www.clarin.comquote:LOS MILLONES DEL NAZISMO EN LA ARGENTINA
110 por ciento nazis
primer gobierno de Perón. Era argentino. Pero viajó a Alemania en 1922 y se enroló en el cuerpo de elite de Adolf Hitler.
Que un capitán de las SS y espía de Heinrich Himmler tras la guerra se convirtiera en el agente principal de la División Informaciones de la Casa Rosada durante la primera presidencia del general Juan Perón parece extraído de una novela sobre ODESSA. Sin embargo así ocurrió. Horst Alberto Carlos Fuldner era consciente que rescatar de los tribunales de Europa a sus ex camaradas nazis podía crear dificultades de conciencia a algunos. Sin embargo, actuaba siguiendo instrucciones del propio presidente de la Nación, como declaró en 1949 en un sumario secreto de la Dirección de Migraciones que ha sobrevivido en el Archivo General de la Nación. Nacido en el barrio de Belgrano en 1910, de padres germanos, Fuldner viajó a Alemania en 1922. Ingresó a las SS a los 21 años. Al recibir el llamado para cumplir el servicio militar en Buenos Aires, en 1931, presentó una carta ante la Embajada argentina en Berlín. Decía que a pesar de seguir siendo argentino en el corazón ahora era ciudadano alemán y los deberes y derechos como argentino no son más los míos. La Embajada le contestó fríamente que la patria era irrenunciable. Cuando intentaba fugarse de Europa en 1935, tras protagonizar defraudaciones y estafas en Hamburgo, Fuldner fue recapturado en alta mar frente a la costa de Brasil, llevado a Alemania y su anillo con la calavera de las SS ritualmente fundido. Pero para marzo de 1945, Fuldner revistaba como agente secreto del servicio secreto de Himmler, el temible SD, partiendo de Berlín a Madrid en una misión programada para después de la guerra, como pudo constatar el espionaje estadounidense en España. Traía abundante dinero, un avión cargado de objetos de arte, su pasaporte alemán y el argentino. En Madrid se reunió con otros fugitivos que pronto se trasladaron por avión y barco a la Argentina. Así fue como el croata de la Luftwaffe Gino Monti de Valsassina; el ex embajador croata ante Hitler, Branco Benzon; el criminal de guerra belga Pierre Daye; el colaboracionista francés Georges Guilgaud Degay; el criminal francoargentino Charles Lescat y el polaco Czeslaw Smolinski sesionaron durante 1947 con Perón en la Casa Rosada, planeando bajo el paraguas de la División Informaciones el rescate de sus compañeros que permanecían en Europa. Algunos de ellos estaban relacionados con nacionalistas argentinos. Lescat en particular con Cosme Beccar Varela y Juan Carlos Goyeneche, habiendo el último sido colaborador del SD en Europa durante la guerra, cuando se reunió con el mismo Himmler y donde habría conocido a Fuldner. Para cumplir su misión a favor de los nazis, Fuldner retornó a Europa desde el 16 de diciembre de 1947 hasta el 16 de octubre de 1948, operando desde una oficina abierta secretamente por el ex coronel del GOU Benito Llambí, ahora convertido en embajador argentino en Suiza, en la calle Merktgasse 49 de Berna. Fuldner -con el apoyo desde Buenos Aires del jefe de la División Informaciones Rodolfo Freude- cruzaba a sus clientes clandestinamente de Suiza a Alemania, transportándolos a Génova y de allí por barcos de la línea Dodero a Buenos Aires. Durante 1947 y 1948 partieron hacia la Argentina un gran número de criminales de guerra, colaboradores del nazismo y ex agentes del SD, entre ellos Dinko Sakic, Erich Priebke, Ante Pavelic, Walter Kutschmann, Friedrich Rauch, Milan Stojadinovich, Erich Schroeder, Eduard Roschmann y Fridolin Guth. Gerhard Bohne, a cargo del programa de eutanasia de Hitler, nombró como referencia en el Consulado argentino en Génova al secretario de Aeronáutica. Fuldner por aquella época era agente de la Aeronáutica argentina en Europa. Otros como Josef Schwamberger, Adolf Eichmann y Josef Mengele embarcaron entre 1949 y 1950, tras haber iniciado sus gestiones de ingreso ante las autoridades argentinas en Europa durante 1948. El soberbio e intrigante Fuldner y sus socios Georg Weiss y Herbert Helferich eran considerados 110 por ciento nazis por los diplomáticos suizos en Buenos Aires, quienes el 15 de noviembre de 1948 informaron a Berna que el patrocinador de Fuldner era Freude, secretario privado del presidente Perón.La legación suiza en Buenos Aires consideraba extraordinariamente delicado actuar contra Carlos Fuldner sin arriesgar lastimar los sentimientos del muy influyente Dr. Freude.En Berna, Fuldner era también asistido por el diplomático argentino Enrique Moss, cónsul en Berlín durante la guerra, y por el polaco Smolinski.Quizás por la presión suiza o porque había caído en desgracia con Eva Duarte, a mediados de 1948 Freude comunicó por carta secreta a Llambí que Fuldner cesaba su misión en Europa, agradeciendo al coronel su amplia y generosa colaboración en el plan de búsqueda y traslado de técnicos especializados.Justamente Eichmann y Guth entraron a la Argentina como técnicos, Pavelic y Schroeder como ingenieros, Sakic, Roschmann, Schwamberger y Mengele como mecánicos, así consta en los registros de su entrada al país. Ante la dificultad de obtener empleos dignos para estos especializados, Fuldner en 1950 creó CAPRI, una empresa ligada a la estatal Agua y Energía que ganó una licitación dentro del plan quinquenal peronista para medir ríos en Tucumán. Hasta allí se dirigió Eichmann con otros ex camaradas de las SS ahora devenidos en técnicos de CAPRI. En mayo de 1960, cuando Eichmann fue capturado en Buenos Aires por un comando secreto israelí, Coordinación Federal se acercó a la casa de Fuldner en el coqueto barrio de Palermo Chico intentando rastrear el paradero del jerarca nazi. Fuldner se acordaba perfectamente de la fecha de ingreso al país de Eichmann, el 14 de julio de 1950 a bordo del Giovanna C, como consta en su declaración ante Coordinación Federal aquel día.Fuldner murió en 1992 en Madrid. Allí su hija negó recientemente ante un periodista español las actividades a favor de los nazis de su padre. Hoy el único sobreviviente de aquellas reuniones con Perón en la Casa Rosada es Rodolfo Freude, quien a los 76 años administra un importante imperio económico. Apodado cariñosamente Rudi por Perón en aquella época, Freude guarda hoy un hermético silencio desde sus oficinas del piso 19 de Corrientes 327. Una empleada judía que comparte la cochera del edificio y que prefiere no ser identificada admite que tiembla cuando se cruza con el recio ex jefe de la División Informaciones enfilando hacia su automóvil al final de cada día. Uki Goñi es autor del libro Perón y los alemanes.
quote:THE MILLIONS OF THE NAZISM IN Argentina 110 percent Nazis
A captain of the SS was an agent of the Pink House during the first government of Perón. Was Argentine. But travelled to Germany in 1922 and itself enroló in the body of elite of Adolf Hitler.
That a captain of the SS and spy of Heinrich Himmler after the war itself to become the agent main of the Division Informations of the Pink House during the first presidency of the general one Juan Perón seems extracted of a novel on ODESSA. Nevertheless thus occurred. Horst Alberto Carlos Fuldner was conscious that to rescue of the courts from Europe to its former Nazi comrades could create difficulties of conscience to some. Nevertheless, it acted continuing instructions of the own president of the Nation, as declared in 1949 in a secret summary of the Direction of Migrations that has survived in the General File of the Nation. Born in the neighborhood of Belgrano in 1910, of parents Germans, Fuldner travelled to Germany in 1922. Entered to the SS at the age of 21. Al to receive the call to comply the active duty in Buenos Aires, in 1931, presented a letter before the Embassy Argentina in Berlin. It said that in spite of continuing being Argentine in the heart now was German citizen and you owe them and right as the Argentine they are not more mine. The Embassy answered him coolly that the country was unavoidable. When it tried to be fled of Europe in 1935, after starring in frauds and swindles in Hamburg, Fuldner was recapturado on the high seas set against the coast of Brazil, carried to Germany and its ring with the skull of the SS ritualmente melted. But for March of 1945, Fuldner revistaba as secret agent of the secret service of Himmler, the fearsome one SD, leaving from Berlin to Madrid in a mission planned for after the war, as could verify the American espionage in Spain. It brought abundant money, a loaded airplane of pieces of art, its German passport and the Argentine. In Madrid met with other fugitives that soon they were transferred for airplane and ship to Argentina. Thus it was like the Croatian of the Luftwaffe Gino Monti of Valsassina; the former croatian ambassador before Hitler, Branco Benzon; the Belgian war criminal Pierre Daye; the French collaborator Georges Guilgaud Degay; the criminal one francoargentino Chat Lescat and the Polish one Czeslaw Smolinski sesionaron during 1947 with Perón in the Pink House, planning under the umbrella of the Division Informations the rescue of its companions that remained in Europe. Some of them they were related to Argentine nationalists. Lescat particularly with Cosme Beccar Varela and Juan Carlos Goyeneche, having the last one been a collaborator of the SD in Europe during the war, when met with the same one Himmler and where would have known to Fuldner. To comply its mission in favor of the Nazis, Fuldner returned to Europe from December 16, 1947 until October 16, 1948, operand since an open office secretly by the former colonel of the GOU Benito Llambí, now become ambassador Argentine in Switzerland, in the street Merktgasse 49 of Berne.
Fuldner -with the support from Buenos Aires of the leader of the Division Informations Rodolfo Freude- crossed its clients secretly of Switzerland to Germany, transporting them to Genoa and of there by ships of the line Dodero to Buenos Aires. During 1947 and 1948 they left toward Argentina a great number of war criminals, collaborators of the Nazism and former agents of the SD, among them Dinko Sakic, Erich Priebke, Before Pavelic, Walter Kutschmann, Friedrich Rauch, Milan Stojadinovich, Erich Schroeder, Eduard Roschmann and Fridolin Guth. Gerhard Bohne, in charge of the program of euthanasia of Hitler, named as reference in the Argentine Consulate in Genoa al secretary of Aeronatics. Fuldner by that epoch was an agent of the Aeronatics Argentina in Europe. Other as Josef Schwamberger, Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele embarked between 1949 and 1950, after to have initiated its managements of income before the authorities Argentinas in Europe during 1948. The proud and intriguing Fuldner and its associates Georg Weiss and Herbert Helferich were you considered 110 percent Nazis by the Swiss diplomats in Buenos Aires, who November 15, 1948 informed Berne that the sponsor of Fuldner was Freude, private secretary of the president Perón.The Swiss legation in Buenos Aires considered extraordinarily delicate to act against Carlos Fuldner without risking to injure the feelings of the very influential one Fuldner was also attended by the Argentine diplomat Enrique Moss, consul in Berlin during the war, and by the Polish one Smolinski.Perhaps by the Swiss pressure or because had fallen in misfortune with Eva Duarte, in the middle of 1948 Freude communicated for secret letter to Llambí that Fuldner ceased its mission in Europe, thanking al colonel its extensive and generous contribution in the plan of search and transfer of technicians and Guth entered to Argentina as the technicians, Pavelic and Schroeder like engineers, Sakic, Roschmann, Schwamberger and Mengele as mechanics, thus is evident in the registrations of its entrance al countryBefore the worthy difficulty to obtain jobs for these specialized, Fuldner in 1950 created CAPRI, a business connected with the state Water and Energy that gained a tender inside the Peronist five-year plan to measure rivers in Tucumán. To there it was directed Eichmann with other former comrades of the SS now occurred in technicians of CAPRI. In May of 1960, when Eichmann was captured in Buenos Aires by an Israeli secret command, Federal Coordination approached the house of Fuldner in the cute neighborhood of Palermo Small trying I track the location of the Nazi hierarch. Fuldner agreed perfectly of the date of income al country of Eichmann, July 14, 1950 aboard the Giovanna C, as is evident in its statement before Federal Coordination that day.Fuldner died in 1992 in Madrid. There its daughter denied recently before a Spanish journalist the activities in favor of the Nazis of her father. Today the only survivor of those meetings with Perón in the Pink House is Rodolfo Freude, who at the age of 76 administers an important economic empire. It nicknamed lovingly Rudi by Perón in that epoch, Freude keeps today an airtight silence since its offices of the flat 19 of Currents 327. A Jewish employee that shares the garage of the building and that prefers not to be identifying admits that trembles when is crossed with the strong former leader of the Division Informations lining up toward its car al final of each day.
Uki Goñi is an author of the book Perón and the Germans.
]http://www.consortiumnews.com/[/quote][/url]quote:Evita, the Swiss and the Nazis
by Georg Hodel
iF magazine, January / February 1999
On June 6, 1947, Argentina's first lady Eva Peron left for a glittering tour of Europe.
The glamorous ax-actress was feted in Spain, kissed the ring of Pope Pius Xll at the Vatican and hobnobbed with the rich-and-famous in the mountains of Switzerland
Eva Peron, known as "Evita" by her adoring followers, was superficially on a trip to strengthen diplomatic, business and cultural ties between Argentina and important leaders of Europe.
But there was a parallel mission behind the high-profile trip, one that has contributed to a half century of violent extremism in Latin America
According to records now emerging from Swiss archives and the investigations of Nazi hunters, an unpublicized side of Evita's world tour was coordinating the network for helping Nazis relocate in Argentina
This new evidence of Evita's cozy ties with prominent Nazis corroborates the long-held suspicion that she and her husband, Gen. Juan Peron, laid the groundwork for a bloody resurgence of fascism across Latin America in the 1970s end '80s.
Besides blemishing the Evita legend the evidence threatens to inflict more damage on Switzerland's image for plucky neutrality. The international banking center is still staggering from disclosures about its wartime collaboration with Adolf Hitler and Swiss profiteering off his Jewish victims.
The archival records indicate that Switzerland's assistance to Hitler's henchmen didn't stop with the collapse of the Third Reich.
And the old Swiss-Argentine-Nazi connection reaches to the present in another way. Spanish "superjudge" Baltasar Garzon is seeking to open other Swiss records on bank accounts controlled by Argentine military officers who led the so-called "Dirty War" that killed and "disappeared" tens of thousands of Argentines between 1976-83.
During World War IL Gen. Peron -a populist military leader -- made no secret of his sympathies for Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany.
Even as the Third Reich crumbled in the spring of 1945, Peron remained a pro-fascist stalwart, making available more than 1,000 blank passports for Nazi collaborators fleeing Europe.
With Europe in chaos and the Allies near victory, tens of thousands of ranking Nazis dropped out of sight, tried to mix in with common refugees and began plotting escapes from Europe to Argentina across clandestine "ratlines."
At the Argentine end of that voyage was Rodolfo Freude. He also was Juan Peron's private secretary, one of Evita's principal benefactors and the chief of Argentine internal security.
Freude's father, Ludwig, played another key role. As managing director of the Banco Aleman Transatlantico in Buenos Aires, he led the pro-Nazi German community in Argentina and acted as trustee for hundreds of millions of German Reichsmarks that the Fuehrer's top aides sent to Argentina near the war's end.
By 1946, the first wave of defeated fascists was settling into new Argentine homes. The country also was rife with rumors that the thankful Nazis had begun to repay Peron by bankrolling his campaign for the presidency, which he won with his stunning wife at his side.
In 1947, Peron was living in Argentina's presidential palace and was hearing pleas from thousands of other Nazis desperate to flee Europe. The stage was set for one of the most troubling boat-lifts in human history.
The archival records reveal that Eva Peron stepped forward to serve as Gen. Peron's personal emissary to this Nazi underground. Already, Evita was an Argentine legend
Born in 1919 as an illegitimate child she became a prostitute to survive and to get acting roles. As she climbed the social ladder lover by lover, she built up deep resentments toward the traditional elites.
As a mistress to other army officers, she caught the eye of handsome military strongman Juan Peron. After a public love affair, they married in 1945.
As Peron's second wife, Evita fashioned herself as the "queen of the poor," the protector of those she called "mis descamisados" -- "my shirtless ones." She created a foundation to help the poor buy items from toys to houses.
But her charity extended, too, to her husband's Nazi allies. In June 1947, Evita left for post-war Europe. A secret purpose of her first major overseas trip apparently was pulling together the many loose ends of the Nazi relocation.
Evita's first stop on her European tour was Spain, where Generalissimo Francisco Franco - her husband's model and mentor -- greeted her with all the dignified folderol of a head of state.
A fascist who favored the Axis powers but maintained official neutrality in the war, Franco had survived to provide a haven for the Third Reich's dispossessed Franco's Spain was an important early hide-out for Nazis who slipped through the grasp of the Allies and needed a place to stay before continuing on to more permanent homes in Latin America or the Middle East.
While in Spain, Evita reportedly met secretly with Nazis who were part of the entourage of Otto Skorzeny, the dashing Austrian commando leader known as Scarface because of a dueling scar across his left cheek.
Though under Allied detention in 1947, Skorzeny already was the purported leader of the clandestine organization, Die Spinne or The Spider, which used millions of dollars looted from the Reichsbank to smuggle Nazis from Europe to Argentina.
After escaping in 1948, Skorzeny set up the legendary ODESSA organization which tapped into other hidden Nazi funds to help ex-SS men rebuild their lives -- and the fascist movement --- in South America.
Evita's next stop was equally fitting. The charismatic beauty traveled to Rome for an audience with Pope Pius Xll, a Vatican meeting that lasted longer than the usual kiss on the ring.
At the time, the Vatican was acting as a crucial way station doling out forged documents for fascist fugitives. Pope Pius himself was considered sympathetic to the tough anti-communism of the fascists although he had kept a discreet public distance from Hitler.
A top-secret State Department report from May 1947 - a month before Evita's trip - had termed the Vatican "the largest single organization involved in the illegal movement of emigrants," including many Nazis. Leading ex-Nazis later publicly thanked the Vatican for its vital assistance.
As for the Evita-Pius audience, former Justice Department Nazi-hunter John Loftus has charged that the First Lady of the Pampas and His Holiness discussed the care and feeding of the Nazi faithful in Argentina.
After her Roman holiday, Evita hoped to meet Great Britain's Queen Elizabeth. But the British government balked out of fear that the presence of Peron's wife might provoke an embarrassing debate over Argentina's pro-Nazi leanings and the royal family's own pre-war cuddling up to Hitler. Instead Evita diverted to Rapallo, a town near Genoa on the Italian Rivera.
There, she was the guest of Alberto Dodero, owner of an Argentine shipping fleet known for transporting some of the world's most unsavory cargo.
On June 19, 1947, in the midst of Evita's trip, the first of Dodero's ships, the Santa Fe,. arrived in Buenos Aires and disgorged hundreds of Nazis onto the docks of their new country.
Over the next few years, Dodero's boats would carry thousands of Nazis to South America including some of Hitler's vilest war criminals, the likes of Mengele and Eichmann, according to Argentine historian Jorge Camarasa.
On August 4, 1947, Evita and her entourage headed north to the stately city of Geneva a center for international finance. There, she participated in more meetings with key figures from the Nazi escape apparatus.
A Swiss diplomat named Jacques Albert Cuttat welcomed the onetime torch singer. The meeting was a reunion of sorts, since Evita had known Cuttat when he worked at the Swiss Legation in Argentina from 1938 to 1946.
Newly released documents from Argentina's Central Bank showed that during the war, the Swiss Central Bank and a dozen Swiss private banks maintained suspicious gold accounts in Argentina Among the account holders was Jacques Albert Cuttat.
The Swiss files accused Cuttat of conducting unauthorized private business and maintaining questionable wartime contacts with known Nazis. In spite of those allegations, the Swiss government promoted Cuttat to chief of protocol of the Swiss Foreign Service, after his return from Argentina to Switzerland
In that capacity, Cuttat escorted Eva Peron to meetings with senior Swiss officials. The pair went to see Foreign Minister Max Petitpierre and Philipp Etter, the Swiss president.
Etter extended a warm welcome to Evita even accompanying her the next day on a visit to the city of Lucerne, "the doorway to the Swiss Alps."
After her "official" duties had ended, Evita dropped out of pubic view. Supposedly, she joined some friends for rest and recreation in the mountains of St. Moritz.
But the documents recounting her Swiss tour revealed that she continued making business contacts that would advance both Argentine commerce and the relocation of Hitler's henchmen. She was a guest of the "Instituto Suizo-Argentino" at a private reception at the Hotel "Baur au Lac" in Zurich, the banking capital of Switzerland's German-speaking sector.
There, Professor William Dunkel, the president of the Institute, addressed an audience of more than 200 Swiss bankers and businessmen -plus Eva Peron - on the wonderful opportunities about to blossom in Argentina.
Recently released Swiss archival documents explained what was behind the enthusiasm. Peron's ambassador to Switzerland, Benito Llambi, had undertaken a secret mission to create a sort of emigration service to coordinate the escape of the Nazis, particularly those with scientific skills.
Already, Llambi had conducted secret talks with Henry Guisan Jr., a Swiss agent whose clients included a German engineer who had worked for Wernher von Braun's missile team. Guisan offered Llambi the blueprints of German "V2" and "V3" rockets.
Guisan himself emigrated to Argentina where he established several firms that specialized in the procurement of war material.
His ex-wife later told investigators, "I had to attend business associates of my former husband I'd rather not shake hands with. When they started to talk business I had to leave the room. I only remember that millions were at stake."
Intelligence files of the Bern Police Department show that the secret Nazi emigration office was located at Marktgasse 49 in downtown Bern, the Swiss capital. The operation was directed by three Argentines - Carlos Fuldner, Herbert Helfferich and Dr. Georg Weiss. A police report described them as "110 percent Nazis.
The leader of the team, Carlos Fuldner, was the son of German immigrants to Argentina who had returned to Germany to study. In 1931, Fuldner joined the SS and later was recruited into German foreign intelligence.
At war's end, Fuldner fled to Madrid with a planeload of stolen art, according to a U.S. State Department report. He then moved to Bern where he posed as a representative of the Argentinean Civil Air Transport Authority. Fuldner was in place to assist the first wave of Nazi emigres.
One of the first Nazis to reach Buenos Aires via the "ratlines" was Erich Priebke, an SS officer accused of a mass execution of Italian civilians. Another was Croat Ustashi leader Ante Pavefic. They were followed by concentration camp commander Joseph Schwamberger and the sadistic Auschwitz doctor, Joseph Mengele.
Later, on June 14, 1951, the emigrant ship, "Giovanna C," carried Holocaust architect Adolf Eichmann to Argentina where he posed as a technician under a false name. Fuldner found Eichmann a job at Mercedes-Benz.
(Israel intelligence agents captured Eichmann in May 1960 and spirited him to Israel to stand trial for mass murder. He was convicted, sentenced to death and hanged in 1962.)
Through Evita's precise role in organizing the Nazi "ratlines" remains a bit fuzzy, her European tour connected the dots of the key figures in the escape network. She also helped
clear the way for more formal arrangements in the Swiss-Argentine-Nazi collaboration.
Additional evidence is contained in postwar diplomatic correspondence between Switzerland and Argentina. The documents reveal that the head of the Swiss Federal Police, Heinrich Rothmund, and the former Swiss intelligence officer Paul Schaufelberger participated in the activities of the illegal Argentine emigration service in Bern.
For instance, one urgent telegram from Bern to the Swiss Legation in Rome stated: "The (Swiss) Police Department wants to send 16 refugees to Argentina with the emigration ship that leaves Genoa March 26 . Stop. All of them carry Swiss ID cards and have return visa. Stop."
Besides political sympathies, the Peron government saw an economic pay-off in smuggling German scientists to work in Argentine factories and armaments plants.
The first combat jet introduced into South America-- the "Pulque" -- was built in Argentina by the German aircraft designer Kurt Tank of the firm, Focke-Wulf. His engineers and test pilots arrived via the illegal emigration service in Bern.
But other Nazi scientists who reached the protected shores of Argentina were simply sadists. One physician, Dr. Carl Vaernet, had conducted surgical experiments on homosexuals at the Buchenwald concentration camp. Vaernet castrated the men and then inserted metal sex glands that inflicted agonizing deaths on some of his patients.
For the Swiss, the motives for their cozy Nazi-Argentine relationships were political and financial, both during and after the war.
Ignacio Klich, spokesman for a new independent commission investigating Nazi-Argentine collaboration, said he believes the wartime business between Nazi Germany and Argentina was handled routinely by Swiss fiduciaries.
That suspicion was confirmed by Swiss files released to the U.S. Senate as well as papers from the Swiss Office of Compensation and correspondence between the Swiss Foreign Ministry and the Swiss legation in Buenos Aires.
One target of the commission's investigation is Johann Wehrli, a private banker from Zurich. During World War II, one of Wehrfi's sons opened a branch office in Buenos Aires which, investigators suspect, was used to funnel Nazi assets into Argentina.
The money allegedly included loot from Jews and other Nazi victims. (Later, the giant Union Bank of Switzerland absorbed the Wehrli bank.)
Swiss defenders argue that tiny Switzerland had little choice but to work with the powerful fascist governments on its borders during the war. But the post-war assistance appears harder to justify, when the most obvious motive was money.
According to a secret report written by a U.S. Army major in 1948, the Swiss government made a hefty profit by providing Germans with the phony documents needed to flee to Argentina. The one-page memo quoted a confidential informant with contacts in the Swiss and Dutch governments as saying, "The Swiss government was not only anxious to get rid of German nationals, legally or illegally within their borders, but further that they made a considerable profit in getting rid of them."
The informant said German nationals paid Swiss officials as much as 200,000 Swiss francs for temporary residence documents necessary to board flights out of Switzerland. (The sum was worth about S50,000 at the time.)
Moreover, that memo and other documents suggest that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines may have illegally flown suspected Nazis to safety in Argentina, while Swissair acted as a booking agent.
Back in Argentina, the rave reviews for Evita's European trip cemented her reputation as a superstar.
It also brought her immense wealth lavished on her by grateful Nazis. Her husband was re-elected president in 1951, by which time large numbers of Nazis were firmly ensconced in Argentina's military-industrial apparatus.
Evita Peron died of cancer in 1953, touching off despair among her followers. The fearful military buried her secretly in an unannounced location to prevent her grave from becoming a national shrine.
Meanwhile, a feverish hunt began for her personal fortune. Evita's brother and guardian of her image, Juan Duarte, traveled to Switzerland in search of her hidden assets.
After his return to Argentina, Duarte was found dead in his apartment. Despite her husband's control of the police -- or maybe because of it -the authorities never established whether Duarte was murdered or had committed suicide.
In 1955, Juan Peron was overthrown and fled to exile in Spain where he lived as a guest of Franco. Peron apparently accessed some of Evita's secret Swiss accounts because he sustained a luxurious lifestyle.
The money also may have greased Peron's brief return to power in 1973. Peron died in 1974, leaving behind the mystery of Evita's Nazi fortune. In 1976, the army overthrew Peron's vice president, his last wife, Isabel.
Paradoxically, the cult of Evita flourished still. The idolatry blinded her followers to the consequences of her flirtation with the Nazis.
Those aging fascists accomplished much of what the ODESSA strategists had hoped. The Nazis in Argentina kept
Hitler's torch burning, won new converts in the region's militaries and passed on the advanced science of torture and "death squad" operations.
Hundreds of left-wing Peronist students and unionists were among the victims of the neo-fascist Argentine junta that launched the Dirty War in 1976.
When the junta started its "war without borders" against the left elsewhere in Latin America, it used Nazis as storm-troopers. Among them was Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo's Butcher of Lyon who had settled in Bolivia with the help of the "ratline" network.
In 1980, Barbie helped organize a brutal putsch against the democratically elected government in Bolivia. Drug lords and an international coalition of neo-fascists bankrolled the putsch.
A key supporting role was played by the World Anti-Communist League, led by World War I fascist war criminal Ryoichi Sasakawa of Japan and the Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
Barbie sought assistance from Argentine intelligence. One of the first Argentine officers to arrive, Lt. Alfred Mario Mingolla, later described Barbie's role to German journalist Kai Hermann.
"Before our departure, we received a dossier on [Barbie]," Mingolla said. "There it stated that he was of great use to Argentina because he played an important role in all of Latin America in the fight against communism."
Just like in the good old days, the Butcher of Lyon worked with a younger generation of Italian neo-fascists. Barbie started a secret lodge called "Thule," where he lectured his followers underneath swastikas by candlelight.
On July 17, 1980, Barbie, his neo-fascists and rightist officers from the Bolivian army ousted the center-left government. Barbie's team hunted down and slaughtered government Officials and labor leaders, while Argentine specialists flew in to demonstrate the latest torture techniques.
Because the putsch gave Bolivian drug lords free reign of the country, the operation became known as the Cocaine Coup. With the assistance of Barbie and his neo-fascists, Bolivia became a protected source of cocaine for the emerging Medellin cartel.
Two years later, Barbie was captured and extradited to France where he died in prison.
Most of the other old Nazis are dead, too. But the violent extremism that the Perons transplanted into South America in the 1940s still haunts the region.
In the 1980s, the Argentine military extended its operations to Central America where it collaborated with Ronald Reagan's CIA in organizing paramilitary forces, such as the Nicaraguan contras and Honduran "death squads."
Even today, as right-wing dictators in Latin America are called to account for past atrocities, fledgling democracies must move cautiously and keep a wary eye on rightists in the region's potent militaries.
The ghosts of Evita's Nazis are never far away.
iF magazine is an investigative newsmagazine
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quote:The blind refugee's secret
By Yossi Melman
A recently published book casts a shadow on the Mossad's success in the capture of Adolf Eichmann, favoring the individual who the author feels deserves the credit for exposing the Nazi criminal.
In all of the eulogies for former Mossad chief Isser Harel, who passed away last month, mention was invariably made - and justifiably so - of the abduction of Adolf Eichmann as one of Harel's greatest achievements, which also became a sort of formative event in the shaping of espionage agency's image. In the wake of that operation, which also had the moral value of historical justice, the Mossad acquired the image of a fearless, daring organization whose operatives were prepared to go to the ends of the earth to carry out their mission.
A new book recently published in Argentina, the United States and the United Kingdom somewhat dims the halo of Mossad's success and presents that achievement in a different light. Argentine author-journalist Uki Goni focuses on how chance and luck played a key role in the operation, and tries to set the record straight concerning Lother Hermann, who deserves the lion's share of the credit for exposing Eichmann but who did not attain the glory and the gratitude he so richly deserved.
The book, "The Real Odessa: Smuggling the Nazis to Peron's Argentina" (originally published in Spanish as "La Autentica Odessa") is the result of painstaking research. Its title alludes to another book, which appeared in 1972 and was also made into a successful movie: "The Odessa File" by Frederick Forsyth, a journalist who became the author of suspense novels. Forsyth's book was fiction, based primarily on rumors and scraps of information about the activities of a network of former Nazis who helped their colleagues obtain false papers and smuggled them into South America. Goni's book is a well-researched documentary text, based on a thorough investigation, on interviews with 190 individuals, and on documents from private archives and from the archives in the Vatican, foreign ministries of Western European countries and the U.S. The archive material from the U.S. includes documents from the files of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the American espionage organization from which the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sprang up in 1947. Goni was thus able to circumvent the Argentine authorities, who denied him, as they had denied others, access to the state archives.
In an interview with Haaretz from his home in Buenos Aires, Goni said that his struggle to uncover the material he needed for his book was a matter of principle and that he was driven by his belief in the right of the Argentine public to know the truth.
Goni was born in Washington in 1953, the son of a diplomat serving in Argentina's foreign service. He lived with his parents in the U.S., Ireland and Mexico. He has been living in Argentina since 1975, earning his living as a correspondent for local and foreign newspapers. His previous book dealt with the relations between Argentina and Nazi Germany and led many of his readers to believe that he was Jewish. In point of fact, he is Catholic and a graduate of Trinity College in Dublin.
The trauma that Goni underwent as a young person living during the reign of terror of Argentina's ruling military junta in the 1970s was a formative experience that has left a lasting impact on his life. He explains that his interest in the subject of his recent book stemmed from ideological motives. He felt that he had to understand how Argentina became an asylum for war criminals.
Most of these war criminals were Germans who were members of the Schutzstaffel (SS), including Adolf Eichmann, head of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (RSHA, or the Reich Main Security Office); Josef Mengele, the notorious doctor of Auschwitz, widely known as the "Angel of Death"; and Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyon." There were also Belgian, Croat, Slovak, Italian and French fascists and collaborators with the Nazis. All in all, Argentina provided asylum to at least 300 war criminals, who, during the 1940s and `50s, helped the regime of Juan Peron (who ruled Argentina between 1943 and 1955) to create the espionage services and military units that played a key role in the torture, murder and "disappearance" of 30,000 Argentineans during the dictatorship of the military junta. Many of those who vanished were students, leading members of trade unions, and left-wing politicians, and they included a fairly large percentage of Jews.
In the course of his research, Goni discovered that an uncle, Santos Goni, a diplomat who served in the Argentine consulate in Bolivia, was one of those who strictly implemented the instructions that his country's foreign service issued during the 1930s, according to which Jewish immigrants were not permitted entry into Argentina. Goni understood that, beneath its dignified mantle, Argentine society was trapped in the chains of anti-Semitism.
"The Real Odessa," which was a best-seller in Argentina, includes text from a taped interview with Peron, during his period of exile in Madrid. In that interview, Peron talks about his ideology, which was permeated with raw anti-Semitism. The dictator admitted that, in his eyes, the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals in 1946 sullied his own sense of honor. He is quoted as saying that something happened in Nuremberg - something that, in his view, disgraced the very future of the human race. It is thus not surprising that Peron's regime implemented a consistent and systematic policy aimed at helping war criminals find asylum in Argentina.
Turning a blind eye
Two key figures in the smuggling of Nazis into Argentina were Rodolfo Freude, one of Peron's closest advisers, and Carlos Horst Fuldner. Freude, whose office was adjacent to Peron's in the presidential palace, headed the regime's information and propaganda mechanism as well as its espionage service. Fuldner, a former intelligence officer in the SS, was sent in the waning months of the war to Argentina by his commander - Heinrich Himmler, head of the Gestapo and the Waffen SS, and Nazi Germany's interior minister from 1943 to 1945 - to make all necessary preparations for the transfer of his colleagues in the SS to Argentina via what was dubbed the "rat route," which was used for the smuggling of Nazi war criminals into Argentina and other South American countries.
Fuldner received the assistance of senior members of the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina and Swiss government officials, who were bribed into turning a blind eye and issuing false papers. Even the espionage agencies of the U.S., the U.K. and other countries knew about this operation and opted for a policy of tacit acceptance. Some of the war criminals traveled on planes of the Dutch airline, KLM, while others arrived on passenger ships. In Argentina, Freude coordinated the operation from his offices in Peron's palace.
Eichmann was one of the last Nazis to flee - on a large luxury liner. He adopted the name Ricardo Clement, although, in his home, family members called him by his real name. He took up residence in the Buenos Aires suburb of Olivos, where the Hermanns' home was also located. Lother Hermann managed to expose the fragile protective envelope surrounding the individual who had been the chief bureaucrat in the implementation of the "Final Solution" program to liquidate European Jewry.
Hermann, himself a German refugee who was half-Jewish, had fled to Argentina from Nazi Germany in 1938 after the pogroms of November 9, known as Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). From 1935 to 1936, he was incarcerated in the concentration camp of Dachau for being an active member of the socialist movement. On arriving in Argentina, he settled in Buenos Aires, joining a community of other German refugees and concealing the fact of his being half-Jewish. A few years after immigrating to Argentina, he became blind, as a result of the torture he had endured in Dachau.
His daughter Sylvia became friends with the Eichmann children, who did not conceal the family's real name. She began to date one of Adolf Eichmann's sons, Klaus, and even visited the home on a number of occasions. In addition to telling her that his father had held down some sort of official job during the war, Klaus made some anti-Semitic remarks and, on one occasion, even said to her that it was unfortunate that the Nazis had not finished the job of exterminating the Jews. A short while later, the Hermanns moved to the city of Coronel Suarez, located some 500 kilometers from the Argentine capital, and lost touch with the Eichmanns.
`Are you Herr Eichmann?'
In 1957, the Hermanns read a newspaper report about a trial of war criminals that had opened in Frankfurt. During the trial proceedings, the paper noted, the name of Adolf Eichmann was mentioned. Lother Hermann understood that the person referred to at the trial was also the father of Sylvia's former boyfriend, Klaus. Lother sent a letter to the West German ministry of justice in Frankfurt, writing that Eichmann was living in Buenos Aires. His letter found its way to Fritz Bauer, prosecutor general for the Hessian State. Bauer, who was very excited about the news, asked Hermann to provide a description of Eichmann and to include additional details. Hermann agreed to provide the information.
He and Sylvia traveled to their former neighborhood and located the Eichmann home. Sylvia knocked on the front door and asked the person behind the door whether this was the Eichmann residence. The door opened and Sylvia saw before her a thin, middle-aged man. Adopting a completely natural tone of voice, she asked whether Klaus Eichmann was home. The man said no, explaining that Klaus worked until late in the evening.
"Are your Herr Eichmann?" Sylvia asked in a naive voice. "Who are you?" he asked in return. When she told him that she had once been Klaus' girlfriend, he nodded and confirmed that he was Klaus' father. Sylvia requested that he send Klaus her regards. When Sylvia and her father returned to their home, Lother sent a letter to Bauer, describing Eichmann and giving his address in Buenos Aire's Olivos neighborhood.
Bauer debated what he should do with the information he had received. He knew that his country's justice system, many of whose employees had served the Nazi regime, would not lift a finger to indict Eichmann. Thus, he finally decided to notify Israel of Eichmann's whereabouts. However, the Israeli authorities did not respond as Bauer had expected. For the next two years, he would keep pressing Israeli officials to do something about the Eichmann affair.
Isser Harel, who believed that Israeli intelligence must serve the best interests of the Jewish people and must act on its behalf, decided to send a representative to Argentina. Instead of conducting an independent investigation, the representative chose to travel 10 hours by train to Coronel Suarez in order to meet Lother Hermann personally. Hermann told the representative everything that he knew, but the representative was not convinced. He asked Hermann to obtain a copy of Eichmann's Argentine identity card and gave him $130 to cover the expenses and an address in the U.S. to which he should send the document.
In the meantime, Hermann discovered that the Eichmann home was registered under the name of Francesco Schmidt. Mistakenly thinking that this was the false name that Eichmann was using, Hermann mailed this information to the address that the Mossad representative had given him. He received no reply and therefore kept sending letters, which also went unanswered. However, Hermann was not going to give up his fight. He heard that Israeli Nazi hunter Tuvia Friedman of the Haifa-based Institute of Documentation had promised a $10,000 reward for anyone who could provide information on Eichmann. Hermann was determined to get that reward money. In December 1959, he wrote Friedman that he had precise information on Eichmann and his whereabouts. Again Hermann received no reply. Nonetheless, he persisted. He met with a representative of Argentina's Jewish community and told him his secret.
Meanwhile, Harel decided in any event to initiate an operation for Eichmann's location and capture. Ironically, Hermann's energetic efforts and the reward being offered by Friedman threatened to endanger the whole operation. Harel was afraid that the circle of persons privy to Hermann's secret would widen and that Eichmann would go into hiding.
As things turned out, Mossad agents in May 1960 kidnapped Eichmann and had him flown to Israel, where he was put on trial. The rest is history. Only one detail was forgotten: the stubbornness and steadfast determination of the blind refugee. Lother Hermann repeatedly wrote the Israeli authorities, demanding the reward money he had been promised.Both Friedman and Mossad ignored his entreaties. It was only in 1972 that then-prime minister Golda Meir ordered that Hermann receive the reward money.
Now Uki Goni has also set the historical record right.
Demand for documents
Members of the chamber of deputies of the Argentine Congress and the Simon Wiesenthal Center are demanding that the Argentine government open up the state archives and disclose documents concerning the ties the Peron regime maintained after World War II with Nazi war criminals and with other wanted members of the Nazi party. The deputies and the Wiesenthal center are also demanding the appointment of an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the disappearance of vital documents that are related to that topic and which were apparently destroyed six years ago, in flagrant contravention of Argentine law.
These documents could shed light on this affair, which is arousing considerable interest against the backdrop of preparations in Argentina for the presidential elections, scheduled to take place late next month. According to all the public opinion polls, the Peronist party is expected to win.
It was during the administration of former president Carlos Menem, the party's presidential candidate in the current campaign, that the decision was made to open the state archives and make them available to researchers and journalists. In practice, the decision was never implemented. Instead, the documents were destroyed. Most of them had been in the registry files of Argentina's border control and immigration authorities. (Y.M.)