From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Operation Paperclip (also credited as Project Paperclip) was the code name under which the U.S. intelligence and military services extracted German scientists from Nazi Germany, during and after the final stages of World War II. In 1945 the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was established and given direct responsibility for Operation Paperclip.
|Real conspiracies: Operation Paperclip, which assimilated Nazis into the U.S. establishment, shows the antecedents for labeling people of conscience enemies of the state - Viewpoint|
One way a government mobilizes support for morally dubious actions is to make those actions sound like the right thing to do. Decisions made for other reasons entirely, for reasons of strategy, say, or economic advantage, are cloaked in religious rhetoric, and when our leaders claim the moral high ground, we the people want to believe them.
Recent caricatures show how Muslim terrorists like Osama bin Laden and Christian crusaders like George W. Bush use nearly identical rhetoric to justify their actions. Both abuse their religious traditions to manipulate believers in those traditions.
Those who worry about such things are often pained because the desire to believe and follow our leaders is twisted, that desire being contradicted by obvious discrepancies in what our leaders are doing rather than saying.
This gets a person with a strong conscience into a real pickle. The simple fact is, any person willing to act on the convictions of a strong conscience is as much an enemy of the state as an avowed terrorist because he or she will not accept the designer lies of the state as the motivation for its morally dubious actions.
Perhaps this is illustrated best with a historical example. Let's use Operation Paperclip.
The United States and its Western European allies agreed after World War II to deny immigration rights and work opportunities to Nazis with scientific and technological expertise who were more than trivially connected to the Third Reich. Those who joined the party before 1933 or advanced in the SA (Brown Shirts) or the SS or were identified by credible witnesses as participating in atrocities were included in that category.
Contradictions arose, however, after the war. Denying German scientific expertise to the Soviets and using it ourselves became primary motivations for wanting those Germans here, working for us. Over time the need for German proficiency in aerospace design, lasers and other advanced research superseded moral concerns for what they had done during the war.
Operation Paperclip was the name of the project that assimilated Nazi scientists into the American establishment by obscuring their histories and short-circuiting efforts to bring their true stories to light. The project was led by officers in the U.S. Army Although the program officially ended in September 1947, those officers and others carried out a conspiracy until the mid-'50s that bypassed both law and presidential directive to keep Paperclip going. Neither Truman nor Eisenhower were informed that their instructions were ignored, and if there is a lesson to be learned from Operation Paperclip, it is that, as Elie Wiesel said of the Holocaust, the world can get away with it.
Please note: Those who documented Operation Paperclip are not "conspiracy theorists." They are journalists and scholars who described a genuine conspiracy.
Fast forward 50 years.
When Total Information Awareness--the effort to mine and correlate vast amounts of data about Americans and non-Americans alike--became public knowledge, it was assailed for further eroding civil liberties already undermined by the Patriot Act, rights previously guaranteed by the Constitution.
Asked at a news conference about Total Information Awareness, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld laughed and said, well then we'll change the name and do it anyway.
Rumsfeld was just stating the obvious. Data mining has long been an important area of research for the intelligence establishment. The ability to filter out irrelevant data and align the many signals transmitted by our daily transactions into profiles with predictive value has been pursued for a long time. Rumsfeld was just saying, OK, if there's a problem with the name, we'll change the name and do it secretly.
It's the combination of eradicating rights guaranteed by the Constitution such as habeas corpus and modern technologies that enable the national security state to know and anticipate the tendencies of the souls of its citizenry, all in the name of counterterrorism, that makes us nervous.
This is not a conspiracy theory. It is a literal description of what our leadership is doing
Back in the early days of Paperclip, when those with consciences and/or memories of Nazi atrocities tried to stop the steamroller, they were accused of being communist agents or sympathizers or useful idiots who did not know they were manipulated by the Communist Party.
Real enemies during the Cold War became the justification for labeling persons of conscience enemies too, a strategy that was canny and intentional.
Today real terrorists are the justification for targeting persons of conscience as if they are enemies not only of America but of the American Empire too.
"Even before 9/11, U.S. armed services professionals were engaged in operations in 150 countries a year," noted Robert Kaplan approvingly in the 2003 Pitcairn Trust Lecture on World Affairs. "It is already a cliche to say that by any historical standard the United States is more an empire, especially a military one, than many care to acknowledge."
Kaplan goes on to advocate the efficient use of covert action to overthrow regimes and destabilize enemies of the empire. "The U.S. had 550,000 troops in Vietnam but didn't accomplish much," he observes, contrasting that effort with the successful appropriation of rightwing groups in El Salvador with only special forces miners on the ground.
That, he suggests, is the model for the future.
I discussed this with two neighbors yesterday on a sunny lawn with autumn flowers in bloom. One said she was concerned for what had happened to the America she knew. The other said she was too busy with her job and taking care of her children to do much about it. Both felt helpless to do anything anyway, and that's the intention.
Those feelings of helplessness are typical, I would guess, but there was something else in the conversation. "You'd better be careful," one warned. "You're probably on the list."
Now, that's relatively new. The belief that there is a list, the belief that with technological advances we can be tracked, databased and identified as enemies, the belief that we are so tracked, that the information will be used against us, that's new. Among middle-aged Midwest conservative people, that's new.
Those beliefs, intermittently reinforced by stories of police or FBI questioning innocent people for speaking aloud their objections to empire, is one means of control of mainstream citizens who "want to believe the American myth," as one put it, while evidence accumulates that the high moral ground is one more means for keeping us acquiescent and compliant.
It was warm on the lawn among those flowers, yet soon enough, shorn of our real history, shorn of constitutional rights, we'll be shivering like sheep in the first chill breeze of autumn.
One could do worse than revisit Paperclip and other forgotten events, the real antecedents of our current situation, One could do worse than refuse to surrender to denial or design.
Richard Thieme speaks, writes and consults on the human dimensions of life and work, the impact of technology, and "life on the edge." He has written for Information Security Magazine, Salon, Forbes and the Village Voice.
COPYRIGHT 2003 National Catholic Reporter
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group
Encyclopedia of Science - History of Rocketry
Code-name of the American scheme to detain top German scientists at the end of World War II and relocate them to the United States; it was originally called Operation Overcast. The scientists included Wernher von Braun and more than 100 of his colleagues who had worked on the V-2 and other "V" weapons. These personnel and the hardware that came with them formed the backbone of the future American space program.
The origins of Paperclip
In May 1945, after the fall of the Nazi regime, Russian soldiers secured the German atomic research laboratories at the prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in the suburbs of Berlin, giving Stalin the foundations of what would become a vast Soviet nuclear arsenal. Meanwhile, US forces removed V-2 missiles from the labyrinthine Nordhausen complex, built under the Harz Mountains in central Germany, just before the Soviets took over the factory, in what would become their area of occupation. And the team which had built the V-2, led by von Braun, also fell into American hands.
Shortly afterward Major-General Hugh Knerr, deputy commander of the US Air Force in Europe, wrote: "Occupation of German scientific and industrial establishments has revealed the fact that we have been alarmingly backward in many fields of research. If we do not take the opportunity to seize the apparatus and the brains that developed it and put the combination back to work promptly, we will remain several years behind while we attempt to cover a field already exploited."
Thus began Operation Paperclip, the exercise that saw von Braun and more than 700 others spirited out of Germany from under the noses of the United State's allies. Its aim was simple: "To exploit German scientists for American research and to deny these intellectual resources to the Soviet Union."
President Truman authorized Paperclip in August 1945 and, on November 18, the first Germans reached America. Truman, however, had insisted that anyone found "to have been a member of the Nazi party and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazism militarism" be excluded. Under this criterion even von Braun himself would have been ineligible to serve the US. A member of numerous Nazi organizations, he also held rank in the SS. Among his senior associates were Arthur Rudolph, chief operations director at Nordhausen, where 20,000 slave laborers died producing V-2s; Kurt Debus, a rocket launch specialist and SS officer whose report stated: "He should be interned as a menace to the security of the Allied Forces;" and Hubertus Strughold, later called "the father of space medicine," whose subordinates had conducted human experiments at Dachau and Auschwitz, where inmates were frozen and put into low-pressure chambers, sometimes until they died. All of these men were cleared to work for the US, their alleged crimes covered up and their backgrounds glossed over by a military which saw winning the Cold War as its all-consuming priority.
Having been transferred to their new home at Fort Bliss, Texas, a large Army installation just north of El Paso, the German scientists and engineers were given the job of training military, industrial, and university personnel in the intricacies of rockets and guided missiles and helping refurbish, assemble, and launch a number of V-2s that had been shipped from Germany to the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico.
by Lieutenant Colonel William L. Howard
NewsMine : coldwar imperialism : operation paperclip.txt
By February 1945, the Allied offensive in Europe was striking toward the heart of Germany. On January 27, 1945, with the Russian forces closing in on Berlin, the first refugee caravans had reached the outskirts of Berlin with stories of the brutal behavior of the Red Army, and a wave of terror swept through the city. Many citizens, however, still had faith in Goebbels' promise that wonder weapons would save Germany at the last moment. By then, V-2s, developed at the experimental rocket station in Peenemunde under the leadership of 34-year-old Dr. Wernher von Braun, were causing havoc in London, Antwerp and Liege.
One of the men responsible for creating these Wunderwaffen (miracle weapons), General-Major Walter Dornberger, was holding a conference in Berlin. He had just been entrusted with the job of producing a missile that would unerringly destroy and plane attempting to attack Germany. The 10 members of "Working Staff Dornberger," after reviewing the many experiments made in this field--from nonguided anti-aircraft rockets to remote-controlled missiles for launching from ground or air--concluded that their only chance for success was to concentrate on a few projects. They agreed to retain only four guided anti-aircraft rockets.
Meanwhile, in Peenemunde, at the mouth of the Oder, Dr. von Braun, the technical director of the rocket station, was holding a secret meeting with his chief assistants. Together they had developed the A-4, a rocket they regarded as the first step to space flight. But Hitler saw it as a long-range weapon, and Goebbels had renamed it the V-2, Vengeance Weapon-2.
Dr. von Braun explained to his assistants that he had called the meeting because of conflicting orders received that day--both from SS officials. SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Dr. Hans Kammler, named special commissioner of the project by Himmler, had sent a teletype directing that the rocketeers be moved to central Germany, while Himmler himself, as commander of Army Group Vistula, had dispatched a message ordering all of Dr. von Braun's engineers to join the Vokssturm, the Peoples' Army, so that they could help defend the area from the approaching Red Army.
"Germany has lost the war," Dr. von Braun continued, "but let us not forget that it was our team that first succeeded in reaching outer space. . . . We have suffered many hardships because of our faith in the great peacetime future of the rocket. Now we have an obligation. Each of the conquering powers will want our knowledge. The question we must answer is: To what country shall we entrust our heritage?"
A suggestion that they stay and turn themselves over to the Russians was emphatically rejected; they finally voted unanimously to surrender to the United States Army. The first step was to obey Dr. Kammler's order and evacuate to the west. There was no time to lose; preparations for the move would take more than two weeks., and they could already hear the faint rumble of Zhukov's artillery to the south.
In mid-November 1944, American and British forces had entered Germany and were approaching the Rhine River. By March 9, 1945, American forces had succeeded in seizing the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen and had established a bridgehead on the east bank. Twelve supersonic V-2s were launched toward the bridge from Holland. They landed in a scattered pattern, with only one causing any appreciable damage with it hit a house 300 yards east of the bridge, killing three Americans.
Dr. von Braun, who was recovering at Nordhausen from a serious automobile accident--his torso and left arm were still encased in a huge cast--heard a report on Easter Sunday that American tanks were only a few miles to the south. He was afraid the SS would follow the Fuhrer's "scortched earth" policy and destroy the tons of precious V-2 documents and blueprints. Dr. von Braun instructed his personal aide, Dieter Huzel, and Bernhard Tessmann, chief designer of the Peenemunde test facilities, to hid the documents in a safe place.
It took three Opel trucks to carry the 14 tons of papers. The little convoy headed north on April 3 toward the nearby Harz Mountains. By the end of the day Tessmann and Huzel found an abandoned iron mine in the isolated village of Dornten. Thirty-six hours later, all of the documents had been hauled by a small locomotive into the heart of the mine and hand-carried into the powder magazine.
On April 10, work in the underground V-2 factory at Nordhausen stopped. The rocket specialists, engineers and workers--4,500 of them--scattered to their homes, and the slave workers were returned to the nearby concentration camp.
The next morning, April 11, Task Force Welborn of the 3rd Armored Division approached Nordhausen from the north as Task Force Lovelady came in from the south. Both commanders had been alerted by Intelligence to "expect something a little unusual in the Nordhausen area." They thought at first this meant the town's concentration camp, containing about 5,000 decayed bodies. But several miles northwest of Nordhausen, in the foothills of the Harz, they ran into other prisoners in dirty striped pajamas who told them there was "something fantastic" inside the mountain.
The two commanders peered into a large tunnel and saw freight cars and trucks loaded with long, slender finned missiles. With Major William Castille, the combat command's intelligence officer, they walked into the bowels of the mountain, where they found a complex factory. V-1 and V-2 parts were laid out in orderly rows, and precision machinery stood in perfect working order.
When Colonel Holgar Toftoy, Chief of Ordnance Technical Intelligence in Paris, learned of the amazing find, he began organizing "Special Mission V-2." Its job was to evacuate 100 complete V-2s and ship them to White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.
Dr. Wernher von Braun and his leading V-2 scientists voluntarily surrendered to the U.S. 44th Division. Almost as important was the recovery of the 14 tons of V-2 documents hidden by Tessman and Huzel in the Dornten iron mine.
Despite a slow start, Colonel Toftoy's "Special Mission V-2," led by Major James Hamill, also succeeded in its mission. One hundred complete V-2s were evacuated only hours before the Russians occupied the area. Major Hamill had been ordered to remove the rockets "without making it obvious that we had looted the place," yet, curiously, was not told that Nordhausen would be in the Soviet zone. Consequently, it never occurred to him to destroy the remaining rockets.
By April 19, 1945, the Russian high command announced that the Russian drive on Berlin had begun. By April 28, elements of the First United States Army had linked up with the Russians at Torgau. In Berlin, Hitler committed suicide on April 30 and Admiral Doenitz was placed in charge. German forces surrendered on May 7, and victory in Europe was declared.
Shortly after VE Day, Magnus von Braun, brother of Professor von Braun, was sent as an emissary to contact the American authorities and inform them that a large number of the Peenemunde scientists and technicians, who had scattered to the four winds after the collapse of the Nazi regime, were living in small villages throughout the Alps.
This was the beginning of "Operation Overcast" which was renamed Operation Paperclip. The American authorities, realizing the progress that had been made by German scientists in the field of guided missiles, saw a chance to gain from their experience and start not from scratch but from the Germans left off. Approximately 150 of the best scientists and technicians were rounded up and, after preliminary interrogation and background investigations by U.S. intelligence agencies, were offered five-year contracts to come to the United States and work for the U.S. Army. In turn, we promised to provide housing for their families, who had to remain Germany until arrangements could be made to bring them to the United States.
The first group of seven guided-missile scientists signed by contract under Operation Paperclip arrived at Fort Strong, New York, September 20, 1945, and from there were taken to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Here, in the tightly guarded Industrial Area, in the midst of secret military developments of all kinds, but always with a GI escort, these scientists carried on the work began at Peenemunde.
The research at Aberdeen was concerned with the processing of German guided-missile documents captured by U.S. military forces. Here, these men scanned thousands of documents, all of the stamped "GEHEIM," the equivalent of "SECRET." It is impossible to estimate the amount of time and money saved by having these scientists and technicians available to assist us in segregating, cataloging, evaluating and translating more than 40 tons of documents.
The purpose of the project at Aberdeen was to provide Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Proving Ground, where an additional 120 German scientists and technicians were working of the development and testing of guided missiles, with documents or translations thereof.
Operation Paperclip came to a fitting conclusion with the naturalization of the first group of more than 50 German scientists and technicians on November 11, 1954, in Birmingham, Alabama.
A 1947 photo of the German team at Fort Bliss, Texas. Dr. von Braun, inset, is in the front row, seventh from right.
Posted October 7, 199
|CIA Use of Nazi Research|
The following are not all Nazi war criminals hired to work
for the U.S. though several are. All of them worked with
such, and/or worked at similar unethical experiments.
Dr. Sidney Gottlieb. Ex head CIA Chemical Biological Warfare
program. Testified in congressional hearings about
developing a system of running a pipe under a target's
door to deliver incapacitating, poisonous or suggestibility
Dr. Ray Teichler. Gottlieb's assistant, and CIA liason aty
Edgewood Arsenal. Assistant to Edgewood Medical Laboratories
division of human experimentation director.
Karl Tauboeck. Nazi scientist constulting for the CIA.
Friedrich Hoffman. Nazi scientist consulting for the CIA.
Otto Ambrose. Worked for J. Peter Grace.
Dr. Albert Klingman. Participated in joint CIA/Army program
at Edgewood, got prison inmates for these experiments;
also had a climatic control chamber.
Edgewood Arsenal. Run by U.S. Army Chemical Corps, which
had acquired 8 Nazi scientists.
Dr. Robley Evans. Radiation in WW II, using some data from
ongoing Nazi radiation experiments on humans, mostly by
Dr. Boris Rajewski. Asked for conscientious objectors
to be sent to him for this.
Dr. Boris Rajewski. Nazi radiation experimentor.
Gerhard Schubert. Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
Hermann Daenzer. Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
Wolfgang Luther. Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
Dieter Strang. Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
Arthur Demnitz. Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
Dr. Robert Stone. Also requested and used Nazi data incl.
Rajewski's report, later with Dr. Evans on the Nuclear
Energy Propulsion for Airplanes Advisory Committee which
tried to bring Rajewski to the U.S.
Evans and Stone did classified radiation weapon development
research for the AEC and military. Evans secretly a CIA
consultant for their project to use radiation as a means
of killing just one person.
Col. Boris Pash. Started CIA radiation warfare research,
had made CIA assassination teams from Nazi recruits,
directed the Alsos Mission to locate and whitewash useful
Nazi war criminals, and siezed 70,000 tons of uranium ore
Dr. Webb Haymaker. Co-authored a book with Nazi scientist
Hubertus Strughold. Co-developed Boron Neutron Capture
Therapy (BNCT) from CIA ideas to use radiation to affect
brain centers. They consulted with him on this.
Boron is injected, and a neutron beam aimed at it in the
brain, causing a "tiny nucear explosion." NO CURES,
most patients died.
Dr. William Swee. Co-developed BNCT. Worked in 1933 and 1934
in Nazi Germany, observed sterilization of unwitting
epileptics by aiming radiation at their genitals from under
a desk they were told to sit at, yet though he called
this "outrageous behavior," he never revealed this to
war crimes investigators.
And if you think that the all-wise CIA must be excuseable
as being privy to knowledge or having special competence we
do not, consider this:
"Think of it: thirty billion dollars a year goes to an
intelligence establishment that cannot hire one spy in
the south end of Mogadishu to pinpoint the location of
a famous warlord who gives press interviews and
broadcasts radio statements of defiance. Somalia has
exposed the weakness of U.S. defense intelligence."
- William Safire, N.Y. TIMES, Oct. 7, 1993 p. A29.
End of File.
Code-name of the American scheme to detain top German scientists at the end of World War II and relocate them to the United States; it was originally called Operation Overcast. The scientists included Wernher von Braun and more than 100 of his colleagues who had worked on the V-2 and other "V" weapons. These personnel and the hardware that came with them formed the backbone of the future American space program.
|Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945 to 1990 (Hardcover)|
by Linda Hunt (Author)
|Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War (Hardcover)|
by Christopher Simpson (Author)
|Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis, and The Swiss Banks (Paperback)|
by Mark Aarons (Author), John Loftus (Author)
|salon.com > News May 3, 2000|
Our Nazi allies
A German amateur investigator finds information on the U.S. government's friendly dealings with war criminals. Meanwhile, the FBI and CIA guard their records.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Ken Silverstein
Dieter Maier, an amateur investigator working from his home on the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany, has uncanny luck finding out about U.S. ties to the Nazis.
For the past 20 years, Maier has been filing a steady stream of requests for information to a variety of U.S. government agencies, largely for the existential pleasure of historical inquiry, and also out of a fear of a rebirth of Nazism, fascism and racism in Germany. The more he knows about the past, he says, the better prepared he is to deal with the future and present.
What is most startling about Maier's success, however, is that he appears to have had an easier time finding information on U.S. collaboration with Nazis after World War II than a committee appointed by Congress to extract the same controversial data.
Maier, through Freedom of Information Act requests, has unearthed new information on characters like Karl Heinz-Priester, one of the most prominent postwar neo-Nazi leaders. According to "The Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right," Priester, a former Waffen SS liaison officer, helped found the National Democratic Reich Party in 1949. After being expelled for his dictatorial tendencies, Priester set up the equally virulent German Social Movement and became a leading player in the international fascist movement.
Maier received files from U.S. Army Intelligence that show that Priester was on the U.S. payroll as an informant, a fact never before reported. Priester was terminated as a U.S. spy in 1959 when it was deemed that his usefulness was falling off, or as it was put on his file card: "Subject's services no longer needed. Production and performance poor." (The FOIA is, unfortunately, a hit-and-miss proposition. I also filed a request on Priester, and was sent, among other things, the identical file card -- with the notations identifying Priester as a U.S. agent blacked out.)
That U.S. officials collaborated with Nazis after World War II is, of course, well known. Just one day after Germany's surrender, on May 10, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to arrest all suspected war criminals, though advising him "to make such exceptions as you deem advisable for intelligence and other military reasons." In other words, cut deals with war criminals who could be usefully employed by U.S. intelligence. Over the years, the United States found a spot on the payroll for thousands of former Nazis, especially as part of intelligence gathering operations aimed at the Soviet Union, our wartime ally but soon-to-be mortal foe.
Not much has been learned about these programs since, with successes such as Maier's rare. But that was supposed to change in the fall of 1998, when Congress passed the little-noticed Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. It requires government agencies to turn over to the National Archives all files relating to Nazi looting and war crimes, including documents that detail American ties to Nazi war criminals.
"The former Soviet Union has opened its archives. Eastern European countries have done so; even Argentina has begun to open its files on Nazis. Why are ours still closed?" asked former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, D-N.Y., at the time. Holtzman is now a member of the Interagency Working Group, which Congress established to oversee implementation of the NWCDA. Federal agencies are to comply with the law by January 2002, but it's unlikely this timetable will be met. Up to 10 million pages are expected to be released, but only 1 million pages, many of them innocuous, have thus far been declassified.
There are some logical reasons for the delay. The job is enormous, and of course involves the review of tons of paper held by numerous government agencies. Meanwhile, Congress failed to appropriate enough funding to implement the NWCDA and then cut declassification budgets sharply last year. (In the case of the Defense Department, they were cut by about half, to $100 million.)
Still, there are no encouraging precedents for this degree of disclosure. "From the end of World War II to Vietnam to Iran-Contra -- you name it and [the CIA] lied about it," says Christopher Simpson, author of "Blowback," the definitive book so far on U.S. collaboration with the Nazis.
Holtzman is optimistic the files will ultimately be released. But, "There's a long history of concealing these files," she says. "The impulse to open them up is not in the genes."
The FBI finally turned over seven boxes of largely insignificant material to the National Archives in January, one day before it met with the IWG to discuss the bureau's general lack of progress. Army Intelligence, a prime repository of Nazi material, also has been slow to turn over its holdings. The Army has individual files on some 20,000 Nazi-related figures, but thus far has released only about 450.
The CIA, whose records are most eagerly anticipated by researchers and historians, has long promised to turn over its files. In 1992, the agency said it would review and voluntarily provide Nazi-related files, no matter how embarrassing. No disclosures followed. Between 1996 and 1999, Under Secretary of State Stuart Eisenstadt pressed the CIA to release material regarding looted Jewish assets. This was when the topic gained international attention with the disclosures about gold stolen by the Nazis that eventually wound up in Swiss banks. "All we could pry loose were a few files and that was with the State Department leaning on them," recalls one person familiar with the process.
Thus far, the CIA has not turned over a single piece of paper to the National Archives, a record of noncompliance matched only by the National Security Agency.
Ken Levit, special counsel to the CIA and the agency's representative on the disclosure act, says 1 million OSS (the agency that preceded the CIA) files remain classified and are currently under review to determine if they are "relevant" enough to disclose. He predicts the CIA will turn over 6,000 pages of OSS files this week and several thousand more in the weeks to come. "The act is a big priority for us," Levit says.
However, Levit could not guarantee that the CIA will turn over a single page of its own files. "There will likely be other [declassification of material], but there it's hard to predict," he says.
In the past, some disclosures have been extremely humiliating, such as the news that America's most notorious Nazi "asset" was Klaus Barbie, an SS man and Gestapo officer recruited by the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) in 1947. The French, who wanted to try Barbie for such war crimes as sending Jewish children to Auschwitz and ordering the murder of resistance leader Jean Moulin, learned that he was being sheltered by the CIC. When Paris demanded that he be turned over, the U.S. Army helped Barbie flee to South America on a clandestine "ratline." (In 1983, the Bolivian government extradited Barbie to France, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and died in prison.)
There was also Reinhard Gehlen, the Gestapo general who oversaw military intelligence programs throughout Eastern Europe for Hitler. Gehlen, who got his start by extracting information from Russian POWs who were systematically starved to death following Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, surrendered to U.S. troops in 1945. He offered to provide intelligence on Russia in return for light treatment at the hands of the Allies, and was flown to Washington (disguised as an American general) for interrogation and training. In the summer of 1946 -- when the policy of de-Nazification was already being supplanted by one of anti-communism -- he was sent back to Germany to set up the country's new intelligence agency. In "Blowback," Simpson estimates that the United States spent some $200 million and employed at least 4,000 people to construct the Gehlen Org over the next decade.
Simpson says that among the most important CIA files still classified are ones concerning Otto von Bolschwing, who as an SS officer served on Adolf Eichmann's staff and was one of the chief masterminds behind the plan to exterminate the Jews. In 1941, he was the top SS officer in Bucharest, Romania, and instigated a pogrom in the city during which hundreds of people were murdered. Some of those killed were hung on meat hooks at a meat-packing plant, had their throats cut, and then were branded "kosher meat" with red-hot irons.
Von Bolschwing was recruited by U.S. intelligence at the end of the war and assigned to the Gehlen Org. In 1954, the CIA brought him to the United States. Since as a Nazi criminal he was ineligible to reside here, the agency provided the INS with a letter saying it had conducted a full investigation of him and had found no derogatory information. Von Bolschwing was discovered to be living in California in the 1970s, prompting Justice Department proceedings to deport him. In the end, he was stripped of his citizenship but allowed to remain in the country due to his age and the fact that he was suffering from a degenerative brain disease. He died in a California nursing home.
The CIA has always claimed, quite implausibly, that it didn't know von Bolschwing was a war criminal. But so far it has given no sign that it will turn over his file.
Maier's research offers other hints at information still hidden in agencies' files. Consider what he discovered about SS officer Otto "Scarface" Skorzeny, one of Hitler's most rabid followers and a man whose files should certainly be released under the NWCDA. In 1943, Skorzeny led a commando raid that rescued Benito Mussolini from an Allied prison. The following year, he kidnapped Hungarian Regent Mikl�s Horthy, who was planning to sign a peace agreement with the Russians. Such exploits led the Allied press to dub Skorzeny "the most dangerous man in Europe."
In 1948, Skorzeny escaped from an American POW camp. He moved to Spain and became intimately involved in postwar neo-Nazi movements, and is suspected of involvement in the disposition of looted assets. According to several published accounts, including one by former U.S. intelligence agent Miles Copeland, Skorzeny, who died in 1975, helped the CIA train the Egyptian security services in the 1950s.
Other than a few bland pages from the Treasury Department, government agencies have turned over nothing on Skorzeny under the NWCDA. Meanwhile, Maier has uncovered a 1951 Air Force memo that details a meeting in Spain that year between Skorzeny and an unnamed American intelligence agent. The meeting occurred while Skorzeny was a fugitive on a U.S. arrest warrant, and hunted by German authorities for possible prosecution on war crimes charges.
The U.S. agent was clearly on good terms with Skorzeny -- "Customary greeting is not unlike being welcomed by a huge bear or engulfed by a Saint Bernard dog," reads his account. The agent seems to have been no fan, though, of Scarface's wife, Countess Ilsa von Finkelstein. During the conversation, Skorzeny complained that the U.S. Treasury had frozen the profits from the sale of his war memoirs. Reads the memo: "Commenting on this particular point, his wife displayed her rare appearing sense of humor: 'Good God, do you realize that by our money going to the U.S. Treasury, Rolf [Skorzeny's alias] is actually paying for re-arming the French!'"
The memo contains repeated references to Skorzeny's desire to aid America in the fight against communism (though he feared "a loss of face in his [Nazi] followers" should he openly collaborate with the U.S.). "His primary interest appears to be to find some kind of position for himself relative to the only trade he knows -- soldiering," the agent reported. "He champions the cause of those nationals of other countries who fought with the German allies against the Russians and who are now held in prison, and plunks for the creation of the nucleus of a German Commando Cadre in Spain about which could be formed a new German army to combat the Russians."
Skorzeny apparently had knowledge of a number of wanted war criminals, including Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Hitler's most decorated airman. Skorzeny indicated to the American agent that he had met with Rudel -- who at the time had found refuge in dictator Juan Peron's Argentina -- on a recent trip to Lisbon, Portugal. Rudel, Skorzeny said, was bitter toward his former enemies "inasmuch as he was tried as a war criminal and convicted, [and] he cannot legally return to Germany." However, Skorzeny reported that Rudel had returned several times to Germany "in the black" and was "anxious to be on the side of the United States if given the opportunity."
The memo closed by saying that the reporting officer "sees Skorzeny frequently and has succeeded in winning his confidence completely, but it is felt that this source has scarcely been scratched when one considers the wealth of information he possesses. Skorzeny will continue to be watched and pertinent information forwarded when available."
The primary disclosures under the NWCDA so far are found in thousands of pages released by the Army concerning the little known Field Intelligence Agency Technical. That agency's goal was to ensure that the Allies received ample payment from Germany for war damages. Since Germany was devastated by war's end, it was clear that such reparations would need to take the form of "ideas, formulae, processes, and know-how� concerning German scientific and industrial technology," as one Army memo put it.
Hence, FIAT investigators scoured Germany looking for anything that might be suitable war compensation.
German scientists themselves were primary targets of FIAT investigators, whose job included finding suitable candidates for a top-secret program called "Overcast." As Simpson reported in "Blowback," the Joint Chiefs of Staff initiated that program in July 1945 to, according to a military memo, "exploit chosen rare minds whose continuing intellectual productivity we wish to use." Overcast evolved into Operation Paperclip, through which the U.S. secretly brought over hundreds of Nazi scientists to work in American military and industrial labs.
All of this was done in the strictest secrecy. A March 1947 military memo I discovered in the documents reads: "Every effort will be made to prevent this operation from being publicized. All communications concerning the movement will refer to the [scientists] as 'German civilians.' No interrogation or interviews by the press or other persons not directly concerned with the movement will be permitted."
Nor did the Army want word of such programs to leak out in Germany. A 1946 memo written by U.S. Brig. Gen. G.K. Gailey said his office "appreciates fully the technical value of Overcast and similar projects. It also appreciates that these scientists can execute the maximum of creative and recreative work when they know that their dependents are comfortable, and their property safeguarded." Nonetheless, Gailey felt it prudent to keep such programs unknown to the general German populace, who might resent perks offered to scientists, such as extra rations and fuel. "The moral effect on the other citizens and the lessening of respect for Military Government and the local German government, as organizations of special privileges, will do much to lessen the value of the instruction of true democracy which we are endeavoring to fost[er]," he wrote.
FIAT investigators screened German scientists, supposedly to ensure that no war criminals were brought to the United States. Instead, Nazi Party members and collaborators had their records cleaned up in order to justify their immigration to America. Paperclip's most famous beneficiary was Wernher von Braun, an SS officer who helped develop the V-2 rockets for Hitler and later went to work for NASA, ultimately rising to the post of deputy assistant director of planning. (Harvard mathematics professor and musician Tom Lehrer satirized von Braun in a song named after him: "Don't say that he's hypocritical," Lehrer sang, "say rather that he's apolitical. 'Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department,' says Wernher von Braun.")
The case of Paperclip recruit Wilhelm Eitel is discussed in great detail in the FIAT files. Eitel joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and during the war worked at the strategically important Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. FIAT had a wealth of negative material on Eitel, including numerous sworn statements from people who said he had "embraced the cause of Nazism even before the [Nazis] assumed governmental power in Germany."
One person said Eitel was a member of the dreaded "Brown Shirts" and tried to foster Nazi ideas at the institute. Eitel was also said to have worked with Nazi Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick -- who was hanged at Nuremberg -- to fire Jewish scientists at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in 1933. This was at a time, according to one government memo, when Nazi policies "had not as yet been formulated by law in Germany and when other colleges and universities still attempted to protect their scholars who were persona non grata with the regime." The FIAT records reveal damning personal information on Eitel as well: He sought to flee Berlin at the end of the war with his wife's sister, with whom he was having an affair, prompting his wife to hang herself.
U.S. Army Intelligence initially deemed Eitel to be a "security threat," but it was soon determined that his past should be overlooked due to his "preeminence in his field ... and potential value to possible enemies of the United States." Just as importantly, one FIAT examiner wrote in another memo, Eitel was "most collaborative and anxious to help."
Hence, FIAT orchestrated a whitewash. The agency determined that Eitel was an "ardent Nazi, but by no means a vicious one," and therefore worthy of U.S. sponsorship. "Since Dr. Eitel and his people are without means of support we might have to arrange some way to assist in paying him something or getting food to him," one memo reads. "He is in a very bad way now and if we do not act at once it may be too late." Soon the Army intervened with German occupation authorities to get Eitel off the rock pile where he was required to work one day a week, then set him up translating scientific material, work for which he was generously compensated.
In 1946, FIAT brought Eitel to Tennessee, where he worked in a Navy lab. The government even paid to have a grand piano shipped in for his daughter.
But the FIAT papers have been the highlight of generally uninteresting documents released so far. And the slow pace of compliance has clearly produced some frustration. The IWG has held a series of meetings with the CIA, the FBI and the Army during the last two months, to try to get officials at those agencies to speed up their efforts.
Simpson, for one, says that the ultimate question of compliance with the NWCDA may be settled in the courts or in a political showdown with Congress. And while members of the IWG with whom I spoke are not openly critical of the performance of intelligence agencies (though they also must surely fear alienating them by saying so), one senses they are not entirely satisfied with the record to date.
When asked, Michael Kurtz, chair of the IWG and assistant archivist of the United States, is careful with his words. "A healthy degree of skepticism is warranted," he says. "How much material gets declassified remains to be seen."
salon.com | May 3, 2000
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About the writer
Ken Silverstein is a contributing editor for Harper's magazine. His book "Private Warriors," a look at the post-Cold War arms trade, will be published in May. A grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism helped fund the reporting for this story.
|The Bushes and Hitler's Appeasement|
By Robert Parry
May 18, 2008
The irony of George W. Bush going before the Knesset and mocking the late Sen. William Borah for expressing surprise at Adolf Hitler’s 1939 invasion of Poland is that Bush’s own family played a much bigger role assisting the Nazis.
If Borah, an isolationist Republican from Idaho, sounded naïve saying “Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided,” then what should be said about Bush’s grandfather and other members of his family providing banking and industrial assistance to the Nazis as they built their war machine in the 1930s?
The archival evidence is now clear that Prescott Bush, the president’s grandfather, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from and collaborated with key financial backers of Nazi Germany.
That business relationship continued after Hitler invaded Poland in 1939 and even after Germany declared war on the United States following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941. It stopped only when the U.S. government seized assets of Bush-connected companies in late 1942 under the “Trading with the Enemy Act.”
So, perhaps instead of holding up Sen. Borah to ridicule, Bush might have acknowledged in his May 15 speech that his forebears also were blind to the dangers of Hitler.
Bush might have noted that his family’s wealth, which fueled his own political rise, was partly derived from Nazi collaboration and possibly from slave labor provided by Auschwitz and other concentration camps.
A more honest speech before the Knesset – on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding – might have contained an apology to the Jewish people from a leading son of the Bush family for letting its greed contribute to Nazi power and to the horrors of the Holocaust. Instead, there was just the jab at Sen. Borah, who died in 1940.
President Bush apparently saw no reason to remind the world of a dark chapter from the family history. After all, those ugly facts mostly disappeared from public consciousness soon after World War II.
Protected by layers of well-connected friends, Prescott Bush brushed aside the Nazi scandal and won a U.S. Senate seat from Connecticut, which enabled him to start laying the foundation for the family’s political dynasty.
In recent years, however, the archival records from the pre-war era have been assembled, drawing from the Harriman family papers at the Library of Congress, documents at the National Archives, and records from war-crimes trials after Germany’s surrender.
Managers for the Powerful
One can trace the origins of this story back more than a century to the emergence of Samuel Bush, George W. Bush’s great-grandfather, as a key manager for a set of powerful American business families, including the Rockefellers and the Harrimans. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Bush Family Chronicles: The Patriarchs.”]
That chapter took an important turn in 1919 when investment banker George Herbert Walker teamed up with Averell Harriman, scion to a railroad fortune, to found a new investment banking firm, W.A. Harriman Company.
The Harriman firm was backed by the Rockefellers’ National City Bank and the Morgan family’s Guaranty Trust. The English-educated Walker assisted in assembling the Harriman family’s overseas business investments.
In 1921, Walker’s favorite daughter, Dorothy, married Samuel Bush’s son Prescott, a Yale graduate and a member of the school’s exclusive Skull and Bones society. Handsome and athletic, admired for his golf and tennis skills, Prescott Bush was a young man with the easy grace of someone born into the comfortable yet competitive world of upper-crust contacts.
Three years later, Dorothy gave birth to George Herbert Walker Bush in Milton, Massachusetts.
Lifted by the financial boom of the 1920s, Prescott and Dorothy Bush were on the rise. By 1926, George Herbert Walker had brought his son-in-law in on a piece of the Harriman action, hiring him as a vice president in the Harriman banking firm.
By the mid-Thirties, Prescott Bush had become a managing partner at the merged firm of Brown Brothers Harriman. The archival records also show that Brown Brothers Harriman served as the U.S. financial service arm for German industrialist Fritz Thyssen, an early funder of the Nazi Party.
Thyssen, an admirer of Adolf Hitler since the 1920s, joined the Nazi Party in 1931 when it was still a fringe organization. He helped bail the struggling party out with financial help, even providing its headquarters building in Munich.
Meanwhile, Averell Harriman had launched the Hamburg-Amerika line of steamships to facilitate the bank’s dealings with Germany, and made Prescott Bush a director. The ships delivered fuel, steel, coal, gold and money to Germany as Hitler was consolidating his power and building his war machine.
Other evidence shows that Prescott Bush served as the director of the Union Banking Corp. of New York, which represented Thyssen’s interests in the United States and was owned by a Thyssen-controlled bank in the Netherlands.
As a steel magnate, Thyssen was amassing a fortune as Hitler rearmed Germany. Documents also linked Bush to Thyssen’s Consolidated Silesian Steel Company, which was based in mineral-rich Silesia on the German-Polish border and exploited slave labor from Nazi concentration camps, including Auschwitz. But records at the National Archives do not spell out exactly when Bush’s connection ended or what he knew about the business details.
In 1941, Thyssen had a falling out with Hitler and fled to France where he was captured. Much of Thyssen’s empire went under the direct control of the Nazis, but even that did not shatter the business ties that existed with Prescott Bush and Harriman’s bank.
It wasn’t until August 1942 that newspaper stories disclosed the secretive ties between Union Banking Corp. and Nazi Germany.
After an investigation, the U.S. government seized the property of the Hamburg-Amerika line and moved against affiliates of the Union Banking Corp. In November 1942, the government seized the assets of the Silesian-American Corp. [For more details, see an investigative report by the U.K. Guardian, Sept. 25, 2004.]
No Kiss of Death
For most public figures, allegations of trading with the enemy would have been a political kiss of death, but the disclosures barely left a lipstick smudge on Averell Harriman, Prescott Bush and other business associates implicated in the Nazi business dealings.
“Politically, the significance of these dealings – the great surprise – is that none of it seemed to matter much over the next decade or so,” wrote Kevin Phillips in American Dynasty.
“A few questions would be raised, but Democrat Averell Harriman would not be stopped from becoming federal mutual security administrator in 1951 or winning election as governor of New York in 1954. … Nor would Republican Prescott Bush (who was elected senator from Connecticut in 1952) and his presidential descendants be hurt in any of their future elections.”
Indeed, the quick dissipation of the Nazi financial scandal was only a portent of the Bush family’s future. Unlike politicians of lower classes, the Bushes seemed to travel in a bubble impervious to accusations of impropriety, since the Eastern Establishment doesn’t like to think badly of its own. [For details, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]
To this day – as President Bush showed by mocking the long-forgotten Sen. Borah and then wielding the Nazi “appeasement” club against Barack Obama and other Democrats – the assumption remains that the bubble will continue to protect the Bush family name.
However, the evidence from dusty archives suggests that the Bush family went way beyond appeasement of Adolf Hitler to aiding and abetting the Nazis.
Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat, and can be ordered at neckdeepbook.com. His two previous books, Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & 'Project Truth' are also available there. Or go to Amazon.com.
|How Bush's grandfather helped Hitler's rise to power|
Rumours of a link between the US first family and the Nazi war machine have circulated for decades. Now the Guardian can reveal how repercussions of events that culminated in action under the Trading with the Enemy Act are still being felt by today's president
* Ben Aris in Berlin and Duncan Campbell in Washington
* The Guardian,
* Saturday September 25 2004
About this article
This article appeared in the Guardian on Saturday September 25 2004 . It was last updated at 23:59 on September 24 2004.
George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.
The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.
His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.
The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator's action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
The debate over Prescott Bush's behaviour has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady internet chatter about the "Bush/Nazi" connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty.
Remarkably, little of Bush's dealings with Germany has received public scrutiny, partly because of the secret status of the documentation involving him. But now the multibillion dollar legal action for damages by two Holocaust survivors against the Bush family, and the imminent publication of three books on the subject are threatening to make Prescott Bush's business history an uncomfortable issue for his grandson, George W, as he seeks re-election.
While there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause, the documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen's US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.
Bush was also on the board of at least one of the companies that formed part of a multinational network of front companies to allow Thyssen to move assets around the world.
Thyssen owned the largest steel and coal company in Germany and grew rich from Hitler's efforts to re-arm between the two world wars. One of the pillars in Thyssen's international corporate web, UBC, worked exclusively for, and was owned by, a Thyssen-controlled bank in the Netherlands. More tantalising are Bush's links to the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC), based in mineral rich Silesia on the German-Polish border. During the war, the company made use of Nazi slave labour from the concentration camps, including Auschwitz. The ownership of CSSC changed hands several times in the 1930s, but documents from the US National Archive declassified last year link Bush to CSSC, although it is not clear if he and UBC were still involved in the company when Thyssen's American assets were seized in 1942.
Three sets of archives spell out Prescott Bush's involvement. All three are readily available, thanks to the efficient US archive system and a helpful and dedicated staff at both the Library of Congress in Washington and the National Archives at the University of Maryland.
The first set of files, the Harriman papers in the Library of Congress, show that Prescott Bush was a director and shareholder of a number of companies involved with Thyssen.
The second set of papers, which are in the National Archives, are contained in vesting order number 248 which records the seizure of the company assets. What these files show is that on October 20 1942 the alien property custodian seized the assets of the UBC, of which Prescott Bush was a director. Having gone through the books of the bank, further seizures were made against two affiliates, the Holland-American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation. By November, the Silesian-American Company, another of Prescott Bush's ventures, had also been seized.
The third set of documents, also at the National Archives, are contained in the files on IG Farben, who was prosecuted for war crimes.
A report issued by the Office of Alien Property Custodian in 1942 stated of the companies that "since 1939, these (steel and mining) properties have been in possession of and have been operated by the German government and have undoubtedly been of considerable assistance to that country's war effort".
Prescott Bush, a 6ft 4in charmer with a rich singing voice, was the founder of the Bush political dynasty and was once considered a potential presidential candidate himself. Like his son, George, and grandson, George W, he went to Yale where he was, again like his descendants, a member of the secretive and influential Skull and Bones student society. He was an artillery captain in the first world war and married Dorothy Walker, the daughter of George Herbert Walker, in 1921.
In 1924, his father-in-law, a well-known St Louis investment banker, helped set him up in business in New York with Averill Harriman, the wealthy son of railroad magnate E H Harriman in New York, who had gone into banking.
One of the first jobs Walker gave Bush was to manage UBC. Bush was a founding member of the bank and the incorporation documents, which list him as one of seven directors, show he owned one share in UBC worth $125.
The bank was set up by Harriman and Bush's father-in-law to provide a US bank for the Thyssens, Germany's most powerful industrial family.
August Thyssen, the founder of the dynasty had been a major contributor to Germany's first world war effort and in the 1920s, he and his sons Fritz and Heinrich established a network of overseas banks and companies so their assets and money could be whisked offshore if threatened again.
By the time Fritz Thyssen inherited the business empire in 1926, Germany's economic recovery was faltering. After hearing Adolf Hitler speak, Thyssen became mesmerised by the young firebrand. He joined the Nazi party in December 1931 and admits backing Hitler in his autobiography, I Paid Hitler, when the National Socialists were still a radical fringe party. He stepped in several times to bail out the struggling party: in 1928 Thyssen had bought the Barlow Palace on Briennerstrasse, in Munich, which Hitler converted into the Brown House, the headquarters of the Nazi party. The money came from another Thyssen overseas institution, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvarrt in Rotterdam.
By the late 1930s, Brown Brothers Harriman, which claimed to be the world's largest private investment bank, and UBC had bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, fuel, steel, coal and US treasury bonds to Germany, both feeding and financing Hitler's build-up to war.
Between 1931 and 1933 UBC bought more than $8m worth of gold, of which $3m was shipped abroad. According to documents seen by the Guardian, after UBC was set up it transferred $2m to BBH accounts and between 1924 and 1940 the assets of UBC hovered around $3m, dropping to $1m only on a few occasions.
In 1941, Thyssen fled Germany after falling out with Hitler but he was captured in France and detained for the remainder of the war.
There was nothing illegal in doing business with the Thyssens throughout the 1930s and many of America's best-known business names invested heavily in the German economic recovery. However, everything changed after Germany invaded Poland in 1939. Even then it could be argued that BBH was within its rights continuing business relations with the Thyssens until the end of 1941 as the US was still technically neutral until the attack on Pearl Harbor. The trouble started on July 30 1942 when the New York Herald-Tribune ran an article entitled "Hitler's Angel Has $3m in US Bank". UBC's huge gold purchases had raised suspicions that the bank was in fact a "secret nest egg" hidden in New York for Thyssen and other Nazi bigwigs. The Alien Property Commission (APC) launched an investigation.
There is no dispute over the fact that the US government seized a string of assets controlled by BBH - including UBC and SAC - in the autumn of 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy act. What is in dispute is if Harriman, Walker and Bush did more than own these companies on paper.
Erwin May, a treasury attache and officer for the department of investigation in the APC, was assigned to look into UBC's business. The first fact to emerge was that Roland Harriman, Prescott Bush and the other directors didn't actually own their shares in UBC but merely held them on behalf of Bank voor Handel. Strangely, no one seemed to know who owned the Rotterdam-based bank, including UBC's president.
May wrote in his report of August 16 1941: "Union Banking Corporation, incorporated August 4 1924, is wholly owned by the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. My investigation has produced no evidence as to the ownership of the Dutch bank. Mr Cornelis [sic] Lievense, president of UBC, claims no knowledge as to the ownership of the Bank voor Handel but believes it possible that Baron Heinrich Thyssen, brother of Fritz Thyssen, may own a substantial interest."
May cleared the bank of holding a golden nest egg for the Nazi leaders but went on to describe a network of companies spreading out from UBC across Europe, America and Canada, and how money from voor Handel travelled to these companies through UBC.
By September May had traced the origins of the non-American board members and found that Dutchman HJ Kouwenhoven - who met with Harriman in 1924 to set up UBC - had several other jobs: in addition to being the managing director of voor Handel he was also the director of the August Thyssen bank in Berlin and a director of Fritz Thyssen's Union Steel Works, the holding company that controlled Thyssen's steel and coal mine empire in Germany.
Within a few weeks, Homer Jones, the chief of the APC investigation and research division sent a memo to the executive committee of APC recommending the US government vest UBC and its assets. Jones named the directors of the bank in the memo, including Prescott Bush's name, and wrote: "Said stock is held by the above named individuals, however, solely as nominees for the Bank voor Handel, Rotterdam, Holland, which is owned by one or more of the Thyssen family, nationals of Germany and Hungary. The 4,000 shares hereinbefore set out are therefore beneficially owned and help for the interests of enemy nationals, and are vestible by the APC," according to the memo from the National Archives seen by the Guardian.
Jones recommended that the assets be liquidated for the benefit of the government, but instead UBC was maintained intact and eventually returned to the American shareholders after the war. Some claim that Bush sold his share in UBC after the war for $1.5m - a huge amount of money at the time - but there is no documentary evidence to support this claim. No further action was ever taken nor was the investigation continued, despite the fact UBC was caught red-handed operating a American shell company for the Thyssen family eight months after America had entered the war and that this was the bank that had partly financed Hitler's rise to power.
The most tantalising part of the story remains shrouded in mystery: the connection, if any, between Prescott Bush, Thyssen, Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC) and Auschwitz.
Thyssen's partner in United Steel Works, which had coal mines and steel plants across the region, was Friedrich Flick, another steel magnate who also owned part of IG Farben, the powerful German chemical company.
Flick's plants in Poland made heavy use of slave labour from the concentration camps in Poland. According to a New York Times article published in March 18 1934 Flick owned two-thirds of CSSC while "American interests" held the rest.
The US National Archive documents show that BBH's involvement with CSSC was more than simply holding the shares in the mid-1930s. Bush's friend and fellow "bonesman" Knight Woolley, another partner at BBH, wrote to Averill Harriman in January 1933 warning of problems with CSSC after the Poles started their drive to nationalise the plant. "The Consolidated Silesian Steel Company situation has become increasingly complicated, and I have accordingly brought in Sullivan and Cromwell, in order to be sure that our interests are protected," wrote Knight. "After studying the situation Foster Dulles is insisting that their man in Berlin get into the picture and obtain the information which the directors here should have. You will recall that Foster is a director and he is particularly anxious to be certain that there is no liability attaching to the American directors."
But the ownership of the CSSC between 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland and 1942 when the US government vested UBC and SAC is not clear.
"SAC held coal mines and definitely owned CSSC between 1934 and 1935, but when SAC was vested there was no trace of CSSC. All concrete evidence of its ownership disappears after 1935 and there are only a few traces in 1938 and 1939," says Eva Schweitzer, the journalist and author whose book, America and the Holocaust, is published next month.
Silesia was quickly made part of the German Reich after the invasion, but while Polish factories were seized by the Nazis, those belonging to the still neutral Americans (and some other nationals) were treated more carefully as Hitler was still hoping to persuade the US to at least sit out the war as a neutral country. Schweitzer says American interests were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The Nazis bought some out, but not others.
The two Holocaust survivors suing the US government and the Bush family for a total of $40bn in compensation claim both materially benefited from Auschwitz slave labour during the second world war.
Kurt Julius Goldstein, 87, and Peter Gingold, 85, began a class action in America in 2001, but the case was thrown out by Judge Rosemary Collier on the grounds that the government cannot be held liable under the principle of "state sovereignty".
Jan Lissmann, one of the lawyers for the survivors, said: "President Bush withdrew President Bill Clinton's signature from the treaty [that founded the court] not only to protect Americans, but also to protect himself and his family."
Lissmann argues that genocide-related cases are covered by international law, which does hold governments accountable for their actions. He claims the ruling was invalid as no hearing took place.
In their claims, Mr Goldstein and Mr Gingold, honorary chairman of the League of Anti-fascists, suggest the Americans were aware of what was happening at Auschwitz and should have bombed the camp.
The lawyers also filed a motion in The Hague asking for an opinion on whether state sovereignty is a valid reason for refusing to hear their case. A ruling is expected within a month.
The petition to The Hague states: "From April 1944 on, the American Air Force could have destroyed the camp with air raids, as well as the railway bridges and railway lines from Hungary to Auschwitz. The murder of about 400,000 Hungarian Holocaust victims could have been prevented."
The case is built around a January 22 1944 executive order signed by President Franklin Roosevelt calling on the government to take all measures to rescue the European Jews. The lawyers claim the order was ignored because of pressure brought by a group of big American companies, including BBH, where Prescott Bush was a director.
Lissmann said: "If we have a positive ruling from the court it will cause [president] Bush huge problems and make him personally liable to pay compensation."
The US government and the Bush family deny all the claims against them.
In addition to Eva Schweitzer's book, two other books are about to be published that raise the subject of Prescott Bush's business history. The author of the second book, to be published next year, John Loftus, is a former US attorney who prosecuted Nazi war criminals in the 70s. Now living in St Petersburg, Florida and earning his living as a security commentator for Fox News and ABC radio, Loftus is working on a novel which uses some of the material he has uncovered on Bush. Loftus stressed that what Prescott Bush was involved in was just what many other American and British businessmen were doing at the time.
"You can't blame Bush for what his grandfather did any more than you can blame Jack Kennedy for what his father did - bought Nazi stocks - but what is important is the cover-up, how it could have gone on so successfully for half a century, and does that have implications for us today?" he said.
"This was the mechanism by which Hitler was funded to come to power, this was the mechanism by which the Third Reich's defence industry was re-armed, this was the mechanism by which Nazi profits were repatriated back to the American owners, this was the mechanism by which investigations into the financial laundering of the Third Reich were blunted," said Loftus, who is vice-chairman of the Holocaust Museum in St Petersburg.
"The Union Banking Corporation was a holding company for the Nazis, for Fritz Thyssen," said Loftus. "At various times, the Bush family has tried to spin it, saying they were owned by a Dutch bank and it wasn't until the Nazis took over Holland that they realised that now the Nazis controlled the apparent company and that is why the Bush supporters claim when the war was over they got their money back. Both the American treasury investigations and the intelligence investigations in Europe completely bely that, it's absolute horseshit. They always knew who the ultimate beneficiaries were."
"There is no one left alive who could be prosecuted but they did get away with it," said Loftus. "As a former federal prosecutor, I would make a case for Prescott Bush, his father-in-law (George Walker) and Averill Harriman [to be prosecuted] for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They remained on the boards of these companies knowing that they were of financial benefit to the nation of Germany."
Loftus said Prescott Bush must have been aware of what was happening in Germany at the time. "My take on him was that he was a not terribly successful in-law who did what Herbert Walker told him to. Walker and Harriman were the two evil geniuses, they didn't care about the Nazis any more than they cared about their investments with the Bolsheviks."
What is also at issue is how much money Bush made from his involvement. His supporters suggest that he had one token share. Loftus disputes this, citing sources in "the banking and intelligence communities" and suggesting that the Bush family, through George Herbert Walker and Prescott, got $1.5m out of the involvement. There is, however, no paper trail to this sum.
The third person going into print on the subject is John Buchanan, 54, a Miami-based magazine journalist who started examining the files while working on a screenplay. Last year, Buchanan published his findings in the venerable but small-circulation New Hampshire Gazette under the headline "Documents in National Archives Prove George Bush's Grandfather Traded With the Nazis - Even After Pearl Harbor". He expands on this in his book to be published next month - Fixing America: Breaking the Stranglehold of Corporate Rule, Big Media and the Religious Right.
In the article, Buchanan, who has worked mainly in the trade and music press with a spell as a muckraking reporter in Miami, claimed that "the essential facts have appeared on the internet and in relatively obscure books but were dismissed by the media and Bush family as undocumented diatribes".
Buchanan suffers from hypermania, a form of manic depression, and when he found himself rebuffed in his initial efforts to interest the media, he responded with a series of threats against the journalists and media outlets that had spurned him. The threats, contained in e-mails, suggested that he would expose the journalists as "traitors to the truth".
Unsurprisingly, he soon had difficulty getting his calls returned. Most seriously, he faced aggravated stalking charges in Miami, in connection with a man with whom he had fallen out over the best way to publicise his findings. The charges were dropped last month.
Buchanan said he regretted his behaviour had damaged his credibility but his main aim was to secure publicity for the story. Both Loftus and Schweitzer say Buchanan has come up with previously undisclosed documentation.
The Bush family have largely responded with no comment to any reference to Prescott Bush. Brown Brothers Harriman also declined to comment.
The Bush family recently approved a flattering biography of Prescott Bush entitled Duty, Honour, Country by Mickey Herskowitz. The publishers, Rutledge Hill Press, promised the book would "deal honestly with Prescott Bush's alleged business relationships with Nazi industrialists and other accusations".
In fact, the allegations are dealt with in less than two pages. The book refers to the Herald-Tribune story by saying that "a person of less established ethics would have panicked ... Bush and his partners at Brown Brothers Harriman informed the government regulators that the account, opened in the late 1930s, was 'an unpaid courtesy for a client' ... Prescott Bush acted quickly and openly on behalf of the firm, served well by a reputation that had never been compromised. He made available all records and all documents. Viewed six decades later in the era of serial corporate scandals and shattered careers, he received what can be viewed as the ultimate clean bill."
The Prescott Bush story has been condemned by both conservatives and some liberals as having nothing to do with the current president. It has also been suggested that Prescott Bush had little to do with Averill Harriman and that the two men opposed each other politically.
However, documents from the Harriman papers include a flattering wartime profile of Harriman in the New York Journal American and next to it in the files is a letter to the financial editor of that paper from Prescott Bush congratulating the paper for running the profile. He added that Harriman's "performance and his whole attitude has been a source of inspiration and pride to his partners and his friends".
The Anti-Defamation League in the US is supportive of Prescott Bush and the Bush family. In a statement last year they said that "rumours about the alleged Nazi 'ties' of the late Prescott Bush ... have circulated widely through the internet in recent years. These charges are untenable and politically motivated ... Prescott Bush was neither a Nazi nor a Nazi sympathiser."
However, one of the country's oldest Jewish publications, the Jewish Advocate, has aired the controversy in detail.
More than 60 years after Prescott Bush came briefly under scrutiny at the time of a faraway war, his grandson is facing a different kind of scrutiny but one underpinned by the same perception that, for some people, war can be a profitable business.
|U.S. deports former Nazi executioner|
Wisconsin man admits to participating in slaughter of 42,000 Jewish men, women, children
Posted: June 16, 2008 10:00 pm Eastern
© 2008 WorldNetDaily
Josias Kumpf (courtesy photo/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
An 83-year-old former Nazi SS guard accused of murdering Jews in a mass execution of more than 40,000 people will be removed from the United States.
The Board of Immigration Appeals, or BIA, upheld an order of deportation for Josias Kumpf due to his involvement in Nazi persecutions during World War II, the Department of Justice announced.
Kump, born in Serbia and currently a resident of Racine, Wis., admitted to serving as a former armed SS guard at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in Germany and another labor camp in Poland. Chicago immigration judge Jennie Giambastiani ordered that Kumpf be returned to Germany, Austria or Serbia after the elderly man disclosed his personal history as an SS Death's Head guard in Germany, France and Poland.
"Josias Kumpf participated in a 1943 Nazi operation that resulted in the murder of thousands of innocent victims. His culpability in this atrocity does not diminish with the passage of time," acting Assistant Attorney General Matthew Friedrich said. "The BIA's ruling bolsters the Department's continuing efforts to ensure that those who took part in the crimes of the Nazi Holocaust are not allowed to enjoy the privileges and freedom the United States offers its citizens."
The Death's Head battalions of the SS were considered to be Adolf Hitler's elite units, committing what have been described as some of the most diabolic crimes in history. The men were deployed when acts of extreme brutality were ordered at Nazi extermination camps. They were subservient to Hitler and were his personal agents for carrying out acts of genocide. The battalions were named Death's Head after the skull patch on the right collars of their uniforms.
Kumpf joined the Nazi camp in Germany in October 1942 and remained there until he became stationed at the Trawniki Labor Camp in Poland. He confessed to contributing to the 1943 "Aktion Erntefest," or "Operation Harvest Festival," a two-day operation in which 42,000 Jewish men, women and children were exterminated at three Poland concentration camps.
The man admitted to having stood guard while 8,000 prisoners, 400 of whom were children, were exterminated in Trawniki pits. Kumpf told officials he was tasked with locating sufferers who were "halfway alive" or "convulsing" and shooting victims who attempted to flee.
Adolf Hitler (left) salutes members of his Nazi SS guard
Kumpf left Austria and came to the U.S. in 1956, becoming a citizen in 1964. The Criminal Division's Office of Special Investigations, or OSI, and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Wisconsin began filing paperwork to denaturalize Kumpf in 2003 and revoked his citizenship in 2005. OSI then coordinated a removal action with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The OSI has been tasked with identifying, investigating and removing Nazi criminals who currently live in the United States. It began its "Watch List" program in 1979, coordinated in conjunction with efforts by the Department of Homeland Security, and has effectively prosecuted 107 perpetrators and prevented 180 war criminals from entering the country.
OSI Director Eli M. Rosenbaum issued a public statement about the decision to remove the former Nazi guard from the U.S.:
"The BIA's decision to uphold the removal order ensures that Josias Kumpf, who participated in the perpetration of one of the most infamous crimes of the Holocaust, will not be allowed to continue enjoying the privilege of residence in the United States – a nation in which so many victims who somehow survived the horrors of Nazi inhumanity found refuge. "
|Kumpf, who is now 83, says he was taken from his home in Yugoslavia as a 17-year-old and forced to serve as a guard. He insists he did not take part in any atrocities.|
|Code Name Artichoke: The CIA’s Secret Experiments on Humans|
Frank Olson (July 17, 1910 – November 28, 1953) was a U.S. Army scientist who died under mysterious circumstances while undertaking secret research with the U.S. Army. Olson's death was initially ruled a suicide, but this verdict has been disputed.
A chemist with the Army's top secret Special Operations Division at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Maryland. His specific research in the Army is unknown, but he was involved in biological weapons research and experimented with mind control drugs. In 1953, as Deputy Acting Head of Special Operations for the CIA, Olson associated with William Sargant, investigating the use of psychoactive drugs at Britain's Biological Warfare Centre at Porton Down.
MKULTRA and Olson's death
According to the government's version of events, as part of the MKULTRA mind control experiments, Olson was dosed with LSD without his knowledge, subsequently suffering severe paranoia and a nervous breakdown. The CIA sent him to New York to see one of their psychiatrists, who recommended that Olson be placed into a mental institution for recovery. On his last night in Manhattan, Olson purportedly threw himself out his tenth-floor hotel room window, dying on impact.
His family had no idea of the details of the accident until the Rockefeller Commission started uncovering some of the CIA's MKULTRA activities. In 1975, the government admitted that Olson had been dosed with LSD without his knowledge. The government offered his family an out of court settlement of $750,000, which they accepted.
In 1994, Eric Olson had his father's body exhumed. The forensic scientist in charge of the examination, George Washington University professor James E. Starrs, determined that Olson had suffered some form of blunt force trauma prior to falling out of the window, and called the evidence "rankly and starkly suggestive of homicide". Based on his findings, in 1996 the Manhattan district attorney opened a homicide investigation into Olson's death, but was unable to find enough evidence to bring charges.
The Frank Olson Project
Documentary: Project Artichoke
|Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S., Report Says|
By ERIC LICHTBLAU
Published: November 13, 2010
Dr. Josef Mengele in 1956. C.H. Pete Copeland/Plain Dealer, via Associated Press
John Demjanjuk in 2006.
The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.
It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government’s mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible.
The report catalogs both the successes and failures of the band of lawyers, historians and investigators at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which was created in 1979 to deport Nazis.
Perhaps the report’s most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement with Nazi émigrés. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.
The Justice Department report, describing what it calls “the government’s collaboration with persecutors,” says that O.S.I investigators learned that some of the Nazis “were indeed knowingly granted entry” to the United States, even though government officials were aware of their pasts. “America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became — in some small measure — a safe haven for persecutors as well,” it said.
The report also documents divisions within the government over the effort and the legal pitfalls in relying on testimony from Holocaust survivors that was decades old. The report also concluded that the number of Nazis who made it into the United States was almost certainly much smaller than 10,000, the figure widely cited by government officials.
The Justice Department has resisted making the report public since 2006. Under the threat of a lawsuit, it turned over a heavily redacted version last month to a private research group, the National Security Archive, but even then many of the most legally and diplomatically sensitive portions were omitted. A complete version was obtained by The New York Times.
The Justice Department said the report, the product of six years of work, was never formally completed and did not represent its official findings. It cited “numerous factual errors and omissions,” but declined to say what they were.
More than 300 Nazi persecutors have been deported, stripped of citizenship or blocked from entering the United States since the creation of the O.S.I., which was merged with another unit this year.
In chronicling the cases of Nazis who were aided by American intelligence officials, the report cites help that C.I.A. officials provided in 1954 to Otto Von Bolschwing, an associate of Adolph Eichmann who had helped develop the initial plans “to purge Germany of the Jews” and who later worked for the C.I.A. in the United States. In a chain of memos, C.I.A. officials debated what to do if Von Bolschwing were confronted about his past — whether to deny any Nazi affiliation or “explain it away on the basis of extenuating circumstances,” the report said.
The Justice Department, after learning of Von Bolschwing’s Nazi ties, sought to deport him in 1981. He died that year at age 72.
The report also examines the case of Arthur L. Rudolph, a Nazi scientist who ran the Mittelwerk munitions factory. He was brought to the United States in 1945 for his rocket-making expertise under Operation Paperclip, an American program that recruited scientists who had worked in Nazi Germany. (Rudolph has been honored by NASA and is credited as the father of the Saturn V rocket.)
The report cites a 1949 memo from the Justice Department’s No. 2 official urging immigration officers to let Rudolph back in the country after a stay in Mexico, saying that a failure to do so “would be to the detriment of the national interest.”
Justice Department investigators later found evidence that Rudolph was much more actively involved in exploiting slave laborers at Mittelwerk than he or American intelligence officials had acknowledged, the report says.
Some intelligence officials objected when the Justice Department sought to deport him in 1983, but the O.S.I. considered the deportation of someone of Rudolph’s prominence as an affirmation of “the depth of the government’s commitment to the Nazi prosecution program,” according to internal memos.
The Justice Department itself sometimes concealed what American officials knew about Nazis in this country, the report found.
In 1980, prosecutors filed a motion that “misstated the facts” in asserting that checks of C.I.A. and F.B.I. records revealed no information on the Nazi past of Tscherim Soobzokov, a former Waffen SS soldier. In fact, the report said, the Justice Department “knew that Soobzokov had advised the C.I.A. of his SS connection after he arrived in the United States.”
(After the case was dismissed, radical Jewish groups urged violence against Mr. Soobzokov, and he was killed in 1985 by a bomb at his home in Paterson, N.J. )
The secrecy surrounding the Justice Department’s handling of the report could pose a political dilemma for President Obama because of his pledge to run the most transparent administration in history. Mr. Obama chose the Justice Department to coordinate the opening of government records.
The Nazi-hunting report was the brainchild of Mark Richard, a senior Justice Department lawyer. In 1999, he persuaded Attorney General Janet Reno to begin a detailed look at what he saw as a critical piece of history, and he assigned a career prosecutor, Judith Feigin, to the job. After Mr. Richard edited the final version in 2006, he urged senior officials to make it public but was rebuffed, colleagues said.
When Mr. Richard became ill with cancer, he told a gathering of friends and family that the report’s publication was one of three things he hoped to see before he died, the colleagues said. He died in June 2009, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spoke at his funeral.
“I spoke to him the week before he died, and he was still trying to get it released,” Ms. Feigin said. “It broke his heart.”
After Mr. Richard’s death, David Sobel, a Washington lawyer, and the National Security Archive sued for the report’s release under the Freedom of Information Act.
The Justice Department initially fought the lawsuit, but finally gave Mr. Sobel a partial copy — with more than 1,000 passages and references deleted based on exemptions for privacy and internal deliberations.
Laura Sweeney, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the department is committed to transparency, and that redactions are made by experienced lawyers.
The full report disclosed that the Justice Department found “a smoking gun” in 1997 establishing with “definitive proof” that Switzerland had bought gold from the Nazis that had been taken from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. But these references are deleted, as are disputes between the Justice and State Departments over Switzerland’s culpability in the months leading up to a major report on the issue.
Another section describes as “a hideous failure” a series of meetings in 2000 that United States officials held with Latvian officials to pressure them to pursue suspected Nazis. That passage is also deleted.
So too are references to macabre but little-known bits of history, including how a director of the O.S.I. kept a piece of scalp that was thought to belong to Dr. Mengele in his desk in hopes that it would help establish whether he was dead.
The chapter on Dr. Mengele, one of the most notorious Nazis to escape prosecution, details the O.S.I.’s elaborate efforts in the mid-1980s to determine whether he had fled to the United States and might still be alive.
It describes how investigators used letters and diaries apparently written by Dr. Mengele in the 1970s, along with German dental records and Munich phone books, to follow his trail.
After the development of DNA tests, the piece of scalp, which had been turned over by the Brazilian authorities, proved to be a critical piece of evidence in establishing that Dr. Mengele had fled to Brazil and had died there in about 1979 without ever entering the United States, the report said. The edited report deletes references to Dr. Mengele’s scalp on privacy grounds.
Even documents that have long been available to the public are omitted, including court decisions, Congressional testimony and front-page newspaper articles from the 1970s.
A chapter on the O.S.I.’s most publicized failure — the case against John Demjanjuk, a retired American autoworker who was mistakenly identified as Treblinka’s Ivan the Terrible — deletes dozens of details, including part of a 1993 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that raised ethics accusations against Justice Department officials.
That section also omits a passage disclosing that Latvian émigrés sympathetic to Mr. Demjanjuk secretly arranged for the O.S.I.’s trash to be delivered to them each day from 1985 to 1987. The émigrés rifled through the garbage to find classified documents that could help Mr. Demjanjuk, who is currently standing trial in Munich on separate war crimes charges.
Ms. Feigin said she was baffled by the Justice Department’s attempt to keep a central part of its history secret for so long. “It’s an amazing story,” she said, “that needs to be told.”