Secret Files Show Top Nazis Worked for CIA
by TBR NEWS
The recent release of formerly secret CIA files is revealing the names of top Nazi intelligence and counterintelligence personnel who worked for both the CIA and U.S. Army Intelligence after the end of the Second World War.
The CIA- controlled ‘Gehlen Organization,’ which later became the German BND, was run by Colonel James Critchfield of the CIA until 1955 and this organization is now revealed to have employed hundreds of Nazi officials wanted for war crimes.
The first person on the list was former SS-Oberführer or Senior Colonel, Willi Krichbaum .Krichbaum was an associate of Heinrich Müller, head of the Gestapo and a later CIA agent, and later the Deputy Chief of the Gestapo. Krichbaum was in charge of the deportation of the Hungarian Jews in 1944—a deportation that took nearly 300,000 lives. Krichbaum is also the man who shot Raoul Wallenberg. The Geheime Feld Polizei or the Secret Field Police which Krichbaum had commanded was responsible for all manner of atrocities, including the killing of Soviet prisoners of war.
Although Russia was not a member of the Geneva Convention, Germany was a signatory and this Convention forbade the execution of prisoners of war. Krichbaum was not only Gehlen’s chief recruiter, mostly of former Gestapo and SD people, but also informed Müller of the inner workings of the Gehlen organization which was considered a highly secret American intelligence resource. Krichbaum continued to work for Gehlen, according to an interview with Colonel Critchfield, until at least 1956 when the West German government took over control of the group.
The second name on the list was SS-Standartenführer or Colonel Walter Rauff who had a most interesting career. In 1942, Walter Rauff was chief of the SD units attached to the AOK Afrika, Rommels’ Afrikakorps. In 1943, after the collapse of the DAK, Rauff worked in Italy as the chief of the SD in Milan. In this capacity, Rauff was involved with SS General Karl Wolff’s negotiations to surrender the German troops in Italy in 1945. This was a pet project of Allen Dulles and was called “Operation Sunrise.” During the course of the negotiations, Dulles became very friendly with Rauff. Consequently, as the new Gehlen organization was formed, Dulles was instrumental in acquiring Rauff for an advisory position with them.
In 1941, Rauff had been involved with the SD anti-partisan activities in the captured areas of the Soviet Union. Rauff conceived, constructed and personally supervised the use of gas vans. These vans had the exhaust pipes vented inside the rear compartments which were then filled with Jews who died of carbon monoxide poisoning. While it spared some SD men from the guilt associated with murdering large numbers of civilians, it did have certain negative aspects—the collection of bodies in the back of the van. When the rear door was opened to remove the dead, the stench proved to be a serious occupational hazard. An ingenious man, Rauff had a special fitting constructed that helped alleviate this unfortunate problem. A lengthy file on Rauff’s gas vans is stored at the National Archives.
At the end of the war, Rauff was imprisoned in Italy. He later emerged in Germany, happily working for the Gehlen group. Unfortunately for him, his presence became known to the wrong people, and he found it necessary to move to Syria where he continued to represent Gehlen’s interests. As the stress of discovery there became too much for Gehlen to bear, it was decided that Rauff should move to Chile. His friend and later protector, Allen Dulles, ordered that he be given new identity papers and funds for travel and relocation. While in Chile, the loyal Rauff continued to provide intelligence reports to Gehlen and his other protectors.
Another senior Gehlen aide was former SS-Oberführer Dr. Franz Six. Six was an intellectual academic, Professor of Political Science at Königsberg University. Six joined the SS on April 20, 1935 and became a member of the SD. In 1941, Six was in command of an Einsatzgruppe and was directly responsible for the murder of the Jews in the Russian city of Smolensk. Following this military triumph, Six was made the head of Section VII of the RSHA. In 1943 he was sent to the Foreign Ministry where he was in charge of the Cultural Division. In 1946, Dr. Six was an early member of the Gehlen organization but was eventually tracked down and his supporters were unable to prevent his standing trial in April of 1948 for his actions. He received a sentence of 25 years. However, US authorities interceded on his behalf and on September 30, 1952, Six was released and at once returned to his duties with Gehlen.
SS-Sturmbannführer (Major) Alois Brunner was a Gestapo official who worked directly under Adolf Eichmann in the deportation department. Ambitious and energetic, Brunner was an instigator of the notorious razzia carried out in France in 1942 against the Jews of Paris. So outraged was his putative chief, Gestapo chief Heinrich Müller, that Brunner was transferred to Sofia in Bulgaria. He was sentenced to death by a French court, in absentia because Brunner had gone to Damascus, Syria, as Gehlen’s resident agent. He used a number of names including “Georg Fischer” and “Waldo Munk.” Brunner was later made a part of a CIA-directed program to train the security forces of Abdel Nasser and Israeli agents attempted to blow him up with a letter bomb but failed. In addition to the French death sentence, Brunner was also on the wanted list of the CIC.
Probably the worst offender of all was SS-Gruppenführer Odlio Globocnik, once the Gauleiter of Vienna until fired by Hitler for theft and pillage. Globocnik went on to run the Lublin camps in Poland where he stole millions more and was responsible for the gassing of large numbers of Jews and Poles. His stolen millions saved him from prosecution. After working for a time for the British, he eventually ended up as an American resource, also in Damascus. The name of the program that sent him there was called “Argos.”
Like its Biblical counterpart, the 20th century road to Damascus was traveled by converts to the new religion of the West.
There were many more individuals connected with the Gestapo or SD who openly worked for Gehlen including SS-Standartenführer Frederich Panziger, another old friend of ‘Gestapo Müller’s (also a top CIA employee) who had married into his family. Panziger was not responsible for wartime atrocities but was a key player in the break-up of the Rote Kapelle, a Russian spy ring considered to be of great value to Gehlen.
If retired Lt. Colonel Hermann Baun had thought to damage his nemesis Gehlen, he was in error. His lengthy and detailed report only made Gehlen more popular with the US intelligence agency that ran him and, through them, with the US-controlled puppet government of West Germany—a government that did exactly what it was told and clicked its heels together while doing it.
What did the CIA and those in the more elevated US positions of command know about the flawed membership of their prize German possession? Was the quickly suppressed Baun report the only indicator that had surfaced between 1948 and 1956? If there was any substantive material on this subject, it certainly would never be made available to anyone and would, undoubtedly, be sequestered in some remote place in Arizona or perhaps even somewhere on the grounds of an academic institution closer to hand.
Correspondence and conversations with colonel James Critchfield, once the CIA overseer of the Gehlen organization during its tenure as an American agency, has shed considerable light on the subject.
Critchfield initially acknowledged awareness of the use by the CIA-run Gehlen agency of a number of the individuals encountered earlier in this chapter. However, the Colonel, now living in comfortable retirement in Williamsburg, Virginia, stated that aside from Dr. Six, he had no knowledge of any of the allegations of war crimes against his former employees, which he termed “outrageous.” He stated finally that Krichbaum, whom he had earlier claimed to have played a “very important role in our history” was certainly not a member of the SS, not Müller’s Deputy Chief of the Gestapo, not involved with the deportation and deaths of the Hungarian Jews, and could never have shot Raoul Wallenberg. The membership of Krichbaum in the SS, his rank, and his position inside the Gestapo organization is absolutely beyond doubt. All of Willi Krichbaum’s official history, as that of the others included in this study is presently available for public inspection in the US National Archives records in Washington.
Also beyond doubt is the participation of a significant number of unsavory individuals in the CIA-controlled Gehlen organization and no question whatsoever as to the atrocities they committed while members of the SD and Gestapo.
From 1945 on, the US had control of the Berlin Document Center, which was the repository for all SS, Gestapo and SD personnel files. US investigators were required to check the backgrounds of all potential German employees against their records. In addition, CROWCASS (Central Registry of War Crimes and Security Suspects) files contained the names of suspected or wanted war criminals. The CROWCASS information was widely circulated to American agencies, including the CIA, which were in a position to hire or come into contact with such people. These files, which contained a great deal of potentially damaging information on German nationals, were turned over to Gehlen in 1948, no doubt to assist his recruitment drives.
When pressed, Colonel Critchfield acknowledged the existence of the background and personal history files and dossiers but averred that the investigation of his employees had been a matter for the Central Registry of the CIC. When asked if he had ever been advised by this agency that many of his senior functionaries were on the wanted lists, Critchfield gave no response.
Intelligence agencies have a tendency to place former military personnel in positions of responsibility precisely because they are trained to obey, without questioning, orders from superiors.
A very significant number of the German nationals belonging to the CIA-controlled Gehlen Organization have been discovered to have belonged to either the Gestapo or the RSHA, the Reichssicheitshauptamt. This was the blanket organization for all German State and Party intelligence and counterintelligence agencies.
The fact that an indivual was assigned to the RSHA does not mean that they were involved in anything more sinister than clerical work in an office. But included in this list are a number of individuals whose wartime record indicates their activities were of a criminal nature and their inclusion in any U.S. sponsored and controlled agency has no justification whatsoever.
The American members of this group (the Gehlen Organization was entirely controlled by the U.S. CIA from 1948 through 1956) will be included in a subsequent study. The listing here of some, and it must be emphasized that this treatment covers only the most serious offenders, is alphabetical and not by rank.
Many, including Heinrich Müller, head of the Gestapo, initially worked for Swiss intelligence as a Soviet expert and was taken over by the CIA’s Gehlen organization in 1948 and subsequently sent to Washngton where he ran a department on Soviet espionage organizations.
SS-Sturmbannführer Emil Augsberg, SS No. 307 925. Born May 1, 1905. Subject was a member of the RSHA, the adjutant to SS-Gruppenführer Globocnik who was SS and Police Leader in the Polish district of Lublin. He was the head of the concentration camps of Treblinka and Belzec. Augsburg later was a member of the Wannsee Institute in Berlin where he was a specialist in Polish problems. He ended the war on the personal staff of Heinrich Himmler.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Fritz Baader, SS No. 278 278. Born April 9, 1909. Dr. Baader was on the staff of the Senior SS and Police Leader in Hungary.
SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Barnewald, SS No. 6 469. Born January 10, 1896. Subject was on the staff of the Concentration Camp, Buchenwald.
SS-Sturmbannführer Ernst Biberstein, SS No. 272 692. Born February 15, 1899. Biberstein was a member of the RSHA. He also commanded Einsatzkommando 6 of Einsatzgruppe C. The Einsatzgruppen were composed of RSHA personnel and operated behind the front lines in warfare against partisans. The activities of these groups often far exceeded their briefs and many of them were responsible for dreadful atrocities against partisans, civilians and Jews. Biberstein’s activities were such as to secure a death sentence by an Allied court after the war, a sentence that was commuted in 1951, permitting him to work for the Gehlen organization.
SS-Sturmbannführer Ludwig Boehme, SS No.249 802. Born August 21, 1898. Subject was on the staff of the Concentration Camp at Auschwitz.
SS-Brigadeführer Christoph Diehm, SS No.28 461. Born March 1, 1892. Diehm was chief of staff of the Kaminiski Brigade. This unit was commanded by a Russian named Kaminiski and was involved in fighting partisans on the East Front. The unit took part in the fighting in Warsaw in 1944 where its behavior was so brutal that it was ordered disbanded and its leader shot.
SS-Sturmbannführer Karl Döring, SS No 67 310. Born February 5, 1903. Subject was on the staff of the Concentration Camp at Dachau. He was later the postwar West German Ambassador to the Cameroons.
SS-Sturmbannführer Dr.Max Eberl, SS No. 680 352, Born December 26,1892. Dr. Eberl was a member of the RSHA and was involved with euthanasia at Treblinka Concentration Camp under Globocnik.
SS-Standartenführer Hans Eichele, SS No. 21 640. Born May 1, 1901. Eichele was Standortkommandat at the Concentration Camp, Dachau
SS-Gruppenführer Odilio Globocnik, SS No, 292 776. Born April21, 1904. Globocnik was Senior SS and Police Leader of the Adriatic Coastal area and previous, the SS and Police Leader, Lublin. He also ran the Lublin concentrations camps, Treblinka and Sobribor.
SS-Sturmbannführer Walter Huppenkoethen, SS No.126 785. Born December 31, 1907. Huppenkoethen was a member of the RSHA and Commanding Officer of the SD & Police in Lublin and Cracow (Poland). He was tried after the war for his activities.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Erich Isselhorst, SS No.267 313. Born February 5, 1906. Subject was Commander of the Police and SD at Strassburg and also Inspector of the SD, Stuttgart . He was also Commanding Officer of Einsatzkommando 8 of Einsatzgruppe A.
SS-Gruppenführerr Heinrich Müller, SS No. 107 043. Born April 29, 1900. Müller was head of the RSHA Amt IV (Gestapo) from 1935-1945.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Oswald Poche, SS No. 267 316. Born January 28, 1908. Poche was commanding officer of the Security Police and SD, Tromsö, Norway.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Albert Rapp, SS No.280 341. Born November 16, 1908. Subject was Inspector, Security Police and SD, Braunschwieg and commanding officer of Einsatzkommando 7, Einsatzgruppe B.
SS-Standartenführer Walter Rauff, SS No. 290 947. Born June 19, 1906. Rauff was a member of RSHA and with Senior SS and Police Commander, Italy (Karl Wolff). Rauff was responsible for the construction of the gas vans and eventually had to move to South America to avoid prosecution.
SS-Oberführer Dr. Franz Six, SS No.107 480. Born August 12, 1909. Dr. Six was a member of RSHA, and Commanding Officer of Einzatzgruppe Vorkommando Moscow. Six was an early member of the Gehlen Organization, but was finally arrested and tried for his activities in 1948. He was sentenced to life in prison, but released in 1951. Six worked for Porsche and Gehlen after his release.
SS-Standartenführer Eugen Steimle, SS No. 272 575. Born December 8, 1909. Subject was a member of RSHA and commanding officer of Einsatzgruppen B and later C. He was subsequently convicted by an Allied court and sentenced to a long term in prison, but released in 1951.
SS-Sturmbannführer Alois Thaler, SS No.347 142. Born November 28, 1909.
Subject was a member of RSHA and was Senior SS & Police Commander, Italy.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Dr. Ernst Weimann, SS No. 263 985. Born August 5, 1906. Commanding officer, Security Police & SD, Bergen, Norway
SS-Sturmbannführer Kurt Weisse, SS. No. 563 159. Born October 11, 1909.
Subject was a member of SS Regiment Dirlewanger. Oscar Dirlewanger was a convicted child molester and friend of Himmler. His unit was made up of paroled convicts and used to fight the partisans. Like the Kaminiski unit, their record was so appalling that they were withdrawn from combat by Hitler’s order. Dirlewanger vanished at the end of the war
SS-Sturmbannführer Eugen Wenner, SS No. 200 581. Born November 15, 1912. Wenner was a member of RSHA and was with the Senior SS and Police Commander, Italy.
SS-Obersturmbannführer Wilhelm Wiebens, SS No.16 617. Born March 17, 1906. Subject was a member of RSHA and Commanding Officer of Einzatzkommando 9 under Einsatzgruppe B.
These names represent only a small percentage (less than 4%) of the names found on a listing of all personnel of the Gehlen Organization from 1945 onwards. These are only the names of higher ranking officers in the SS/SD and Police. The names of many lower rank SS/SD and Police members are still being verified as of this writing, but the names of thousands of Croatians, Slovenes, Balts and Russians are impossible to locate in existing files so they are excluded from this study.
The international uproar attendant upon the discovery that Klaus Barbie was gainfully employed by the U.S. CIC after the war, even after it became well known that Barbie was wanted for his Gestapo activities in Lyon, France, would pale to insignificance when the full impact of the Gehlen Organization’s complete list becomes a matter of public record.
The Gehlen group was controlled completely by the U.S. Army from 1945 until 1948. It was then taken over and controlled directly by the Central Intelligence Agency under the command of Colonel James Critchfield until 1955-56, when the group was taken over by the Federal Government of Germany and renamed the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) or State Intelligence Service.
The CIA’s Top Nazi Employees: Gestapo Boss worked in D.C.!
CIA NAZI FILES RELEASED
from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
Volume 2006, Issue No. 67
June 7, 2006
Some 27,000 pages of Central Intelligence Agency records regarding operational relationships between the CIA and former Nazis following World War II were disclosed yesterday at the National Archives.
The release was announced by the Interagency Working Group (IWG) on Nazi War Crimes, which was created by a 1998 law. The IWG, which has previously overseen the declassification of eight million war crimes-related records, is chaired by former Information Security Oversight Office Director Steven Garfinkel.
The latest release almost failed to occur due to CIA recalcitrance.
“In 2002, the CIA declared that it was no longer going to follow the criteria observed since 1999 for all the participating agencies in the IWG declassification project [and that] henceforth it would produce files relating only to individuals whom we could prove had personally engaged in war crimes,” recalled IWG member Richard Ben-Veniste.
“For 18 months the IWG tried to persuade CIA that its unilateral redefinition of its obligation was erroneous and unacceptable,” he said.
This obstacle was eventually overcome thanks to the intervention of the sponsors of the original legislation — Senators Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)– and the effective support of Porter Goss, who had just become the new CIA Director.
CIA spokesman Stanley Moskowitz said the Agency was now committed to full disclosure regarding the historical record of CIA’s connections to Nazis.
He said that when the declassification process is completed at the end of this year, “we will have withheld nothing of substance.”
(Mr. Moskowitz himself was once the object of unwanted disclosure when, to the dismay of Agency officials, he was publicly identified as the CIA station chief in Tel Aviv. See “CIA Station Chief in Israel Unmasked,” Secrecy & Government Bulletin, Issue 75, November 1998.)
“The relevance of today’s disclosures [on Nazi war crimes] to the issues this Nation faces today is striking,” suggested IWG member Thomas H. Baer.
The question the documents raise, he said, is: “To what extent, and under what circumstances, can our Government rely upon intelligence supplied by mass murderers and those complicit in their crimes?”
Initial assessments of the new disclosures were prepared by four historians for the Interagency Working Group, each of which includes several of the newly declassified documents. See:
“New Information on Cold War CIA Stay-Behind Operations in Germany and on the Adolf Eichmann Case” by Timothy Naftali, University of Virginia:
“Gustav Hilger: From Hitler’s Foreign Office to CIA Consultant” by Robert Wolfe, former archivist at the U.S. National Archives:
“Tscherim Soobzokov” by Richard Breitman, American University:
“CIA Files Relating to Heinz Felfe, SS Officer and KGB Spy” by Norman J.W. Goda, Ohio University:
For more information on the Interagency Working Group on Nazi War Crimes see:
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