Nazis on the Run: How Hitler's Henchmen Fled Justice

Nazis on the Run: How Hitler's Henchmen Fled Justice

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by Gerald Steinacher
     
 

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In Nazis on the Run, historian Gerald Steinacher provides the true story of how the Nazis escaped their fate. Drawing on extensive research in newly opened archives, Steinacher not only reveals how Nazi war criminals escaped from justice at the end of the Second World War, fleeing through the Tyrolean Alps to Italian seaports, but he also highlights the key roles

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Overview

In Nazis on the Run, historian Gerald Steinacher provides the true story of how the Nazis escaped their fate. Drawing on extensive research in newly opened archives, Steinacher not only reveals how Nazi war criminals escaped from justice at the end of the Second World War, fleeing through the Tyrolean Alps to Italian seaports, but he also highlights the key roles played by the Red Cross, the Vatican, and the Secret Services of the major powers. The book takes a hard look at the International Committee of the Red Cross, proving that identification papers issued by the Red Cross made it possible for thousands of Nazis, war criminals, and collaborators—including Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengale—to slip through the hands of justice and to find refuge in North and South America, Spain, and the Near East. Steinacher underscores the importance of the South Tyrol as a "ratline" from Germany to Italy and also reveals that many leaders of the Catholic Church—sometimes knowingly, other times unwittingly—were involved in large-scale Nazi smuggling, often driven by the fear of an imminent communist takeover of Italy. Finally, the book documents how the Counter Intelligence Corps (the predecessor to the CIA) recruited former SS men to advise U.S. intelligence agencies and smuggled them out of Soviet-occupied areas of Austria and Eastern Europe into Italy and on to South America.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A well-written book that is packed with startling information and grubby stories about the moral cost of political exigency."
—New Statesman

"The standard for generations of historians who wish to study the fate of Hitler's followers who evaded justice for decades or escaped it altogether."
—Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
After the defeat of the Third Reich, hundreds of Nazi war criminals—most famously Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele—escaped capture, in many cases by going to Latin America. Based on extensive research on newly opened archives, historian Steinacher documents four surprising institutions that aided them in this process: the International Committee of the Red Cross, which freely issued travel documents based on the testimony of two witnesses identifying the Nazi escapees; the Catholic Church, particularly the Vatican Relief Committee and individual priests more interested in fighting communism and gaining new adherents; the U.S., who employed former SS men as anticommunist agents; and finally, Argentina, led by dictator Juan Perón, which admitted ex-Nazis, particularly those with military ties, in an effort to quickly modernize the country. Perón even declared an amnesty for those who had entered the country illegally. Steinacher, a research fellow at Harvard and lecturer on contemporary history at the University of Innsbruck (Austria), generally tells this story clearly and the depth of his research is impressive. Too many individual stories are related too briefly, though, and he gives too much bureaucratic detail. But this is still a fine contribution to the post-history of Nazism, particularly as it was influenced by the early cold war. 16 pages of b&w photos. (June)
Library Journal
Steinacher (Joseph A. Schumpeter Research Fellow, Ctr. for European Studies, Harvard) has meticulously researched how so many Nazi war criminals were able to escape justice after World War II. While its title may lead some readers to expect a dashing adventure tale of espionage and escape, this book is really about the bureaucratic chaos that paralyzed the Allied governments in the early postwar period. By pouring over newly released archives, Steinacher shows how the International Red Cross, the Vatican, and Western intelligence agencies preoccupied with the Cold War against the Soviet Union were all complicit in the escape of key Nazi criminals. Often this assistance was given unintentionally, but the chaos that followed World War II made the escapes almost inevitable. The millions of displaced without documentation made it easy for thousands of war criminals to disappear. VERDICT This book will be the standard for generations of historians who wish to study the fate of Hitler's followers who evaded justice for decades or escaped it altogether. Recommended.—Michael Farrell, Reformed Theological Seminary Lib., Oviedo, FL

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199642458
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Publication date:
10/25/2012
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
878,135
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.30(d)

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