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German fight to keep Eichmann files secret over claims officials and Vatican colluded in escape

By Allan Hall
Last updated at 8:42 AM on 13th March 2010

Germany is fighting to keep files sealed that detail Adolf Eichman’s life on the run before he was captured by Mossad agents and tried for war crimes in Israel.
Documents about the Holocaust's chief logistics organiser’s escape from Europe and 15-year exile in Argentina are currently bound by a 50-year secrecy order.
But campaigners challenging the rule say the Eichmann files may prove German and Vatican officials colluded in his escape and freedom.

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Face of evil: Adolf Eichmann in his SS uniform, left, during the war, and in 1961 in an Israeli cell. The Holocaust's chief logistics organiser was captured by Mossad

The secrecy order is being fought in a benchmark court case against the BND, Germany's domestic intelligence service, which wants the 4,500 pages of documents on Adolf Eichmann to remain out of the public domain.
They cite that intelligence agencies in other countries will be ‘frightened off’ in future data-sharing if they are revealed.
Critics believe this is a smokescreen designed to avoid official embarrassment both in Berlin and the Vatican.
It is well documented that German Bishop Alois Hudal in Rome operated post-war 'ratlines,' getting passports for wanted Nazis to allow them to escape justice.
Franz Stangl, commandant of the Treblinka extermination camp, admitted to British Nazi expert Gitta Sereny that Hudal helped him get away after the defeat of Germany in 1945.

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Inhuman: Eichmann organised the trains that sent Jews to their deaths (above)

Eichmann also escaped. He was the ultimate 'desk murderer' in the Third Reich who, as head of department IVB4 of the SS in Berlin, was responsible for the trains that carried millions to their deaths at extermination centres in Nazi occupied Poland.
After the war he was captured but fled from Allied custody.
As the victors scoured Europe and the world for the top officials of the regime, Eichmann's name was barely known: it was only as more and more details of the Holocaust emerged that his pivotal role in it began to dawn on Nazi hunters.
For 15 years he lived, sometimes under his own name, in Argentina, raising his family while working at a VW car plant.
In 1960, acting on a tip-off, a Mossad team was dispatched to Buenos Aires with orders to kidnap him and bring him back to Israel for trial.

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In Argentina: Eichmann in exile managing a small rabbit farm in Joaquin Gorina

He was seized, stood trial, found guilty and hanged on May 31, 1962.
Now the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig, Germany, is studying the files about his getaway from Europe and life in Argentina to decide if they should be made public.

The application for their release was made by German journalist Gabriele Weber.
The BND maintains that secrecy is necessary because ‘much of the information contained in the files was provided by an unnamed foreign intelligence service’.
If released, the BND argues, it would ‘deter’ other nations from sharing intelligence with Germany in the future.
‘It would adversely affect future co-operations between foreign intelligence services and German security agencies,’ the agency's lawyers said.
But critics believe what the files will really reveal are the levels of assistance, succour and turning a blind eye to Nazi fugitives from officials in defeated Germany, together with details of Vatican assistance to top war criminals like Eichmann.

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Means of escape: The passport used by Eichmann to enter Argentina in 1950 after he had fled to Switzerland. On it his name is recorded as Ricardo Klement

Uki Goñi, an Argentine expert on the Nazis, told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine: ‘They could easily redact the name of the intelligence service and the name of the informants.
‘The files would not be embarrassing to any other secret service but to Germany itself.
‘The files contain details of collusion between the German government and Nazis who fled abroad, that is the real reason to keep them secret.’
It is well known that the German embassy in Buenos Aires issued German passports to Eichmann and his family in their real names when they applied for them.
The same went for Dr Josef Mengele, the infamous medic of the Auschwitz extermination camp.

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In the dock: Eichmann was sentenced to death by the court in Jerusalem in 1962

Reiner Geulen, lawyer for Ms Weber, said Eichmann was very garrulous on the run, speaking freely to many people about who aided him.
Mr Geulen believes these details would be contained in the files.

‘There is good reason to believe that he received help from German, Italian and Vatican officials,’ he added.
Support for their release has come from an unexpected quarter.
Eichmann's son Ricardo Eichmann, an archaeologist in Berlin, says they must be made public.
‘Whatever it says in those files,’ he told Der Spiegel, ‘the time has come to open them up for academic evaluation.’
A decision on whether to release the files will be made in the next few weeks.

What a BIG surprise! LOL! I think there may well be American complicity, as well...perhaps others, along with Vatican and Germans.
I feel sure that it had already been established beyond doubt that the Catholic Church was largely responsible for running the Ratlines that saw tens of thousands of Nazis escape justice at Nuremberg. Some of the worst cases, for example the Commandant of Sorbibor extermination camp, Franz Stangl, was one of those aided to freedom thanks to a Vatican supplied passport.

Why not Eichman too?
Quote:The BND maintains that secrecy is necessary because ‘much of the information contained in the files was provided by an unnamed foreign intelligence service’.
If released, the BND argues, it would ‘deter’ other nations from sharing intelligence with Germany in the future.

Precisely the same puerile argument used by British Foreign Secretary Milliband minor to prevent evidence of torture being made public.

The spooks really do squirm pathetically when evidence of their complicity in gross and inhuman deeds threatens to see the light of day.

A pox on their houses. :nurse:
Quote:Early in 1950, he succeeded in establishing contact with ODESSA, a clandestine organization of S.S. veterans, and in May of that year he was passed through Austria to Italy, where a Franciscan priest, fully informed of his identity, equipped him with a refugee passport in the name of Richard Klement and sent him on to Buenos Aires. He arrived in mid-July and, without any difficulty, obtained identification papers and a work permit as Ricardo Klement, Catholic, a bachelor, stateless, aged thirty-seven--seven years less than his real age.

He was still cautious, but he now wrote to his wife in his own handwriting and told her that "her children's uncle" was alive. He worked at a number of odd jobs--sales representative, laundry man, worker on a rabbit farm--all poorly paid, but in the summer of 1952 he had his wife and children join him. (Mrs. Eichmann obtained a German passport in Zurich, Switzerland, though she was a resident of Austria at the time, and under her real name, as a "divorcee" from a certain Eichmann. How this came about has remained a mystery, and the file containing her application has disappeared from the German consulate in Zurich.) Upon her arrival in Argentina, Eichmann got his first steady job, in the Mercedes-Benz factory in Suarez, a suburb of Buenos Aires, first as a mechanic and later as a foreman, and when a fourth son was born to him, he remarried his wife, supposedly under the name of Klement. This is not likely, however, for the infant was registered as Ricardo Francisco (presumably as a tribute to the Italian priest) Klement Eichmann, and this was only one of many hints that Eichmann dropped in regard to his identity as the years went by. It does seem to be true, however, that he told his children he was Adolf Eichmann's brother, though the children, being well acquainted with their grandparents and uncles in Linz, must have been rather dull to believe it; the oldest son, at least, who had been nine years old when he last saw his father, should have been able to recognize him seven years later in Argentina. Mrs. Eichmann's Argentine identity card, moreover, was never changed (it read "Veronika Liebl de Eichmann"), and in 1959, when Eichmann's stepmother died, and a year later, when his father died, the newspaper announcements in Linz carried Mrs. Eichmann's name among the survivors, contradicting all stories of divorce and remarriage. Early in 1960, a few months before his capture, Eichmann and his elder sons finished building a primitive brick house in one of the poor suburbs of Buenos Aires--no electricity, no running water--where the family settled down. They must have been very poor, and Eichmann must have led a dreary life, for which not even the children could compensate, for they showed "absolutely no interest in being educated and did not even try to develop their so-called talents."

Eichmann's only compensation consisted in talking endlessly with members of the large Nazi colony, to whom he readily admitted his identity. In 1955, this finally led to the interview with the Dutch journalist Willem S. Sassen, a former member of the Armed S.S. who had exchanged his Dutch nationality for a German passport during the war and had later been condemned to death in absentia in Belgium as a war criminal.

Eichmann made copious notes for the interview, which was tape-recorded and then rewritten by Sassen, with considerable embellishments; the notes in Eichmann's own handwriting were discovered and they were admitted as evidence at his trial, though the statement as a whole was not. Sassen's version appeared in abbreviated form first in the German illustrated magazine Der Stern, in July, 1960, and then, in November and December, as a series of articles in Life. But Sassen, obviously with Eichmann's consent, had offered the story four years before to a Time-Life correspondent in Buenos Aires, and even if it is true that Eichmann's name was withheld, the content of the material could have left no doubt about the original source of the information. The truth of the matter is that Eichmann had made many efforts to break out of his anonymity, and it is rather strange that it took the Israeli Secret Services several years--until August, 1959--to learn that Adolf Eichmann was living in Argentina under the name of Ricardo Klement. Israel has never divulged the source of her information, and today at least half a dozen persons claim they found Eichmann, while "well-informed circles" in Europe insist that it was the Russian Intelligence service that spilled the news. However that may have been, the puzzle is not how it was possible to discover Eichmann's hideout but, rather, how it was possible not to discover it earlier--provided, of course, that the Israelis had indeed pursued this search through the years. Which, in view of the facts, seems doubtful.

Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, Hannah Arendt, 1963

The Vatican/priest connexion was known in 1963, the BND is probably planting that as false trail with media operatives. The bolded text above raises the question of WHAT OTHER NAZIS were living in Argentina with impunity, and for whom did they work? The fact of EIchmann's wherabouts would've been known by multiple intelligence agencies, so the only question is, who passed it to Israel?
Fight over Eichmann Files Back to German Court

8th September 2010

Fight over Eichmann Files Back to German Court

By DAVID RISING (AP) – 1 day ago
[Image: 010203715600.jpg]BERLIN — Germany’s intelligence service has turned over thousands of files on top Nazi Adolf Eichmann ‘s whereabouts after World War II to a journalist who sued for them. But with so many passages blacked out and pages missing, she’s taking the matter back to court.
An attorney for freelance reporter Gabriele Weber said Tuesday he was confident that she would win greater access eventually, even though Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office has argued that some Eichmann files should stay secret.
Last week, Weber went to see the government files on the man known as the “architect of the Holocaust” for coordinating the Nazi’s genocide policy. She was surprised to find some 1,000 pages missing, despite a federal court’s order in April that the intelligence agency, the BND, could not keep all of the documents secret.
Merkel’s office, which oversees the BND, argued in a filing with the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig that the 3,400 files had been examined and that it had been determined that some should remain withheld for a variety of reasons. It expressed concern that because the information had been received in confidence from other intelligence agencies, to make it public would discredit the BND.
Merkel’s office has not commented on the April decision and the BND refused to elaborate while the matter is still pending in court.
The arguments, however, were similar to those the court rejected when it made its initial ruling.
“I am certain that we will get all of the files, but it will take some time,” Weber’s Berlin attorney Reiner Geulen said.
He has filed a new request with the Leipzig court arguing that the government is violating the court’s original order by withholding so much.
Even though the basics of Eichmann’s story after the war are well known — he fled Germany, was captured in Argentina by Israel’s Mossad in 1960, then hanged after trial in Jerusalem in 1962 — Weber hopes the files will shed more light on missing pieces of the puzzle. Who helped him escape? How much did Germany know about where he was? Is there more to the story of his capture?
“Of the 2,400 pages, maybe 100 are interesting,” she said.
It was not clear when the case would be heard by the Leipzig court.
For those who understand German, there is a recent more than two hours long interview with Gaby Weber, the journalist who fought this fight for the BND Eichmann files at
This touches not only on Eichmann, but also on the (dark) history of Mercedes Benz Argentina, Atomic tests in Argentina on 21/22 May 1960, possibly triggering the largest recorded earthquake in history, and the completely inconsistent story of Eichmanns "capture" in Argentina in the same time frame. Also shipments of Uranium from Argentina to Israel and collaboration of German atomic scientists in Argentina to develop an Israeli nuclear reactor (Dimona), as well as the payment of 2 Billion German Marks for a "project in the Negev desert" are touched upon.

In the BND files that have been released, there is a note from 1952 that mentions the fact that Eichmann lived in Argentina.

There is also a radio feature from 2011, German transcript here: , focusing on the atomic tests in Argentina.
Carsten - thank you. As ever.
Other than general embarrassment and reviving a bit of history they'd like people to not remember [or learn about for the first time], it seems to me there is some other fear hidden here....other big names or something even worse?....
If I understood the interview correctly, and with the caveat that there are about a hundred pages of documents that have not been released, I can only speculate. The reason given for not releasing all documents was that Germany is dependent on foreign intelligence services and it would not be in their interest to publish these documents. Great, so much for being an open society and a democracy of informed citizens.

Regarding Eichmann the (informed) theory is that all intelligence services (German BND, CIA and the Israelis) knew for a long time, at least since 1952, that Eichmann lived more or less openly in Argentina and worked for Merceds Benz Argentina as an electrician. But there was absolutely no interest by Ben Gurion to get him before any court, because it could have been very dangerous for him and the prewar Zionist movement who had always wanted to found the state of Israel (contrary to the majority of Jews), if Eichmann would have talked about the secret arrangements between the Nazis and the Zionists.
It is also very likely that the interviews that Willem Sassen, a Dutch Nazi working for the US, conducted with Eichmann from 1957 on were known to the CIA and to the Israelis. Maybe the things that Eichmann said, became too dangerous.
It is also possible that the Russians threatened to open the box on Eichmann and all the other Nazis (around 50000 people).
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