Recently disclosed government records and interviews reveal that after World War II, the FBI and CIA recruited 1,000 ex-Nazis as informants during the Cold War.
According to the New York Times report, which was adapted from Eric Lichtblau's The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men, not only did the government agencies recruit ex-Nazis of all ranks as anti-Soviet "assets," but the FBI's J. Edgar Hoover and CIA's Allen Dulles also helped these spies immigrate to the U.S. This was done in a bid to conceal their participation in the war or their "moral lapses," so that they could be shielded from the U.S. Justice Department's Nazi pursuers.
This information was divulged by American University's Holocaust scholar Richard Breitman who declassified the war crime documents.
Norman Goda, a University of Florida historian who was part of the declassification team, is of the opinion that the complete tally of Nazis who were converted to American spies is likely higher than 1,000. Considering several records and government documents are still classified information, a complete tally is difficult to draw up.
"U.S. agencies directly or indirectly hired numerous ex-Nazi police officials and East European collaborators who were manifestly guilty of war crimes. Information was readily available that these were compromised men," revealed Goda.
Based on the declassified documents, in the 1950s and 1960s, the American intelligence agencies deployed the Nazis to perform a wide variety of tasks, which ranged from the banal to the dangerous.
The documents reveal that U.S. Army officers from Maryland provided paramilitary warfare training to Nazi officers in a likely bid to invade Russia. The CIA was not far behind and enlisted the services of an ex-Nazi sentry in Connecticut to observe postage stamps from the Soviet bloc for cryptic meanings.
The CIA also recruited Otto von Bolschwing, who was a senior aide to Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann was responsible for carrying out the infamous "Final Solution" for Hitler. The intelligence agency not only used Bolschwing as a spy, but also rewarded him for his loyalty by arranging for his family to relocate to New York City in 1954.
However, the declassified data reveals that several of the Nazi spies were incompetent and some were pathological liars or frauds. Worse still, some of them were double agents for the Soviet, according to the records.
Lichtblau's book The Nazis Next Door: How America Became a Safe Haven for Hitler's Men was released on Oct. 28.