Alex Constantine - March 14, 2010
German campaigners demand disclosure of dossier on Nazi's flight to Argentina.
Campaigners in Germany are challenging the 50-year secrecy order that binds files on Adolf Eichmann’s flight from Germany after World War II, the Daily Mail reported on Sunday.
According to the dissenters, led by German journalist Gabriele Weber, the dossier may contain information that shows Eichmann’s post-war escape from the country was aided by the Vatican and by German officials.
In a court case against the German intelligence service, the BND, the campaigners are demanding the public disclosure of 4,500 pages of information concerning Eichmann. They reportedly say the documents will prove the high-ranking Nazi, often referred to as “the architect of the Holocaust,” did not escape independently.
Leipzig’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig is studying the campaigners’ request, as well as the documents themselves. The BND, meanwhile, was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying that “much of the information contained in the files was provided by an unnamed foreign intelligence service,” and should therefore remain secret for the sake of future cooperation between intelligence agencies.
The campaigners, however, are not easily subdued. “There is good reason to believe [Eichmann] received help from German, Italian and Vatican officials,” Weber’s lawyer told the UK paper. Eichmann’s son Ricardo also expressed support for the disclosure.
In 1946, Eichmann was captured by the US Army and shipped across the Atlantic as a prisoner of war. He escaped later that same year and hid in Germany, and later in Italy and Switzerland, until he obtained a new passport and an Argentine visa under the alias of a refugee named Riccardo Klement.
Under his new identity, Eichmann was aided in his efforts to acquire new documents by German Bishop Alois Hudal, who operated from Rome and was notorious for assisting Nazis in escaping justice.
The Daily Mail report cited some critics as saying the secrecy order was aimed at preventing embarrassment to both Germany and the Vatican.
Eichmann lived in Argentina for fifteen years before he was captured by the Mossad. He was hanged in Israel in 1962.