Soon after, the German Moravians founded the town of Salem in 1766 (now a historical section in the center of Winston-Salem) and Salem College (an early female college) in 1772. They typically led to dictatorships whose government was sympathetic to Nazism. That spring, French war criminals carrying passports issued by the International Red Cross stamped with Argentine tourist visas began to cross the Atlantic Ocean. In their attempts to aid Catholic refugees amid the post-war rise of communist regimes across Europe, numerous Vatican officials unwittingly aided in the escape of Nazi war criminals, but some clerics such as Bishop Alois Hudal did so with full knowledge of their actions. As he walked to his small brick house in a middle-class Buenos Aires suburb on May 11, 1960, he passed by a chauffer and two men working under the open hood of a black Buick limousine. I don’t know if you’re familiar with German history… but the 1940s were a real rough patch. As a German he didn’t feel the need to hide his true identity from her. Nazi Germany's conquest of Europe ended in 1945, but fugitive Nazis in South America lasted for decades. One hundred thousand either died or escaped. But this was just a way of luring new members to the colony. King George III came from an ethnic German line, and was the first of the House of Hanover to speak E… (He, like his eventual acolyte, ended up committing suicide as his utopian colony failed.) Steinberger formed part of the Ferguson Collection which was received in 1970. Only on arriving in Israel did the Argentine government learn of the operation. But most importantly, many South American governments were sympathetic to the Nazi cause and proved willing to help. How could so many escape when the whole world was closing in on them? It’s known he spent time there, in Paraguay and in Brazil, where he died a free man. SS colonel Walter Rauff, who created mobile gas chambers that killed at least 100,000 people, died in Chile in 1984. This was the result of a new political climate, the rise of nationalism and the waging of independence campaigns in various colonies as well as the new domestic priorities in the post-war period for colonial rulers. Another haven for Nazis was the Argentine city of Bariloche, where in the 90s it was revealed many SS officers were hiding. But he could just have easily slipped away – and in the chaos of that time, escaped. Wituland (1885–1890) - si… A fact that the Argentine tourism board prefers not to promote is the large scale migration of Nazis into Argentina after the end of the Second World War. https://www.history.com/news/how-south-america-became-a-nazi-haven For ten years they lived a quiet life in Buenos Aires, Eichmann working at a nearby Mercedes factory. Yet it’s unclear how exactly this was to be achieved, or even why. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! The street signs are in German. The 7 Most Notorious Nazis Who Escaped to South America. Many Nazi officials were killed or taken prisoner. Argentine dictator Juan Peron actively encouraged Nazis to come to Argentina, promising protection and a new life. As it turned out, World War II hardly touched South America. © 2020 A&E Television Networks, LLC. Klein-Venedig ("Little Venice"; also the etymology of the name "Venezuela") was the most significant part of the German colonization of the Americas, from 1528 to 1546, in which the Augsburg -based Welser banking family to the Habsburgs was given the colonial rights by Emperor Charles V, who was also King of Spain and owed debts to them for his Imperial election. There’s a long story behind how Nazi colonies came to exist in the remote regions of South America. So many made it that they were able to establish their own communities of former Nazis. Find out how and why South America became a safe haven for thousands of former Nazi party members and SS officers after World War II. And while some Nazi colonies, like Colonia Dignidad and figures like Eichmann are well known – there could well be all kinds of people and places still hidden, waiting to be found. In the years and months leading up to Germany’s defeat, many Nazis carefully planned ways to escape justice. The judge objected to proceedings being filmed, fearing the cameras would serve as a distraction. Across the continent have been found dozens of Nazi hideouts, often deep in remote rain forests and long abandoned. In Israel he was put on trial, a trial that lasted 4 months and broadcast in it’s entirety. Shortly after the German invasion, on June 22, 1941, ... Colonies kept in touch with each other through newspapers, especially Der Staats Anzeiger, based in North Dakota. Germany lost all its overseas colonies after World War I, and therefore had none after WWII. It’s fair to say they weren’t happy about it. (Credit: John Milli/GPO via Getty Images). Are there any like this in your state? The records of the German Foreign Office and the German Navy were microfilmed by the Australian Joint Copying Project in London in 195… Of all the towns, neighborhoods, and colonies built by them after the war, it’s inconceivable that none will survive. share. Knowing the war could genuinely be lost, some within the SS realized they might need to flee for their lives. The history of Latin America during World War II is important because of the significant economic, political, and military changes that occurred throughout much of the region as a result of the war. In 1962, the Chilean town of Colonia Dignidad was found to be home to 300 families who’d fled Germany after World War II, finding a welcome – and no questions asked – among their compatriots in South America.”. Due to the hundreds of thousands of German immigrants who lived in the country, Argentina maintained close ties with Germany and remained neutral for much of World War II. It was claimed by the CIA that the infamous concentration camp Doctor Joseph Mengele was among them. Adopting the name Ricardo Klement, he settled in the Argentine capital with his family. Of all the towns, neighborhoods, and colonies built by them after the war, it’s inconceivable that none will survive. The escape routes themselves came to be known as ratlines. It wasn’t long before the Israeli government knew so too. It wont be long now until no former Nazis are left alive. But even after they and their children and their grandchildren are gone, they will have a legacy in South America. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. In 1961 became independent and in 1964 joined with former British protectorate of the sultanate of Zanzibar to form present-day Tanzania 1.2. So they kidnapped him. Gustav Wagner, an SS officer known as the “Beast,” died in Brazil in 1980 after the country’s supreme federal court refused to extradite him to Germany because of inaccuracies in the paperwork. It’s thought over ten thousand Nazi officials successfully fled to South America after the war. These are colonies settled by and controlled by the German Empire from 1884 to 1919. Hudal also aided the Franciscan monk in Genoa, Italy, who supplied Eichmann with an Argentine visa and signed an application for his falsified Red Cross passport, which allowed him to board a steamship to Buenos Aires in 1950 under the assumed identity of Ricardo Klement. Everyone knew the war was ending and western leaders were already looking towards the next enemy: Soviet Russia. Across the continent there are still small pockets where German is the common language. It’s pure vastness and variety of terrain made it perfect to hide away in. Schafer was but a low ranking Nazi, but was forced to flee Germany after being charged with the sexual abuse of children. Klement was actually Adolf Eichmann, the notorious Nazi SS lieutenant colonel who masterminded the transport of European Jews to concentration camps, and the men with the limousine were Israeli secret service agents. It’s actually a tourist attraction. More than two million artillery shells were dropped on the city. They were free to torture as much as they wish, and no matter what, they were protected by the government. South America; Argentina; W alking through La Cumbrecita is a surreal experience. And so the Americans put huge effort into this pursuit. European Colonies in North America. A MISSING German submarine said to have taken the defeated Nazi leadership to South America has been discovered after being lost at sea for nearly 73 years. It’s secretive nature means little is known for certain about ODESSA. Those territories constituted the German Colonial Empire. The climate before WW2 But after the war he escaped, heading to Italy where a sympathetic monk helped him flee to Argentina. But one day his son met a girl who was also German. During his reign tens of thousands of people were abducted and sent to secret camps, where many of them would killed. For every Eichmann there are many more Nazis who seem to have escaped justice. As with numerous other fascist-leaning South American leaders, Peron had been drawn to the ideologies of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler while serving as a military attaché in Italy during the early years of World War II. 81 comments. Schafer was in effect king of this secret place cut off from the outside world. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. But the craziest part of this story is that their colony still exists. Yes, the Nazi colonies will surely live on. But it’s thought there were numerous branches, each operating different escape routes. In 1946 allied forces published a list of 150 thousand war criminals. These made the prospect of escape virtually impossible, but also kept outsiders far away. As many as 5,000 Nazis went to Argentina; Between 1,500 and 2,000 ended up in Brazil So the prospect of hum being in Chile is not exactly absurd. After the First and Second World Wars colonial control of the continent began to come apart. But it’s thought Mengele and other Nazis house there, used their experience with torture to interrogate political dissidents. In some cases, the United States was complicit in the exodus of Nazi war criminals to South America. “The Butcher of Lyon” was finally extradited in 1983 and sentenced to life in prison after his conviction for crimes against humanity. Thanks to governmental secrecy we can never know exactly what crimes took place there. Brazil took in between 1,500 and 2,000 Nazi war criminals, while between 500 and 1,000 settled in Chile. But those are nothing compared to the former Nazi colonies of the continent. Everyone involved in the abduction was playing a high-stakes game of deception. However, by far the largest number—as many as 5,000—relocated to Argentina. Muller was director of Germany’s secret police, a close confidant of Hitler, and a notorious figure ominously known as “Gestapo Muller”. He fled to Argentina in 1949 before moving to Paraguay in 1959 and Brazil a year later. All Rights Reserved. Secret files reveal 9,000 Nazi war criminals fled to South America after WWII. Adolf Eichmann (Credit: Adam Guz/Getty Images Poland/Getty Images). Still, their time of earth is running out. 1. They are descendants of Germans who immigrated to Argentina from Germany and elsewhere in Europe. Allowing them to fall into Soviet hands would have been disastrous for the west. Josef Mengele, who evaded capture, c. 1950. But only one third of those named were ever brought to justice. When there the team abducted Eichmann and smuggled him out of the country. It turns out they had been planning on doing so for quite some time. Eichmann was hardly alone among Nazis in finding refuge in South America after the fall of the Third Reich. Perhaps the most notorious of the fugitives was Dr. Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death” who conducted macabre experiments at the Auschwitz concentration camp. A Map of Nazi South America (Forged by the British) - Big. According to a 2012 article in the Daily Mail, German prosecutors who examined secret files from Brazil and Chile discovered that as many as 9,000 Nazi officers and collaborators from other countries escaped from Europe to find sanctuary in South American countries. In the Georgia Colony, Germans mainly from the Swabia region settled in Savannah, St. Simon's Island and Fort Frederica in the 1730s and 1740s. This would be an irrelevant piece of knowledge, if one of those camps had not been located within Colonia Dignidad. By the end of the war ODESSA maintained a covert network of people and locations willing to help former Nazis flee. Many of these German states were officially Protestant, making them traditional allies of other Protestant nations, such as the United Kingdom of Great Britain, whose king, George III, was also the Prince-elector of Hanover. So the cameras were built into the walls of the courtroom and the trial was seen around the world. In those days South America seemed like a different world to Europe. He made use of fences, outposts, and even motion sensors. The hunt was on to find the renowned scientists of Germany. The war caused significant panic in Latin America over economics as a large portions of economy of the region depended on the European investment capital, which was shut down. From all sides the allies fought their way to Berlin, cutting German society to pieces as they went. Klaus Barbie outside the Lyons court house following his sentencing on July 4, 1987. Adolf Eichmann, architect of the 'Final Solution,' was captured and executed in 1962. Today in Peru the population Peruvians of German descent is approximately 160,000 people and hold many high positions in Government, Military and industry. As soon as he heard the name Eichmann, the father realized who they were dealing with. It’s surprising to learn that South America was a bit of a hotbed for anti-Semitism from the late 19th century – and indeed that one of its most famous German immigrants, Bernhard Förster, was a key influence on Hitler’s political thinking. But researchers were not the only thing thousands of soldiers were aggressively looking for. They set up everything a community would need – even a hospital, from which they offered free care for locals. Some say up to 80 thousand people met this fate. And then there were high ranking Nazis. Even before it looked like they would lose the war, the Nazis had big plans for South America. The most senior Nazi whose fate even today remains unknown was Heinrich Muller. 1945 was an especially bad year. For years the world’s most wanted Nazi was a man called Adolf Eichmann. By the time it was all falling apart in Germany, there were sympathetic regimes across the continent – the most pro… After the war he took a ratline to Argentina. The Argentine president also sought to recruit those Nazis with particular military and technical expertise that he believed could help his country, much like the United States and the Soviet Union who both poached scientists from the Third Reich to assist them in the Cold War. The SECRET Nazi Colonies In South America - Eskify; Why did the European states have to give up their colonies. The papers of A.B. Some Nazi colonies were rich and influential enough to help shape the modern history of South America. German South West Africa, German Deutsch-Südwestafrika, a former German colony (1884–1919) that is now the nation of Namibia, in southwestern Africa.In 1883 Franz Adolf Lüderitz, a merchant from Bremen, Germany, established a trading post in southwest Africa at Angra Pequena, which he renamed Lüderitzbucht.He also acquired the adjacent coastal area, which he named Lüderitzland. Buried under an assumed name after drowning off the Brazilian coast in 1979, Mengele had his identity confirmed only after forensic testing of his remains in 1985. Some were relatively short, leading to Spain or the middle east. He was a religious leader and the head of an orphanage. In the 1970s and 1980s Chile was ruled by authoritarian dictator Augusto Pinochet. Many of the Nazis who escaped to South America were never brought to justice. Little is known of their activity in those early years but the colony grew steadily. The following were German African protectorates. Following the war, the U.S. Counter-Intelligence Corps recruited Klaus Barbie—the Gestapo chief in Lyon, France, who played a role in the deaths of thousands of French Jews and members of the French Resistance—as an agent to assist with anti-Communist efforts. These were colonies unsuccessfully settled by Brandenburg-Prussia (part of the Holy Roman Empire realm), after 1701 Kingdom of Prussia, before the foundation of the German Empire in 1871.. Africa. colonia Tovar is an example. HIS PATH TO SOUTH AMERICA: After World War II, Mengele spent three-plus years in hiding in Germany. Decolonization after 1945 The reasons why decolonization took place are many and complex, varying widely from one country to another. According to Uki Goñi, author of “The Real Odessa: Smuggling the Nazis to Peron’s Argentina,” the Peron government in 1946 sent word through Argentine Cardinal Antonio Caggiano to a French counterpart that the South American country would be willing to receive Nazi collaborators from France who faced potential war crimes prosecution. And so a secretive cult of sex criminals genuinely operated their own colony in Chile, which became a haven for Nazis on the run and also a government torture camp. Barbie became one of the few Nazis who fled to South America but ultimately couldn’t escape justice, much like Eichmann who was also convicted of crimes against humanity by an Israeli court and executed in 1962. South America. Tanganyika. Strangely these communities received a spike in population growth after the war… I’m sure it’s just a coincidence. The British colonies in the West Indies were under direct threat by German submarines, who were hunting for oil tankers and bauxite carriers making … One branch was run by Hitler’s own bodyguard, Otto Skorzany, who went on to work for the President of Argentina. German East Africa (Deutsch-Ostafrika): 1.1. There was also your mother. I mean, it’s still a colony lived in by the descendants of Nazis, but somehow it’s become a destination for tourism… and I don’t know how. Mengele was known as the angel of death in Auschwitz, where he regularly performed human experimentation on prisoners. The 1888 proclamation of the annexation of Nauru by Germany was donated to the Library by Brigadier General Thomas Griffiths, the Administrator of Nauru, in 1921. Eichmann was considered a major architect of the holocaust and a notoriously corrupt SS colonel. Thanks to the country’s controversial leader who had help from some Nazi sympathizers in Europe, as many as 5,000 SS Officers and Nazi Party members were thought to have found a new life in Argentina after the fall of the Third Reich. It was a former Nazi’s wet dream. Tim Kennedy further discusses the history of Nazi's who escaped to South America. Bavarian houses in Oxapampa. In South America there are many German colonies where everything is German. So they established a new organization known today as ODESSA. Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. In 1961 he fled to Chile, somehow convincing hundreds of others to go with him. In 1955, Gen. Alfredo Stroessner, a grandson of immigrants from Bavaria, opened Paraguay to former Nazis. But even after they and their children and their grandchildren are gone, they will have a legacy in South America. It was the only death sentence ever given by an Israeli court. German Argentines (German: Deutschargentinier, Spanish: germano-argentinos) are Argentine citizens of German ancestry. These involved reshaping it politically, abolishing all countries and dividing the continent into 4 fascist super states. Suddenly, Klement was grabbed by the men and hauled kicking and screaming into the back seat of the vehicle, which sped off into the night. So that’s the story of Adolf Eichmann, the least jolly Adolf to ever live. The extracts from the Grundbuchwere transferred by the Administration of the Trust Territory of Nauru in 1958. (Credit: Keystone/Getty Images). Germany was not as involved in colonizing Africa as other major European powers of the 20th century, and lost its overseas colonies, including German East Africa and German South West Africa, after World War I. Such a man could easily have died in the bombing of Berlin. Throughout the '50s, '60s, and '70s, stories of former officials of the Third Reich hiding out in Argentina were common -- and they weren't just stories. So many made it to Argentina that the FBI began to investigate if Hitler himself could have. Paraguay: A Quaint Inn with a Dark Nazi Past - TIME; Why did so many Germans choose to move to Argentina after. Not all Nazis on the run kept strictly to Nazi Colonies. By far the most notorious of such Nazi colonies can still be found in the Chilean Andes. The German legal team that examined South American files in 2012 told the Daily Mail that most of the Nazis who entered the continent did so using forged Red Cross passports, including 800 SS members to Argentina alone. Eduard Roschmann, the “Butcher of Riga,” died in Paraguay in 1977. And it wasn’t just Argentina. In the years after the end of the war, Argentine President Juan Peron secretly ordered diplomats and intelligence officers to establish escape routes, so-called “ratlines,” through ports in Spain and Italy to smuggle thousands of former SS officers and Nazi party members out of Europe. He was smuggled to Bolivia, where he continued his spy work and instructed the military regime on how to torture and interrogate political opponents. Ruanda-Urundi (1885–1917) - became a League of Nations mandate under Belgium, attached to its Congo colony - present-day Rwanda and Burundi 1.3. According to Goñi, Hudal, an Austrian-born admirer of Hitler who ministered to prisoners of war in Rome, admitted to abetting Nazi war criminals by providing them with false identity documents issued by the Vatican that were then used to obtain passports from the International Red Cross. World War I - World War I - The loss of the German colonies: Germany’s overseas colonies, virtually without hope of reinforcement from Europe, defended themselves with varying degrees of success against Allied attack. It was German traveller Baron Cosme Damián Schütz von Holzhausen, who, after visiting German colonies in Texas, USA had the idea of creating other colonies across South America. What he didn’t know is that the girl’s father was a holocaust survivor. Yes, the Nazi colonies will surely live on. Without needing to pay community members for their work, Schafer instead invested in security. Many headed for Brazil, Chile, Bolivia, and beyond. New members were then forced to work and never allowed to leave. The story of Colonia Dignidad is just one of many in the long sting of Nazi escaped to South America. As the years turned to decades, rumor spread that high ranking Nazis were being shielded in the colony. Adolf Eichmann on trial, April 21, 1961 in Jerusalem. But some were no where to be found, as if they had disappeared. Similarly to those in Latin America, the Germans in Africa tended to isolate themselves and were more self-sufficient than other Europeans. Fearing Argentine authorities would offer him protection, they sent a team of agents into the country. But the greatest ratlines led to South America. It’s called Colonia Dignidad and it was founded by Nazi official turned cult leader Paul Schafer. After 4 months he was sentenced to death by hanging. They often held prestigious jobs and positions in the local German speaking community. Togoland was conquered by British forces from the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and by French forces from Dahomey (now Benin) in the first month of the war. Lightning flashed across the Argentine skies as Ricardo Klement stepped off a bus after finishing his shift as an assembly line foreman at a Mercedes-Benz automotive plant. (Credit: STAFF/AFP/Getty Images). 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