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


"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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German fight to keep Eichmann files secret over claims officials and Vatican colluded in escape - by Magda Hassan - 16-03-2010, 01:20 PM

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