Home » International News » 2010 » November » November 14, 2010

Secret papers reveal U.S. aid for ex-Nazis

November 14, 2010 - Washington

A secret history of the United States government's Nazi-hunting operation have revealed that American intelligence officials created a "safe haven" in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II.

The 600-page report, which the Justice Department had tried to keep secret for four years, details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals in America and abroad.

According to the New York Times, the report provides new evidence about more than two dozen Nazi cases in the last three decades. It also lists both the successes and failures of a band of lawyers, historians and investigators at the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, which was created in 1979 to deport Nazis.

Scholars and previous government reports have acknowledged the Central Intelligence Agency's use of Nazis for post-war intelligence, but this report reportedly 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 had learned that some 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 added.

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. It 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, the paper said.


Comment on this story