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Martin Bormann – Nazi in Exile
by Paul Manning

Chapter 7

FOUR MONTHS AFTER MARTIN BORMANN WENT to ground in Schleswig-Holstein, the international authorities seeking to try Nazi leaders for war crimes and crimes against humanity decided (in August 1945) that the site of these mili­tary and civilian tribunals was to be Nuremberg. It was the first time in the history of modern warfare that those who gave the orders and were responsible for the particular aspect of genocide were to be brought before an international court of justice. Up until then it had generally been the middle and lower echelon officers and soldiers who had been made to suffer as retribution for aggression and atrocities, but now those at or near the top of the hierarchy stood before the bar. In Germany, by October 1945, 21 defendants bad been brought to Nuremberg prison to await their trials. The twenty-second individual, Martin Bor­mann, was to be tried in absentia; the twenty-third, Robert Ley, Reichsleiter of the labor front which had also operated the forced-labor camps, a political opponent of Bormann for many years, committed suicide before the trials began.

The first Nuremberg trial dragged on for ten months before sentences were handed down. Ten Nazi leaders were sentenced to death, and went to the gallows in the small gymnasium of the prison. Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop was first to die; he was followed by Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Alfred Rosenberg, Hans Frank, Wilhelm Frick, Julius Streicher, Fritz Sauckel, Alfred Jodl, and Arthur Seyss­Inquart. Only two escaped, Reichsmarshal Hermann Goering and Party Minister Martin Bormann. Goering had gulped down a cyanide capsule smuggled to him in his cell, leaving a farewell message that death in this manner was preferable to the indig­nity of hanging. Certainly there was little dignity in the somber setting where ten former national leaders were put to death. The executions were accomplished with precision; the American sergeant who presided over this macabre event said, "Hot damn, 110 minutes, right on time!"

But if one hardened sergeant was insensitive, there were those all over the Western world who spoke out against the trials and continue to do so today. Prominent among the doubters was Tel­ford Taylor, U.S. chief counsel at Nuremberg. Ten days before the executions of the German leaders, the late Senator Robert A. Taft had condemned the trials and sentences. He strongly suggested that involuntary exile might have been wiser, more in keeping with professed American values. He had said that the trials, whose rules of law were formulated and enacted on the spot and then made retroactive, "violate the fundamental prin­ciple of American law that a man cannot be tried under ex post facto statute. . . . Nuremberg was a blot on American Consti­tutional history, and a serious departure from our Anglo-Saxon heritage of fair and equal treatment, a heritage which had rightly made this country respected throughout the world. . . . About this whole judgment there is a spirit of vengeance, and ven­geance is seldom justice. The hanging of men convicted will be a blot on the American record which we shall long regret."

Taft further stated, "In these trials, we have accepted the Russian idea of the purpose of the trials-government policy and not justice-with little relation to Anglo-Saxon heritage. By clothing policy in the forms of legal procedure, we may discredit the whole idea of justice in Europe for years to come."

The Nuremberg Trials were man's first fumbling attempts to outlaw war, and their legality was obscure, their morality-con­fused. The Allies knew that they too had been guilty of war crimes. Dresden, for example, was consumed by flames caused by Allied firebombing, a city open and undefended. Several hun­dred thousand civilians perished, more than those who died from the American atomic bombs later to be dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The attack on Dresden was needless, ordered personally by Winston Churchill over the objections of his air marshal, who had demanded a written order from the Prime Minister before reluctantly giving a directive for the bombing. Churchill, the object of suspicion and abuse from Stalin throughout the war, felt that such an act would pay dividends in his later dealings with the Soviet leader. But when aerial photographs of Dresden's flaming destruction were sent by Churchill and reached Moscow, they were merely tossed aside with a shrug by Stalin. The Russians too had their concentration camps, Jewish pogroms, and slave labor and pursued wars of aggression against Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithu­ania, not to mention the other countries they had sucked up into the communist bloc. Inside Mother Russia itself, Stalin had sent uncounted Bolsheviks to the death cellars of Lubyanka prison and the concentration camps. Throughout World War II, the executions quietly went on; after the war they continued -for instance, the anti-Semitic drive in Leningrad and the ex­termination of the Jewish antifascist committee.

In all theatres of war unspeakable brutalities had occurred, from the 300,000 who died at Japanese hands in Nanking in 1937 to the unforgivable treatment of Allied soldiers in Japanese prison camps. It was Russian troops who massacred 45,000 Polish prisoners of war in Katyn forest, dumping the bodies into a mass grave. The reason? From these officers and soldiers would have come the opposition to communist rule in Poland in the years to come. Also, in the years to come, the United States was to be diminished with the aggressions in Vietnam and such atrocities as Son My and My Lai.

The first Nuremberg trial should have been labeled for what it was: an-eye-for-an-eye vengeance for the crime of racial ex­termination. If it had been so labeled, the spirit behind Nurem­berg would have been understandable, not conflicting with the issues of legality and justice so troubling to many leaders of jurisprudence in the United States and Europe. The four Nazis most directly responsible for the decision to invoke racial geno­cide were Hitler, Goering, Himmler, and Heydrich, and all had died before the ten other officials took their final walk to the gallows. During the ten months of trial, the 21 defendants who sat in the dock at Nuremberg being tried for their part in wars of aggression were no more unprepossessing than their Allied counterparts might have been had they lost the war and found themselves awaiting trial and sentencing. Leadership on both sides was represented by educated academics, administrators, and military notables who saw to it that the war kept moving along. Still, Nuremberg was a landmark, and if it did not halt the proliferation of wars it reinforced the international principle that there are standards of human behavior all nations should adhere to.

As the first trial was concluded, with sentences pronounced and carried out on the 21 defendants, the twenty-second was stirring in his bolthole. Martin Bormann had been moved from Schleswig-Holstein to a safe house in Denmark by his security chief, Heinrich Mueller. The party minister had been tried in absentia at Nuremberg; while found not guilty on charges of crimes against peace, for he had not been one of the early plot­ters of war, he had been found guilty as charged of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Bormann believed he was not guilty on any of the counts; but he also knew that disappearing was the only course, else he too would have been hanged until dead in the gymnasium of Nuremberg prison.

Martin Bormann became the object of history's greatest man­hunt. At least one thousand Allied intelligence officers, repre­senting Great Britain, the United States, France, and Russia, were on his trail, together with an uncounted number of in­formers who coveted the reward offered for information leading to his capture. But Heinrich Mueller had strung an invisible, impenetrable defense between Bormann and those who sought him. Select units of the Gestapo continued to function, unoffi­cially, and those who now reported directly to Mueller, under suspicion of surviving Berlin and therefore also a subject of search, were among the best secret police agents of the SS. Out of uniform, they continued to draw pay and expenses from their paymaster, representing Mueller, from SS funds held in a num­bered account in a Swiss bank. As the search for Bormann went from hot to cold to hot, Mueller continued to move the Party Minister around, back and forth between Schleswig-Holstein and Denmark, but staying clear of major cities such as Hamburg. Mueller had a network of loyal informers, SS men who had re­turned to their peacetime positions on German police forces at both local and national levels. The movement of "enemy forces," as they described Allied agents, served Bormann and Mueller as an early warning system.

Bormann took all these precautions in stride, comfortable in. the knowledge that his security was in the hands of top profes­sionals, and concentrated on his immediate tasks at hand, much as he had during the final days in the Fuehrerbunker. Wherever positioned, he turned his hiding place into a party headquarters, and was in command of everything save security. Telephones were too dangerous, but he had couriers to bear documents to Sweden, where a Bormann commercial headquarters was main­tained in Malmo to handle the affairs of a complex and growing postwar business empire. From Malmo high-frequency radio could transmit in 30-second bursts enough coded information to listening posts in Switzerland, Spain, or Argentina to form a continuous line of instructions.

Meanwhile, General Mueller was taking steps to establish escape routes for officers and soldiers of the SS who wanted to leave Germany to start a new life in South America. Some were listed by the Nuremberg authorities as war criminals; most were not. But they had in common the desire to begin again-far away. Mueller talked over his plans with Bormann. The first route considered was referred to as Organization der ehemaligen SS-Angehorigen-Organization of former SS members-and thus became known as ODESSA. Mueller estimated the annual cost of this operation, and Bormann, ever the banker, suggested that ODESSA be set up as a corporation and funded accordingly. The prime purpose of this corporation was to move SS men out of Germany to South America, or to the Middle East if they preferred it that way. To amortize the heavy cost, Bormann suggested the corporation also assume functions that would make ODESSA self-liquidating, at a profit.

As ODESSA would not operate as an escape route for much more than five years, Bormann suggested that the SS adminis­trators picked to coordinate and supervise the route also keep their eyes peeled for quick-money opportunities, with a view to returning the initial investment and having ODESSA operating in the black. Bormann suggested that surplus arms was a likely field of opportunity, and as usual he was right. One British scrap dealer had become a millionaire in one year buying up old tanks, trucks, and assorted guns; selling some as scrap, reconditioning others for sale on the arms black market of those days. The British government began selling its surpluses openly. Other munitions dealers blossomed into prosperity and respectability as they bid low for high-cost items.

But none were to achieve the profitability of ODESSA, whose agents ranged throughout Europe and even behind the Iron Curtain. They bought and sold surplus American arms to Arab buyers seeking to strengthen the military capabilities of Egypt and other Middle Eastern Arab nations. Palestine was to be partitioned into a Jewish homeland, and they intended to de­stroy it at birth. But now Jewish buyers, funded from America and elsewhere, entered the marketplace. They were barred from purchasing guns and American surplus P-51 Mustang fighter planes by President Truman, and their only recourse for survival was to trade on the European black market, which, unknown to them, was coming rapidly under the control of ODESSA agents. However, the Jewish agency's buyers might have purchased from the devil himself if it meant survival of the small, defenseless nation, just come into being on May 14, 1947. The first pur­chase they made was in Czechoslovakia: 4,300 rifles, 200 medium machine guns with ammunition. Also acquired were ten surplus Messerschmitt-109 fighter planes for $44,000 each, which in­cluded some spare parts, cannon, machine guns, bombs, and assorted ammunition. ODESSA agents handled this transaction in Prague, with the tacit permission of Moscow, which was to sponsor Israel as a homeland for Jews in the United Nations. Russia wanted British influence dissipated in the Middle East, and one way to do this was to get their foot in the door of the new Israel. Hence their sub rosa cooperation in Prague. The German agents wanted only to serve as "honest brokers" in an international arms deal.

With the German fighter plane deal consummated, it was up to the Jewish buyers to get the planes to their new homeland. Messerschmitts have a range of only 400 miles, so flying them down to Palestine was out of the question. They might have refueled in Yugoslavia and Greece, but the British were being sticky about transport of unauthorized arms, and closed down this possibility. As a result, a former German airbase near the Sudetenland town of Zatac (formerly Saaz) became for a few weeks a Jewish airfield. Here two C-54 cargo planes flown by American contract pilots touched down, and Czech mechanics dismantled the fighter planes and stowed them into the big cargo aircraft, which thereupon took off for an airfield close by Tel Aviv. The operation was repeated many times over, until all ten fighters had been transported to Israel. The success of the airlift convinced David Ben-Gurion, who was to become the first prime minister of Israel, that the option taken on 15 more planes should be exercised.

But money was short, and the ODESSA representatives had to be paid immediately, else the delicate negotiations hanging fire behind this Iron Curtain country would disintegrate. The Moscow representatives were becoming edgy, the Czechs who were fronting the negotiations were wondering when Russia might change its mind and wreak retribution on them, and the fellows from Germany felt that if there was undue delay the deal would collapse and they would go down with it. An appeal for quick money was made by the Jewish buyers to Teddy Kollek, in New York, the operational chief of the Jewish groups in the United States. (Kollek, incidentally, was much later to become mayor of Jerusalem-in 1965.) He went to Manhasset on Long Island and met with William Levitt, the famed builder of many suburban Levittowns. "We need money," Kollek said. "I can't tell you what it's for because it's top secret. But if you lend us the money, the Provisional Government of the State of Israel will give you a note and pay you back in a year."

"So," Levitt recalls, "I said O.K., and I gave him the million dollars."

At their hotel in Zatac, renamed the Hotel Stalingrad, the air crews waited for news. It arrived, and during the ensuing days of feverish activity on the airstrip, the 15 Messerschmitt-109s were flown out of Zatac under the code "Operation Balak," or "Son of Bird," a Hebrew historical reference. Egyptian forces in brigade strength advanced on Tel Aviv in 1947, but were halted 25 miles from the new capital by the sudden appearance of Messerschmitt fighter planes that strafed and bombed their columns, and by artillery fire from 65-mm mountain guns bought from Nazi stockpiles and shipped clandestinely from Marseilles. The danger of a quick Egyptian victory had been cut short; the new State of Israel would survive.

But would Martin Bormann survive if he left his modest sanc­tuary in northwest Germany? The administrators of ODESSA, aside from their role as short-term munitions merchants that they were later to segue into other commercial activities, were confident that they could get Party Minister Bormann right across Germany to Munich and over the Alps to Genoa. They had already moved several thousand SS men by this under­ground railroad, and thus far everything had gone according to schedule. "Safe houses" had been established along the route, and the travelers always arrived and departed on time. By the time the first Nuremberg trial had ended in early 1946, Bor­mann was ready for progress. General Mueller had him con­veyed to another safe house near Domstedt. Griesheim­Domstedt was and still is the publishing center for the U.S. Army's Stars & Stripes newspaper for Europe. The late editions go to press at midnight, and shortly thereafter trucks, operated exclusively by the Stars ' Stripes command, line up for their bundles of newspapers that must be distributed by morning to all U.S. Army bases. In 1946 it was a simple matter for Mueller to arrange for Bormann to be a casual passenger aboard such a truck, which halted briefly as it turned out of the publishing plant and picked him up. Accelerating, it turned onto the Auto­bahn, then drove straight to Munich. Just before reaching U.S. Army headquarters, the German driver slowed to a stop and Bormann jumped out, disappearing into the downtown area of the city. He reached a safe house, where his brother Albert had been waiting; they remained there quietly, awaiting further instructions.

Bormann left Munich with an SS companion and guide, by automobile provided by a German mayor who was able to get rationed gasoline. In the pastoral uplands of Bavaria they parked the car at a previously agreed-on point, so the mayor could fetch it and drive it back. Bormann had been advised that it was best to travel on foot beyond this point in order to avoid interception and interrogation by U.S. CIC patrols. So the pair took to the countryside on foot and headed toward the Austrian Tirol. Their appearance was quite commonplace; few gave them more than a glance. The spring before millions of refugees and displaced persons had swarmed across Germany, prisoners of all nationalities making their way home, more than a million Ger­man families from the East fleeing before the Red Army into western Germany. The Wehrmacht had disintegrated into long columns of prisoners walking toward prisoner-of-war camps. Mass chaos had characterized 1945, but now in the winter and spring of 1946 some order appeared; however, plodding men and women, Red Cross vehicles, and fast-driving U.S. Army trucks were familiar sights in the area beyond Munich. The two men made their way up mountain roads and across valleys, and no attention was paid to them by the civilians trying to farm their patches or cut firewood in the forests.

Bormann and his companion crossed the Inn River, and were guided by local SS mountaineers to the Alpine village of Naud­ers, where the Austrian, Swiss, and Italian frontiers meet. The two rested in a safe house for several days, then set out on the next stage of the journey, which took them through Val di Adige and down to the green forestlands that line Lake Gardia. Here they halted for rest in the monastery overlooking the lake, feeling relatively safe. After a time they pushed on to a Fran­ciscan monastery in Genoa, where arrangements to receive them had been made by Heinrich Mueller.

New identification papers were handed to Bormann, together with the welcome news that in a matter of days he would be sailing to Spain. When he left the Franciscan monastery in Genoa and boarded a small Mediterranean steamer, his first stop was the port of Tarragona, to the south of Barcelona. It was night when the small vessel put into port, debarked the passenger, and steamed from the harbor. Bormann was met by two of Mueller's SS men, who promptly drove the party min­ister along the coast to Vendrell, where they picked up the auto route and headed inland. It was the purest scenic beauty that Bormann saw as they drove swiftly, with no stops other than to refill the gas tank from jerry cans they carried. They risked no appearance in a public place. Somewhat across the neck of Spain they turned off at Todela, and continued over good secondary roads until the mountainous area of Logrono was reached. They passed Najera, then finally reached their destination, the Dominican monastery of San Domingo, which stands in the Province of Galicia, once called home by General Franco. Preparations had been made for an indefinite stay. Bor­mann thanked his SS comrades, and they stood erect and saluted as in the past; then they departed.

The route to freedom taken by Bormann was not exactly that of other SS escapees. His clandestine departure from Germany had been calculated according to his special needs by Mueller, with SS men in civilian clothes positioned all along the way. They were the advance lookouts, sworn to the protection of their Party Minister, the duly appointed successor to Adolf Hitler. At no time in his trek between Munich and Genoa was Bormann out of sight of the finest riflemen the Waffen SS had developed in six years of war. They manned the safe houses, they skied the ridges overlooking the valleys to be traversed by Bormann, and they were chopping wood or hiking deep in the pine forests as the two trudged on toward safety. The paths followed by other SS members on the ODESSA route always led toward the Austrian Tirol; the precise route into Italy de­pended on the time of year and the pattern of search being conducted by Allied patrols at any particular time. Once in Genoa, the flow of former SS comrades was directed toward the harbor, where they would board boats of various descriptions. When a captain had a full consignment, he would lift anchor on his chartered boat and head for the Straits of Gibraltar. Once through the British bastion he changed course and steamed slowly along the Portuguese coast, rounding the north­west part of the Iberian peninsula at Cape Ortegal, at last dropping anchor in the beautiful harbor of San Sebastian, where his cargo of SS emigrants would file ashore. It was a short voy­age, which was repeated by many vessels many, many times, for the flow of SS men was seemingly unending. General Mueller had a second major escape route, which took some of the pressure off the above described course. ODESSA had the notoriety and the spotlight of sorts, also the status of a commercial self-liquidating corporation, but another version of this underground railway ran across France and over the Pyr­enees. It was referred to as Deutsche Hilfsverein-German Re­lief Organization-and, although it had been set up hurriedly in 1945, it performed an enormously valuable service for the SS men who traversed it. It was not self-liquidating like ODESSA, and the money to run it came directly from SS funds, a source separate from that controlled directly by Bormann, although SS and party money sent to South America had been melded into one solid treasure and the bank accounts that required Bor­mann's approval at a later date produced friction between Bormann and Mueller, for in times to come distribution of money was a prime matter on the NSDAP agenda in South America.

With the war in Europe at an end, the struggle for Indochina flared up, and the French began recruiting unemployed German soldiers for their armies in the land later to be known as Viet­nam. In the chaos of 1945 the only negotiable skill many a German ex-soldier had was training in warfare. The French were in the market for that, and set up recruiting stations in Metz for their Foreign Legion. Former German soldiers flocked to sign up for a stretch of soldiering in French Indochina. The situation was exactly right for General Mueller and his associ­ates. They intermingled their SS veterans with the ordinary Wehrmacht recruits; thus, on every French truck headed south in convoy were many SS men. All had new papers provided by the SS documentation section, and now they also carried French enlistment papers that enabled them to cross France with im­punity. The truck convoys would go to Bordeaux or Marseilles, depending on French shipping conditions, the ultimate destina­tion being North Africa, where training would begin. However, once in either of the French port cities, the SS men would skip away from the truck convoys and be guided by French police­men to a new departure point. These were the police who had worked during four years of occupation for Mueller and the Gestapo and they were still loyal, particularly so when the effort expended was minimal and the under-the-table pay was high. If a Foreign Legion truck convoy was destined for Bordeaux, the SS men would be guided over the Pyrenees, and through coastal towns to San Sebastian. If the destination, on the other hand, was Marseilles, they would be placed aboard small fishing boats that would round the Iberian peninsula and land them at San Sebastian, the terminal point for both ODESSA and Deutsche Hilfsverein. Here they waited for the next stage of their move­ment, which was overland to the small port of Vigo on the northwest coast of Spain, due west of Redondela. It was an emotional sight for SS men awaiting departure to see on the horizon the appearance of the chartered transatlantic freighters that were to bear them to exile in Buenos Aires. Ten thousand SS officers and soldiers passed along this way. But the number of Germans who went to South America, both along these two routes and by less organized means after Martin Bormann had declared his flight capital program in August 1944, totaled 60,000, including scientists and administrators at all levels, as well as the former SS soldiers commanded by General Mueller.

The most unsavory SS officer to take advantage of ODESSA was Adolf Eichmann. It was in 1950 that he made contact with the organization, which saw that he reached Genoa safely; here he received a refugee passport in the name of Ricardo Klement along with a visa for Argentina. The Nuremberg Trials had thoroughly frightened him. He testified later, "My name was mentioned several times there, and I was afraid there might be more thorough investigations which would reveal my identity. I became particularly alarmed after Dieter Wisliceny's testi­mony, which leveled all kinds of accusations against me." Eich­mann had been taken prisoner of war by American soldiers at the beginning of August 1945, giving his name as Waffen SS officer Otto Echmann. With his true name receiving such prominence at Nuremberg, Eichmann spoke with Lieutenant Colonel Offenbach, senior German officer of the prisoners of war. Eichmann requested authority to escape, and a meeting of officers was called to deliberate this; they approved it. They helped Eichmann by giving him new identification papers in the name of Otto Heninger, and one of the officers handed him a note to his brother in Kulmbach, recommending that he find Eichmann a job in forestry. Eichmann escaped and arrived in Celle early in March 1946, where he stayed, working as a forester for four years. But his name was continually mentioned as the monstrosity of his crimes emerged. An odd sidebar to this bit of sad history is the fact that Heinrich Mueller, who had been recruited into the Gestapo by Reinhard Heydrich from his position as inspector of detectives in Munich, had first been assigned to the Jewish desk in Berlin. Mueller was a professional detective and wanted no part of the Jewish problem. He was working in his modest office in Gestapo headquarters when this self-effacing lieutenant entered who had recently been assigned to the Gestapo and was looking around for something to do.

Mueller, on the job only three days, immediately told Lieuten­ant Eichmann that the Jewish desk was his permanent assignment, then left for lunch, relieved, and very pleased with this turn of events.

Adolf Eichmann in 1950 did not use the port of Vigo to escape. That means had wound down, and he set sail for Argen­tina on the Italian ship Giovanna C., arriving in Buenos Aires in the middle of July 1950. Unlike many fleeing Nazis, he reached Argentina with scant funds. He went from job to job, after running a laundry in the Olivas quarter of Buenos Aires that shortly went bankrupt. Through his Nazi connections he obtained a position with the German banking firm of Fuldner y Compaflia, at 374 Avenida Cordoba in Buenos Aires. This firm had established a subsidiary known as CAPRI-Industrial Plan­ning and Development Company-to develop hydroelectric power in the Tucamin region in the outskirts of Buenos Aires, and Eichman was transferred there. From Austria his wife Vera and their three sons joined him in 1952; a fourth son was born in Argentina. A friend of Eichman/Klement who knew his real identity prodded him to shift to Bolivia and work for the state security services in that country. Eichmann is said to have re­sponded, "When I hear those words `state security services,' my appetite for killing is whetted all over again." In 1960 he was captured at dusk outside his modest house in the San Fernando district of Buenos Aires by the feared Mossad, and transported on an El Al passenger plane to Tel Aviv, there to stand trial at last for crimes against humanity. After imposition of the death penalty, his remains were cremated, with the ashes scattered over the Mediterranean. He had confided to Israeli interrogators that he assumed his presence in South America had been leaked, that he had been betrayed to distract attention from the pur­suit of higher-ups, and it is likely that he was right, for his continuing notoriety in the newspapers of the world was dis­concerting to Nazi leadership in South America. They were leading a well-ordered life, and wanted to keep it that way. During the uproar in 1960 and the trial that followed in Tel Aviv, there was considerable friction between the Jewish and German communities in Buenos Aires, but it finally tapered off, with a mutually accepted feeling that it had all been for the best.

But back in early 1947 a German of immense notoriety and importance waited his voyage to freedom. Martin Bormann, in the Dominican monastery of San Domingo, chafed under the constraint. Finally, the ship arrived to take him to South Amer­ica, and he made his way at night to the harbor of Vigo. A rather sizeable freighter had been loaded with produce and other foodstuffs of Spain and with the most recent contingent of fleeing SS men. The last aboard was Party Minister Bormann, who went directly to the modest suite reserved for him. He watched the hills of Spain recede in the distance, and thought wistfully that this was the last view he might ever have of the European continent. Certainly he would not be returning to this province of Galicia, where many fascists who had fled France and Belgium now resided in exile, such as Leon Degrelle, once the leader of the movement "Rex," who dwelled in a house in the mountains of Asturi, overlooking San Sebastian.

A strange footnote to the true tale of Bormann's stay in the Dominican monastery of San Domingo is the suspect fire that destroyed the archives in 1969. Mueller, ever the supercautious protector, became aware that Israeli agents were backtracking Bormann's escape route. I have been told they wanted to dis­cover what Catholic priests and bishops might have aided Bor­mann in his escape, intending to use this information to embarrass the Vatican. The only evidence of record that Bor­mann had been sheltered in this Dominican monastery was the Book o f Visitors he had signed the night he arrived. Twenty­ three years later fire broke out in the very shelves where this book was kept, and all was burned up.

When the large freighter carrying Bormann and a contingent of SS officers and soldiers steamed into the harbor of Buenos Aires in the winter of 1947, the anchor was dropped in the waters of the south quay near Riachuelo, one of the tributaries of the La Plata, named by the conquistadores for what it means, "silver." The ship did not come close to the piers, where enor­mous cranes and swarming dockworkers unload cargoes, but as dusk fell a small fleet of boats began ferrying the passengers and their belongings to shore. At sea, each SS man had been supplied with new identity cards, courtesy of the skilled en­gravers of Concentration Camp Sachsenhausen, passports bear­ing appropriate visas, and written instructions as to where each was to stay once ashore. Some were dispatched to rooming houses and others to obscure hotels, while still others traveled by public transportation to inland cities and towns, or even to adjoining countries. Jobs had been found for all, either in the companies Bormann had established in 1944 and 1945 or in older German corporations that had been doing business in Latin America for a number of years. All those who debarked from the vessel either had with them or were issued a modest sum of cash, sufficient to carry them until the first payday. None of them actually saw Bormann on the ship, save for the captain and several Nazi VIPs who came aboard the night of arrival. Their reception was warm and friendly, and the local NSDAP leaders knew that they were speaking with the official successor to Adolf Hitler, the Party Minister and Reichsleiter whose or­ders they would obey implicitly in the years ahead.

Martin Bormann entered a country with a political climate favorable to him. Argentina had been under the dictatorial gov­ernance of Juan Perbn ever since he and his associates had been victorious in a historic coup on June 4, 1943; then, in June 1947, he was voted by an overwhelming majority into power, despite the intense and overt opposition of the United States. He was to be driven from the presidency and from Argentina in Sep­tember 1955, but in the interim years he did more for the ordi­nary man, the "shirtless ones," than had any leader in Argentine history. While doing all this good he banked an illicitly derived fortune in Switzerland, estimated by reliable sources as around $500 million, of which around $100 million was thanks to the Bormann organization. He was a charismatic figure, as presi­dent and in exile in Madrid, and was returned to power in 1973, a year before his death in 1974. In this country of 22 million, Italy and Spain have contributed the most immigrants, followed by Britain, Poland, France, Russia, and Germany. There are also in Argentina 700,000 Lebanese and 450,000 Jews, but it was the British who achieved economic dominance, at least un­til Perbn came to power, investing as they did in shipping, bank­ing, insurance, and the railways. British influence declined under Perbn. He expropriated the British-owned railways, paying £150 million, bought out American telephone interests for $100 mil­lion, and nationalized the airlines, shipping, and local trans­portation. As British influence declined, German authority increased. Peron was for Adolf Hitler all the way, believing until the last that the Axis powers would win the war. His private secretary was German, the son of a Nazi, and throughout his time of power he felt most at ease with Germans. Because of his admiration of Hitler, he learned German while a young military attacho in Italy: his purpose was to be able to read Mein Kampf in the original.

The influx of German industry and investment boosted the Argentine economy, and the new German money flowing into the German-controlled banks in Buenos Aires for safekeeping and profitable investment under the Bormann flight capital program indicated to Peron that a new prosperity lay ahead for his country. The arrival of Martin Bormann in person was an event of significance to him, and in low-key meetings with Hit­ler's successor both agreed to work for the development of a new, modern Argentina. Peron was obviously fascinated at hearing firsthand all about the last days of Adolf Hitler, and he remarked to a confidant that here was a fellow who could still do much in the years ahead for German prosperity as he prom­ised to do for Argentina. Both realized that the capture of Bormann was a clear and ever present danger, and so Peron instructed the chief of his secret police to give all possible cooperation to Heinrich Mueller in his task of protecting the party minister, a collaboration that continued for years. It be­came somewhat frayed around the edges after Peron left for Panama and then exile in Madrid in 1955, but Mueller today still wields power with the Argentinian secret police in all mat­ters concerning Germans and the NSDAP in South America.

On June 16, 1948, President Truman became involved in the hunt for Martin Bormann. Robert H. Jackson, who had once taken a leave from the Supreme Court to serve as U.S. chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials, wrote to the president that a quiet search should be made by the FBI for Bormann in South America.

"My suggestion, therefore," he wrote, "is that the FBI be authorized to pursue thoroughly discreet inquiries of a prelimi­nary nature in South America.... I have submitted this sum­mary to Mr. Hoover and am authorized to say that it meets with his approval. You may inform him of your wishes directly or through me, as you prefer."

The presidential authorization was given, and John Edgar Hoover assigned the investigation to his most experienced and skillful agent in South America, who proved that he was just that by eventually obtaining copies of the Martin Bormann file that were being held under strict secrecy by Argentina's Min­ister of the Interior in the Central de Intelligencia. When the file (now in my possession) was received at FBI headquarters, it revealed that the Reichsleiter had indeed been tracked for years. One report covered his wherabouts from 1948 to 1961, in Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Chile. The file revealed that he had been banking under his own name from his office in Germany in Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires since 1941; that he held one joint account with the Argentinian dictator Juan Peron, and on August 4, 5, and 14, 1967, had written checks on demand accounts in First National City Bank (Overseas Divi­sion) of New York, The Chase Manhattan Bank, and Manu­facturers Hanover Trust Co., all cleared through Deutsche Bank of Buenos Aires.

The surveillance report of Martin Bormann's movements stated the following, in brief:



German Nazi politician, born in 1900, in Halberstadt, Magdeburg, Germany. Titular head of the National Socialist party. The Nurem­berg War Crimes Tribunal sentenced him to death, along with other criminals of the Third Reich. Came to Argentina in a clandes­tine manner, disguised as a Jesuit priest, arriving from Genoa, Italy, with false papers, around 1948.


Bormann was seen and identified in the federal capital. (Informa­tion given by Doctor Pino Frezza, an Italian doctor who met Bor­mann on an occasion when Bormann accompanied the Fiihrer­S.I.R. No. 0318.) Bormann made contact with a former German army officer at the ABC Brewery, at 500 Lavalle Street, in the federal capital. (S.I.R. 01319. Juan Felisiak. )


Bormann went to Parana, in Entre Rios province, where he was once again interviewed by the engineer Juan Felisiak, during a brief trip Felisiak made to Entre Rios Province, where Bormann was concealing himself by mixing with the abundant colony of Germans, Croatians, and Poles.

The same year, he went to Brazil. Existing versions show that he situated himself in the impenetrable jungle in Mato Grosso. In his comings and goings in Argentina, he used various pseudonyms, one of them being Juan Gomez. Under the cover of this name, in 1948, Martin Bormann received the bulk of the treasure that had made up the financial reserve of the Deutsche Bank, whose last owner, Ludwig Freude, had died of poisoning. Other pseudonyms were Jose Perez, Eliezer Goldstein, and Bauer. (Report S.I.R. No. [?] 320, Tadeo Karlikosky.)

Martin Bormann had various children, one of whom, an ordained Jesuit priest, helped his father in his escape from Germany, even going so far as to claim that Martin Bormann had died in 1945-a lie calculated to interfere with the search for the war criminal.

It is known that even though Martin Bormann divided his per­manent residence more or less between the states of Mato Grosso and Santa Catalina in Brazil, he made frequent brief trips to various localities, such as Paraguay; Valdivia, Chile; and Bariloche and Asochinga, Argentina. In the last-mentioned place, in the province of Cordoba, he made contact with the central command of Arana, an organization founded in a distant prisoner-of-war camp, among German prisoners, for the purpose of providing aid and protection to Nazis throughout the world and resurrecting the "ideal" of national socialism.

1953/54/55 and 56:

In this last year, he was identified by a woman in Sio Paulo, Brazil. He visited Bariloche once.


Bormann stayed in Brazil and curtailed his travels to Argentina, because in that year Israeli agents began infiltrating the last­mentioned country in search of war criminals, who by now had begun to lose some of the support they once enjoyed.


Bormann is now living on a solitary farm near Curitiba, Brazil.


In this year, using the pseudonym Bauer, he attended the Ali Baba nightclub in Asuncion, Paraguay, apparently in the company of Mengele.

He was now lost to sight, disappearing into the area known as Swiss Chile. More or less bounded by the Pacific Ocean, the Argen­tine border, and the cities of Valdivia, Chile, and Bariloche, Argen­tina.



He was born in Halberstadt, in the district of Magdeburg, Ger­many. He was leader of the Nazi party council. The Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal sentenced him to death.

He had various sons, one of whom, an ordained Jesuit, circulated the story of Bormann's death in 1945, a lie calculated to put an end to any search for the criminal.

His birth was registered in the year 1900. He was considered Adolf Hitler's right-hand man and was mentioned as a possible successor to Hitler, when the conflict ended.

Like other fugitives, he entered Argentina in 1948, coming from Genoa on a second-class ticket, with forged Vatican documentation. (This had all been made possible by an organization called La Esclusa, which facilitated the exit of various fugitives.)

Between 1943 and 1945, Martin Bormann had maintained con­tacts with Heinrich Doerge (councilor of the Central Bank of Argentina), Ricardo Von Leute (Director of the German. Trans­Atlantic Bank), Ricard Staud, and Ludwig Freude-names assoc­ciated with the annals of Nazi treasure.

At the end of 1943, Martin Bormann prepared to put into force Operation Tierra Del Fuego, which involved transporting large quantities of gold, money, stocks, paintings, and other works of art to Argentina via submarine. However, owing to the staggering situation of the German armies, all terrestrial routes were cut off. Bormann therefore (counting on the collaboration of the Argentine government) decided that the transfer of this treasure should be accomplished via night flights from Berlin to Madrid and thence to Buenos Aires. (Even after the fall of Germany, submarines arrived at Mar de Plata and the vicinity of Patagonia and unloaded mys­terious merchandise.)

At one point, Martin Bormann slipped his diary into the pocket of a cadaver, in an attempt to create the impression that he was dead. The subterfuge was discovered, however.

In 1948, it was noted that he passed through Buenos Aires. Ac­cording to reports DAE 356/48 and DAE 481/50, he was observed in the street, when he ran into Doctor Pino Frezza, who recognized him, having met him in Germany (to be precise, in Berlin, during Hitler's visit to a brewery). The person who reported observing this chance meeting was an engineer, Juan Felisiak. The meeting took place at 500 Lavalle Street.

Later he went to the city of Parana, where Jan Felisiak saw him again. In Parana he called himself David. He stayed there until 1951.

Bormann moved to Santa Catarina, Brazil, where he used the pseudonym Eliezer Goldstein. Here, he was intensely active co­ordinating the activities of the German colonists in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. However, all indications are that his per­manent residence is at Mato Grosso, where a large number of fugitives, refugees, and delinquents live. This is where Martin Bormann maintains contacts with couriers of the well-known organi­zation called La Arafla, which is dedicated to providing help for all Nazi fugitives. In fact, Bormann is known as the Fiihrer of South America, since, according to various versions, he made it possible for the Nazis to salvage a great deal of money, gold, valuable objects, and works of art, with the result that fugitives who escaped from the tribunals and prisons of Europe are able to live without major difficulty.

At the end of 1954, Martin Bormann was seen in Mina Clavera, Cordoba, in the company of two men with Spanish surnames. He was calling himself Jose Perez. He arrived at the hotel in Mina Clavero suffering from stomach problems and requested that the hotel manager bring him medicine for gastritis. One of his com­panions, named Jimenez, made a trip to Rio Zeballos with the owner of the hotel. He took certain documents with him, and once there, he received documents for Martin Bormann-Perez.

The hotel manager overheard some conversations, in which the names of the cities of Bariloche [Argentina], Valdiva [Chile], and Sao Paulo [Brazil] were mentioned. Later, when he handed "Perez" a glass of milk, the hotel manager realized that this was actually Martin Bormann. The hotel proprietor began to think that these people must have very important characters backing them, so he made the circumstance known to an agent of the S.I.R. (Cordoba, , sector) and went with the agent to Rio Zeballos, where Bormann and his friends were headed.

With the fall of the Peronista government, an evident gathering of the Nazi element began to descend on Chile, Paraguay, and Brazil, particularly Brazil. So it was that in 1956 Martin Bormann was in Sao Paulo, where a large number of addicts of the Nazi philosophy were gathering, little knowing that they would not find here the accommodation they had so long enjoyed in Argentina.

In Sao Paulo, Bormann linked up with members of the Odessa organization, which existed to give aid to former SS soldiers. Odessa was a branch of La Arana.

Martin Bormann now adopted the name Goldstein. He tried to hide permanently, since Jewish elements were frequently around, painstakingly looking for Nazi war criminals who were attempting to elude justice. In the streets of Sao Paulo, Martin Bormann was recognized by a woman who knew him, so he rapidly left the city and the Nazi group that was developing power in the triangle of Argentina, Para­guay, and Brazil. In 1957, he was seen in the city of Bariloche, where again he was developing and coordinating Nazi activities. He always hid under a Jewish last name, to escape the attention of the Israeli commandos, who operated more freely in Argentina now that the Nazis no longer enjoyed the support they had had during the Peronista era.

From Bariloche, Bormann went to Valdivia, apparently to acquire a farm or to establish contact with a secret Nazi organization that operated in the south of Chile.

In 1958, Bormann stayed at his secure residence in Mato Grosso, but the following year he went to Paraguay, where a former Wer­ macht member observed him in a meeting with Doctor Josef Men­ gele, a Nazi who practiced medicine in Argentina and who, like Bormann, was sought by the Israeli secret services. This meeting took place in Hohenau, a town practically founded by German colonists in this zone.

Bormann and Mengele headed for Asunci6n, Paraguay, because Bormann was ill. His health became worse, and a doctor was called. Doctor Otto Biss, a resident of Asuncion, examined Bormann and Mengele. He observed that Bormann had a scar on his forehead and that, other than a recurrence of his gastritis, he was in good health. This is how it was established that Bormann was in Paraguay, well guarded by Colonel Arganas, who controlled all the contraband operations between Asuncion and Sa"o Paulo-operations conducted by former German flyers.

In 1961, Bormann went from Mato Grosso to the city of Iguazu, staying at the house of a former SS soldier. He stayed scarcely three days, since he never stayed in one place for long. He didn't trust anyone and nearly always traveled alone, seldom with a companion.

During the following years, apparently, the trail of Bormann was lost, even though there was always news of the activities of Doctor Mengele in Paraguay, where he developed intense activities. The situation with Bormann was quite different-he could rely on the enormous amounts of money he had invested in different firms, and therefore, he didn't have to work and could concentrate his efforts on staying hidden, protecting himself, and continuing to encourage the Nazi ideology. All those who had the opportunity to meet him agree that Bormann was a notably astute man.

It was evident that since the capture of Adolf Eichmann, another Nazi criminal, the activities of Jewish groups were intensifying.

In 1964, Bormann was again seen, in the area of Villa Ballester, at a brewery frequently visited by Germans. The informant in this case was T. Karlokowski, a well-known swindler who sold bogus gold coins. Karlokowski used to travel among these neighboring countries, and therefore, he was able to find out that Josef Mengele was well protected by Colonel Arganas of the Paraguayan army and that he was involved in selling agricultural machinery.

Karlokowski found out that it had been a long time since Mengele had seen Bormann. On an unusual occasion, however, the engineer Juan Felisiak, a friend of Karlokowski, told him that Bormann was in Villa Ballester. Karlokowski proposed a business deal with Bormann, since he had plenty of money, but the engineer was not agreeable.

In that event, they ultimately found themselves at the same brewery when Goldstein (evidently Bormann) appeared. He was accompanied by a young blond man, apparently a German. The salutations were short. Bormann said that on the following day they were heading south again, to a farm in Patagonia.

Again, Bormann's trail was lost. In 1968 he turned up in the medical offices of Doctor Francisco Ubistondo, on Arenales and Pueyrredon Streets. He was suffering with hepatitis-related pain. When Doctor Urbistondo commented on the German's case with the informant Zuccarelli, the latter reported it to agent Rodriguez. Rodriguez showed a photograph of Bormann and Mengele to the doctor, who identified Bormann as the sick man he had attended in his consulting office.

But his movements in more detail, as reported to me by trust­worthy confidants, showed that Martin Bormann remained for only a short time in Buenos Aires. He moved to a mountain retreat in the Argentinian Andes, a 5,000-acre cattle and sheep ranch about 60 miles south of San Carlos de Bariloche, and lived there until Juan Peron was forced from power in 1955. At that time Mueller thought it advisable for Bormann to leave the mountain hideaway, so the party minister was transported over the Andes to Chile to another remote house for two years. Throughout this period, Mueller kept receiving information that Bormann continued to be the object of an international manhunt. British, American, and West German agents sought him, but not too hard. The Bormann organization had many commercial and political links to the capitals of these three nations, and real clout was available should the chase become too hot. The CIA could have pulled aside the gray curtain that obscured Bormann-at any time. But the CIA and Mueller's crack organization of former SS men found it to their mutual advantage to cooperate in many situations. There is no morality in the sense that most of us know it in the strange world of professional secrecy, and when it was to the advantage of each to work together they did so. For example, Klaus Altman, the so-called Hangman of Lyon, France, was recognized in Lima, Peru, as Klaus Barbie by a Frenchwoman who has made a career of pursuing Nazis, although she was only five years old at the time of the occupation when Altman-Barbie was an SS officer. Altman, upon his return to Bolivia, where he is a Bolivian citi­zen and director and stockholder of Transmaritime Boliviana, a shipping company partly owned by the Bolivian government, admitted that he was Klaus Barbie. But, he said, "I was an officer in a regular army in a formally declared war." He added that both American and French authorities had questioned him after the war, doing nothing to hinder his emigration to Bolivia in 1950. Yet he became a cause celebre after Mrs. Beate Klars­feld, an official of the International League Against Anti-Semi­tism and Racism, announced his identity. Georges Pompidou of France was then forced to become involved and to take a stand, offering $4 million to the Bolivian government for the extradition of Barbie. It was refused. Barbie had participated as a Gestapo officer in the destruction of the two underground resistance networks, "Prosper" and "Scientist," in 1943, which resulted in the death of Jean Moulin, a French resistance hero. In South America, Altman-Barbie was under the protection of General Heinrich Mueller, and in certain instances had worked for the CIA, so his sponsorship was impeccable and incontro­vertible, and he continues to enjoy immunity from arrest.

Mueller never leaves Latin America, but his agents roam the Americas and Europe. They provide protection for the NSDAP leadership in exile who can still manage to travel to Madrid, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Italy, or North Africa, and they have been known to take on lucrative secret police assignments. When Colonel Nasser became president of Egypt, he asked the CIA for assistance in establishing a similar organization in his country. The CIA did not wish to become involved, and so referred him to General Gehlen, then chief of the West Ger­man federal intelligence organization, which was in fact main­tained by the CIA. But Gehlen ducked the request, suggesting that former SS General Otto Skorzeny, son-in-law of Hjalmar Schacht, one-time Minister of Finance for Hitler, should be approached. Skorzeny, who made his headquarters in Spain, did not want the assignment either, for he was doing too well as an engineer and businessman in Spain, and was also owner of a large farming establishment outside of Dublin. But, urged by Schacht, he had Heinrich Mueller in Brazil send him a team of secret police specialists, who all arrived in Cairo as a German mission led by Skorzeny, who promptly returned to Spain after introductions had been made. Mueller's team established such an effective intelligence service for Nasser, known as the Gen­eral Intelligence Service, that Colonel Qadhafi of Libya, then the new revolutionary leader of his country, asked Nasser to make the German team of advisors available to him also. This was done, and upon arrival the Germans started with a thor­ough housecleaning of the Libyan secret police hired by the previous ruler, King Idris. Two thousand Libyan police were put in jail and continue to languish there today, and the Ger­mans rebuilt from scratch. Today Libyan intelligence agents are stationed in all Libyan African and overseas embassies and consulates, and they are tough and ruthless., Perhaps as a quid pro quo to this service to Libya, the Colonel granted the West German rocket company Ortag rights to a vast test range 600 miles south of Tripoli in 1980. An attitude of benevolence toward Bormann, the German who created so much commer­cial activity for them, is held by Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. In the last named country, the son of a Bavarian cavalry officer, President Stroessner, cooperates with the United States military authorities and with the CIA, as he does with Bormann and his representatives. During the Viet­nam war, President Stroessner permitted the U.S. Army Chemi­cal Corps to send in teams of 2,500 men and CIA agents to carry out field tests, in the Mato Grosso jungles of Paraguay, of chemicals for use in Vietnam. In one instance, several Ameri­can soldiers became casualties when they were accidentally sprayed with the gas. They were taken to a Paraguayan military field hospital; the doctor who treated them was Josef Mengele, now a Paraguayan citizen and an officer in the Paraguayan Army Medical Corps. Under Mengele's treatment all soldiers recov­ered. None, of course, knew the true identity of their medical benefactor. The Israelis have tried repeatedly to extradite Men­gele, who was the notorious doctor of Auschwitz concentration camp. But when President Stroessner is approached through diplomatic channels for such a purpose, he responds: "Shall I also expel the 1,500 Jews who have made a good life for them­selves in Paraguay, and who have contributed so much to our economic growth?"

Despite the assistance Martin Bormann has received from various leaders in Latin America since his arrival, including help from members of U.S. embassies and consulates and several CIA station chiefs, Heinrich Mueller continues to exercise ex­treme caution in protecting Bormann. In 1955 and again in 1957, following the transporting of the party minister to new locations, he leaked the story of Bormann's "death," repeating the old ploy of providing a body in a grave marked "Martin Bormann." Each time an exhumation took place it was found to be the remains of a deceased Indian, although one was that of a Jewish person, an Israeli agent who had gotten too close to his target.

In 1957 Mueller established Bormann on a remote plantation at the southernmost tip of Brazil, at a point that touches Para­guay, one mile inland from the west bank of the Parana River and 15 miles north of the Paraguayan border. It was a drab, depressing plantation area, but a natural fortress, stretching in a rectangle 40 miles along the Parana River, 100 miles inland from the sea. To the east it was protected by the river, which at that point is ten miles wide. To the south it had the im­penetrable jungle for protection; the all-but-impassable path­ways one would take to approach the plantation were guarded by Indians whose role was to alert the SS guards. The settle­ment was known as Kolonie Waldner, and SS men I have talked with who were with Bormann then spoke of the heat and the general lassitude there. Food and other supplies were brought by river boat, then trucked inland to the colony. Visitors came and went by Piper Cub, which upon landing would taxi up to a large hangar and disappear from view. A bowling alley down one side of the hangar provided about the only recreation, but the SS men I interviewed said that the best German cook­ing in the world was provided by former SS mess sergeants, and that this was an incomparable feature of the dining room. To quote one: "Still, it was small consolation for being stuck in such a place. We worked to construct proper housing, but it was hard to put out of one's mind the memories and thoughts of Germany and the good days of long ago."

Martin Bormann continued to conduct his complex business affairs from Kolonie Waldner by remote control. A cadre of skilled professional business administrators would periodically return to this dismal, isolated area and make their reports on investments and on the prosperity and growth of the corpora­tions they controlled in so many different countries. Bormann appeared very much the plantation overseer, with boots, white pants and shirt, and a wide-brimmed panama hat. Such a hat, I am told, along with being protection from the ubiquitous hot sun, was also protection from poisonous spiders that dropped from trees. I asked one of my SS informants why they didn't use poison gas as the Americans had done in the Mato Grosso to defoliate the trees and exterminate the spiders. His bitter reply: "We used up all our poison gas during World War II."

The plantation stay finally ended, and Bormann was moved again to the high mountains of Argentina that border Chile.

The hue and cry had died down. An occasional journalist would take up the hunt, but would be tracked by Mueller's men. At one point in time, NBC News in New York sent a news team to South America. But NBC News abandoned the principles of journalism when it made this a combined operation with Israeli secret agents and a Zionist organization in South America. It is probably still unaware that Mueller had penetrated the Zion­ist group, and that every step taken was known to him before­hand. It was quite impossible-and still is today-to surprise Mueller and therefore Bormann. They have a fail-safe system of protection that dates back to World War II when the espionage agents of Germany, Japan, and Italy were operating effectively throughout the Western Hemisphere; this is part of the infra­structure to which they became heir, which serves them today.

The German fifth column in South America was far-reaching and effective, and when the war ended in Europe agents and station chiefs were instructed to stay in position and await fur­ther orders. They were to continue in their commercial careers as cover for the work they would be called on to perform: assistance to the 10,000 veterans of the SS who would need relocation help as they poured into Buenos Aires and fanned out to various nearby countries, and full cooperation with Reichsleiter and Party Minister Bormann and the other 50,000 German VIP's of industry and research. All members of the NSDAP in South America were familiar with the Organization Book, which they had been receiving from Berlin for some years as leaders of local chapters of the (overseas) Auslands­Organization. A basic element in the book dealt with the rela­tionship of members to the Principles of Obedience:

Through his incorportation in the NSDAP the brother or comrade (Parteigenosse) promises to maintain an unchangeable fidelity to Fuehrer Adolf Hitler and unconditional obedience to the leaders whom he shall designate.

How extensive this Nazi apparatus was during the war years, and how it was able to guard and assist Martin Bormann after his arrival in South America in 1947, was spelled out by J. Edgar Hoover, head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In a 1943 report prepared by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, whose wartime responsibility had been extended to spotting Axis agents and their activities in all Latin American countries by order of President Roosevelt, the FBI stated:

After the rupture of diplomatic relations with the Axis by various countries of Latin America, the Axis began to use Argentina as the base of its espionage and sabotage activities against all American nations. It had been established that from this base of operations the Germans have spread the net of their subversive organizations to at least ten American countries, and that as a result of their work a large number of American lives, considerable American property, and the lives and property of the citizens and countries of the united nations which are engaged in the struggle against the totalitarian powers have been lost.

Argentina was an ideal base for such espionage and sabotage tactics against other nations of the Western Hemisphere. The FBI also reported that "the following are the American repub­lics and territories directly affected by the activities of the German espionage ring, directed from Argentina: Brazil, Co­lombia, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, the United States of America, Mexico, Paraguay, Venezuela, Aruba and Trinidad."

The German espionage service in South America reported directly to the German High Command in Berlin, whence they received their instructions to send all possible information in the following main categories: ship arrivals and departures; movements of warships of the United States and England; im­ports and exports; U.S. armaments and industries; political data; weather reports; movements of American warplanes being fer­ried to Africa via Natal; operation of Pan American Airways; war effort of the United States; Panama Canal; defense mea­sures in the United States and Latin American countries; sabo­tage of English ships; and convoys of merchant vessels.

The activities of German, Japanese, and Italian agents op­erating as separate cells in each country always revolved around an important clandestine radio station that transmitted their information in code to receiving stations in Hamburg, Germany. Japanese data was forwarded to their embassy in Berlin which then transmitted to Tokyo. Other information was sent by mail, with messages written in disappearing ink, or reduced to the size of a microdot on a written page. Nazi Party members and German commercial companies also served as transmission agents of espionage reports to the German High Command. By having agents working in tight groups in each of the countries, usually unknown to each other, the Germans had the distinct advantage that when the individuals of one group were identi­ fied by the FBI, or by the national secret police of a Latin American country, the other groups or cells were not generally affected, and were able to continue their operations without interruption. Brazil was at one time the center of Axis espion­age, but when restrictive measures were taken by the Brazilian government, Argentina became the predominant center. Easy access to funds is vital to successful espionage, and when Brazil began to take countermeasures against this fifth column, the local field man for the FBI in Rio de Janeiro reported to J. Edgar Hoover in Washington that on October 3, 1942, the sum of 638 million pesos had been sent by Axis agents from Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Uruguay, and Paraguay for deposit in the Banco de la Provincia de Buenos Aires.

Germany, of course, had a profound and quite critical inter­est in the rising war production of the United States. Nazi agents infiltrated all U.S. plants in which bombers and fighters were being produced and the information gathered by these employees was transmitted to Buenos Aires, where it was relayed to the mammoth wireless receiving station in Hamburg that pulled in messages from agents throughout the world.

In Buenos Aires, an FBI field agent pinpointed the chief of the clandestine radio group in that major South American capital as "Friedrich von Schultz Hausmann, manager of the firm of Bromberg y Cia., at Bernardo Irigoyen 330." In 1941 the German espionage service had transferred von Schultz Hausmann from Chile, where he had been manager of the Lloyd Norte Aleman in Valparaiso, while serving as head of German agents there. When he moved to Buenos Aires to assume a more important position, he informed his Chilean intimates that they could reach him through post office box number 386, the one used by Bromberg y Cia. He cautioned that they must write in secret ink or by cable code to his new cable address "Alegre." Hausmann's close friend in Argentina was Walter von Simons, head of the news agency Transocean, which Dr. Goebbels had used as a conduit to spread his propa­ganda to the newspapers of South America.

The Nazi Party was effectively represented in all Latin Amer­ican nations. Mexico, as one example, had its German National Socialist Labor Party, which controlled the public as well as the private lives of all Germans living in Mexico. The party was illegal but active; it had divided the country into seven districts, each with its own local Gauleiter. While the NSDAP was outlawed in Mexico, it did have a legal front, the Deutsche Volksgemeinschaft, with the German ambassador, Baron Rudt von Collenberg, as honorary president. Thirteen German clubs of various types were committed to propaganda and espionage, but the overseeing element of all German activity was the Gestapo, under the direction of Georg Nicolaus, a dealer in machinery who took part in the attack on Poland and then was sent first to Colombia, next to Mexico City. The Japanese handled the military intelligence chores for the Gestapo in Mexico because German efforts were directed to the United States and to the more southerly countries of Latin America. To accommodate this additional work, Japanese tourists began arriving in great numbers in Mexico; some were assigned to other South American countries. In Tampico, Mexico, the prin­cipal meeting place for German, Japanese, and Italian spies was in the dental offices of Dr. I. Nishimura.

A sustained effort was made by the Germans to win over local folk. In Ecuador, for instance, they had two main objectives: to control the commerce of the country, in association with their compatriots, the Japanese, and to displace "Yankee and English imperialism." Observers of the scene reported that they achieved both, thanks to years of superior, overbearing, haughty attitudes that characterized the Anglo-American companies in their relations with the native population. The Germans arrived as businessmen, explorers, scientific investigators, university pro­fessors, and journalists. The German pedagogic missions that came to Ecuador before Nazism, cleared the way for the Third Reich emissaries. A German school served as the meeting place of the Ecuadorian intellectuals on Saturday afternoons, attended by lawyers, writers, and professors. The school's director was Dr. Max Witt, an Ecuadorian-born son of German parents, and a fervent Nazi. Dr. Witt was also a professor at the Mejia Na­tional School and a deputy in the National Congress.

In Colombia, Hans Baumann, a Salesian priest, came to the attention of the FBI; J. Edgar Hoover passed on information regarding him to William J. Donovan, head of the OSS. Hoover reported that Baumann was carrying on activities in connection with an espionage ring that utilized the facilities of a clandestine radio station, PYL, in or near Santiago, Chile. Hoover attached a picture of Baumann and a photostatic copy of his party book indicating membership in the Auslands­Ausweis organization. "The information concerning Baumann has been secured from a confidential, reliable source," Hoover wrote to Donovan. Hans Baumann was born in Wiesent, Bavaria, on April 21, 1897, and during World War I served in the army, a com­panion of the young Adolf Hitler in the trenches. He emigrated to Colombia in 1932 and became active in education, achieving the directorship of the Colegio Pedro Justo Berrio of Medellin. During a return trip to Germany in 1937 he had lunch with Hitler and Martin Bormann; back in Colombia he engaged in NSDAP activities and espionage, and utilized the German firm of Fritz Fuhrop and Cia., a Nazi company that represented North German Lloyd, Hamburg-Amerika Lines, and the Nip­pon Yusen Kaisya Lines. The effectiveness of Baumann's work in Colombia was attested to by a further confidential field report to J. Edgar Hoover: "German Nazis have gained the friendship of many Colombians. It is understood that not only are these German individuals well liked by the Colombians but there is considerable sympathy for their cause. The wife of Schrader, manager of Steinwender Stoffregen Corporation in Pereira, said she hoped and prayed the Nazis would take over Colombia and that the United States would be `sunk in the seas."' The Axis population in Colombia at this time totaled 5,844: 4,113 Germans, 1,572 Italians, and 159 Japanese.

In their World War II drive to win the hearts and minds of Latin Americans, and to gain commercial ascendancy, these representatives of the Third Reich welcomed everyone to their ranks, and this included Jews. But the Jewish immigrants who had come to Colombia to start new lives could not be enlisted by either Germans or Americans. One FBI report stated, "Be­ cause of interest in their business they can't be won for the anti-Nazi fight." But there was the mysterious Jewish arms merchant, Luis Rochschild, who seemed to precede the advance of the German armies. He left Frankfurt for the Sudetenland and when German armies arrived went on to Prague, always wheeling and dealing. In Prague he transferred large sums of money through Switzerland to New York to Chile. In Santiago he made a business connection with the German import firm of Staudt and Company, Inc., and served this firm, which was on the Anglo-American blacklist, as "front man"; this enabled him to import textiles under his own name from New York and to sell the commodities to Staudt and Company. Front men were a common practice, enabling many German firms to continue doing business despite Anglo-American disfavor. From this group of front men, Bormann selected many who would serve as caretaker administrators of the new companies created for the flight capital program. In Buenos Aires, many members of the Jewish community owe their present prosperity to this predilection of the Bormann organization to use Jewish busi­nessmen as cloaks for commercial operations.

Hoover sent along an FBI report to William J. Donovan:

A Dr. Bernhard Mendel, an Austrian Jew and a naturalized Colom­bian and also a very wealthy businessman located at Bogota, has been engaged in activities apparently directed toward sabotaging the intelligence efforts of the united nations in Colombia. Accord­ing to the informant, Dr. Mendel is presently an agent for a German firm in Colombia and is the consignee of American-made products in that republic. While Dr. Mendel has on occasions professed to be an ardent anti-Nazi informant, his professed cooperation in combatting Nazi activities in Colombia has been of negative value. In view of the activities of Mendel, detrimental to the interest of the United States, the suggestion has been advanced that this individual be listed as an undesirable consignee and representative of American-made products in Colombia.

The major German firms of South America were invariably centers for espionage activities. The Bayer Company, a subsidi­ary of I.G. Farben, whose principal business in Chile was the sale of chemical products, was placed on the American blacklist and prevented from doing business with the United States.

However, it prospered elsewhere and meanwhile in June 1942 the FBI station chief in Chile reported to J. Edgar Hoover: "Werner Siering is the manager and head of the firm in Santi­ago. Numerous previous reports have been made concerning this individual, indicating that he is an active Nazi agent in South America. The principal directors of this firm are of German nationality and there are also 27 Germans employed in the office." The report went on to mention other German com­panies having active participation: Banco Germanico de la America del Sud, Compania Sud-Americana de Vapores, a steamship company, Siemans-Schuckert Limitada, Santiago Gas Company, and "Soquina, which is engaged in the production of gas from coal."

Argentina by this time was under great pressure from the United States to break relations with the Axis. Instead, she proclaimed her neutrality in 1942. However, in January 1944, Argentina broke off relations with Germany and Japan over the flagrant espionage that had been taking place within her bor­ders. Still, this was not a commitment to war and the Perbn­Farrell junta was shocked into action when the United States and most other countries recalled their ambassadors in the sum­mer of 1944. Then, three months before the German surrender, Argentina officially declared war on Germany and Japan on March 27, 1945, a symbolic gesture only, but it succeeded in normalizing relations with nations of the Allied world who re­turned their ambassadors, except for Russia. The German and Japanese diplomatic corps had to leave, however. But anticipat­ing such action as a possibility since 1942, Baron Guenther Freiherr von Thermann, a former German ambassador, held meetings on his farm, Isla Verde, in Cordoba province, where an organization was formed that would represent German inter­ests. The names of those constituting this group came into the hands of J. Edgar Hoover, and they show an interesting cross­section of commerce and banking.

ARMY: Ricardo W. Staudt, former Austrian Consul, especially good relations with the Argentine army. Wilhelm Krankenhagen, party member from the firm Bromberg. NAVY: Rudolf Hepe, harbor superintendent of firm Delfino. Otto Rusche, the German firm of A.E.G.

HEAVY INDUSTRY: Dr. Arnold Stoop, board of directors of many German and Argentine firms and farms. Robert Mertig, Bay­rische Motoren Werke, Dr. Carlos G. Linck, I.G. Farben, Wilhelm Schulenburg, firm of AFATUDOR. BANKS: P. Peterson, Banco Aleman Transatlantico, R. Leute, mana­ger, Banco Germanico.

AIR AND GLIDERS: Walter Grotewald, Deutsche Lufthansa (Condor Line), Joachim Ufflembauemer, firm AFATUDOR, Labor Front.

EX. AND IMPORTATIONS: Dr. C. Ernesto Niebuhr, syndicate of German firms, specialist in real estate business. SOCIETY: Theodor von Bernhard, very rich German farmer, Jewish girl friend in Montevideo, Uruguay, Hanni Eisler, an actress. Pays to Nazi party 30,000 pesos yearly. Ricardo W. Staudt, former Austrian Consul. Dr. Edlef E. Hosmann, insurance company of Hosmann & Cia.

AGRICULTURE: Franz von Bernhard, brother of Theodor von Bern­ hard. Erwin Pallavicini, German descent, in sugar business Hilleret.

SCIENCE: Dr. Wolfgang E. Centner, of the INAG (Siemens electrical apparatus). Dr. Paul Mehlich, German hospital. Dr. Hanns Merzbacher, son of old German doctor, Merzbacher, German hospital. ARCHITECTURE: Dr. E. Zeyen, of the FINCA (constructors on credit). Dr. Engineer Walter Kossman, manager of the GEOPE, uncle of the former counsellor to the German Em­bassy. Henn, who is now in Berlin for the German Foreign Office.

One of the most absorbing operations of the early forties was the clandestine German radio station located in Valparaiso, Chile. This station transmitted to Germany information from Axis agents operating in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and the United States. The man­ager of the German firm, Compania Transportes Maritimos, formerly a branch of the Norddeutscher Lloyd shipping con­cern, operated this illegal and powerful radio transmitter. He was Bruno Dittman, and he had succeeded Friedrich von Schultz Hausmann after he had been transferred to chief of station in Buenos Aires. Both the FBI and the U.S. Office of Strategic Services, under the direction of General William J. Donovan, were concerned about this transmitting facility. The cipher experts of the OSS were able to intercept the messages, but it took time for them to break the code. Meanwhile, a continuous stream of important data from South America and the United States was being sent to Hamburg, and the precise location of the transmitter had yet to be determined. With the permission of the Chilean government, the U.S. Federal Com­ munications Commission sent an electronics expert to Chile to determine the location of this station, which had become known as PYL. The communications expert made several tests and declared the broadcasts were being made from the house of Guillermo Zeller, at Avenida Alemana, 5508, Cerro Alegre, Val­paraiso. Zeller, who was the actual transmitter, was an expert radio technician and was using the most modern transmitting set devised, with antennas specially adapted for broadcast to Hamburg. Another PYL went on the air, and the FCC expert determined that it was located at Antofagasta. Then a third went into operation from Buenos Aires with equipment supplied by the Siemens manufacturing organization. This came under the management of Hausmann in the Argentinian capital; Haus­mann split his time between his duties at Bromberg y Cia. and the station. Operating such radio facilities and securing agents required a considerable amount of money to make everything mesh. Von Schultz Hausmann, in one message to Germany, instructed them to transmit funds to the account of O. Osterloh in the German Bank of Buenos Aires. Money was also paid to the Japanese diplomat Tadeo Kudo through this account to accommodate him for the work he was doing for the Germans.

The transmitters located and their messages intercepted, the OSS was a step forward. But not until the code had been broken could a deep look into the Nazi espionage system be taken, serving as a lead to agents in the field. The late Elizabeth Friedman, wife of Colonel William Friedman, the master cryp­tographer who broke Japan's Purple Code, was a gifted cipher expert. She organized the OSS code and cipher operations for Donovan; to her goes the credit for breaking the German code used between the PYL stations in South America and Germany. Once opened up, the messages were found to be a series of businesslike instructions from a home office to agents. The latter sent their information and requested instructions on handling assorted undercover projects. Hamburg was always concerned 2 that all South American agents could prove legitimate employ­ment as cover for spy activities, which underlined the value of German commercial firms in all Latin American countries. One message follows:

April 17, 1942 Hamburg to Valparaiso


After the sudden arrest of most German agents operating in Brazil, the intercepts indicated that Germany was very conscious of the safety of its men, as well as wishing to ensure continuous radio communications with its agents in Chile, the reason it opened up a second PYL, operated by "Pedro" in Antofagasta. This message indicates the concern:

March 26, 1942 Hamburg to Valparaiso


The OSS straightaway learned that Bach was the cover name for Ludwig von Bohlen, air attache to the German Embassy in Santiago. Then a new agent, by the name of "Apfel," made his appearance on the intercepts.

May 7, 1942 Valparaiso to Hamburg


This was of significance to the OSS, because Guard Two was the sabotage section of the German High Command, and Apfel was evidently in charge of sabotage along the west coast of South America. PYL also handled new mail instructions for letters of deliv­ery to Berlin:

July 1, 1941 Hamburg to Valparaiso



Identifying an agent in the field from these intercepts was important to the thrust and parry of this underground war. Once identified, a German agent could be neutralized. An inter­cepted message indicated that the Germans had in their employ an individual by the name of Clarcke, who was to be under the general supervision of Walter Giese, chief of the Nazi espionage service in Ecuador. The message stated:

November 6, 1941 Rio de Janeiro to Berlin


Then, unwittingly, this clandestine station in Brazil sent a mes­sage to Valparaiso for transmission to Hamburg:

November 14, 1941 Valparaiso to Hamburg


Clarcke was positively identified as Federico Clarcke Car, resid­ing at Huerfanos 2289, Santiago, Chile. Both father and daugh­ter were picked up.

A profound interest in U.S. aircraft production by Germany was understandable, and Germany continued to ask the PYL stations in South America for an updating on production fig­ures. "To what extent has the construction of the assembly plants in Kansas and Tulsa progressed? When can the comple­tion of the first planes by this factory be expected?"

That German agents in South America complied faithfully with these orders for information by the German High Com­mand is demonstrated by the typical message quoted here:

January 1, 1942 Valparaiso to Hamburg


While the information was pure gold to Germany, the usual fate befell many of these hard-to-get messages. All too often, responsible agencies of the German government ignored their implications. Albert Speer, minister of armaments and war pro­duction in the Third Reich, tells of one agonizing scene when he visited the Junkers aircraft plant in Dessau in 1941 to discuss production with General Manager Koppenberg. "After the meeting, Koppenberg led me into a locked room and showed me a graph comparing American bomber production as forecast accurately for the next several years with ours. I asked him what our leaders had to say about these depressing comparative figures. `That's just it, they won't believe it,' he said."

With the war years far behind him, Martin Bormann goes on and on, quietly making history in worldwide financial circles. He was eighty on June 17, 1980, and his chief of security, Hein­rich Mueller, was seventy-nine the same year. Bormann today may be likened to the classic chairman of the board of a vast international business complex, of an organization holding greater assets than any private investment house on Wall Street. Bormann, aged though he is, continues to guide the destiny of his financial empire. But he is sufficiently prudent and fore­sighted to realize that the assets he controls must be placed in younger hands, and today the leadership council of the senior NSDAP group is reflected in a younger generation, comprising professional managers, lawyers, and financiers, who are calling the shots as money and trade are moved among the markets of the Americas and Europe. Their organization holds the bearer bonds that give him a voice in banks and industries of Germany, and likewise they hold blue chip stocks in U.S. heavy industries and chemical companies. They are represented too on the boards of corporations in France, Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, as well as in a myriad of other countries, including those in their bastion, Latin America. Their management is of the best and the companies they operate return a profit to everyone involved, from the West German government in corporate taxes and increased trade, to the share­holders of all companies that participated so long ago in Reichs­leiter Bormann's flight capital program.

Since the founding of Israel, the Federal Republic of Ger­many had paid out 85.3 billion marks, by the end of 1977, to survivors of the Holocaust. East Germany ignores any such liability. From South America, where payment must be made with subtlety, the Bormann organization has made a substantial contribution. It has drawn many of the brightest Jewish busi­nessmen into a participatory role in the development of many of its corporations, and many of these Jews share their pros­perity most generously with Israel. If their proposals are sound, they are even provided with a specially dispensed venture capi­tal fund. I spoke with one Jewish businessmen in Hartford, Connecticut. He had arrived there quite unknown several years before our conversation, but with Bormann money as his lev­erage. Today he is more than a millionaire, a quiet leader in the community with a certain share of his profits earmarked as always for his venture capital benefactors. This has taken place in many other instances across America and demonstrates how Bormann's people operate in the contemporary commercial world, in contrast to the fanciful nonsense with which Nazis are described in so much "literature." So much emphasis is placed on select Jewish participation in Bormann companies that when Adolf Eichmann was seized and taken to Tel Aviv to stand trial, it produced a shock wave in the Jewish and German com­munities of Buenos Aires. Jewish leaders informed the Israeli authorities in no uncertain terms that this must never happen again because a repetition would permanently rupture relations with the Germans of Latin America, as well as with the Bor­mann organization, and cut off the flow of Jewish money to Israel. It never happened again, and the pursuit of Bormann quieted down at the request of these Jewish leaders. He is re­siding in an Argentinian safe haven, protected by the most effi­cient German infrastructure in history as well as by all those whose prosperity depends on his well-being. Personal invitation is the only way to reach him.

A revealing insight into this international financial and in­dustrial network was given me by a member of the Bormann organization residing in West Germany. Meyer Lansky, he said, the financial advisor to the Las Vegas-Miami underworld, sent a message to Bormann through my West German SS contact. Lansky promised that if he received a piece of Bormann's action he would keep the Israeli agents off Bormann's back. "I have a very good relation with the Israeli secret police" was his claim, although he was to be kicked out of Israel later when his pres­ence became too noted-and also at the urging of Bormann's security chief in South America. At the time, Lansky was in the penthouse suite of Jerusalem's King David Hotel, in which he owned stock. He had fled to Israel to evade a U.S. federal war­rant for his arrest. He sent his message to Bormann through his bag man in Switzerland, John Pullman, also wanted in the United States on a federal warrant. Lansky told Pullman to make this offer "which he can't refuse." The offer was forwarded to Buenos Aires, where it was greeted with laugher. When the laughter died down, it was replaced with action. Meyer Lansky was evicted from Israel, and was told by Swiss authorities to stay out of their country, so he flew to South America. There he offered any president who would give him asylum a cool $1 million in cash.

He was turned down everywhere and had to continue his flight to Miami, where U.S. marshals, alerted, were waiting to take him into custody.

The Bormann organization has the ultimate in clout and substance, and no one can tamper with it. I have been told: "You cannot push these people; if you do it can be extremely risky." Knowing their heritage, I take this statement at face value.

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