Long-hidden report: CIA created ‘safe haven’ for Nazis in US

A report the Justice Department has been trying to hide for the past four years offers the most detailed account yet of the CIA’s efforts to protect known Nazi war criminals in the United States.

The report, obtained by the New York Times, may be the most concrete account yet of the role that prominent members of Germany’s Nazi party played in the early, formative years of the CIA, following World War II. It alleges the CIA created a “safe haven” for Nazis believed to be of use to the US’s Cold War efforts.

According to the Times, the report

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 is an account of the history of the Office of Special Investigations, the Justice Department agency created in 1979 to hunt down and deport Nazi war criminals in the US.

One part of the report addresses the story of Otto Von Bolschwing, an associate of Adolf Eichmann who was instrumental in drawing up plans for ridding Germany of Jews. After the war, Von Bolschwing came to be on the CIA payroll, and agency officials were clearly aware of his past. The Times reports:

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.

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