plenty of high-ranking Nazis live out your final decades in southern America. What go that average for the continent?

There’s a factor persistent rumours exist about Adolf Hitler fleeing to southern or central America, through a convenient cover story around killing himself in a Berlin bunker. It’s the same reason The boys From Brazil is a cinematic classic, The Odessa file is a cracking read, and Germans in Mexico and (I Wanna Be) A mexico Hitler room such attractive tunes.

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New audioeditorfree.come VICELAND, documentary collection Hunting Hitler investigates even if it is Hitler indeed finished his life in the bunker or escaped to Argentina. ~ all, numerous high-ranking 3rd Reich policemans did flee audioeditorfree.come the continent in the wake of WWII, establishing new lives in hiding from dogged Nazi hunters favor the legendary Simon Wiesenthal. And also they certainly left your mark.

Why south America?

It’s surprising to learn that south America to be a little of a hotbed because that anti-Semitism from the late 19th century – and indeed that one of its most well known German immigrants, Bernhard Förster, to be a vital influence ~ above Hitler’s politics thinking. (He, favor his eventual acolyte, ended up audioeditorfree.committing suicide as his utopian swarm failed.) By the time it was all falling personally in Germany, there to be sympathetic regimes throughout the continent – the most significant of which to be Juan Perón’s Argentina.

When it came to be clear that the war was transforming against them, Nazi contingency plans to be activated. The most prominent of these to be Argentina’s “ratlines”, a system created by the Perón government and also the Vatican. Under this system, battle criminals and also collaborators were smuggled out of Europe (Germany–Spain–Argentina) to start new lives with barely disguised identities.

But the wasn’t just Argentina, the course. According to Dr Yvette Alt Miller, in current years, German prosecutors have estimated that 1500–2000 Nazis visited Brazil, 500–1000 went to Chile and Argentina take it on 5000 through the ratlines system.


What did they do as soon as they arrived?

Laid low, mostly, amongst the surprisingly big audioeditorfree.communities of country Germans across the continent who were usually sympathetic audioeditorfree.come the newaudioeditorfree.comers. (You deserve to see this lasting social influence in areas like La Cumbrecita.) As much more and more arrived in south America, the was simpler to establish and also maintain networks, easing their change into brand-new lives, audioeditorfree.complimentary from start for their crimes. Because that the most part, the estimated 9000 escapees established new identities and did their best to blend in.

One the the many famous examples is Dr Josef Mengele, responsible because that horrific clinical experiments in ~ Auschwitz. He functioned as a carpenter, among other points (including performing illegal abortions there is no anaesthetic), before dying the a stroke while swimming in 1979. 

Working because that Perón appeared to it is in a profitable choice. Fleeing to Argentina in 1948, Gerhard Bohne was offered money and also ID, and looked after ~ for years before beaudioeditorfree.coming the an initial Nazi battle criminal to be extradited through the Argentine government, in 1966. Rose oil Skorzeny acquired an even better deal. He is rumoured to have had an affair with Eva Perón while functioning as her bodyguard.

But the setup didn’t pay off for every escapee. In 1960, Adolf Eichmann – architect the the last Solution – was seized through Mossad operatives and smuggled earlier to Israel to was standing trial together a battle criminal. After ~ a nine-month trial, he to be sentenced to death.


How did this shape the year to audioeditorfree.come?

As you can expect, the main tradition of these German immigrants is one whereby successive federal governments attempt audioeditorfree.come grapple through the actions of their forebears. More than one Chilean federal government refused to extradite Walter Rauff (who designed the mobile gas chamber van) and Brazil refused to provide up Sobibór Extermination Camp’s deputy audioeditorfree.commandant, Gustav “The Beast” Wagner, to West German authorities, also as late together 1979.

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In addition, plenty of of the Nazi escapees came laden down v treasure of indeterminate provenance, several of which has because been revealed to include gold teeth and also fillings. In 1997, a report was released top top the audioeditorfree.complications and controversies about the death and $4 million luck of one unassuming Brazilian male named Albert Blume. The brand-new York Times quoted Brazilian chronicler Maria Tucci Carneiro ~ above the truth that also in the 1960s, textbooks no tackle the reality that the government welaudioeditorfree.comed well-known Nazis while rejecting Jewish refugees: “It to be taboo.”

These space the lasting results of the ratline system, where time passes however countries have to confront up to the guilty of the past. Not simply the powers-that-be in South America, either. The post-war human being was among realpolitik, and also being advantageous meant an ext than encountering justice, in part instances. Klaus Barbie, the Butcher the Lyon, no only regulated to evade record in the immediate aftermath of hostilities, he to be deployed as a counterintelligence certified dealer by the Americans and was important in Bolivian regime change up to the 1980s, before he was finally extradited to France and also lived out his last days in prison.

Hunting Hitler airs Sundays in ~ 7.35pm ~ above VICELAND, or stream episodes via top top Demand.