The story of 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.
"Honest and idealist ... enjoys good food and wine ... unprejudiced mind ..."
That's how a 1952 Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) assessment described Nazi ideologue Emil Augsburg, an officer at the infamous Wannsee Institute, the SS think tank involved in planning the Final Solution. Augsburg's SS unit performed "special duties," a euphemism for exterminating Jews and other "undesirables" during the Second World War. Although he was wanted in Poland for war crimes, Augsburg managed to ingratiate himself with the U.S. CIA, which employed him in the late 1940s as an expert on Soviet affairs. Recently released CIA records indicate that Augsburg was among a rogue's gallery of Nazi war criminals recruited by U.S. intelligence agencies shortly after Germany surrendered to the Allies.