By 1944 it was clear that the fortunes of war
had turned against Nazi Germany. The Allies were paying life and
limb to insure that world would most definitely not spin on a
Berlin-Rome-Tokyo axis and that the Thousand Year Reich would
be limited to little more than an horrific decade. To some, this
was not the future which had been anticipated. Nor was it a future
to be faced without adequate preparation. Towards those ends,
on the 10th August in 1944 at the Maison Rouge hotel in Strasbourg
was held a secret meeting.
In attendance were top German industrialists
and bankers. The agenda was simple: to plan for the future, specifically
a secure future for Nazis, following the defeat of Germany at
the hands of the Allies. Leading Nazi officials feared retribution
from the Allies, sure to come (and it did) as the Allies laid
bare the Nazi legacy of murder and slaughter. Rather than face
the coming punishment, these Nazi's would seek out safety....away
from their homeland, and out of the reach of justice.
It was clear that Nazi Germany's assets would
fall into the hands of the ever enclosing enemy. Never mind that
these were assets themselves that were stolen from invaded countries
and cultures; it was important that these assets should be saved.
Saved, first because keeping securely out of judicial reach (and
in comfort) both require modest resources, and second because
raising a new Reich from the ashes of the soon to be defeated
one would need substantial financing. The outcome of the meeting
in Strasbourg was the genesis of an organization; one well financed
and well organize, with the express purpose of helping fellow
fleeing Nazi's escape justice. This organization was named very
pragmatically: "The Organization of former SS members" - better
known as ODESSA.
In short order, Odessa, built a large and reliable
network geared to achieve its ends, and it started acting. Routes
were mapped, contacts were established....and influential Nazi's
vanished as they were secretly ushered out of Germany and off
to foreign countries where they were to start a new life under
false names. At the end of the war, only 24 high ranking Nazi
officials stood trial, along with many ranked lower. These trials
were known as The Nuremberg Trials, for the city in which they
were held. The captives were tried on 4 counts: Conspiracy, war
crimes, crimes against peace and war against humanity. Eleven
of the top Nazi officials, and hundreds of lower rank, were judged
guilty and were hanged. Hermann Goering escaped justice by committing
suicide while in custody. But many of the Nazi perpetrators were
never tried. Instead, they escaped with the help of Odessa.
Some war criminals remained in Germany and took
on new identities, managing to get themselves smuggled out of
Germany and to freedom during the chaos at the end of hostilities.
An underground network called "Die Spiner" (The Spider) supplied
false papers and passports, safe houses, and contacts that could
smuggle war criminals across the un-patrolled Swiss borders. Once
into Switzerland, they were quickly on to Italy, using what some
called "The Monastery Route". Once in Italy, the threat was essentially
over, and many then dispersed around the world. Many new homes
were open to the fleeing Nazis. Third world countries eagerly
welcomed the experience and expertise of these Nazi war criminals.
Fascist countries, like Spain under Franco, as well as those in
South America, became safe havens. And, with the establishment
of the state of Israel after World War 2, new vistas opened in
the surrounding middle-eastern countries, as they welcomed Nazi's
who could and would be used to train armies intended to destroy
the newly formed Jewish state.
Third World countries were not alone in providing
a new home to fleeing Nazis. Both the USA and Soviet Union made
use of them. The CIA was interested in counterintelligence to
be applied in a new war, "The Cold War", and it used known Nazi
war criminals in its covert activities against the Soviet Union.
After World War 2, in a operation called "Paperclip",
the American government allowed select former Nazis into the United
States. Many were scientists that would go on to help America
land on the Moon, so defeating the Soviet Union in that race.
The Space Race was, from the very start, more than just a reach
for the strategic "high ground", it was used as part of the propaganda
war being played out in the "The Cold War". But Odessa was not
a tale comprised only of success stories.
Adolf Eichmann ("The Architect Of Genocide")
escaped Germany thanks to Odessa, but he was later captured in
South America by Israeli Intelligence agents and brought back
to Israel to stand trial for his crimes against the Jewish people.
On May 21st 1962, after standing trial in Israel and having been
found guilty of the crimes, Adolf Eichmann was hanged. Since the
end of World War 2, many terrorist acts against Jewish targets
around the world have been credited to Odessa.
In the decades since its inception, many questions
have been asked about Odessa. Some, and no few with substance,
remain unanswered or only partially answered: Does Odessa still
exist? What happened to the ill-gotten Nazi wealth? Where are
the vanished works of art? Who has the stolen gold? Who controls
the confiscated foreign Currencies? Swiss bankers have never denied
holding accounts belonging to Jews killed in the Holocaust. It
is also believed that they also hold the wealth of the Nazis -
that wealth stolen from conquered countries during the Nazi reign
of terror. It is believed that the Swiss banks continue to service
the accounts of Nazi war criminals, and that the assets are used
to fund Neo-Nazi activities and white supremacy groups around
the world today.
These extreme right-wing groups are a new generation
of Nazi sympathizers, and so the hate is continued as it is passed
on from one generation to another, again proving that those who
do not learn from the past.....