Press Release · Friday, April 27, 2001
Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group
|Thomas H. Baer,
Richard Ben-Veniste, Public Member
John E. Collingwood, Federal Bureau of Investigation
Elizabeth Holtzman, Public Member
|Steven Garfinkel (Chair),
National Archives and Records Administration
Stewart F. Aly, Department of Defense
William H. Leary, National Security Council
David P. Holmes, Central Intelligence Agency
|Paul A. Shapiro,
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Eli M. Rosenbaum, Department of Justice
Marc J. Susser, Department of State
April 27, 2001
Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act Prompts Rare Release of CIA "Name Files"
Washington, D.C Central Intelligence Agency files of Klaus Barbie, Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele, and other Nazis known or suspected to have committed wartime crimes have been declassified and opened to the public for the first time. The historic opening of the CIA "Name Files" comes as a result of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998, which requires all federal agencies to identify and declassify records related to war crimes and criminals of the Nazi government and its allies.
The Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG) announced the records opening, describing it as a significant step toward full disclosure of the dark history of the Nazi regime and postwar involvement by the United States with former Nazi officials. IWG Chair Steven Garfinkel said, "I have worked with the CIA on declassification issues for more than 20 years, and, in my experience, the level of cooperation that the IWG has received is unprecedented. That support includes the personal commitment of Director George Tenet. These disclosures add significant new information about this most critical juncture of world and American history."
CIA name files are rarely opened to the public. The files contain information from diverse sources on individuals the CIA considers significant. They include published materials, declassified documents, interrogations, confidential reports from agents or informants, and CIA analytical reports. The 20 files in this opening are the first of several hundred related to Nazi war crimes and criminals that will be made public by the IWG.
Six prominent figures are included in this opening: Adolf Hitler, Klaus Barbie, Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele, Heinrich Mueller, and Kurt Waldheim. These files provide details to already well documented bodies of historical knowledge regarding these men.
Also being opened-as directed by the Act-are the files of other individuals with Nazi pasts who were used by the United States, Soviet Union, United Kingdom, and other nations as intelligence resources, and others who may have been used. The individuals represented by these files are Emil Augsburg, Eugen Dollmann, Franz Goering, Wilhelm Harster, Wilhelm Hoettl, Michel Kedia, Horst Kopkow, Wilfried Krallert, Wilhelm Krichbaum, Friedrich Panzinger, Martin Sandberger, Franz Six, Hans Sommer, Guido Zimmer. These files add to our understanding of American intelligence during the Cold War and dramatize the contemporary thinking that led to alliances with known or suspected war criminals. Some of the lesser-known individuals were involved in the Gehlen Organization, a post-war intelligence unit run by one of Hitler's generals, Reinhard Gehlen, that was used and partly funded by the United States to gather intelligence on the Soviet Union.
Release of the Gehlen-related records follows the CIA's acknowledgement in September 2000 that during the 1950s the Agency had an intelligence relationship with the former German general and subsequent head of West Germany's foreign intelligence service.
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.
The IWG Historical Staff concludes that the files being opened provide evidence of the following:
- The CIA was unable to determine whether Gestapo Chief Heinrich Mueller survived the War, but strong evidence suggests he did not.
- The notion that Heinrich Mueller became an intelligence resource for the United States cannot survive careful scrutiny of the CIA's Mueller file.
- Believing that Dr. Josef Mengele was still alive, the U. S. Marshals Service proposed a covert operation in 1985 to locate and apprehend him in Paraguay. (Mengele died in Brazil in 1979.)
- Former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim was not an intelligence resource for the United States, and the CIA could not conclude that the Soviet Union used or blackmailed Waldheim with information about his Nazi past.
- To end the War early in Northern Italy, OSS official Allen Dulles conducted secret negotiations in Switzerland with German officials who had committed war crimes. These Nazis used their contacts with Dulles in efforts to protect themselves after the war.
- Many lesser-known Nazis committed serious crimes, but in the postwar period received light punishment, no punishment at all, or received compensation because western intelligence agencies considered them useful assets in the Cold War.
The newly released CIA name files will be available to the media and the public beginning at 12 PM, April 27, 2001, in the Central Research Room, National Archives at College Park, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD. Those who wish to view the files must first obtain a National Archives Researcher Identification Card, available in Room 1000 at the College Park Building.
Since 1999, the IWG has overseen the identification, declassification review, and release of formerly classified U. S. Government records as required by the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. Under the auspices of the IWG, U.S. Government agencies have declassified more than 3 million pages to date. These records will take their place among the many millions of pages of related documents previously made available for research in the National Archives. In its recent passage of the Japanese Imperial Government Disclosure Act of 2000, Congress endorsed the IWG's effort to finish the European war crimes phase and move into the Japanese and Far East phase and thus complete the full task set forth in the Disclosure Act. The IWG website provides additional background: www.archives.gov/iwg/.
For press information, contact Giuliana Bullard, 703-532-1477, or Susan Cooper at the National Archives and Records Administration, at 301-837-1700.
This page was last reviewed on January 30, 2013.
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