Records of the Central Intelligence Agency (RG 263)
By Dr. Richard Breitman, Professor of History,
American University, IWG Director of Historical Research
The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998 initiated a search for information in classified American government records about the Holocaust and other war crimes committed by Nazi Germany or its allies. A second target of this law was information about any individuals with Nazi pasts who may have been used as intelligence sources and protected against prosecution after World War II. The Central Intelligence Agency has now located and declassified files on a substantial number of individuals suspected of involvement in criminal activity for the Nazi regime or its allies and satellites. In other cases a CIA file on an individual contains evidence about criminal activity by others. Nineteen CIA "name files" being opened today represent the first significant products of this search within CIA records. One additional CIA file discussed here (the Hitler file) was opened in December 2000.
The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) ultimately expects to receive several hundred Nazi-related files from the CIA. The CIA's release of these records is welcome and newsworthy. Absent the Disclosure Act, it is highly unlikely that many of these records would have been declassified and opened for many years. Some still sensitive information has been redacted in accordance with the exemptions in the Act. The CIA has permitted cleared members of the IWG staff and staff historians to review these redactions. These redactions are generally very narrow, and in the view of the IWG's historians the resulting documents are clear enough to be used for historical analysis.
What is a CIA name file? Each name file is a collection of diverse information on an individual. Documents in the file may include published materials, declassified documents available elsewhere, interrogations, confidential reports from agents or informants, internal communications about these individuals, and CIA analytical reports. In some cases CIA records contain documents originating with other American agencies, but the CIA file is not a complete collection of all American records (or even all CIA records) on the individual. Although the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) was a predecessor of the CIA, CIA name files often do not contain relevant OSS records, many of which are among the holdings of the National Archives.
Whose Files Are Now Declassified? The CIA and the IWG have tackled the most prominent individuals first: Adolf Hitler, Klaus Barbie, Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele, Heinrich Mueller, and Kurt Waldheim. Another fourteen CIA name files involve individuals who served Nazi Germany, survived the war, were suspected of involvement in criminal Nazi or Nazi intelligence activities or had evidence of such activity by others, and came to the attention of American intelligence agencies after May 1945. Nine of the fourteen persons in this second tier had some contact with the West German intelligence organization established by General Reinhard Gehlen, which was initially under the control of the U. S. Army and was taken over in 1949 by the CIA. Later Gehlen's organization became the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), West Germany's foreign intelligence agency.
Some of the fourteen individuals (in the second tier) tried to use their intelligence expertise, acquired in Nazi Germany and often directed against the Soviet Union, to ingratiate themselves with the Western powers. But they had different backgrounds, they pursued different strategies, and they were not all acceptable to, or accepted by, Western government authorities. Analysis of these CIA records inevitably involves study of individual cases. Some of the better additions to the historical record come from the files of little known individuals, who are discussed later in this report.
Adolf Hitler: The CIA's file on Hitler contains only one significant new document: an assessment of Hitler's personality by Dr. Ferdinand Sauerbruch, a famous German surgeon, who spoke candidly with a man named Hans Bie about Hitler's growing megalomania during 1937. According to Bie (who gave this information to the OSS in 1944), Sauerbruch predicted in 1937 that Hitler would end up as the craziest criminal the world had ever seen.
Klaus Barbie: The CIA's name file on Klaus Barbie, the Gestapo official widely known as the "Butcher of Lyon," includes copies of already known wartime German documents, substantial numbers of U. S. Army and State Department documents, copies of press stories, congressional inquiries, material about a Justice Department study of Barbie, and internal investigations by the Army and the CIA itself over alleged ties to Barbie. The basic picture emerging from these documents is widely known: the Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) of the U.S. Army protected Barbie after the war against French prosecution and helped him reach South America.
As Barbie's escape gained notoriety in the 1980s, the CIA undertook a detailed examination of whether it might somehow be indirectly linked to Barbie. There were some concerns. Bolivian intelligence had used Barbie as a source, and some Bolivian officials may have passed on some of his information to local CIA officials. Also, a CIC unit was connected with, or served as a front for, the Office of Policy Coordination, which became part of the CIA in 1950. Someone looking back at events before 1950 might mistakenly think that Barbie had a connection with a CIA unit. Finally, Barbie (like Mengele), had some contact in South America with Friedrich (Federico) Schwend. Schwend had specialized during World War II in distributing forged British pounds to help finance intelligence operations of the Reich Security Main Office. Inmates at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp had been forced to produce such notes-a now well-known Nazi enterprise codenamed Operation Bernhard. But Schwend also claimed that he had worked for the Office of Strategic Services in 1945. (Barbie and Schwend, according to one CIA source, were involved in a plot to assassinate Victor Paz Estenssoro, leftist president of Bolivia who was ousted and forced into exile in Peru.) Despite such issues, the CIA continued to express confidence publicly and privately that the agency had no direct connection with Barbie.
Adolf Eichmann: Adolf Eichmann's file divulges little about the man and his career during the Third Reich. Documents in this file illustrate how the CIA and its predecessor agencies (the Strategic Services Unit and the Central Intelligence Group), as well as the Army's CIC, went about investigating rumors about Eichmann's whereabouts, mainly from hearsay and unsubstantiated assertions. The CIA did not seriously enter the chase for Eichmann until late 1959, but Israeli agents located him in Argentina first and spirited him out to Israel for trial. The file contains a vituperative diatribe by an unnamed CIA agent or source against former Nuremberg prosecutor Telford Taylor, termed a "comsymp" or dupe because he publicly advocated that Eichmann be tried by an international tribunal, rather than an Israeli court.
See Detailed Report.
Josef Mengele: The CIA's file on Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele consists of published articles about Mengele and his various hideouts in South America, mistaken sightings of him, information of unknown reliability about his associates in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, and much information about events in 1984-85, when his tracks finally emerged.
Mengele had escaped from Europe to Paraguay, lived there and elsewhere in South America from 1951 on, obtaining Paraguayan citizenship in 1959 under his own name. After some rumors of his existence in Paraguay emerged, he left the country and lived mostly in Brazil under the name of Wolfgang Gearhart. He suffered a stroke while swimming at a Sao Paolo beach in 1979. When it was discovered in 1985 that a Brazilian German couple named Bossert had befriended Mengele, the Bosserts revealed how Mengele had died in 1979 and where he was buried-at a town named Embu outside Sao Paolo. The Sao Paolo police launched a forensic investigation of Mengele's remains, which turned out to be severely flawed. First the West Germans and then the U. S. and Israeli governments sent teams of investigators to Sao Paolo to provide expert assistance. All the teams of government experts concluded that Mengele had died in Sao Paolo in 1979.
The most significant document in the Mengele file is a CIA response, dated 18 July 1965, to a Justice Department request for a trace on Dr. Theodor Binder for relevant material about Mengele. Binder headed the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Pucallpa, Peru. The CIA's file on Binder contained a document from the State Department to the U. S. Secret Service regarding the circulation of counterfeit U. S. currency in Peru. A number of former Nazi officials were allegedly involved, including some who worked for an organization of former SS officers (ODESSA) in South America. Schwend (see discussion of him in the Barbie listing) was sighted with Mengele in Uruguay in 1962. Another undated document indicates that some of Mengele's contacts in South America may have been involved in narcotics traffic.
Nothing in the file indicates any CIA relationship with Mengele at any time. Nothing in the file suggests that the CIA had exact knowledge of Mengele's various hideouts. The CIA did start a search in 1972, concluding that Mengele had been in Paraguay, where he had enjoyed the protection of the Paraguayan government, and had vanished in 1960-he was rumored to have gone to Brazil. A major U. S. investigation of Mengele's whereabouts began only in 1985-six years after his death.
Heinrich Mueller: The CIA name file on Heinrich Mueller, head of the Gestapo, mostly contains results of an internal investigation in 1970-71 to determine whether Mueller had died in Berlin at the end of World War II or had survived, with key German police files, in Soviet hands. Initially, the CIA assumed that Mueller had died in 1945, but the Israeli capture of Adolf Eichmann in hiding in 1960 fanned speculation that Mueller might also be alive. A defector from Polish intelligence who had specialized in the whereabouts of Nazi war criminals mentioned in 1960 hearsay evidence that the Soviets had recruited Mueller in 1945. This defector (unnamed in the file, but, in the opinion of the historians, almost certainly Michal Goleniewski) recalled that the Soviets had revealed to Polish intelligence their success in recruiting Gestapo Mueller. West Germany's BND thought it unlikely that Mueller was in the USSR, but possible that he was alive elsewhere. In 1961 German police placed Mueller's surviving family members in Munich under close surveillance. This surveillance, in which the United States cooperated, produced nothing, nor did the attempt to locate Mueller's body by following a variety of stories from those who claimed to have buried Mueller's dead body in 1945.
Following another defection by an East European intelligence officer in 1970, the CIA focused on Soviet disinformation activities and turned to the Mueller case in that connection. The CIA's counterintelligence staff (CI), headed by James Angleton, believed that the Soviets, through disinformation, had tried in the mid 1960s to mislead world public opinion and divide the West. After a year of study the CI Staff came up with two possibilities: "There are strong indications but no proof that Mueller collaborated with [the KGB]. There are also strong indications but no proof that Mueller died in the Berlin holocaust, or some time thereafter, perhaps after collaborating with the Soviets." The CI Staff requested a deeper CIA investigation to help choose between these two hypotheses, but it appears that this requested was denied. The file ends in December 1971 with the circulation of this 40-page CI report. Angleton and his deputies left the CIA in December 1974. If Heinrich Mueller had survived and worked for, or was used by, American intelligence after the war, surely the CIA would have known of it or could have learned of it, and the agency would not have expended so much effort investigating the fate of Gestapo Mueller.
See Detailed Report.
Kurt Waldheim: The CIA name file on Kurt Waldheim, former secretary general of the United Nations, summarizes a number of accusations that Waldheim had made false statements about his military career during World War II, and it furnishes statements from individuals who had served with Waldheim in the Balkans or Greece. It also contains information about Waldheim gathered by the CIA during the period 1954-1986, including inquiries to apparent Soviet defectors as to whether the USSR had incriminating information about Waldheim. The thrust of these documents suggests that the CIA itself did not have a great deal of information or knowledge about Waldheim's Nazi past.
A second volume of photocopies contains material from CIA records during the period 1986-1997, when Waldheim's career in Nazi Germany was under great scrutiny from academic researchers and the media. One highlight of this volume is an admission that the CIA did have a document obtained from a foreign government (presumably Britain) in April 1945 indicating Waldheim's status as an intelligence officer within the German army group operating in the Balkans. In a letter to Congressman Stephen Solarz in 1988 the CIA's director of congressional affairs apologized for not providing this information years earlier, when Solarz had requested any such evidence; the CIA had not searched its own files adequately.
Nothing in either volume suggests that Waldheim was a CIA informant or agent. Nothing suggests that the USSR was blackmailing Waldheim because of Soviet knowledge of Waldheim's activities during World War II.
Emil Augsburg: The name file of Emil Augsburg (alias Althaus, alias Alberti) reveals interesting details concerning intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and West German intelligence communities. Born in Lodz, Poland in 1904, Emil Augsburg obtained his doctorate in 1934 with a dissertation on the Soviet press. Fluent in Polish and Russian, he joined the SD the same year and began to make his way up the SS ranks, reaching major (Sturmbannfuehrer) in 1944. In 1937 he joined the Wannsee Institute, which performed ideologically-based research on Eastern Europe. He soon became a departmental director. In 1939-40 and again in the summer and fall of 1941 he joined the Security Police to carry out what were called "special duties (spezielle Aufgaben), a euphemism for executions of Jews and others the Nazis considered undesirable. Wounded in an air attack in Smolensk in September 1941, he returned in 1942 to Berlin for research on Eastern European matters. The RSHA foreign intelligence branch formally absorbed the Wannsee Institute in 1943. All this information, gleaned from Augsburg's SS file, was available to the CIA and was in Augsburg's file.
In a document not found in the Augsburg name file, a Nazi official named Mahnke stated that the Wannsee Institute exploited documents captured by German forces in the Soviet Union. It produced strictly secret intelligence reports on Russia for a select clientele of high Nazi officials, including Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Goering. Augsburg was described as the intellectual leader of this institute.
Despite being wanted by Poland for war crimes, Augsburg was used by CIC from 1947 to 1948 as an expert on Soviet affairs, thanks in part to his insistence that at the end of the war he had cashiered eight trunks of files about Comintern activities (these were never found). Augsburg was dropped as a CIC informant, perhaps the result of a negative appraisal by Klaus Barbie, who also worked for CIC. Barbie passed on word to CIC that Augsburg's brother was part of a network of former SS officials with connections to the French.
Even before then Augsburg was picked up by the Gehlen organization, thanks mainly to his contacts within the anti-Communist émigré community and his ability to recruit agents from this group. By 1953 the Gehlen organization viewed Augsburg as a "shining star" in counterespionage and counterintelligence work: in 1959 one official referred to him as "a godsend." Still, Gehlen himself insisted as late as 1954 that Augsburg work outside of the organization's headquarters at Pullach because of Augsburg's SS past and service in the RSHA, which made him vulnerable to Soviet coercion. As early as 1955 there were reports that the Soviets indeed were trying to contact him. In 1961 Augsburg came under renewed suspicion in the midst of the scandal over Heinz Felfe. In 1964-65 some of Augsburg's eastern European contacts were exposed as suspected war criminals and as Soviet spies. In late 1965 the BND concluded that Augsburg too could be a double agent. Augsburg's SS file was reviewed in 1964 with the hope that enough derogatory information about his Nazi past could be found to induce his voluntary resignation from the BND, but in the end, unauthorized intelligence activity led to his dismissal in 1966.
Eugen Dollmann: One recurring issue in the name file on Eugen Dollmann was how much American goodwill Dollmann earned by taking part in secret negotiations involving Allen Dulles and Karl Wolff to bring about the surrender of German forces in northern Italy just before the end of the war in Europe.
Born in 1900, Dollmann, trained as an archeologist, became Himmler's personal representative to the Italian government and the Vatican; during the war he operated out of the German Embassy in Rome. In August 1946 Dollmann and Karl Wolff's former adjutant Eugen Wenner escaped from an Allied POW camp. Italian intelligence and Cardinal Idlefonso Schuster (archbishop of Milan and an active supporter of Mussolini's Fascist regime) reportedly intended to use both men, whom they stashed in an insane asylum in Milan, to help Schuster claim credit for arranging the German surrender in Italy and preventing a German scorched-earth policy there. This account was at variance with the facts-Schuster was not involved in the secret Dulles-Wolff negotiations. Central Intelligence Group (soon to become CIA) official James Angleton described this false account as an Italian right-wing political maneuver, with Vatican support, to stir up anti-Allied feeling in Italy. Italian intelligence gave Dollmann and Wenner false identity cards.
Through connections with the Italian police, in late 1946 Angleton secretly managed to get Dollmann and Wenner back into American hands. Complications arose, however, after Dollmann was named as a suspect or witness for an Italian trial regarding the March 1944 German massacre of Italians as retaliation for Italian partisan activity in Rome. The victims were buried in the Ardeatine Caves.
Baron Luigi Parrilli, an Italian intermediary in the Dulles-Wolff negotiations (see listing on Zimmer below), claimed that the two men had been promised immunity. Angleton and other American officials argued that, though there had been no promise from American authorities, the two Germans had helped the U. S., and in any case Dollmann had had no part in the Ardeatine Cave massacre. It would only serve to undermine Allied strength in Italy and damage the long-term capacity of American intelligence there to turn Dollmann and Wenner back to the Italian government. Other agents in Italy would not trust the Americans.
American authorities sent the two men to the American zone of Germany in mid-1947. The hope was that, despite all mishaps, they would be grateful to the U.S. for their escape, and they might serve as intelligence assets in the future. They were warned against going back to Italy, where they might be tried as war criminals, and where their capture might seriously embarrass American authorities. Dollmann and Wenner, however, also faced prosecution in denazification proceedings in the American zone of Germany, and they had no resources or jobs there. They decided to return to Italy. American army officers smuggled them through the Brenner Pass in early 1948, and Dollmann reportedly began to work as an agent for CIC in Italy. Simultaneously, he began to write and to sell his memoirs, which were serialized in the Italian press in 1949.
By 1950, Dollmann, in financial difficulty, was peddling reports to Italian intelligence, partly about surviving SS officers with secret arms caches, but partly also about his knowledge of American intelligence. In 1951 Dollmann reportedly held an Italian passport under the name of Eugenio Amonn, was living in Lugano, Switzerland, where he had recruited two German nuclear physicists for the Italian navy. He also claimed to be able to produce previously unknown correspondence between Hitler and other European politicians, which he would sell. A West German report in January 1952 claimed that Dollmann had been in Egypt during the previous year and was in contact with Haj-Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, and former Nazi Gauleiter Hartmann Lauterbacher.
In February 1952 Dollmann was expelled from Switzerland. By one report, his ouster came after he entered into a homosexual relationship with a Swiss police official. He went secretly to Italy, hid temporarily in a monastery, and was taken by a Father Parini to Spain. Otto Skorzeny, famous for his liberation of Mussolini in September 1943, had established an intelligence network in Franco's Spain and took Dollmann under his wing. A 1952 CIA report on Germans in Spain described Dollmann as infamous for his blackmail, subterfuge, and double-dealing.
Franz Goering: The name file on Franz Goering consists of very limited information about Goering's work during World War II as an aide to Walter Schellenberg, head of the Foreign Intelligence branch of the RSHA, and more information about Goering's mishaps in 1959 as a BND official.
Born in 1908, Goering made a career in the Criminal Police, then switched to the Security Police. In 1944 Schellenberg took him on as an assistant, partly on the recommendation of his secretary, with whom Goering was having an affair. At first, Goering's main duty was to look after important guests, such as Swiss politician Jean Marie Musy. Toward the end of the war Schellenberg used Goering in negotiations designed to release groups of inmates from concentration camps in northern Germany behind Hitler's back-though there is no information about these activities in the CIA name file. Goering also allegedly took valuables to Sweden for Schellenberg.
By 1959 Goering was a BND official. One of his former colleagues showed up to see him in Hamburg: the two men went out drinking, and Goering invited the man to spend the night. In the morning the guest was gone, and so were some records on intelligence operations which Goering had kept at his home. The guest was a Soviet agent, and he left a note inviting Goering to defect.
Wilhelm Harster: The name file on Wilhelm Harster consists partly of copies of his SS personnel file and partly of evidence that he sought to play an intelligence role during the late 1950s and early 1960s.
A lieutenant general in the SS and Commander of the Security Police and SD first in the Netherlands and then in Italy, Harster was directly connected with the Holocaust in two countries. According to a notation in the file, Harster was implicated in the murder of 104,000 Jews. He also played a marginal role in the early surrender of German forces in northern Italy, an event discussed below (see entry on Zimmer). In 1947 a Dutch court sentenced Harster to twelve years in prison, but he was released in 1950. He managed to gain a position in the Bavarian government, but was fired after his World War II career received media attention.
Although unable to join the BND himself, because he was considered a security risk, Harster passed himself off as a BND agent in dealing with others, and he recommended many of his SS contacts to the BND as potential agents. Harster had been the superior of Heinz Felfe, a BND official who was also a Soviet agent, and Harster apparently used Felfe to reach the BND.
Wilhelm Hoettl: The name file on Wilhelm Hoettl is a huge file covering wartime events, his immediate postwar activities, and espionage in the early 1950s. Only some of the highlights are discussed here: a more detailed report on Hoettl is available separately.
Born in Vienna on March 19, 1915, Hoettl managed to rise quickly in the ranks of the SD, becoming a specialist on southeastern Europe. He had good ties with fellow Austrian Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the last chief of the RSHA. He was involved in the maneuvers to recover the diaries of former Italian Foreign Minister, and he served as political advisor to Edmund Veesenmayer, German plenipotentiary in Hungary during 1944.
Toward the end of the war Hoettl managed through an intermediary to contact OSS in Switzerland. Despite the fact that OSS officials considered Hoettl dangerous, they believed he had useful information. First the OSS and then the U. S. Army CIC reportedly began to use Hoettl to ferret out remaining Nazi agents. Then Hoettl testified at the Nuremberg trials-for the defense-and worked for CIC. He also drew on unknown resources, possibly plundered Jewish assets which Kaltenbrunner had turned over to him, to set himself up nicely in postwar Austria, where he peddled intelligence to various customers, including the Gehlen organization. Simultaneously, he began to write books under a pseudonym about Nazi espionage. He was in frequent contact with Wilhelm Krichbaum (see Krichbaum listing below), and he was, like Krichbaum, suspected of working for Soviet intelligence. He was arrested, but was never prosecuted. He died in 1999.
Michel Kedia: The name file on Michel Kedia traces the complicated movements and conflicting loyalties of a Georgian involved with activities directed against the Soviet Union from the 1920s to the 1950s. Kedia, a member of the Georgian National Committee, emigrated early from his native land to France and took up cooperation with German intelligence during World War II. In 1942-43, as chief of the Georgian desk for the RSHA's Operation Zeppelin, he recruited POWs from the Caucasus and others in his Georgian organization for German parachute operations into the Caucasus. In 1943 he also made trips to Turkey to organize uprisings in the Turkish and Caucasian frontier regions. In mid-1944, as the defeat of Germany became increasingly likely, Kedia tried to contact the Allies to offer his services. He claimed to have saved the lives of some Jews in France.
Kedia contacted the OSS through Yuri Skarzhinski (YOURI), a White Russian who had fled Germany for France with his help. Later, after escaping to Geneva in the last months of the war, Kedia again offered his help to the United States. Despite Kedia's keen interest in working for U.S. intelligence, the OSS and later the CIA rebuffed his offers. One CIA report described him as a man "with a long bad record." It was alleged that by January 1946 Kedia had strong ties to Soviet intelligence, and the CIA later mounted an operation to "smoke out" his contacts.
Not all U.S. agencies viewed Kedia warily. Until December 1948 Kedia allegedly served as an informant for the CIC, although the CIA file does not disclose how active he was.
Horst Kopkow: The name file on Horst Kopkow, head of the Gestapo's section on sabotage and a leading expert on Communist espionage against Germany, contains documents from the immediate postwar period only, when he was in British hands. Kopkow went into hiding at the end of the war, but was betrayed by another Gestapo official and captured by the British. British intelligence interrogated Kopkow at length on Soviet espionage and sabotage methods, and Kopkow was very forthcoming with information about these and about German methods of combating the now famous Communist "Red Orchestra" spy network. The highlight of the file is a sixty-page British interrogation, a copy handed over to the Americans. (This interrogation, to the best of our knowledge, is not available elsewhere in the United States National Archives. It may or may not be available at the Public Record Office in the United Kingdom.)
Kopkow offered exact details of how Nazi officials eventually penetrated the Red Orchestra, turned a number of arrested Communist agents, and fed information back to Moscow. Kopkow also related that he had learned from another Gestapo official that Heinrich Himmler had given a long speech to some 15-18 high officials of the SS and police at police headquarters in Flensburg in the closing days of the war. Himmler still hoped that the Allies would leave a small preserve in the area north of the Kiel Canal to be controlled by a German government. Himmler concluded that the hammer now had to replace the sword: everyone had to devote himself or herself to rebuilding railways and industries. The police had to fade into the background or disappear, Himmler said. Information about this speech does not appear in biographies of Himmler.
There is no indication in this file whether Kopkow took part in postwar intelligence work for any intelligence agency. The fact that the CIA maintained a file on him, however, suggests either that he was of intelligence interest or that the information he previously gave was considered still of interest. According to a statement given by another Gestapo official who knew Kopkow (a statement not contained in this file), British intelligence hid Kopkow and then used him. There are separate indications that Kopkow surfaced later as an official in the Gehlen organization.
Wilfried Krallert: The name file on Wilfried Krallert is a small one, consisting partly of barely legible copies of Krallert's SS personnel file, which has been available elsewhere (Berlin Document Center) for many years. Born in 1912, Krallert studied history and geography at the University of Vienna and became involved in the Austrian Nazi Party. In his capacity as historian, he was invited to attend the planned Nazi assassination of Austrian Chancellor Dollfuss, but through a slip-up, he missed out on the event. A cartographer and ethnographic expert on southeast Europe, he worked for the Foreign Intelligence Branch (Amt VI) of the RSHA and headed the Austrian Wannsee Institute. As Amt VIG Gruppenleiter, he also served as secretary of the so-called Kuratorium (III/VI), which coordinated domestic and foreign intelligence research. At the end of the war he was arrested and interned by the British, who interrogated him and eventually released him in 1948.
There were reports that French intelligence used him thereafter, and the Gehlen organization picked him up in 1952. Then he may have been associated with the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the West German equivalent of the FBI. Documents in 1963-64 indicate some CIA concern about Krallert's wartime activities (and presumably his susceptibility to Soviet pressure), but the file ends on an inconclusive note.
Wilhelm Krichbaum: The name file on Wilhelm Krichbaum, former head of the Counter Intelligence Police of the Wehrmacht (Geheime Feldpolizei) in Nazi Germany and a district chief within the Gehlen organization, contains mostly documents (from the early 1950s) connecting Krichbaum with Curt Ponger and Otto Verber. Ponger and Verber, brothers-in law, were Viennese Jews who emigrated from Austria and arrived in the U.S. in 1938. Both apparently joined the Communist Party of the U. S. before the American entry into the war, and both later served in the war as Army intelligence officers. At the end of the war both men obtained positions with the staff of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, and Ponger interrogated war crimes suspects and witnesses, including SS men such as Krichbaum and Wilhelm Hoettl. Later Ponger and Verber took up residence in the Soviet sector of Vienna, where they established the Central European Literary Agency as a front for espionage. The CIC placed them under surveillance for a number of years; they were finally arrested in 1953. Krichbaum had a number of contacts with both men, and he refrained from describing those contacts to officials of the Gehlen organization and the CIA. A 1963 document, apparently stemming from the BND, concluded that Krichbaum too was working for the Soviets as early as 1950.
See Detailed Report.
Friedrich Panzinger: The name file on Friedrich Panzinger covers mostly events between 1956, when the former SS colonel and high Gestapo official was released from Soviet prison and came to West Germany, and 1959, when he committed suicide.
Born on February 1, 1903, Panzinger became a specialist on Communist espionage-he was for a time Kopkow's superior (see Kopkow listing above). He also served as commander of the Security Police and SD in the Baltic states in 1943, a time when inmates of concentration camps there were liquidated. At the end of the war he went into hiding, but was arrested in Linz, Austria, in 1946, and imprisoned by the Soviet Union. The Soviets released Panzinger in 1956, giving him a secret mission to penetrate the BND, where some of his former colleagues were employed. Panzinger immediately reported this mission to the West German authorities, who then used him as a double agent. Apart from trying to keep both sides satisfied, Panzinger had another difficulty-the possibility that the Bavarian government would try him for war crimes. Panzinger's intelligence superiors quietly interceded with the Bavarian Justice Ministry so that he would not be arrested, but the single officer at the Ministry who had been informed on the matter was on leave when the order for Panzinger's arrest came. He committed suicide in his cell. His motives for this act remained unclear-perhaps he was depressed by the prospect of another term in prison. But the file indicates that in the reviews of the case afterwards West German intelligence authorities could not determine with any confidence whether Panzinger had ever been loyal to the West.
Martin Sandberger: The name file on Martin Sandberger merely consists of brief notations about his wartime activity as commander of a mobile killing unit (Einsatzkommando 1a of Einsatzgruppe A) in the Baltic states. There is no indication from the file whether Sandberger, who was interrogated by his captors in 1945 and was later tried at Nuremberg in the Einsatzgruppen trial (an American proceeding), was involved in postwar intelligence work. Although sentenced to death at Nuremberg, Sandberger was given clemency and was released from prison in 1953.
Franz Six: Like Sandberger, Franz Six was a former Einsatzkommando officer convicted at Nuremberg and sentenced to twenty years in prison. Six had also for a time headed the Ideological Research branch (Amt VII) of the RSHA, writing about Jews and Freemasons as enemies of the Third Reich. Later he also held a position in the Foreign Ministry. After his early release from prison in 1952 Six was reported to have met with other former Nazi officials. In 1956 Six reportedly owned a West German publishing firm. At the time of the Eichmann trial Six's name surfaced in memos about those who SD officials who had worked (before the war) with Eichmann. Later memos in the file suggest that Six had joined the Gehlen organization sometime during the mid-1950s and was associated with a known Soviet agent. In 1963 the East German media charged that Gehlen had recently transferred a number of former SS and SD officials to camouflaged positions in order to diminish criticism that he was using war criminals. Six was named (along with Emil Augsburg and Franz Goering-see above listings).
Hans Sommer: The small name file on Hans Sommer, a Gestapo official in Norway and France, indicates that after 1945 Sommer became involved in intelligence work in Spain for a government whose identity is redacted, but in the opinion of the historians was probably France. At the beginning of 1950 the Gehlen organization recruited him for use in counterespionage: at first his reports were judged useful. In 1953 he was dropped from the Gehlen organization for faulty reporting.
Guido Zimmer: The name file on Guido Zimmer reveals many German intelligence activities in northern Italy toward the end of World War II. A key document is an annotated translation of Zimmer's notebooks, the original written in German shorthand, covering events from May 1944 until March 1945. These notebooks and the file generally contain new information about the early surrender of German forces in northern Italy. Allen Dulles's coup in arranging a German surrender on May 2, 1945, to which he gave the code name Operation Sunrise, added luster to his accomplishments as head of OSS in Switzerland: this story was revealed in 1947 magazine articles (in the Saturday Evening Post). Although the purpose of such publicity was probably to counteract tendentious and inaccurate Italian accounts of the surrender of German forces in Italy (see discussion above under Dollmann), stories about Dulles's wartime successes helped him later to become director of the CIA. Therefore, new evidence about the background to Operation Sunrise is historically quite significant.
Guido Zimmer, born in 1911, joined the SS and SD in 1936 and the Foreign Intelligence branch of the RSHA in 1940. After the Allied invasion of Italy in September 1943, Germany rushed troops and SS and police into Italy and took control of most of the country: then killings and deportations of Jews began. Zimmer was assigned to Genoa, where he tracked Jews down, then to Milan, where his team, under the command of the infamous SS Colonel Walter Rauff, (who had earlier helped design gassing vans to poison Jews and other victims) seized Jewish property. Zimmer obtained political information from abroad and built up of a network of agents who could supply Germany with intelligence if the Allies overran Italy. Like Rauff, Zimmer was involved both with war crimes and with espionage in Italy.
In November 1944 Zimmer suggested contacting Allied intelligence in Switzerland through an Italian industrialist known to him, Baron Luigi Parrilli. Rauff and other SD officials approved the German approach. High SD authorities in Berlin also concurred. After some logistical delays and the naming of the mission as "Operation Wool," Parrilli, who also had ties to the Italian partisans fighting against German occupation, went to Switzerland in mid-February 1945. His mission was to convince the Western Allies of the need to prevent the complete destruction of Germany and northern Italy, which would leave much of Europe open to the Soviet Union. Parrilli's discussions with OSS officials prepared the way for March-April visits to Switzerland by Zimmer, Dollmann, Harster, and above all, Karl Wolff, Himmler's one-time deputy and at this time Highest SS and Police Leader for Italy.
All these SS officials had very personal stakes in earning American goodwill before the end of the war-they were all severely implicated in the Holocaust, the theft of Jewish property, and the seizure of Italian property as well. They could not simply surrender to Dulles, because German army Field Marshal Albert Kesselring and General Heinrich Vietinghoff controlled the German military in northern Italy. After many delays and much confusion, however, an arrangement between Dulles and Wolff took effect on May 2: the German military surrender in northern Italy preceded the overall end of the war in Europe by five days.
Dulles got some of the public relations benefits of Operation Sunrise. But, as an SSU official noted in a memo written in 1946, based on the evidence in Zimmer's classified file, Operation Sunrise was at least as much Operation Wool-that is, a German initiative.
Operation Wool also gave Zimmer direct personal benefits after the war. Zimmer became Parrilli's secretary and applied for Italian citizenship. Dulles intervened to try to protect him against prosecution, on the grounds that he had served American interests. Memos in the file suggest that Army officials and also James Angleton of OSS (and later CIA) were unhappy about favorable American treatment of Zimmer, but they at best managed to neutralize those who wanted to do something positive for him. Zimmer contacted Gehlen in December 1948, and he developed ties with former SS officers in 1950. The file does not clarify how deep his involvement in postwar German intelligence activity was.
See Detailed Report.
The efforts of the IWG and the CIA have produced significant additions to the historical record. These declassified documents will be used for many years by scholars and others interested in the issue of war crimes and in the treatment of suspected war criminals, as well as by those interested in post-World War II intelligence activities in Europe.
The IWG's historical researchers did not find major revelations in the CIA files of the six most prominent individuals: Hitler, Barbie, Eichmann, Mengele, Mueller, and Waldheim. All of them have been the subjects of many books and articles drawn from a vast array of sources. CIA files are not fundamentally inconsistent with what responsible authors have already made known through years of intensive research and careful analysis.
At the same time, the opening of CIA records on these six men has made it possible to effectively eliminate certain suspicions, speculation, or unsupported claims about these individuals. The notion, for example, that Heinrich Mueller survived the war and became an intelligence resource for the United States government cannot survive careful scrutiny of the CIA's Mueller file. This negative finding is all the more convincing in that CIA analysts, in documents designed solely for internal use, could not themselves determine conclusively whether Mueller had died in Berlin in early May 1945.
The CIA's Counterintelligence Brief entitled "The Hunt for Gestapo Mueller," written in December 1971, includes the following observations:
Most great counterintelligence feats ... are the result of dedicated and endless investigation. Such searches cost a great deal. They also tend to generate vested interests and psychological phenomena-even delusions-which can cause an operation to continue long after it should have been terminated. Officers confronted with the decision as to whether and how far to follow a given trail tend to be torn between the fear of missing a big opportunity and the fear they may be pursuing a mirage or wasting time. Others become obsessed with a search. Publicity hounds, amateur sleuths, writers, fabricators, and provocateurs in the employ of interested parties, spread rumours and confuse matters still further. Moreover, as events recede into the background of history what was (or seemed to be) self-evident to contemporaries becomes mysterious and confusing. Records disappear, memories change, and those who study the events tend to evaluate them in the modern instead of contemporary context.
The search for Mueller provides a good illustration of these phenomena, which are still pertinent to the search for Heinrich Mueller in 2001.
There is no simple explanation or single formula to explain what happened to all the individuals in the second tier discussed in this report. Their activities during the war varied greatly. Wilhelm Harster was one of the worst perpetrators of the Holocaust, for example, while Eugen Dollmann may never personally have committed a war crime. It is logical that their postwar fates would vary, and they did vary to some extent.
A substantial number of the second-tier individuals studied here, however, committed serious crimes on behalf of the Nazi regime. In the immediate postwar period most of them received light punishment or no punishment at all. Part of the reason was that American and western intelligence agencies considered them useful assets in the Cold War. The fact that the Soviet Union also used former Nazi officials to spy against the West does not justify the West's protection of actual or suspected war criminals.
Emil Augsburg's case was not an extreme one in this group. Augsburg had substantive information about Soviet intelligence activities and spoke fluent Russian and Polish. After first being hired by CIC, he became an important player in two other postwar Western intelligence organizations in spite of concerns that he had carried out war crimes and that he might be vulnerable to Soviet pressure or recruitment because of Soviet knowledge of his wartime activities. The irony was that in seeking effective intelligence assets against the Soviet Union and settling upon men such as Augsburg, the CIC, the CIA, and the Gehlen organization made the West more vulnerable to Soviet espionage.
All these individuals lacked the kind of moral and political compass that would have helped them recognize the nature of the Nazi regime and prevented them from working for it. Not surprisingly, some of them also made dubious moral and political choices in the postwar period.