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Nazi Collaborators in America ‘Safe Haven’ Report Lacks Historical Context

Alex Constantine - November 30, 2010

" ...Gen. George Patton, head of the US military government of Bavaria, is quoted as saying that 'this Nazi thing is just like a Democratic and Republican election fight.' Patton was far from alone in wanting to minimize Nazi guilt ... With only a handful of exceptions, death sentences imposed on Nazis that were still pending in 1949 were commuted, and those serving prison sentences were let out in droves. ... "

Menachem Rosensaft
World Jewish Congress | 17 November 2010

The following article was first published by the US newspaper 'The Jewish Week'.

Nazi Reichsadler xlarge - Nazi Collaborators in AmericaThe recent revelation that US government officials gave aid and comfort to some Nazi war criminals and collaborators for several decades is as shocking as Claude Rain’s discovery in Casablanca that gambling was going on in Rick’s Café. It has long been known, for example, that SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) Klaus Barbie, who headed the Gestapo in Lyon, France, from 1942 until 1944 and who ordered the deportation of Jewish orphans to Auschwitz, subsequently became an agent of the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps.Now we learn from “The Office of Special Investigations: Striving for Accountability in the Aftermath of the Holocaust,” a 607-page report prepared by the US Justice Department that The New York Times has made available in unredacted form, that one of Adolf Eichmann’s close associates, SS Captain Otto von Bolschwing, who “helped devise programs to persecute and terrorize Germany’s Jewish population,” ended up on the CIA payroll and was enabled by that agency to immigrate to the United States in 1954. Other Nazis similarly received special protection.

The report provides a comprehensive account, warts and all, of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which has been charged since 1979 with the task of “detecting, investigating, and, where appropriate, taking legal action to deport, denaturalize, or prosecute any individual who was admitted into or became a naturalized citizen of the United States and who had assisted the Nazis by persecuting any person because of race, religion, national origin, or political opinion.” Over the years, OSI has brought an impressive number of Nazi war criminals to justice, including Treblinka guard Feodor Fedorenko; Karl Linnas, who ran a concentration camp in Estonia and in whose 1987 deportation I was privileged to play a minor role; NASA engineer Arthur Rudolf, who had knowingly used slave laborers in the production of V-2 rockets for the Hitler war machine; and, most recently, John Demjanjuk, who may not have been Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka but who most certainly was Ivan the Very, Very Bad of the Sobibor death camp.

Earlier this year, OSI was merged with the Domestic Security Section to form the Justice Department’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section. In the interest of full disclosure, Eli Rosenbaum, who headed OSI since 1995 and now heads the reconstituted unit, and his predecessor, Neal Sher, are friends of mine, as is former U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, who was responsible for the creation of OSI in the first place.

What the report does not do is place OSI’s work in its proper historical perspective. Sixty-five years after the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, and almost 50 years since the beginning of the Eichmann Trial, we take the bringing of war criminals to justice for granted. In fact, the very concept of placing Nazis and their collaborators on trial for atrocities they committed or facilitated was highly controversial during the two decades that followed the end of World War II.

In September of 1945, my mother was one of the principal witnesses for the prosecution at the first trial of Nazi war criminals, a British military tribunal at Lüneburg, Germany, in which the SS commandant, officers and guards of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, many of whom had previously served at Auschwitz, sat in the dock.

On her second day on the witness stand, one of the court-appointed defense attorneys suggested, according to a report published in The New York Times of Sept. 23, 1945, that my mother’s statement that she had seen one of the defendants kick and beat inmates was “pure fabrication.”

“I would like to point out,” my mother replied, “I was present and not the defending counsel during those conditions that I have described.”

This incident might be dismissed as one lawyer’s overzealous trial tactic, were it not for another news item published on the same page as the article about my mother’s testimony. There, Gen. George Patton, head of the US military government of Bavaria, is quoted as saying that “this Nazi thing is just like a Democratic and Republican election fight.”

Patton was far from alone in wanting to minimize Nazi guilt. The prevailing sentiment among anti-Communist Americans at the outset of the Cold War was to let bygones be bygones and to recruit the Germans as allies against Stalin. Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy rallied to the defense of Nazis who had been tried before American military tribunals, as did other right-wing American politicians and commentators who argued against imposing what was derogatorily called victor’s justice on a resentful German public.

“By the end of the 1940s,” according to historian Frank M. Buscher, “many in the United States had come to accept the conservative argument that the convicted Nazi perpetrators were not criminals, but were instead the victims of the Allied war crimes program.”

With only a handful of exceptions, death sentences imposed on Nazis that were still pending in 1949 were commuted, and those serving prison sentences were let out in droves. It is in this atmosphere that Nazis were, in the words of the Justice Department report, “knowingly granted entry” to the United States. By the time OSI came onto the scene almost 30 years later, it was very late in the day. The most noteworthy aspect of this historical drama, therefore, is not that Nazi war criminals were able to find a “safe haven” here, but that so many of them were successfully exposed and rooted out.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft is adjunct professor of law at Cornell Law School, general counsel of the World Jewish Congress, and vice president of the American Gathering of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and Their Descendants.


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  1. “The Real Boys from Brazil”

    Fascism today: how it is associated with the Conservative Party in America.

    You have to realize that the hierarchies in Nazi Germany were very smart and well-educated people, even some with the intelligence of a genius. What the Nazis accomplished in Europe did not materialize from just a beer hall crowd. “The seed was planted” They made mistakes along the way and were able to excel from their errors. Some ask, were these individuals always fanatics, or did power make them one? The true Nazi believed in their cause, that the Aryan race was great, and held the power of judgment over the rest of the world.

    When it had been determined, that Germany was going to lose the war, the Nazis hierarchy made plans to get out of Dodge. One destination was South America. Prior to the fall of Germany, these Nazis used their contacts in South America to purchase large parcels of land in isolated areas of the continent. They took with them booty of gigantic proportions that they stole from the Jewish people, during the Holocaust. The size is still a mystery today.

    These Nazis did not go to South America, just to fade away into retirement. In their new locations, they created a habitat that was out of sight from civilization. The residents of the area were ignorant to America’s way of life and oblivious to its growing and fluctuating economy. “Most lived by the Barter System” They started businesses in these areas, and hired locals to labor in the fields and produced goods for America. These locals were paid a healthy sum of money, in return the people that lived in the area, kept the Nazis invisible to the probing eyes of intruders; for fear of losing their good fortune.

    These Nazis got their feelings hurt big time: they represented everything that is evil in the world; were the founding fathers of terrorism, and ridiculed in humor. To raise a family with this hanging over their heads and having their children live threw it, was unbearable for a member of the Master Race. It created a vengeance in their souls; that kept the cause for the Aryan Race alive. They taught their children what to believe: who they are, what they represent, why they are here, and what their mission in life is.

    As time went on and the children got older, these Nazis, used their knowledge of how they were able to create a Fascist empire in Europe, then applied it to, and controlled the logistics industry as business executives from South America. These Nazis were able to take control of this industry, just as easy as they captured Poland.

    . As time progressed, the cry for the civil rights movement was starting to be heard in America. The politicians, that started their careers in the nineteen twenties and thirties, are elder statesmen that have connections in all types of businesses throughout America and abroad. A majority of them are against the new movement that deals with civil rights. They were set in their WASP ways, because the system worked for them. Moreover, they were always looking to get richer. Nazi executives used investments to entice these elder statesmen while all the time agreeing with their views on civil rights.

    Drugs were starting to enter into the lives of the young and the attraction started to grow. For the next decade, drugs are relatively cheap. The success of post-World War II, made the economics in America thrive, a great many youths had a pocket full of money. “It was a medal of arrogance for their parents” As times went by, more and more youths were attracted to drug use and its culture. Cocaine starts to lead the field for drug of choice. Stories start to generate around the drug culture about one king of the cocaine trade. His name is Pablo Escobar. Cocaine flows over the border like a waterfall. I can say for a fact, through almost thirty years of drug use/abuse, “Almost thirteen years clean,” that Racism has a role of authority over the mid-level dealers in the drug trade.

    These old, “Set in their ways,” politicians in America, disliked drugs. However, they disliked the people bringing it into our country more. Do you seriously think a person like Pablo Escobar; can speak the language of these old racist political leaders? Then get them to trust him! In steps the Nazi investor approximately the same age as these politicians; offering wealth for the rest of their lives to these despicable torchbearers of freedom. Even when every branch of law enforcement was involved, along with the Coast Guard, drugs still flowed into this country like a waterfall. Profits from the drug trade went to Pablo and other drug runners. You see, the Nazis had all the wealth they needed with the booty they had taken during the Holocaust. The money they made at the legal end of their shipping and trucking businesses showed outsiders that they were legitimate. “To acquire false documents on their identities was no problem at all.” They did not want to be associated with drugs in any way. That is why they never claimed any money from the drug trade. There is a bigger prize on the horizon.

    Drug use has turned this country into a complicated system of corruption, mayhem and crime at all levels of our society. The social and family values in our country have been compromised as well. Because of this, negative views and wild accusations are being thrown at our government

    These old Nazis are dying because of old age. With the help of there sons and daughters, they have successfully brought drugs and turmoil into this country. This organization has depleted all its need for drugs and has left the business. This is one reason why there are problems with so many bodies that are turning up at the border towns of Mexico; there is territory to be had. They have created investment firms with the success from their logistics empire and have opened up shop in America, forged documents and all. Some have become American citizens.

    The next step in this organization’s scheme is to get their grandchildren involved in the political wing of the Conservative Parties, and to take part in blaming drug use as the culprit for America’s problems. The Conservative party is trying to end this drug problem by erecting walls; they are blaming it on people of color. Hell, they are blaming it on everyone that does not agree with their views. The Conservative Party’s mouthpieces are taking the First Amendment out of context and preaching Extreme Nationalism to their listeners. They want to create a better America by bringing in a new form of segregation. Fascism biggest weapon is segregation. “Divide and Conquer”

    Fascism has taught the industrial corporations of Wall Street, that greed is good, as a new type of ethics in business. You do not just better your competition you destroy your competition. By doing this, you are defeating Capitalism. Corporations have created ways on how to hide monopolies behind mergers, that side step our valued Anti-Trust laws.

    “Nothing corrupts society more than to disconnect, effort and reward,”**

    Where would the American Nazi Party be, prior to W-W-II, if they had use of the Internet? Today, because of computer technology, Fascism is able to come into this country wearing a completely different hat. There are issues in this country; that make people think socialism is invading our healthcare system, fearing we would all become Communist. For the record: healthcare is the best program in a socialistic society for America to take advantage of, everything else in Socialism is wrong for America’s way of life. If we use Mr. Obama’s idea for healthcare, it would be more along the lines of social services. The Fascist element that has invaded the body of the Conservative party is a virus, which is telling people, our country is turning to Communism. What did Mussolini overtake to gain power in Italy? The Internet can quite possibly make this Fascist scheme a reality in the future of our country.

    I am not saying every Nazi that ended up in South America was a part of this. There were some Nazis that were not wanted by the war crimes tribunal, who went to South America; still holding their beliefs in the Master Race.

    **Brit economist: John Maynard Keynes

    When Pablo Escobar realized his family could be in danger,
    he tried to sneak them into Germany. When U.S. authorities
    got wind of this, they notified Germany not to allow them in
    their country.
    Ken Magee, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agent, had boarded the
    flight because he wanted to know who Pablo Escobar’s
    contact was in Frankfurt, Germany. Seems like America made
    mistake in notifying Germany about Pablo’s family.
    When Pablo was dead, members of the search block clipped
    corners of his mustache as a souvenir giving Escobar a bizarre
    Hitler-like look, that was noted throughout the world, it was a
    private prank

    For Your Time, I Thank You,

    D. A. Gonsalves
    285 Safari Way
    Pacheco, Ca 94553

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