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Why did a lot of Nazis escaped to Argentina after the war?

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by HellWarrior, Mar 24, 2015.

  1. HellWarrior

    HellWarrior Member

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    Hi! I just read an article about a secret Nazi hideout that was discovered in Argentina recently. It's not the first time I heard about a lot of Nazis escaping to Argentina after the war.

    Is there someone who know why this country received a lot of them?
     
  2. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    In a very brief nutshell...

    1/ there was already a very large German ex-patriate population in Argentina. Actually in quite a few South American countries, but largest there.

    2/ That "colonial" German population - find a copy of the first half of the Top Gear Argentine Special from Xmas online somewhere, and watch the first ten minutes - welcomed them and helped them with new identities, hiding places, stymied enquiries on the ground etc...

    3/ the Perons welcomed them. They gave them a safe haven and those with tradeable skills like Kurt Tank, Otto Skorzeny etc. helped "big up" Argentina in the postwar years..
     
  3. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    I believe the correct term is "embiggens."

    [​IMG]
     
    Cadillac likes this.
  4. harolds

    harolds Member

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    The occupying powers and the first post-war German government made it clear that professional military types would be discriminated against when it came to jobs. Thus, those,as P_R says, had skills went where they could in order to find work. Kurt Tank, Adolph Galland, Werner Baumbach, Skorzeny and others went there to help Argentina build its military under Peron. All these people were born in the Kaiser Reich and reached maturity under the Third Reich. They weren't uncomfortable living in a dictatorship. However, these people weren't war criminals. War criminals used the chaos of post-war Europe to find a way out and Argentina didn't look too deeply into their past.
     
  5. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    Kind of like Mengele, only he spent most of his time in Brazil and spent several years in Argentina and Paraguay.
     
  6. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Harolds, IIRC Skorzeny managed to escape custody before arraignment at a second trial, and remained out of Allied jurisdiction after that. Or rather...there was no stomach to do much about him after a decade more, his war crime in the Bulge...though a classic, regarding fighting in the uniforms of an enemy belligerent...was small compared to those still on the run at that point like Mengele and Eichmann. When living in Ireland for example, he requested permission to visit the UK but was disallowed by the British!
     
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

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    You also know P-R, that the British also used enemy uniforms-the SAS being a chief "offender". Skorzeny indeed did escape, but with the connivance of his US guards. I think his real crimes were: being SS, being very charismatic, and perceived as being effective. He also did not recant his nazi leanings.

    Back to the subject at hand: What about the role of the Catholic Church and that mysterious organization called "die Spinne"?
     
  8. Smiley 2.0

    Smiley 2.0 Smiles

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    He was in charge in Operation Greif during the battle of the bulge as well as being involved with the Werewolf movement, as well as having the title of "most dangerous man in Europe." But I wouldn't really consider those being war crimes
     
  9. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Well, Op GREIF is indeed the problem...

    ...and it didn't come under Article 24 as a "ruse of war" for obtaining information.
     
  10. HellWarrior

    HellWarrior Member

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    Thanks guys for all the infos.
     
  11. harolds

    harolds Member

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    And that stopped the British from doing it, right? Actually, IIRC, he was acquitted the first time because a former British agent said they did the very same things.
     
  12. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    No it didn't....but the British didn't loose the war and end up liable to prosecution at Nuremberg ;)

    It wasn't quite like that...though that was one major plank in the defence...

    The Wiki account boils it down well...

    The distinction they drew was indeed the same as in the Hague Rules on Land Warfare I pointed up above....but it THEN meant they had to prove that he ordered his men to fight in those uniforms and insignia....which was a very fine point of argument!
     
  13. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Which brings up another very fine point: If Skorzeny was considered innocent of wrongdoing, how about members of his unit that were executed by the Americans? I thought most of them were captured performing a ruse de guerre. Interestingly, they were shot as spies!
     
  14. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    A ruse de guerre is about gathering information only. The Skorzeny case actually reinforced that principle...

    But Skorzeny's troops...whether he ordered them to or not - fought in American uniforms. They were thus not using them as a legitimate ruse, but were breaking the Hague Rules - and under Hague Rules you could legitimately be executed after court martial, however brief and drumhead, after capture.

    That's the fine point....they paid the penalty for fighting in American uniforms, but he escaped punishment because it wasn't clear he'd ordered them to.
     
  15. harolds

    harolds Member

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    But they weren't executed for fighting in US uniforms but for spying!
     
  16. KodiakBeer

    KodiakBeer Member

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    American wool trousers and American boots were in vogue in the winter of 44/45 and a lot of Germans were executed in the field just for appropriating those from the dead.
     
  17. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Harolds, you have to remember the difference in the two events -

    One was a set of wartime drumhead court martials of POWS caught in U.S. uniforms...

    The other was the trial of their superior after the war for a war crime.
     
  18. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    There is also this to consider, from:
    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hague04.asp
    It's not illegal to order one to spy and nor is it really a "war crime" to spy. Indeed spying is only a crime if you get caught in the act so to speak.
     
  19. harolds

    harolds Member

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    So what I guess it comes down to, p-r, is that Skorzeny's men paid Peiper & Co.'s bill!
     
  20. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    Harolds - yes to a good degree, or rather Skorzeny's men paid it, Skorzeny didn't. Neither during the war, or after. And I can't help thinking that wasn't right.

    Lwd - quite correct, it's only a crime if you're caught behind ENEMY lines, not rendered into captivity in your own lines in the normal course of battle so to speak. Hence no widespread culling of Abwehr agents postwar for having been spies.
     

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