A Persistent Emotional Issue: CIA's Support to the Nazi War Criminal Investigations

By Kevin C. Ruffner


The of story escaped Nazis after the collapse of the Third Reich in 1945 has long gripped novelists and Hollywood screenwriters and provided the grist for such box office hits as “The Boys From Brazil” and “The ODESSA File.” Since the 1970s, the topic has
also provided steady fare for historians and journalists anxious to explore supposed cabals between American intelligence agencies and such personalities as Josef Mengele, the “Angel of Death” at Auschwitz, and former Austrian President Kurt Waldheim, a German intelligence officer in the Balkans during World War II.

Separating fact from fiction about the alleged postwar relationships between American intelligence and its former German enemies and collaborators is both difficult and confusing and the fact that most US intelligence records from this time period are still classified only lends greater mystery to the issue.

The CIA comes under particular scrutiny because of its and secrecy reputation, and over the years observers have made many charges based on incomplete information.