security of the Allied Forces".

To circumvent President Truman's anti-Nazi order and the Allied Potsdam and Yalta agreements, the JIOA worked independently to create false employment and political biographies for the scientists. The JIOA also expunged from the public record the scientists' Nazi Party memberships and régime affiliations. Once "bleached" of their Nazism, the scientists were granted security clearances by the U.S. government to work in the United States. Paperclip, the project's operational name, derived from the paperclips used to attach the scientists' new political personae to their "US Government Scientist" JIOA personnel files.

On 26 April 1946, the Joint Chiefs of Staff issued JCS Directive 1067/14 to General Dwight Eisenhower instructing that he "preserve from destruction and take under your control records, plans, books, documents, papers, files and scientific, industrial and other information and data belonging to . . . German organizations engaged in military research"; and that, excepting war-criminals, German scientists be detained for Intelligence purposes as required.

Nazi Germany found itself at a logistical disadvantage, having failed to conquer the USSR with Operation Barbarossa [June–December 1941], the Siege of Leningrad [September 1941 – January 1944], Operation Nordlicht [August–October 1942], and the Battle of Stalingrad [July 1942 – February 1943]. The failed conquest had depleted German resources, and its military-industrial complex was unprepared to defend the Großdeutsche Reich [Greater German Reich] against the Red Army's westward counterattack. By early 1943, the German government began recalling from combat a number of scientists, engineers, and technicians; they returned to work in research and development to bolster German defense for a protracted war with the USSR. The recall from frontline combat included 4,000 rocketeers returned to Peenemünde, in northeast coastal Germany.

Overnight, Ph.D.s were liberated from KP duty, masters of science were recalled from orderly service, mathematicians were hauled out of bakeries, and precision mechanics ceased to be truck drivers.

— Dieter K. Huzel, "Peenemünde to Canaveral"

The Nazi government's recall of their now-useful intellectuals for scientific work first required identifying and locating the scientists, engineers, and technicians, then ascertaining their political and ideological reliability. Werner Osenberg, the engineer-scientist heading the Wehrforschungsgemeinschaft [Military Research Association], recorded the names of the politically cleared men to the Osenberg List, thus reinstating them to scientific work.

In March 1945, at Bonn University, a Polish laboratory technician found pieces of the Osenberg List stuffed in a toilet; the list subsequently reached MI6, who transmitted it to U.S. Intelligence. Then U.S. Army Major Robert B. Staver, Chief of the Jet Propulsion Section of the Research and Intelligence Branch of the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps, used the Osenberg List to compile his list of German scientists to be captured and interrogated; Wernher von Braun, Germany's premier rocket scientist, headed Major Staver's list.

In Operation Overcast, Major Staver's original intent was only to interview the scientists, but what he learned changed the operation's purpose. On 22 May 1945, he transmitted to U.S. Pentagon headquarters Colonel Joel Holmes's telegram urging the evacuation of German scientists and their families, as most "important for [the] Pacific war" effort. Most of the Osenberg List engineers worked at the Baltic coast German Army Research Center Peenemünde, developing the V-2 rocket. After capturing them, the Allies initially housed them and their families in Landshut, Bavaria, in southern Germany.

Beginning on 19 July 1945, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff [JCS] managed the captured ARC rocketeers under Operation Overcast. However, when the "Camp Overcast" name of the scientists' quarters became locally-known, the program was renamed Operation Paperclip in November 1945. Despite these attempts at secrecy, later that year the press interviewed several of the scientists.

Regarding Operation Alsos, Allied Intelligence described nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg, the German nuclear energy project principal, as "worth more to us than ten divisions of Germans". In addition to rocketeers and nuclear physicists, the Allies also sought chemists, physicians, and naval weaponeers.

Meanwhile, the Technical Director of the German Army Rocket Center, Wernher von Braun, was jailed at P.O. Box 1142, a military-Intelligence black site in Fort Hunt, Virginia, in the United States. Since the prison was unknown to the international community, its operation by the US was in violation of the Geneva Convention of 1929, which the United States had ratified. Although Von Braun's interrogators pressured him, he was not tortured; however in 1944 another PoW, U-Boat Captain Werner Henke had been shot and killed while climbing the fence at Fort Hunt.

Early on, the United States created the Combined Intelligence Objectives Subcommittee [CIOS]. This provided the information on targets for the T-Forces that went in and targeted scientific, military and industrial installations [and their employees] for their know-how. Initial priorities were advanced technology, such as infrared, that could be used in the war against Japan; finding out what technology had been passed on to Japan; and finally to halt the research. A project to halt the research was codenamed Project Safehaven, and it was not initially targeted against the Soviet Union; rather the concern was that German scientists might emigrate and continue their research in countries such as Spain, Argentina or Egypt, all of which had sympathized with Nazi Germany. In order to avoid the complications involved with the emigration of German scientists, the CIOS was responsible for scouting and kidnapping high profile individuals for the deprivation of technological advancements in nations outside of the US.

Much U.S. effort was focused on Saxony and Thuringia, which by 1 July 1945, would become part of the Soviet Occupation zone. Many German research facilities and personnel had been evacuated to these states, particularly from the Berlin area. Fearing that the Soviet takeover would limit U.S. ability to exploit German scientific and technical expertise, and not wanting the Soviet Union to benefit from said expertise, the United States instigated an "evacuation operation" of scientific personnel from Saxony and Thuringia, issuing orders such as:

"On orders of Military Government you are to report with your family and baggage as much as you can carry tomorrow noon at 1300 hours [22 June 1945] at the town square in Bitterfeld. There is no need to bring winter clothing. Easily carried possessions, such as family documents, jewelry, and the like should be taken along. You will be transported by motor vehicle to the nearest railway station. From there you will travel on to the West. Please tell the bearer of this letter how large your family is".

By 1947 this evacuation operation had netted an estimated 1,800 technicians and scientists, along with 3,700 family members. Those with special skills or knowledge were taken to detention and interrogation centers, such as one code-named Dustbin, to be held and interrogated, in some cases for months.

A few of the scientists were gathered up in Operation Overcast, but most were transported to villages in the countryside where there were neither research facilities nor work; they were provided stipends and forced to report twice weekly to police headquarters to prevent them from leaving. The Joint Chiefs of Staff directive on research and teaching stated that technicians and scientists should be released "only after all interested agencies were satisfied that all desired intelligence information had been obtained from them".

On 5 November 1947, the Office of Military Government of the United States [OMGUS], which had jurisdiction over the western part of occupied Germany, held a conference to consider the status of the evacuees, the monetary claims that the evacuees had filed against the United States, and the "possible violation by the US of laws of war or Rules of Land Warfare". The OMGUS director of Intelligence R. L. Walsh initiated a program to resettle the evacuees in the Third World, which the Germans referred to as General Walsh's "Urwald-Programm" [jungle program], however this program never matured. In 1948, the evacuees received settlements of 69.5 million Reichsmarks from the U.S., a settlement that soon became severely devalued during the currency reform that introduced the Deutsche Mark as the official currency of western Germany.

John Gimbel concludes that the United States put some of Germany's best minds on ice for three years, therefore depriving the German recovery of their expertise.

In May 1945, the U.S. Navy "received in custody" Dr. Herbert A. Wagner, the inventor of the Hs 293 missile; for two years, he first worked at the Special Devices Center, at Castle Gould and at Hempstead House, Long Island, New York; in 1947, he moved to the Naval Air Station Point Mugu.

In August 1945, Colonel Holger Toftoy, head of the Rocket Branch of the Research and Development Division of the U.S. Army's Ordnance Corps, offered initial one-year contracts to the rocket scientists; 127 of them accepted. In September 1945, the first group of seven rocket scientists [aerospace engineers] arrived at Fort Strong, located on Long Island in Boston harbor: Wernher von Braun, Erich W. Neubert, Theodor A. Poppel, August Schulze, Eberhard Rees, Wilhelm Jungert, and Walter Schwidetzky.

Beginning in late 1945, three rocket-scientist groups arrived in the United States for duty at Fort Bliss, Texas, and at White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, as "War Department Special Employees".

In 1946, the United States Bureau of Mines employed seven German synthetic fuel scientists at a Fischer-Tropsch chemical plant in Louisiana, Missouri.

In early 1950, legal U.S. residency for some of the Project Paperclip specialists was effected through the U.S. consulate in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico; thus, German scientists legally entered the United States from Latin America.

Between 1945 and 1952, the United States Air Force sponsored the largest number of Paperclip scientists, importing 260 men, of whom 36 returned to Germany and 1 reemigrated to Argentina.

Eighty-six aeronautical engineers were transferred to Wright Field, where the United States had Luftwaffe aircraft and equipment captured under Operation Lusty [Luftwaffe Secret Technology].

The United States Army Signal Corps employed 24 specialists – including the physicists Georg Goubau, Gunter Guttwein, Georg Hass, Horst Kedesdy, and Kurt Lehovec; the physical chemists Rudolf Brill, Ernst Baars, and Eberhard Both; the geophysicist Helmut Weickmann; the optician Gerhard Schwesinger; and the engineers Eduard Gerber, Richard Günther, and Hans Ziegler.

In 1959, 94 Operation Paperclip men went to the United States, including Friedwardt Winterberg and Friedrich Wigand.

Overall, through its operations to 1990, Operation Paperclip imported 1,600 men, as part of the intellectual reparations owed to the United States and the UK, valued at $10 Billion in patents and industrial processes.

During the decades after they were included in Operation Paperclip, some scientists were investigated because of their activities during World War II. Arthur Rudolph, under perceived threat of prosecution relating to his connection to the use of forced labor at Mittelwerk, renounced his U.S. citizenship in 1984 and moved to West Germany, which granted him citizenship. Similarly, Georg Rickhey, who came to the United States under Operation Paperclip in 1946, was returned to Germany to stand trial at the Dora Trial in 1947; he was acquitted, and returned to the United States in 1948, eventually becoming a U.S. citizen.

The Aeromedical library at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, had been named after Hubertus Strughold in 1977. However, it was later renamed because documents from the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal linked Strughold to medical experiments in which inmates from Dachau were tortured and killed.  For fifty years, from 1963–2013, the Strughold Award, was the most prestigious award from the Aerospace Medical Association. On 1 October 2013, in the aftermath of a "Wall Street Journal" article, the Space Medicine Association’s Executive Committee announced that the Space Medicine Association Strughold Award had been retired.

Similar operations:

Applepie: Project to capture and interrogate key Wehrmacht, RSHA AMT VI, and General Staff officers knowledgeable of the industry and economy of the USSR.
Dustbin [counterpart of Ashcan]: An Anglo-American military Intelligence operation established first in Paris, then in Kransberg Castle, at Frankfurt.
Eclipse [1944]: An unimplemented Air Disarmament Wing plan for post-war operations in Europe for destroying V-1 and V-2 missiles.
: US project within Eclipse meant to prevent the escape of Nazi scientists from Allied-occupied Germany.[11]
Field Information Agency; Technical [FIAT]: US Army agency for securing the "major, and perhaps only, material reward of victory, namely, the advancement of science and the improvement of production and standards of living in the United Nations, by proper exploitation of German methods in these fields"; FIAT ended in 1947, when Operation Paperclip began functioning.
National Interest/Project 63: Job placement assistance for Nazi engineers at Lockheed, Martin Marietta, North American Aviation, and other aeroplane companies, whilst American aerospace engineers were being laid off work.
Operation Alsos, Operation Big, Operation Epsilon, Russian Alsos: Soviet, American and British efforts to capture German nuclear secrets, equipment, and personnel.
Operation Backfire: A British effort at capturing rocket and aerospace technology from Cuxhaven.
Fedden Mission: British mission to gain technical intelligence concerning advanced German aircraft and their propulsion systems.
Operation Lusty: US efforts to capture German aeronautical equipment, technology, and personnel.
Operation Osoaviakhim [sometimes transliterated as "Operation Ossavakim"], a Soviet counterpart of Operation Paperclip, involving German technicians, managers, skilled workers and their respective families who were relocated to the USSR in October 1946.
Operation Surgeon: British operation for denying German aeronautical expertise from the USSR, and for exploiting German scientists in furthering British research.
Special Mission V-2: April–May 1945 US operation, by Maj. William Bromley, that recovered parts and equipment for 100 V-2 missiles from a Mittelwerk underground factory in Kohnstein within the Soviet zone. Maj. James P. Hamill co-ordinated the transport of the equipment on 341 railroad cars with the 144th Motor Vehicle Assembly Company, from Nordhausen to Erfurt, just before the Soviets arrived.
Target Intelligence Committee: US project to exploit German cryptographers.

Secret files reveal 9,000 Nazi war criminals fled to South America after WWII
By Allan Hall
Daily Mail
19 March 2012

After receiving tip-offs, German prosecutors were recently granted access to secret files in Brazil and Chile that confirmed the true number of Third Reich immigrants.

According to the documents, an estimated 9,000 war criminals escaped to South America, including Croatians, Ukrainians, Russians and other western Europeans who aided the Nazi murder machine.

Most, perhaps as many as 5,000, went to Argentina; between 1,500 and 2,000 are thought to have made it to Brazil; around 500 to 1,000 to Chile; and the rest to Paraguay and Uruguay. These numbers do not include several hundred more who fled to the safety of right-wing regimes in the Middle East.

Previous estimates as to how many Nazis fled to South America have varied wildly from 5,000 to 300,000.
The files also showed that during the war Argentine President General Juan Peron sold 10,000 blank Argentine passports to ODESSA – the organisation set up to protect former SS men in the event of defeat.

Kurt Schrimm, head of the central war criminal authority in Germany, is among the legal team sifting through archives, said a female historian provided the clues about the Nazis who got away.

Mr Schrimm and his colleague Uwe Steintz, believe the archives may also provide clues to Nazis who sneaked back to the Fatherland to live out their days undetected.

Of particular interest to the hunters are details of the so-called "Rat Lines" - the escape routes out of a shattered Europe after WW2 that allowed an estimated 800 murderers to escape on passports provided by the Vatican.

Since arriving in South America three weeks ago, Mr Schrimm and Mr Steintz have pored over the "Arquivo Historico", the repository for all immigration records, in Rio de Janiero.

They show that 20,000 Germans settled in Brazil alone between 1945 and 1959.

Many South American countries postwar were ruled by fascist-style military dictatorships that welcomed the brutal servants of Nazism with few questions asked.
Mr Steintz said:

"Already we see something of a pattern in the way these criminals operated. They almost always entered the country alone and sent for their families afterwards. And most entered on a passport of the International Red Cross. Eight hundred higher functionaries of the SS and Nazi state entered Argentina alone on such passports".

The files show that the contact point for many was Austrian Bishop Alois Hudal, priest-confessor to the German Catholic community in Rome.
Investigators hope that the files will yield up cross references to the secret services of Chile and Brazil detailing names of Intelligence agents who helped the Nazi war criminals. 

The Peróns:  Argentina’s Populist Power Couple
Juan Perón and his wife Evita have been lionized by some, while they have been accused of many evil things by others. Were the Peróns really so bad? Or have they merely been smeared because the populist Perón was not unfriendly to the Third Reich.

Understandably, the mainstream media have chosen to ignore the first results of the much-ballyhooed “CEANA” investigations into Argentina’s alleged Nazi past. CEANA is the Argentine 'Commission of Inquiry into the Activities of Nazism in Argentina" [Comisión Para el Esclarecimiento de las Actividades del Nazismo en la Argentina].

After more than three years of investigations, CEANA effectively exonerates the Argentine government of incessant malicious charges, accusations and insinuations—generated by the media—of having deliberately harbored countless Nazi war criminals, and ill-gotten art treasures and gold, confiscated from Jewish victims of World War II. Aside from the unfounded media reports, sensational books of fiction like Frederick Forsyth’s "The Odessa File" and Jorge Camarasa’s "Odessa al Sur" suggested that a vast network had been established, with the complicity of the Vatican and Juan Perón’s administration, to funnel former SS men and Nazi gold into Argentina. A veritable hysteria, fed by the media, over the alleged presence of Nazis in Argentina has prevailed since World War II. These falsehoods are now being exposed.

The Kilos of Gold of the III Reich that arrived until in Rio de la Plata
During World War II the Nazis robbed their victims, especially the Jews, of an immense fortune in gold, jewels and other values.  Part of that booty came to Argentina, where, after the German defeat in 1945, at least 180 war criminals took refuge, according to a report by the "Commission for the Clarification of the Activities of Nazism in Argentina" [CEANA], released in 1999.

Here, the hierarchs of Adolf Hitler's regime had a good relationship with the government of Juan Perón, according to journalist Uki Goñi, author of two books on this subject.

Investigations into the fate of funds stolen by the Nazis gained momentum in mid-1996, when the British Foreign Office published its archives on what had been stolen and deposited in Switzerland during the conflict.

The CEANA study revealed that in 1945, some 200 kilograms of Gold looted from the Croatian central bank and allegedly belonging to the victims of the Ustasha regime of that country [1941-1945], arrived in Argentina.

This gold did not, however, end in the official coffers, but under the mattresses of the hierarchs of the Fascist system, including the infamous Ante Pavelić.

The CEANA could only verify the transfer of $ 70,000 in Nazi Gold to Argentina in 1946.  This amount was transferred to the Swiss authorities, who assumed representation of the German interests in Argentina after the end of the war.  But it is difficult to verify that this was money looted from victims of the concentration camps, since there were Chilean, British and Peruvian coins, among others.

On 11 November 1999, CEANA, an official board of inquiry, issued preliminary findings after a comprehensive and exhaustive investigation. Established by Argentine Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella in 1997 to determine the truth about the extent of Nazi infiltration and stolen gold hoards allegedly brought to Argentina by German submarines during the closing days of the war, CEANA was staffed by a team of international scholars, chosen for a belief in their integrity, who, to further ensure their findings would be accepted by the world, were monitored by Jewish academic and media shepherds. The CEANA commission was granted full access to the state archives of the nations of Argentina, the United States, Great Britain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and Portugal.

The researchers, with the concurrence of the Jewish members, found that in fact very few Nazis and Nazi collaborators had entered Argentina. For example, respected historian Carlota Jakisch estimated that some 65 alleged war criminals, including the much-publicized Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele, had succeeded in entering Argentina and thereby escaping Allied "justice", i.e. the hangman. German historian Holger Meding was able to find that only 45 Nazi war criminals had escaped the victors’ justice by slipping into Argentina. The researchers also verified that 36 French and Belgian and 52 Croatian collaborators had also managed to escape justice in Argentina. Thus, a grand total of fewer than 200 Nazis and Nazi collaborators, of whom only a few could be considered dangerous war criminals, was determined to have entered Argentina.

"In Nuremberg at that time something was taking place that I personally considered a disgrace and an unfortunate lesson for the future of humanity. I became certain that the Argentine people also considered the Nuremberg process a disgrace, unworthy of the victors, who behaved as if they hadn’t been victorious. Now we realize that they [the Allies] deserved to lose the war. During my government I often delivered speeches against Nuremberg, which is an outrage history will not forgive".

-- From the private tapes of Juan Domingo Perón, President of Argentina, 1946–55

Admittedly, Austrian Bishop Alois Hudal and other priests were found to have aided several wanted individuals in their time of need, just as they helped Jews earlier, when they were threatened. Some gold and valuables belonging to dubious individuals may have been transferred from Europe to Argentina, the land of silver, but certainly not large quantities. Concerning gold transfers, CEANA reports unequivocally that "Nazi gold never entered the country physically . . . and that any complicity of Argentina Central Bank in transactions related to Nazi gold was, in any case, very marginal". Further, no official records involving the Perón administration on the matter of gold transfers or looted art have been revealed.

Quite naturally, many Germans, who saw no future in Germany in 1945, chose to emigrate to Argentina. Moreover, Argentina, as a Catholic country, has a long tradition, shared with other Latin countries, of permitting its churches to grant sanctuary to individuals in need and of granting defeated military personnel the privilege of seeking safety in exile.

The continued animosity of the Anglo-American Establishment directed against the persons of Juan Domingo Perón and his wife, Eva Duarte de Perón [known as "Evita"], which borders on the pathological, deserves special attention. This enduring animus would be incomprehensible without understanding the history of British imperialism in Argentina and the sociopolitical revolutions of the first half of the 20th century.

The underlying cause of the continuing UK/U.S. hostility toward Argentina stems from the Peróns’ success in freeing the country, albeit temporarily, from its traditional economic dependence on foreign markets and capital, initially British but later American. British and U.S. companies eventually held a virtual monopoly over the Argentine meat-packing, railroad, electric power, pharmaceutical and other industries. In 1933, the controversial Roca-Runciman Treaty seemed to seal the special Argentine-British relationship. It would also have kept Argentina in a quasi-colonial status as agricultural supplier to Britain.

Several unforeseen events upset this special relationship. First, the onset of World War II cut Argentina off from its traditional markets and investment sources and forced the country to become more self-sufficient by developing its own industrial and financial base. With modernization and industrialization, the labor unions grew ever more powerful. The long-reigning Argentine oligarchy, with which the British had always dealt, began to lose its privileged position. The very word "autarky" [i.e., national self-sufficiency] is, of course, anathema to international moneylenders.

In 1943 a military coup overthrew the corrupt Castillo government. A young, charismatic colonel, Juan Perón, assumed control of the Ministry of Labor and Welfare of the economically foundering nation. With the indispensable assistance of a fellow colonel, Domingo Alfredo Mercante, who assumed control of the vital Buenos Aires province, Perón’s organizational and leadership qualities won him the support of the working class that be came his main political base.

The bulk of the population in Argentina is of Italian and Spanish extraction. It was quite natural in the Great Depression of the 1930s, when American and British capitalism was on the rocks, which the military and the common people in Argentina turned to Mussolini’s Fascist Italy and National Socialist Germany as models. Moreover, like Italy, Argentina was a Catholic country with mores and a spirit quite different from those of "Perfidious Albion".

As Perón’s power increased [he became vice president and minister of war in 1940], the oligarchs and others whose status was now being threatened staged a coup in early October 1945 that ousted Perón from the government. However, the insurgents miscalculated badly, and within a few days Perón’s followers were able to regroup and fight back. Under the leadership of the labor leaders in Buenos Aires and Perón’s loyal friend, Col. Mercante, whom Evita was later to call "the heart of Perón," massive street demonstrations were staged.

With World War II concluded and Britain an economic basket case, Perón pushed ahead with his domestic industrialization program, including nationalizing foreign-owned businesses.

Joining and reinforcing Perón in this major restructuring of the Argentine economy was Evita, whom he married. A woman fiercely dedicated to her husband and his program, Evita proved a tremendous asset to Perón, who, by 1946, had become president of Argentina. Contrary to American public opinion, Juan Perón’s power did not derive from Evita, but Evita’s from Juan’s.

Perón himself was referred to as the leader and standard bearer of the "descamisados" [the shirtless ones, i.e., the workers]. Perón’s political doctrine was "justicialismo" [social justice] and "the Third Position", which was opposed to the oligarchs, the communists and the imperialists.

Evita Perón, who had a successful career in radio, movies and theater before her marriage to Perón, soon won the affection of the Argentine people. Evita was an extremely effective public speaker, arguing emotionally and dramatically on behalf of Perón’s policies.

Evita almost single-handedly took over all welfare in Argentina, opening hospitals, schools, housing projects, orphanages, libraries, homes for the elderly, shelters for the indigent and social security programs—all under the auspices of her Social Aid Foundation. In doing so, she in effect replaced charity with a government aid program. Equally important and long lasting were her support of women’s rights and her championship of the law that gave Argentine women the right to vote.

To have accomplished so much in Argentinian society at tests to Evita’s unusual appeal and tact. In her speeches she always presented herself modestly as Perón’s "bridge to the people", never ceasing to defer to and praise her husband, El Presidente. For his part Perón could only be most thankful for his wife’s loyalty and support. Evita’s activities further incurred the wrath of the oligarchs, especially the wealthy Ladies of Beneficence, who had traditionally managed charitable operations in Argentina.

Juan and Evita were a perfect team: he, the strong, macho military leader fighting against communism and imperialism for an independent Argentina; she, childless, frail in appearance, in failing health, the wife and main supporter of her revered husband.

Upon her death on 26 July 1952, the government announced:

"It is our sad duty to inform the people of the republic that Eva, the spiritual leader of the nation, died at 8:25 p.m".

Perón’s fortunes began to decline following his wife’s death. Europe recovered from World War II, and its industries were again working overtime—supplying South American countries. The United States was now not only helping the British reestablish their pre-Perón privileges but also intervening in Argentine affairs. [The total diplomatic and logistical support the U.S. government gave Britain during the Falkland Islands War in 1982 demonstrated clearly the commonality of U.S-UK policy vis-a-vis Argentina, whose claims to the islands are at least as valid as Britain’s].

Perón’s hopes to establish home industries eventually foundered. Economic distress was soon followed by political action against Perónism.

In 1955 Perón was ousted in a military coup. The new regime, backed by the oligarchy and other enemies of the Peróns, undertook to dismantle as many of Evita’s innovations and institutions [shelters, schools, hospitals] as it could, especially those bearing her name. Even her body was disinterred and transported out of the country. Perón himself went into exile in Spain.

To discredit Perónism, a campaign of calumny and slander concerning the private lives and character of both Juan and Evita was started, and it continues to this day. He was accused of living with teenage girls and of being a Nazi sympathizer. Evita was maliciously denounced as a common prostitute who stole money from the Eva Duarte Foundation. But the campaign of hate and vilification against the Peróns failed completely in Argentina and most of the Latin world, though the allegations continue to titillate British and American scandalmongers.

Juan Perón was returned to power in 1974, and Evita’s body was finally laid to rest in her native land. The Perónist Party continues to exist, but, without an effective leader, it has become very fragmented. While Evita never quite became "Santa Evita", she is nonetheless fondly remembered by many in present-day Argentina.

After the war many immigrants from Europe arrived in Argentina seeking to start new lives, as they did in the United States. For historical, ethnic and religious reasons the Argentine government chose not to seek out, pursue, arrest or indict "suspect" Germans who arrived as immigrants after World War II. Was this so terrible? For their own reasons, the United States, Britain and France have themselves elected not to seek out, pursue, arrest, indict or deport Russians, Ukrainians or Jews who were involved in communist crimes, not even those associated with the infamous Gulag system, even though communist crimes lasted over a much longer period, involved millions more victims and were of much more recent origin.

During the war the United States was an active belligerent, allied with the Soviet Union, while Argentina, remained neutral as long as possible with obvious sympathies for the Italian and German people. Not until 27 March 1945, under great pressure from the United States, did Argentina finally declare war against Germany. None other than Juan Domingo Perón, then minister of war, signed the declaration of war. Moreover, most Argentine exports of raw materials during World War II went to the United States and Britain, not to Germany and Italy.

The international CEANA commission has proved extremely useful in demystifying and dispelling many misconceptions about the extent of Nazi influence in Argentina. The selection of honest, independent and unbiased researchers, with the participation of open-minded Jews, combined with the cooperation of involved states, seems the perfect vehicle for resolving lingering doubts about other controversial events of World War II. It is to be hoped that a similar international commission is established to define—once and for all—the exact parameters of Jewish losses in the holocaust.

-- By Robert K. Logan