Declassified archives: ties between CIA and Nazis


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Declassified archives document ties between CIA and Nazis
By Andre Damon
27 July 2006

On June 6, the US national archives released some 27,000 pages of secret records
documenting the CIA¹s Cold War relations with former German Nazi Party members 
and officials.

The files reveal numerous cases of German Nazis, some clearly guilty of war 
crimes, receiving funds, weapons and employment from the CIA. They also 
demonstrate that US intelligence agencies deliberately refrained from disclosing
information about the whereabouts of Adolf Eichmann in order to protect 
Washington¹s allies in the post-war West German government headed by Christian 
Democratic leader Konrad Adenauer.

Eichmann, who had sent millions to their deaths while coordinating the Nazis¹ 
³final solution² campaign to exterminate European Jewry, went into hiding in 
Buenos Aires after the fall of the Third Reich. Utilizing friendly contacts in 
the Catholic Church and the Peron government in Argentina, Eichmann was able to 
reside in the South American country for 10 years under the alias of Ricardo 
Klement. He was abducted in 1960 by Mossad, Israel¹s foreign intelligence 
agency, put on trial in Israel and executed in 1962.

The documents show that the CIA was in possession of Eichmann¹s pseudonym two 
years before the Mossad raid. The CIA received this information in 1958 from the
West German government, which learned of Eichmann¹s alias in 1952. Both the CIA 
and the Bonn government chose not to disclose this information to Israel because
they were concerned that Eichmann might reveal the identities of Nazi war 
criminals holding high office in the West German government, particularly 
Adenauer¹s national security adviser Hans Globke.

When Eichmann was finally brought to trial, the US government used all available
means to protect its West German allies from what he might reveal. According to 
the declassified documents, the CIA pressured Life magazine into deleting 
references to Globke in portions of Eichmann¹s memoirs that it chose to publish.

In addition to the revelations regarding Eichmann, the documents chronicle the 
CIA¹s creation of ³stay-behind² intelligence networks in southwestern Germany 
and Berlin, labeled ³Kibitz² and ³Pastime,² respectively. The Kibitz ring 
involved several former SS members. In the early 1950s, the CIA provided these 
groups with money, communications equipment and ammunition so that they could 
serve as intelligence assets in the event of a Soviet invasion of West Germany.

The CIA documents were reviewed by Timothy Naftali, a historian with the 
National Archives Interagency Working Group, the government body that oversaw 
their declassification and release. According to an article published by 
Naftali, the stay-behind program was dissolved ³in the wake of public concerns 
in West Germany about the resurgence of Neo-Nazi Groups.² Specifically, the 
Kibitz-15 group, led by an ³unreconstructed Nazi,² became a potential source of 
public embarrassment for the US, as its members were broadly involved in 
Neo-Nazi activity. [1]

The CIA terminated the program by 1955 and arranged for many of its contacts to 
be resettled in Canada and Australia. According to the documents, Australia 
provided funds for relocation while the CIA provided its ex-assets with a 
³resettlement bonus.²

The CIA employed Gustav Hilger, a former adviser to Nazi Foreign Minister 
Joachim von Ribbentrop. As an employee of the German foreign office, Hilger was 
present at the negotiation of the Stalin-Hitler pact in 1939. The CIA deemed his
experience with the USSR sufficiently valuable to free him from incarceration at
Fort Meade in Maryland and employ him as an intelligence evaluator in West 

In 1948, Hilger moved to the United States and obtained a position at the CIA¹s 
K Street building in Washington as a researcher and expert on the USSR. Hilger 
eventually left the CIA to work for the West German foreign office.

According to a paper analyzing the CIA documents published by Robert Wolfe, a 
former senior archivist at the US National Archives, ³it is beyond dispute that 
Hilger criminally assisted in the genocide of Italy¹s Jews.... During the 
roundup of Italian Jews in late 1943, a note signed ŒHilger¹ recorded 
Ribbentrop¹s concurrence that the Italians be asked to intern the Jews in 
concentration camps in Northern Italy, in lieu of immediate deportation. The SS 
intended thereby that the Italian Jews and their potential Italian protectors 
should believe that internment in Italy was the final destination, rather than 
eventual deportation to the murder mills in Poland to be immediately murdered or
gradually worked to death. The stated purpose of this ruse was to minimize the 
number of Italian Jews who would go into hiding to avoid deportation to Poland² 

In another instance, the CIA employed Tscherim Soobzokov, a former Nazi gendarme
and Waffen SS lieutenant, who, according to a paper published by Interagency 
Working Group Director of Historical Research Richard Breitman, ³participated in
an execution commando [combat group detailed to executing Jews and Communists en
masse] and had searched North Caucasian villages for Jews.²

Soobzokov was employed by the CIA for seven years. Over this period, he 
repeatedly used his intelligence contacts to avoid investigation by the FBI and 
the US Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) in regard to his complicity 
in war crimes.

According to Breitman¹s paper, CIA examiners noted that Soobzokov was an 
³incorrigible fabricator² who repeatedly lied about his past in order to conceal
his participation in criminal activity. Nevertheless, the CIA shielded him 
against investigation, at one point sending the INS a document asserting that 
Soobzokov had never worked for the Nazis. [3]

Prior to the outbreak of war, a significant section of the American ruling elite
had favored cooperation with the Nazis as a European hedge against the spread of
Bolshevism. Henry Ford was notorious for his anti-Semitism and his political 
affinity for German Fascism, and a number of major American companies retained 
their business ties with the Third Reich. Notably, IBM sold Germany the punch 
cards that were used to catalog the ³final solution.² (See: ³How IBM helped the 
Nazis IBM and the Holocaust²)

However, as one European nation after another fell before Hitler¹s onslaught, 
the threat of German imperialist dominance in Europe spurred the American ruling
class to enter the European theater.

US imperialism mobilized popular support in its war against the Nazi regime by 
appealing to the democratic and anti-fascist sentiments of the American people. 
After the defeat of Germany, it organized, together with its World War II 
allies‹Britain, the Soviet Union and France‹the Nuremburg trials to prosecute 
top Nazi officials for their complicity in war crimes.

However, with the start of the Cold War, the United States reversed its policy 
of identifying, trying and executing prominent Nazi war criminals. As is starkly
demonstrated in the case of Eichmann, the knowledge possessed by many of these 
individuals made trying them inconvenient.

Regardless of its limited persecution of upper-echelon Nazis, the United States 
had no qualms about recruiting Nazi Party members and war criminals into its 
military research apparatus. Prominent German military developers such as Werner
Von Braun and Bernhard Tessmann were assimilated into the US rocketry program, 
while Kurt Blome, a Nazi scientist who experimented on concentration camp 
prisoners, was employed by the US to develop chemical weapons.

Likewise, the early stages of the Cold War saw high-level Nazi cadres drafted 
into the US intelligence machine and deployed in Europe, the Middle East and the
Americas. According to the Department of Justice Office of Special 
Investigations (OSI), the bureau assigned to investigate German war criminals 
living within the US, at least 10,000 Nazis entered the US between 1948 and 
1952. Of the thousands of German Nazis who fled‹or were brought‹to the United 
States, only some 100 have been prosecuted by the OSI.


1. Timothy Naftali, ³New Information on Cold War CIA Stay-Behind Operations in 
Germany and on the Adolf Eichmann Case²

2. Robert Wolfe, ³Gustav Hilger: From Hitler¹s Foreign Office to CIA Consultant²

3. Richard Breitman, ³Tscherim Soobzokov²

See Also:

Newly released files show: Postwar German government and CIA shielded Adolf 

[3 July 2006]

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