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.

- SAPA
Read more on:    germany  |  israel  |  nazi crimes
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
15 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

3 sports games you have to watch this weekend

Whether it’s date night or a braai with buddies, plan around these three exciting sporting games!

 
 

Men24.com

Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro
Hottie of the day: Colette

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.