Books Reviews

Nazis on the Run Book Review

By Angela Youngman Feb 6, 2012, 20:43 GMT

Nazis on the Run  Book Review

After World War II, rumors circulated that a secret organization named "Odessa" had smuggled Nazi war criminals out of Europe, a rumor further fueled by the wildly popular novel The Odessa File. But "Odessa" was nothing more than a myth. Now, in Nazis on the Run, historian Gerald Steinacher provides the true story of how the Nazis escaped their fate. Steinacher not only reveals ...more

How did so many prominent Nazis manage to escape capture at the end of the Second World War?  Where did they go to? Why was South America so accommodating to them?

Steinacher is a Harvard Research Fellow as well as being a Lecturer on Contemporary History at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.  His book traces the complex escape routes of Nazis like Adolf Eichmann through the South Tyrol, into Italy and onward to Argentina and elsewhere.  The detailed research poses many awkward questions including the way in which the Vatican and the International Red Cross actually helped the Nazi escapees. 

Why too, were so many ex-Nazis recruited by Allied Intelligence services rather than allow them to be prosecuted for their wartime crimes?  There are no easy answers.  Steinacher paints a portrait of a time of confusion, of uncertainties and a desire to avoid laying bare too much too soon. 

A very well researched book, but it does not make comfortable reading.  This is a detailed, authoritative study of a dark period in world history.

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