Nazi era crimes and post-1945 West Germany, film review


This video says about itself:

THE PEOPLE VS FRITZ BAUER Trailer

8 August 2015

Top German actors Burghart Klaussner (The White Ribbon) and Ronald Zehrfeld (Barbara, Phoenix) star in this riveting historical thriller, which chronicles the herculean efforts of German district attorney Fritz Bauer to bring Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann to justice.

Today, I saw the film The People vs. Fritz Bauer.

Here is a review by Joanne Laurier from the USA; with, as usually, links and remarks added by me:

THE PEOPLE vs. FRITZ BAUER

In Germany, fewer than 500 individuals were punished for their participation in the liquidation of millions of Jews and others in the Holocaust. Only one hundred defendants out of a total of 4,500 who stood trial between 1945 and 1949 for Nazi crimes were accused of murder-related offences.

Fritz Bauer (1903-1968), a Social Democratic lawyer and, later, judge, had been forced to flee Nazi Germany because of his politics and Jewish origins. Upon his return from exile in Denmark and once more taking positions in the justice system, his unrelenting attempts to prosecute the crimes of the Third Reich encountered fierce resistance from the officials in the Konrad Adenauer government (1949-63). The first postwar West German administration harbored many former high-ranking Nazis. In a well-known comment, Bauer stated: “When I leave my office I am entering an enemy, foreign country.”

Bauer is the subject of Italian-born, German filmmaker Lars Kraume’s engrossing film, THE PEOPLE vs. FRITZ BAUER. The movie opens in 1957. Famed Attorney General Fritz Bauer (the remarkable Burghart Klaussner) is found lying unconscious in his bathtub. Near him are a glass of wine and sleeping pills. Federal Office of Criminal Investigation officer Paul Gebhardt (Jörg Schüttauf) wants the incident to be classified as an attempted suicide. He intends to claim Bauer, a thorn in the side of the authorities, is unstable and should be dismissed. The attorney general is feared for his dogged efforts to bring to justice former Nazis and their defenders.

Bauer succeeds in quashing rumors about his supposed attempted suicide, all the while receiving death threats. Soon after his release from hospital, he gets a tip that Adolf Eichmann, one of the most pivotal figures in the deportation of European Jews to the concentration camps and known as the “architect of the Holocaust,” is living under an assumed name in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

A chain-smoker with a razor-sharp mind and disheveled attire, Bauer wants to try Eichmann in a German court. He has dedicated his life to tracking down major Nazis like Eichmann, Martin Bormann (who, in fact, had died in 1945) and Josef Mengele, hoping to help rehabilitate the post-war German state. However, as he is fully aware, the country’s investigative agencies are peppered with Nazis. In addition, no help is forthcoming from Interpol, a thoroughly reactionary and dubious body, which claims it has no jurisdiction over “political crimes.”

In fact, the film suggests that that not only the BND (German Federal Intelligence) but the CIA as well were involved in shielding high-ranking Nazis,

Eg, in the Eichmann case, they both knew where Eichmann was, but did nothing about that.

and depicts the constant attempts to derail Bauer’s investigation. Eventually, Bauer turns to the Israeli intelligence service Mossad, risking prison for committing treason.

As his colleagues scheme to undermine him, Bauer’s only ally is a young public prosecutor, Karl Angermann (Ronald Zehrfeld), who is prosecuting a man arrested for prostitution. At Bauer’s suggestion and in defiance of a code against homosexuality made more onerous by the Nazis, Angermann demands only a small fine. Angermann is married, but, like Bauer, he is a homosexual. He and Bauer are obliged to keep their sexuality a secret. Eventually, the naïve Angermann gets entrapped by Bauer’s enemies, who force him to choose between going to prison or fingering Bauer as a traitor.

As the noose tightens around Angermann’s neck, Bauer, trying to get his foes off his back, covertly creates the conditions for Eichmann’s capture by Mossad. Bauer’s plan is to put Eichmann on trial in West Germany, but he underestimates the extent to which the Adenauer government, backed by the United States, is hostile to the possibility of a show trial that might name names.

The film ends as Eichmann faces trial in Jerusalem in 1961. Bauer initiated the famous Auschwitz trials in Frankfurt that began in December 1963 and were the largest criminal proceedings in postwar Germany against former members of the Nazi Party.

According to the filmmakers, Bauer’s influence was far-reaching. In the movie’s production notes, the director states that Bauer was “convinced that the German postwar generation [had] the opportunity to build a new society. In reality he opened a completely new perspective for the youth in the Adenauer era, because he dared to lift the veil and break the bleak silence. And so he became an important source of inspiration later on for the student revolts.”

Despite a few rough edges, Kraume’s film is driven by a powerful commitment—and extraordinary lead actors—to dramatize Fritz Bauer’s historic contribution. It is inspired by Bauer’s determination to put “everything that was inhumane here on trial.”

Anti-fascism in London, England, 1936-2016


This video from Britain says about itself:

The Battle Of Cable Street, Sunday 4th October 1936

Short documentary on the East End of London‘s militant anti-fascist action against Mosley‘s British Union Of Fascists on Sunday 4th October 1936

The anti-fascist groups built roadblocks in an attempt to prevent the march from taking place. The barricades were constructed near the junction with Christian Street, towards the west end of this long street. An estimated 300,000 anti-fascist demonstrators turned out Over 10,000 police, including 4,000 on horseback, attempted to clear the road to permit the march to proceed.

The demonstrators fought back with sticks, rocks, chair legs and other improvised weapons. Rubbish, rotten vegetables and the contents of chamber pots were thrown at the police by women in houses along the street. After a series of running battles, Mosley agreed to abandon the march to prevent bloodshed. The BUF marchers were dispersed towards Hyde Park instead while the anti-fascists rioted with police. 150 demonstrators were arrested, although some escaped with the help of other demonstrators. … Around 175 people were injured including police, women and children.

By Phil Katz in England:

Cable Street: an incredible show of unity

Saturday 30th April 2016

DAVID ROSENBERG, whose family fought at Cable Street, discusses its significance and calls on the anti-racist and anti-fascist movement to commemorate the 80th anniversary later this year.

• Why would we march to commemorate the Battle of Cable Street?

Because it was an incredible people’s victory that still has the power to inspire us in our present day struggles.

We should celebrate the unity across communities, and the collective courage and determination shown by women, men and young people that stopped Mosley’s fascists then, but we have to recognise that racism and fascism are still alive and kicking today in Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

In the East End a group called Britain First — who borrowed their name from the standfirst on Mosley’s Blackshirt newspaper — have recently been intimidating the local Bengali and Somali Muslim communities in ways reminiscent of how Mosley’s BUF intimidated the Jews.

• Cable Street seems to be knitted into the fabric of our East End history — what is its special meaning?

This was the largest mobilisation in Britain against the fascists throughout the 1930s. Contemporary reports estimate that anywhere from 100,000 to 300,000 were on the streets that day.

It is no accident that this happened in the East End, which was the cradle of so many struggles for better lives from the 1880s to the 1930s — where matchwomen, dockers, gasworkers and Jewish immigrant tailors had led strikes for better working conditions, Suffragettes fought for equality and political rights, and rebel Labour councillors went to prison for standing up for the interests of the poorest people. Everything they had gained was threatened by the advance of the fascists, and people understood that.

• How decisive was the Battle of Cable Street in turning the tide against fascism in Britain?

It was a very serious and unexpected blow to the fascists, who had been telling themselves that, like their counterparts in Europe, they would go from victory to victory, that the streets belonged to them, that the Jews would be too fearful to fight back.

They — and the police who protected and facilitated them — got much more than they bargained for on October 4.

The following Friday, the fascists’ own weekly newspaper admitted they had been “humiliated.” And while they continued, temporarily, to recruit young thugs up for a fight, there was turmoil among Mosley’s inner circle that filtered down.

Its key ideologues started blaming each other for the debacle at Cable Street, and a few months after the Battle of Cable Street the organiser of their powerful Shoreditch branch left and defected to the anti-fascists. He did excellent work in the late 1930s exposing Mosley’s party and their anti-semitism.

• And did it have an internationalist significance?

More than 200 anti-fascists from the East End went to fight in the International Brigades in Spain. An active Aid Spain movement had already started organising in the East End by the beginning of October 1936, but many who actually went to fight against Franco have stated in interviews that what inspired them to go was their participation in the great victory at Cable Street.

• What role do you think was played by police commissioner Sir Philip Game?

His sympathies were shifting. The orders to facilitate Mosley came from higher up and, on the day, it was eventually Sir Philip who called a halt and advised Mosley to march in the opposite direction and disperse.

Sir Philip later wrote an internal memo supporting a ban on the fascists while explicitly not calling for the same treatment of the organisations who were opposing them.

That said, there was rampant anti-semitism throughout the police in the same way we have institutionalised racism today, and there were frequent complaints by the beleaguered Jewish communities of the East End that the local police showed partiality towards the fascists.

Several veterans I knew recounted to me the anti-semitic abuse they received and heard at Leman Street Police Station after they had been arrested on the day.

• Do you feel the participants readily and quickly understood the significance?

Absolutely. Phil Piratin made a powerful statement about the immediate effect in his book Our Flag Stays Red, where he wrote: “The people were changed. Their heads seemed to be held higher, and their shoulders were squarer … The people knew that fascism could be defeated if they organised themselves to do so.”

The anti-fascists received a massive confidence boost, and the Jewish community saw that many of their Irish Catholic neighbours, who Mosley had tried to recruit, were truly on their side.

Also a local coalition — the Jewish People’s Council Against Fascism and Antisemitism (JPC) — had been created in late July 1936, partly in response to the complacency and conservatism of more established Jewish organisations in the West End who were telling Jews to keep their heads down.

The JPC were one of the key mobilisers for October 4, alongside the Communist Party, the Independent Labour Party, the Labour League of Youth and local trade unions.

They mobilised a petition signed by nearly 100,000 local Jews and non-Jews calling on the home secretary to ban Mosley’s march.

And when he ignored it they published thousands of leaflets addressed to “Citizens of London,” stating: “THIS MARCH MUST NOT TAKE PLACE,” and urging popular resistance. The stature of the JPC in the local and wider Jewish community rose enormously with the street victory over the fascists.

• Have you read Granite and Honey: The Story of Phil Piratin, Communist MP published by Manifesto Press? To me that book comes closest to answering how Mosley was defeated: local community organising and non-sectarian organising. Do you agree?

Yes. Piratin understood that fascism, rather than people temporarily drawn to the fascist flag, was the enemy.

He believed that is was possible to detach those who had accepted part of Mosley’s hyper-nationalist and anti-semitic narrative, from the hard core who accepted it totally.

He knew that fascism would not be defeated by one big demonstration or through an accumulation of physical skirmishes.

The key to defeating it was exposing it to its own supporters and building a real unity between the communities that Mosley wanted to divide against each other.

The work that the Communist Party did, together with local campaigners such as Father Groser, in the Stepney Tenants Defence League up to 1939, was crucial in cementing the victory at Cable Street.

The Communist Party should be very proud of its role in these events, but we should celebrate too the role of other local forces.

We need to recognise that the people who blockaded Gardiner’s Corner, making it impossible for anyone to get through, and those who stood behind barricades at Cable Street, far exceeded the members and supporters of the organised political groups in the area. It was truly a people’s victory.

• David Rosenberg is the secretary of Cable Street 80 and is active in the Jewish Socialists’ Group. He is the author of Battle for the East End (2011) and Rebel Footprints (2015). He conducts walking tours of London’s social and political history, including one called Anti-Fascist Footprints. The next walk takes place on Sunday May 22. Details and online booking at www.eastendwalks.com.

• Phil Katz is a designer and author of Freedom From Tyranny: The Fight Against Fascism and the Falsification of History (Manifesto Books 2010) and a member of the Communist Party.

On Sunday October 9 there will be a march assembling at noon at Altab Ali Park, London E1, which will go to the Cable Street Mural in St George’s Gardens, for a rally with national and local speakers including Jeremy Corbyn.

Ask your union branch to support it. Bring banners.

From September 26 there will be a month-long exhibition about the Battle of Cable Street in the Idea Store at Watney Market E1, and a series of cultural events there relating to anti-fascist themes during that month.

Phil Katz recounts the working class’s firm stand at Cable Street in 1936. This year marks the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street, which took place on Sunday October 4 1936. At the Battle of Cable Street, the people of London’s East End rose to the challenge of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), which was planning to invade the communities either side of Gardiner’s Corner: here.

Dutch video on World War II anti-nazi resistance


This Dutch amateur video was made in June 1943, in the Evertsbos forest near Anloo village in Drenthe province in the Netherlands. Resistance fighters against the German nazi occupation then built a hut there to hide from the occupiers.

In September 1944, German occupation soldiers discovered the hide. Five of eight anti-nazis present there managed to escape; three people were caught and executed.

In April 2016, just before the liberation of Drenthe, the nazis killed ten resistance fighters at the hide.

This Dutch video is about that history.

Colonia Dignidad, Pinochet’s nazi cult torture camp, on film


This video says about itself:

Emma Watson and the stars of Colonia talk the film’s historical background

15 April 2016

In theaters and on iTunes now.

Emma Watson, Daniel Brühl, Michael Nvyquist, and director Florian Gallenberger talk the history of Colonia Dignidad, the real Chilean Nazi camp the film is based upon.

See it in theaters: here.

A young woman’s (Emma Watson) desperate search for her abducted boyfriend (Daniel Brühl) draws her into the infamous Colonia Dignidad, an ex-Nazi cult from which no one has ever escaped.

Starring: Emma Watson, Daniel Bruhl, Michael Nvyquist.

Directed by Academy Award winner Florian Gallenberger.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Colonia: Under Pinochet, a disposal center for enemies of the state

16 April 2016

Directed by Florian Gallenberger; co-written by Gallenberger and Torsten Wenzel

The article is based on coverage of the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival.

German director Florian Gallenberger’s political thriller Colonia opens this weekend in the US. This is a disturbing film that deserves an audience.

Colonia takes place during and after the US-backed Chilean military coup in September 1973. Lufthansa flight attendant Lena (Emma Watson) is in Santiago to visit her boyfriend, Daniel (Daniel Brühl), a militant supporter of Salvador Allende’s Popular Unity government. When Allende is overthrown, General Augusto Pinochet’s forces round up thousands of people. Daniel and Lena, who are caught taking photos of the brutal sweep, are among those picked up.

In the national stadium filled with political opponents of the dictatorship (40,000 people were held there), Daniel is identified by a hooded informer as a poster-maker for the Allende camp. While Lena is released, Daniel is taken to a compound in the south of the country, called Colonia Dignidad (“Colony of Dignity”). It is home to an evangelical cult run by psychopath, pedophile and pro-fascist Paul Schäfer (Michael Nyqvist), which uses the cult followers as slave labor in the production of poison gas and weapons for the Pinochet regime. The compound also serves as a disposal center for enemies of the state.

Colonia’s underground tunnels and chambers are used to interrogate and torture dissidents like Daniel, who is brutalized and then handed over to Schäfer. Pretending to be brain damaged, Daniel is under less scrutiny and therefore able to figure out how to escape. Unbeknownst to him, Lena has traveled to Colonia and joined the cult in order to rescue him. For some 130 days, Daniel and Lena, who finally meet up, must endure the tyranny and perversions of Schäfer. Even if an escape is possible from the electric fenced-in, dog-guarded Colonia, there are vested interests, from Pinochet to the Germany embassy, determined to prevent Schäfer’s hellhole from being exposed.

A fictionalized version of actual events, Colonia brings to light the appalling story of Schäfer, who was born in Germany in 1921 and eventually joined the Hitler youth movement (and reportedly attempted to volunteer for the SS). After the war, he set up a religious-based orphanage until he was charged with molesting two children. He fled Germany in 1959 and ultimately emigrated to Chile with a group of his supporters, where he set up the Colonia. After the end of the Pinochet era, his crimes were gradually revealed. Schäfer was jailed for child sexual abuse in 2006 and died four years later.

A lengthy September 2008 article, by Bruce Falconer, in the American Scholar, “The Torture Colony,” provides many grisly and revealing details. Falconer first notes that in the months following the September 1973 coup in Chile, some 45,000 people were arrested and taken to detention centers for interrogation. At least 1,500 were summarily executed.

In June 1974 Pinochet created the National Intelligence Directorate (DINA), a secret police force, “designed to hunt down and eliminate his political enemies. DINA agents routinely kidnapped regime opponents and delivered them to secret torture and execution centers located throughout Chile—including Colonia Dignidad.”

According to Falconer, Schäfer’s principal contribution to Pinochet’s operations “came in the instruction of DINA agents in the science of torture.” One survivor, Luis Peebles, described Schäfer’s participation in and supervision of his agonizing torture by electric wires attached to every part of his body. Based on the testimony of Peebles and other survivors, Amnesty International produced a 60-page report in 1977, “Colonia Dignidad: A German Community in Chile––A Torture Camp for the DINA.” Schäfer’s legal efforts managed to block the release of the report until 1997.

Falconer explains: “Contract torturing was not the worst of Schaefer’s collusion with the Pinochet regime: executions, perhaps of entire groups of prisoners, were sometimes carried out. … In truth, no one knows how many people were killed inside Colonia Dignidad. One former colono recently told Chilean government investigators that, on Schaefer’s orders, he once drove a busload of 35 political prisoners up into the Colonia’s wooded hills and left them in an isolated spot by the side of a dirt road. As he drove back down alone, he heard machine gun fire echoing through the forest. No bodies were ever recovered. … All that seems certain is that many of the prisoners who went into Colonia Dignidad were never seen again.”

Of note is the fact that Michael Townley, a professional assassin who was the primary liaison between Colonia Dignidad and the Pinochet regime, was an American CIA agent, who also served as a member of DINA, and assisted in the military coup that ousted Allende. Townley designed the torture chamber at Colonia Dignidad and participated in biological experiments on prisoners there. In 1976, he was convicted of the murder of Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the US.

Swedish actor Michael Nyqvist as Schäfer is chilling in Gallenberger’s well-made, heart-pounding piece. The movie offers an up-close look at the torture chambers and human filth like Schäfer, who began with the Nazis and ended up a creature of the CIA.

Regarding the overthrow of the Allende regime, Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State at the time, infamously remarked that “I don’t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves.” Instead, he helped give them torture and brain-washing factories run by lunatics.

Refugees welcome, nazis not in Kent, England


Refugees welcomed on white cliffs of Dover

After the ‘bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover‘ of the Vera Lynn song, now this message of welcome and humanity there.

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Dover’s white cliffs beam message of hope

Saturday 2nd April 2016

A GIANT illuminated message of solidarity has been projected on the white cliffs of Dover before an anti-immigration march in the town planned for today by a rabble of neonazis.

Refugees welcome” has been projected in huge letters across the cliffs by a campaign collaboration between organisation Global Justice Now and guerilla projectionists Feral X.

Nearly 40 thugs have been arrested for rioting and violence during clashes with counter-protesters at the previous far-right march in January.

Now, Dover will yet again be invaded by the neonazis — of which most of them do not live in the town — and anti-fascists from across Britain will travel there to overshadow their messages of hate by sending a convoy of vehicles filled with provisions to refugees in Calais.

Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said: “Far right groups are coming to Dover to fan the flames of hatred and xenophobia, often generating a lot of media coverage in the process.

“But thousands of groups and communities are acting in many different ways to offer practical and personal support to refugees who have fled desperate circumstances to get here.”

Mr Dearden criticised the government for playing a “very active role” in the destruction of the Middle East and for not promising to take in more than 20,000 refugees.

He also pointed towards smaller and poorer countries that are doing more than Britain to help alleviate the crisis.

He added: “The UK is not ‘full.’ Lebanon, a country half the size of Wales, has taken in one million Syrian refugees. It is perfectly possible for the UK to take far more migrants than we currently see.”

Blood swastika daubed on bus by nazis

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

Blood Swastika Pillock One of 40 Rioters Nicked

Saturday 2nd April 2016

Neonazi rally threatens Dover again despite mass arrests

A NEONAZI suspected of daubing a bloody swastika on a coach was revealed yesterday to be one of nearly 40 thugs arrested in the wake of an anti-refugee riot.

The 52-year-old man from Fulham, who is on bail, is banned from entering Dover following an incident at Maidstone motorway service station in January, where men brandishing weapons smashed up coaches filled with anti-fascists travelling to a counter-demonstration.

Kent Police said detectives used DNA testing from the blood to find and arrest the man on February 25.

Assistant Chief Constable Neil Jerome said: “Seventeen were arrested on the day, the rest have been arrested since then and arrests continue to be made.

“Sixteen have been charged with a variety of offences and 21 are on bail with conditions not to enter Dover.”

Despite the arrests, other fascists are nevertheless gearing up to wreak havoc again today in the port town, which Kent Anti-Racism Network chairwoman Bridget Chapman says is seen as an easy target to “build a message of hate.”

This is because the violent racists — who are overwhelmingly not from Dover — take advantage of its economic deprivation and close proximity to refugees and migrants in northern France.

Anti-fascist groups across Britain are travelling down to resist the far-right mobs and to focus on giving “love, solidarity and warm socks” to refugees living in unsanitary conditions in Calais.

A convoy of several cars decorated with banners will make their way to France to support the migrants and “show up the fascists for being Hitler-loving thugs,” Ms Chapman added.

She told the Star that she and a female friend were physically attacked by neo-nazis at the previous Dover counter-rally.

She continued: “Violence at the last protest has come from the one side — that arrived drunk and armed.

“I saw a group that went up to block the road and broke through police lines to pelt them with masonry and sharpened sticks.

“I was attacked by a huge guy with a metal bar. My friend was kicked down some stairs and kicked in the head. They simply want a fight.

“We don’t want to fight but nor do we want to accept fascists roaming around the streets of Dover chanting racist slogans and Sieg-Heiling around town.

“These people do not want a peaceful protest.”

According to Kent Police, officers only have powers to stop people from engaging in their legal right to assemble and protest if there is a likelihood of violence, rioting and looting.

Hope not Hate spokesman Matthew Collins had told the Star that the organisation was surprised by “how underprepared the police were” during the last rally.

Kent Police Assistant Chief Constable Neil Jerome added: “Based on the information we have, and the lessons learned from last time, there will be significantly more police officers in Dover on Saturday.

“Those who choose to act in a violent, threatening or disorderly manner can expect a police response that is impartial, firm and fair, and they will be held to account for their actions.”

HUGH LANNING reports on an Kent-wide initiative designed to stop fascists using the refugee crisis to promote racial hatred and division: here.

A YORKSHIRE pub licensee confirmed yesterday that he would not serve right-wing thugs who regularly descend on Rotherham to spread their hateful message. The decision is a victory for local anti-racists who called on Bridge Inn licensee Tony Watson and the Old Mill Brewery to close the doors to fascists: here.

‘Nazi Skorzeny murdered other nazi for Mossad’


This video says about itself:

Nazi Hunters – Season 1, Episode 4 – Erich Priebke

6 July 2015

As one of the highest-ranking Gestapo officers in Rome during the war, Erich Priebke is responsible for one of Italy’s worst atrocities. He later escapes to Argentina where he eludes justice for fifty years. That is, until a high-profile team of American TV journalists stumbles onto his trail. They find Priebke in a German-speaking alpine resort town in the Andes. But can they capture him on camera? And will a mass murderer be brought to justice?

From daily Haaretz in Israel:

The Strange Case of a Nazi Who Became an Israeli Hitman

27 March 2016

The Strange Case of a Nazi Who Became an Israeli Hitman

Otto Skorzeny, one of the Mossad’s most valuable assets, was a former lieutenant colonel in Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS and one of Adolf Hitler’s favorites.

The Forward and Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman

On September 11, 1962, a German scientist vanished. The basic facts were simple: Heinz Krug had been at his office, and he never came home.

The only other salient detail known to police in Munich was that Krug commuted to Cairo frequently. He was one of dozens of Nazi rocket experts who had been hired by Egypt to develop advanced weapons for that country.

HaBoker, a now defunct Israeli newspaper, surprisingly claimed to have the explanation: The Egyptians kidnapped Krug to prevent him from doing business with Israel.

But that somewhat clumsy leak was an attempt by Israel to divert investigators from digging too deeply into the case — not that they ever would have found the 49-year-old scientist.

We can now report — based on interviews with former Mossad officers and with Israelis who have access to the Mossad’s archived secrets from half a century ago — that Krug was murdered as part of an Israeli espionage plot to intimidate the German scientists working for Egypt.

Moreover, the most astounding revelation is the Mossad agent who fired the fatal gunshots: Otto Skorzeny, one of the Israeli spy agency’s most valuable assets, was a former lieutenant colonel in Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS and one of Adolf Hitler’s personal favorites among the party’s commando leaders. The Führer, in fact, awarded Skorzeny the army’s most prestigious medal, the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, for leading the rescue operation that plucked his friend Benito Mussolini out from the hands of his captors.

But that was then. By 1962, according to our sources — who spoke only on the promise that they not be identified — Skorzeny had a different employer. The story of how that came to be is one of the most important untold tales in the archives of the Mossad, the agency whose full name, translated from Hebrew, is “The Institute for Intelligence and Special Missions.”

Key to understanding the story is that the Mossad had made stopping German scientists then working on Egypt’s rocket program one of its top priorities. For several months before his death, in fact, Krug, along with other Germans who were working in Egypt’s rocket-building industry, had received threatening messages. When in Germany, they got phone calls in the middle of the night, telling them to quit the Egyptian program. When in Egypt, some were sent letter bombs — and several people were injured by the explosions.

Krug, as it happens, was near the top of the Mossad’s target list.

During the war that ended 17 years earlier, Krug was part of a team of superstars at Peenemünde, the military test range on the coast of the Baltic Sea, where top German scientists toiled in the service of Hitler and the Third Reich. The team, led by Wernher von Braun, was proud to have engineered the rockets for the Blitz that nearly defeated England. Its wider ambitions included missiles that could fly a lot farther, with greater accuracy and more destructive power.

According to Mossad research, a decade after the war ended, von Braun invited Krug and other former colleagues to join him in America. Von Braun, his war record practically expunged, was leading a missile development program for the United States. He even became one of the fathers of the NASA space exploration program. Krug opted for another, seemingly more lucrative option: joining other scientists from the Peenemünde group — led by the German professor Wolfgang Pilz, whom he greatly admired — in Egypt. They would set up a secret strategic missile program for that Arab country.

In the Israelis’ view, Krug had to know that Israel, the country where so many Holocaust survivors had found refuge, was the intended target of his new masters’ military capabilities. A committed Nazi would see this as an opportunity to continue the ghastly mission of exterminating the Jewish people.

The threatening notes and phone calls, however, were driving Krug crazy. He and his colleagues knew that the threats were from Israelis. It was obvious. In 1960, Israeli agents had kidnapped Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief administrators of the Holocaust, in far-off Argentina. The Israelis astonishingly smuggled the Nazi to Jerusalem, where he was put on trial. Eichmann was hanged on May 31, 1962.

It was reasonable for Krug to feel that a Mossad noose might be tightening around his neck, too. That was why he summoned help: a Nazi hero who was considered the best of the best in Hitler’s heyday.

On the day he vanished, according to our new information from reliable sources, Krug left his office to meet Skorzeny, the man he felt would be his savior.

Skorzeny, then 54 years old, was quite simply a legend. A dashing, innovative military man who grew up in Austria — famous for a long scar on the left side of his face, the result of his overly exuberant swordplay while fencing as a youth— he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel in Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS. Thanks to Skorzeny’s exploits as a guerrilla commander, Hitler recognized that he had a man who would go above and beyond, and stop at nothing, to complete a mission.

The colonel’s feats during the war inspired Germans and the grudging respect of Germany’s enemies. American and British military intelligence labeled Skorzeny “the most dangerous man in Europe.”

Krug contacted Skorzeny in the hope that the great hero — then living in Spain — could create a strategy to keep the scientists safe.

The two men were in Krug’s white Mercedes, driving north out of Munich, and Skorzeny said that as a first step he had arranged for three bodyguards. He said they were in a car directly behind and would accompany them to a safe place in a forest for a chat. Krug was murdered, then and there, without so much as a formal indictment or death sentence. The man who pulled the trigger was none other than the famous Nazi war hero. Israel’s espionage agency had managed to turn Otto Skorzeny into a secret agent for the Jewish state.

After Krug was shot, the three Israelis poured acid on his body, waited awhile and then buried what was left in a hole they had dug beforehand. They covered the makeshift grave with lime, so that search dogs — and wild animals — would never pick up the scent of human remains.

The troika that coordinated this extrajudicial execution was led by a future prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir, who was then head of the Mossad’s special operations unit. One of the others was Zvi “Peter” Malkin, who had tackled Eichmann in Argentina and in later life would enter the art world as a New York-based painter. Supervising from a distance was Yosef “Joe” Raanan, who was the secret agency’s senior officer in Germany. All three had lost large numbers of family members among the 6 million Jews murdered by the cruel, continent-wide genocide that Eichmann had managed.

Israel’s motivation in working with a man such as Skorzeny was clear: to get as close as possible to Nazis who were helping Egypt plot a new Holocaust.

The Mossad’s playbook for protecting Israel and the Jewish people has no preordained rules or limits. The agency’s spies have evaded the legal systems in a host of countries for the purpose of liquidating Israel’s enemies: Palestinian terrorists, Iranian scientists, and even a Canadian arms inventor named Gerald Bull, who worked for Saddam Hussein until bullets ended his career in Brussels in 1990. Mossad agents in Lillehammer, Norway, even killed a Moroccan waiter in the mistaken belief that he was the mastermind behind the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre of 11 Israeli athletes by the terrorist group known as Black September. Ahmed Bouchikhi was shot down in 1973 as he left a movie theatre with his pregnant wife. The Israeli government later paid compensation to her without officially admitting wrongdoing. The botched mission delayed further Mossad assassinations, but it did not end them.

To get to unexpected places on these improbable missions, the Mossad has sometimes found itself working with unsavory partners. When short-term alliances could help, the Israelis were willing to dance with the proverbial devil, if that is what seemed necessary.

But why did Skorzeny work with the Mossad?

He was born in Vienna in June 1908, to a middle-class family proud of its military service for the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From an early age he seemed fearless, bold and talented at weaving false, complex tales that deceived people in myriad ways. These were essential requirements for a commando officer at war, and certainly valuable qualities for the Mossad.

He joined Austria’s branch of the Nazi Party in 1931, when he was 23, served in its armed militia, the SA, and enthusiastically worshipped Hitler. The führer was elected chancellor of Germany in 1933 and then seized Austria in 1938. When Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and World War II broke out, Skorzeny left his construction firm and volunteered — not for the regular army, the Wehrmacht, but for the Leibstandarte SS Panzer division that served as Hitler’s personal bodyguard force.

Skorzeny, in a memoir written after the war was over, told of his years of SS service as though they were almost bloodless travels in occupied Poland, Holland and France. His activities could not have been as innocuous as his book made them seem. He took part in battles in Russia and Poland, and certainly the Israelis believed it was very likely that he was involved in exterminating Jews. The Waffen-SS, after all, was not the regular army; it was the military arm of the Nazi Party and its genocidal plan.

His most famous and daring mission was in September 1943: leading commandos who flew engineless gliders to reach an Italian mountaintop resort to rescue Hitler’s friend and ally, the recently ousted Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini and spirit him away under harrowing conditions.

This was the escapade that earned Skorzeny his promotion to lieutenant colonel — and operational control of Hitler’s SS Special Forces. Hitler also rewarded him with several hours of face-to-face conversation, along with the coveted Knight’s Cross. But it was far from his only coup.

In September 1944, when Hungary’s dictator, Admiral Miklos Horthy, a Nazi ally, was on the verge of suing for peace with Russia as Axis fortunes plunged, Skorzeny led a contingent of Special Forces into Budapest to kidnap Horthy and replace his government with the more hard-line Fascist Arrow Cross regime. That regime, in turn, went on to kill or to deport to concentration camps tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews who had managed to survive the war up to that point.

Also in 1944, Skorzeny handpicked 150 soldiers, including some who spoke fair to excellent English in a bold plan to fend off the Allies after they landed in Normandy on D-Day in June. With the Allies advancing through France, Skorzeny dressed his men in captured U.S. uniforms, and procured captured American tanks for them to use in attacking and confusing Allied troops from behind their own lines.

The bold deception — including the act of stealing U.S. soldiers’ property — plunged Skorzeny into two years of interrogation, imprisonment and trial after the war ended. Eventually, Allied military judges acquitted him in 1947. Once again, the world’s newspapers headlined him as Europe’s most dangerous man. He enjoyed the fame, and published his memoirs in various editions and many languages, including the 1957 book “Skorzeny’s Special Missions: The Autobiography of Hitler’s Commando Ace,” published by Greenhill Books. He spun some tall-tale hyperbole in the books, and definitely downplayed his contacts with the most bloodthirsty Nazi leaders. When telling of his many conversations with Hitler, he described the dictator as a caring and attentive military strategist.

There was much that Skorzeny did not reveal, including how he escaped from the American military authorities who held him for a third year after his acquittal. Prosecutors were considering more charges against him in the Nuremberg tribunals, but during one transfer he was able to escape — reputedly with the help of former SS soldiers wearing American military police uniforms.

Skorzeny’s escape was also rumored to have been assisted by the CIA’s predecessor agency, the Office of Special Services, for which he did some work after the war. It is certainly notable that he was allowed to settle in Spain — a paradise for Nazi war veterans, with protection from the pro-Western Fascist, Generalissimo Francisco Franco. In the years that followed he did some advisory work for President Juan Peron in Argentina and for Egypt’s government. It was during this period that Skorzeny became friendly with the Egyptian officers who were running the missile program and employing German experts.

In Israel, a Mossad planning team started to work on where it could be best to find and kill Skorzeny. But the head of the agency, Isser Harel, had a bolder plan: Instead of killing him, snare him.

Mossad officials had known for some time that to target the German scientists, they needed an inside man in the target group. In effect, the Mossad needed a Nazi.

The Israelis would never find a Nazi they could trust, but they saw a Nazi they could count on: someone thorough and determined, with a record of success in executing innovative plans, and skilled at keeping secrets. The seemingly bizarre decision to recruit Skorzeny came with some personal pain, because the task was entrusted to Raanan, who was also born in Vienna and had barely escaped the Holocaust. As an Austrian Jew, his name was originally Kurt Weisman. After the Nazis took over in 1938, he was sent — at age 16 — to British-ruled Palestine. His mother and younger brother stayed in Europe and perished.

Like many Jews in Palestine, Kurt Weisman joined the British military looking for a chance to strike back at Germany. He served in the Royal Air Force. After the creation of Israel in 1948, he followed the trend of taking on a Hebrew name, and as Joe Raanan he was among the first pilots in the new nation’s tiny air force. The young man rapidly became an airbase commander and later the air force’s intelligence chief.

Raanan’s unique résumé, including some work he did for the RAF in psychological warfare, attracted the attention of Harel, who signed him up for the Mossad in 1957. A few years later, Raanan was sent to Germany to direct the secret agency’s operations there — with a special focus on the German scientists in Egypt. Thus it was Raanan who had to devise and command an operation to establish contact with Skorzeny, the famous Nazi commando.

The Israeli spy found it difficult to get over his reluctance, but when ordered, he assembled a team that traveled to Spain for “pre-action intelligence.” Its members observed Skorzeny, his home, his workplace and his daily routines. The team included a German woman in her late 20s who was not a trained, full-time Mossad agent but a “helper.” Known by the Hebrew label “saayanit” (or “saayan” if a male), this team member was like an extra in a grandly theatrical movie, playing whatever role might be required. A saayanit would often pose as the girlfriend of an undercover Mossad combatant.

Internal Mossad reports later gave her name as Anke and described her as pretty, vivacious and truly flirtatious. That would be perfect for the job at hand — a couples game.

One evening in the early months of 1962, the affluent and ruggedly handsome — though scarred — Skorzeny was in a luxurious bar in Madrid with his significantly younger wife, Ilse von Finckenstein. Her own Nazi credentials were impeccable; she was the niece of Hjalmar Schacht, Hitler’s talented finance minister.

They had a few cocktails and were relaxing, when the bartender introduced them to a German-speaking couple he had been serving. The woman was pretty and in her late 20s, and her escort was a well-dressed man of around 40. They were German tourists, they said, but they also told a distressing story: that they had just survived a harrowing street robbery.

They spoke perfect German, of course, the man with a bit of an Austrian accent, like Skorzeny’s. They gave their false names, but in reality they were, respectively, a Mossad agent whose name must still be kept secret and his “helper,” Anke.

There were more drinks, then somewhat flamboyant flirting, and soon Skorzeny’s wife invited the young couple, who had lost everything — money, passports and luggage — to stay the night at their sumptuous villa. There was just something irresistible about the newcomers. A sense of sexual intimacy between the two couples was in the air. After the four entered the house, however, at a crucial moment when the playful flirting reached the point where it seemed time to pair off, Skorzeny — the charming host — pulled a gun on the young couple and declared: “I know who you are, and I know why you’re here. You are Mossad, and you’ve come to kill me.”

The young couple did not even flinch. The man said: “You are half-right. We are from Mossad, but if we had come to kill you, you would have been dead weeks ago.”

“Or maybe,” Skorzeny said, “I would rather just kill you.”

Anke spoke up. “If you kill us, the ones who come next won’t bother to have a drink with you. You won’t even see their faces before they blow out your brains. Our offer to you is just for you to help us.”

After a long minute that felt like an hour, Skorzeny did not lower his gun, but he asked: “What kind of help? You need something done?” The Mossad officer — who even now is not being named by colleagues — told Skorzeny that Israel needed information and would pay him handsomely.

Hitler’s favorite commando paused for a few moments to think, and then surprised the Israeli by saying: “Money doesn’t interest me. I have enough.”

The Mossad man was further surprised to hear Skorzeny name something that he did want: “I need for Wiesenthal to remove my name from his list.” Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Vienna-based Nazi-hunter, had Skorzeny listed as a war criminal, but now the accused was insisting he had not committed any crimes.

The Israeli did not believe any senior Nazi officer’s claim of innocence, but recruiting an agent for an espionage mission calls for well-timed lies and deception. “Okay,” he said, “that will be done. We’ll take care of that.”

Skorzeny finally lowered his weapon, and the two men shook hands. The Mossad man concealed his disgust.

“I knew that the whole story about you being robbed was bogus,” Skorzeny said, with the boastful smile of a fellow intelligence professional. “Just a cover story.”

The next step to draw him in was to bring him to Israel. His Mossad handler, Raanan, secretly arranged a flight to Tel Aviv, where Skorzeny was introduced to Harel. The Nazi was questioned and also received more specific instructions and guidelines. During this visit, Skorzeny was taken to Yad Vashem, the museum in Jerusalem dedicated to the memory of the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The Nazi was silent and seemed respectful. There was a strange moment there when a war survivor pointed to Skorzeny and singled him out by name as “a war criminal.”

Raanan, as skilled an actor as any spy must be, smiled at the Jewish man and softly said: “No, you’re mistaken. He’s a relative of mine and himself is a Holocaust survivor.”

Naturally, many in Israeli intelligence wondered if the famous soldier for Germany had genuinely — and so easily — been recruited. Did he really care so much about his image that he demanded to be removed from a list of war criminals? Skorzeny indicated that being on the list meant he was a target for assassination. By cooperating with the Mossad, he was buying life insurance.

The new agent seemed to prove his full reliability. As requested by the Israelis, he flew to Egypt and compiled a detailed list of German scientists and their addresses.

Skorzeny also provided the names of many front companies in Europe that were procuring and shipping components for Egypt’s military projects. These included Heinz Krug’s company, Intra, in Munich.

Raanan continued to be the project manager of the whole operation aimed against the German scientists. But he assigned the task of staying in contact with Skorzeny to two of his most effective operatives: Rafi Eitan and Avraham Ahituv.

Eitan was one of the most amazing characters in Israeli intelligence. He earned the nickname “Mr. Kidnap” for his role in abducting Eichmann and other men wanted by Israeli security agencies. Eitan also helped Israel acquire materials for its secret nuclear program. He would go on to earn infamy in the 1980s by running Jonathan Pollard as an American Jewish spy in the United States government.

Surprisingly flamboyant after a life in the shadows, in 2006, at age 79, Eitan became a Member of Parliament as head of a political party representing senior citizens.

“Yes, I met and ran Skorzeny,” Eitan confirmed to us recently. Like other Mossad veterans, he refused to go on the record with more details.

Ahituv, who was born in Germany in 1930, was similarly involved in a wide array of Israeli clandestine operations all around the globe. From 1974 to 1980 he was head of the domestic security service, Shin Bet, which also guarded many secrets and often conducted joint projects with the Mossad.

The Mossad agents did try to persuade Wiesenthal to remove Skorzeny from his list of war criminals, but the Nazi hunter refused. The Mossad, with typical chutzpah, instead forged a letter — supposedly to Skorzeny from Wiesenthal— declaring that his name had been cleared.

Skorzeny continued to surprise the Israelis with his level of cooperation. During a trip to Egypt, he even mailed exploding packages; one Israeli-made bomb killed five Egyptians in the military rocket site Factory 333, where German scientists worked.

The campaign of intimidation was largely successful, with most of the Germans leaving Egypt. Israel stopped the violence and threats, however, when one team was arrested in Switzerland while putting verbal pressure on a scientist’s family. A Mossad man and an Austrian scientist who was working for Israel were put on trial. Luckily, the Swiss judge sympathized with Israel’s fear of Egypt’s rocket program. The two men were convicted of making threats, but they were immediately set free.

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, however, concluded that all of this being out in public was disastrous to Israel’s image — and specifically could upset a deal he had arranged with West Germany to sell weapons to Israel.

Harel submitted a letter of resignation, and to his shock, Ben-Gurion accepted it. The new Mossad director, commander of military intelligence Gen. Meir Amit, moved the agency away from chasing or intimidating Nazis.

Amit did activate Skorzeny at least once more, however. The spymaster wanted to explore the possibility of secret peace negotiations, so he asked Israel’s on-the-payroll Nazi to arrange a meeting with a senior Egyptian official. Nothing ever came of it.

Skorzeny never explained his precise reasons for helping Israel. His autobiography does not contain the word “Israel,” or even “Jew.” It is true that he sought and got the life insurance. The Mossad did not assassinate him.

He also had a very strong streak of adventurism, and the notion of doing secret work with fascinating spies — even if they were Jewish — must have been a magnet for the man whose innovative escapades had earned him the Iron Cross medal from Hitler. Skorzeny was the kind of man who would feel most youthful and alive through killing and fear. …

But Otto Skorzeny took this secret to his grave. He died of cancer, at age 67, in Madrid in July 1975.

He had two funerals, one in a chapel in Spain’s capital and the other to bury his cremated remains in the Skorzeny family plot in Vienna. Both services were attended by dozens of German military veterans and wives, who did not hesitate to give the one-armed Nazi salute and sing some of Hitler’s favorite songs. Fourteen of Skorzeny’s medals, many featuring a boldly black swastika, were prominently paraded in the funeral processions.

There was one man at the service in Madrid who was known to no one in the crowd, but out of habit he still made sure to hide his face as much as he could. That was Joe Raanan, who by then had become a successful businessman in Israel.

The Mossad did not send Raanan to Skorzeny’s funeral; he decided to attend on his own, and at his own expense. This was a personal tribute from one Austrian-born warrior to another, and from an old spy handler to the best, but most loathsome, agent he ever ran.

Syrian refugees save German nazi’s life


Supporters of anti-immigration right-wing movement PEGIDA hold up a banner with the logo of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). Photo: Reuters

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Syrian refugees rescue neo-Nazi German politician after car crash

Men who had fled war and persecution in their home country rush to the aid of politician who has previously made statements including ‘the boat is full’, ‘stop the asylum flood‘ and ‘integration is genocide’

Matt Payton

Syrian refugees rescued a seriously injured neo-Nazi German politician following a serious traffic accident.

Stefan Jagsch from the National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) had swerved off the road and collided with a tree in the central German town of Büdingen, near Frankfurt.

Maybe this happened because nazi Stefan Jagsch was driving while drunk? Like Austrian neo-nazi Jörg Haider did, which killed him?

A coach of Syrian refugees happened to be passing the accident scene in a bus and two rushed to the stricken man’s aid.

They managed to pull the badly hurt politician from the wreckage and administered first aid, according to Spiegel Online.

Bild reported Mr Jagsch suffered two broken legs and a cut to the face as a result of the accident.

The NPD has attacked Chancellor Merkel’s laws on asylum for letting too many refugees and criminals into Germany.

Jagsch, 29, had been the party’s lead candidate for a local elections in the town of Altenstadt in the German state of Hesse.

He has reportedly posted statements on his Facebook page including “the boat is full”, “stop the asylum flood” and “integration is genocide”.

NPD won 10 per cent of Altenstadt vote in the recent elections.

The German coalition government of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is seeking to further restrict the rights of immigrants. Minister of the Interior Thomas de Maizière announced on Saturday that he and Minister of Employment Andrea Nahles (SPD) will present the draft of a new integration law to the cabinet in May. It will include “harsh measures” against refugees who do not comply with regulations: here.