News24

Germany still keeping Nazi secrets

2011-04-06 17:44

Berlin - Fifty years after Adolf Eichmann went on trial in Israel, Germany is still keeping mum on how much it knew before Mossad agents kidnapped the Nazi war criminal in Argentina in 1960.

Organisers of a Berlin exhibition opening to the public on Wednesday to mark the start of the trial on April 11 1961 say Germany's Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) foreign intelligence agency refused access to the relevant files.

"We made a request to the BND around a year ago to be able to look at these files. The response was negative," Lisa Hauff, curator at the exhibition at the Topography of Terror museum, said.

This is "absurd" and "outrageous", said Norbert Kampe, head of the Wannsee Conference memorial, which helped on the exhibition at the museum on the site of the Gestapo and SS's former Berlin headquarters.

Eichmann was a key organiser in the deportation and murder of millions of Jews and others during World War II. He escaped from captivity and ended up, like many other war criminals, in Argentina in 1950.

After his capture by Israeli agents, he stood trial in Jerusalem and was executed in 1962.

Explosive secrets

Freelance journalist Gaby Weber last year won a legal victory forcing the BND to make available some of its files, which it is now doing, but only step by step.

According to Spiegel magazine, they show that the BND, or rather its forerunner Organisation Gehlen, was aware as early as 1952 that Eichmann was in Argentina - eight years before his capture.

This is not that spectacular, observers say, but the BND's reluctance to release these files, and the fact that it is still blocking access to others, has raised suspicions that it may be hiding more explosive secrets.

"I have seen some of the (released) files, and a great deal is blacked out. They are basically just trial documents with very few interesting things," Weber told Deutschlandfunk radio this week.

The suspicion is that the government of chancellor Konrad Adenauer wanted to prevent Eichmann being captured in case he revealed highly embarrassing details about the pasts of high-ranking figures in the West German elite.

Eichmann's kidnap came at a frosty time in relations with communist East Germany (GDR), which had long accused West Germany of rehabilitating old Nazis in high positions, and at a particularly tense period in the Cold War.

Deal behind the scenes

In 1961 the GDR erected the Berlin Wall and the CIA sponsored the doomed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. The following year was the Cuban missile crisis.

"Bonn is on trial with Eichmann," ran the headline of GDR newspaper Neues Deutschland, reporting on what it said was "panic" in Adenauer's government.

The most prominent example was Adenauer's chief of staff, Hans Globke, who had been involved drawing up anti-Jewish legislation under the Nazis. Spiegel last month quoted CIA files as saying Bonn was "on the brink of hysteria".

"Eichmann was like a walking bomb because he knew so much ... and if he had spilled the beans he would have sent quite a few people into a spin," Weber believes.

The fact that Eichmann in the event kept quiet on this aspect, and on other Nazis in Argentina, raises the suspicion that there was a "deal behind the scenes" between West Germany and Israel, Weber said.

Adding fuel to the fire are accusations that the West German embassy in Buenos Aires appeared to be well aware that Eichmann was in Argentina, despite its claims to the contrary after his capture.

Hope for another ruling


"Nazi diplomats got top jobs in South America (after 1945), particularly in countries run by dictators," said Kampe.

"Every Nazi criminal on the run got their identity papers issued at the embassies, from (Josef) Mengele, the concentration camp doctor, to Eichmann. It cannot possibly be that ... Bonn didn't know about it."

Eichmann's sons applied for passports at the Buenos Aires embassy in 1954, using their real surnames and even putting as their father SS-Obersturmbannfuehrer ("SS Lieutenant Colonel") Eichmann, reports said.

"There should be another ruling in the coming weeks that we hope will release most of the remaining files, if not all of them," Weber's lawyer Reiner Geulen said.

A spokesperson for the BND, Dieter Arndt, declined to comment while Weber's legal action was ongoing.

Comments
  • ?? - 2011-04-06 17:53

    They must NEVER release any information.

      Win14 - 2011-04-06 19:31

      Hallo Mr."??" - what are YOU doing on this particular site? Or are there several ??'s?---- If "they" don't release further info now 65yrs later, they must have good reasons for that. What for instance if Merkel's parents were big Nazis who have killed Jews!!?? They would need to dismiss her immediately, mainly because she knew and never told. So yes, stop them from releasing unnecessary info that can only cause unnecessary sh*t. ---- However: they should not only point fingers at the Krauts and their embarrassing archives .. it's the same in every country of the world. So often the answer should be: "YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW!!". And then there is this other great holy cow: CHURCHILL>>> The Brits still sit on tons of unpublished info about that guy. He has been elevated to a position only second to Jesus Christ, but entirely without justification - IF YOU WOULD ONLY KNOW THE WHOLE TRUTH !!! Normally there is a worldwide general secrecy limit of 25 years (if I remember correctly), but 10-20% of info (about explosive shenanigans and decisions and kill orders and more) will never be divulged to you or the press .. and come on: in your heart you know why -- such info would generally contaminate and destroy also YOUR greatest hero(s) in world history and even today! It's never just ONE person who takes the non-disclosure decision, but a group of responsible and caring people who really intend to protect you.

      Old Man - 2011-04-06 20:00

      And pray tell us why not?

      LanfearM - 2013-01-05 15:47

      @ Win14 - huh? It seems that you and Mr ?? agree that information shouldn't be released? Or are you being sarcastic?

  • MaLemmer - 2011-04-06 18:46

    The Krauts and the Swiss are the same. Old secrets are held dear. How many known Nazi's, especially SS, remained and were never prosecuted in Germany after the war, and lived their days out in peace? Many that took part in SS atrocities as early as 1940 got away scot free with the complicit help of the post-war German government(s)!!!

      ?? - 2011-04-06 19:25

      I agree with u that old secrets are held dear.Just look at how free George W Bush is after 2 illegal wars,Ariel Sharon was never prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

      LanfearM - 2013-01-05 15:50

      Oh come on! Every country in the world has secrets that are never revealed to the general public. Not only Germany, but the US as well helped many Nazis escape. So what do you propose? That the Germans should have been wiped out because most of them were Nazi party members? With the Odessa operation and Operation Paperclip, loads of high-ranking Nazis got away, true. And not only Germany was involved. As I said the US was heavily involved, and there were even deals made between Germany and Israel regarding old war secrets.

  • Madelane - 2011-04-06 20:50

    Politicians remain politicians and they look after their own....German elite? It is the same in all countries where the (so called elite) ruling class have been placed on pedestals of their own making including the communist dictatorships.....will we ever know the brutalities from any countries government? Don't hold your breath.

  • Stephen - 2011-12-13 00:56

    Ai ai...please move on....so much has happened since then. Why must we always be reminded about the Jews every single moment of our lives when atrocities have taken place and are still taking place and will always take place around over the world.

      Fred - 2011-12-13 13:53

      Perhaps because the context of the story was about Nazi Germany and today Hamas Charter calls for the death of all Jews worldwide. Iran has openly stated they wish to committ genocide against Israel. As you correctly point out genocide is still taking place around the world, yet the lessons of the past appear to have still not been learnt.

      Fidel - 2012-04-15 19:33

      Fred, you are a propagandist! Sock puppetry?

      LanfearM - 2013-01-05 15:53

      @ fidel.mgoqi - where did Fred state any kind of propaganda? I have seen footage from Al Jazeera where Iranian president Ahmadinejad openly stated that he wants to wipe Israel off the map. So how is that propaganda?

  • Dee - 2012-04-15 14:55

    The secrecy is not to protect Germany - but to protect USA who recruited Nazi war criminals as 'Counter Intelligence Agents', had them on the US payroll & relocated them to S.America. Read the story of Klaus Barbie, Che Guevara for a tiny insight into WHY the post WW2 Nazi War criminal story cannot be told - and in whose interests it is to keep it under wraps.

      LanfearM - 2013-01-05 15:52

      Yup, it is even "rumoured" that the CIA tipped off Mengele just before the Mossad would have caught him. Not to mention all the Nazi scientists that suddenly ended up in the US, working for the government.

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