The Ex-Nazis Who Helped the CIA & Mossad

From New Dawn Special Issue Vol 13 No 3 (June 2019)

You’re unlikely to find him featured front and centre in high school history textbooks, but Reinhard Gehlen was an important and complex historical figure who had a surprisingly large impact on the history of the 20th century. He’s also the key to unlocking a very unsettling trend in history: supposedly sworn enemies working together on a dime if the benefits outweigh the costs. 

Reinhard Gehlen was recruited by the United States after WWII.

Gehlen was a storied historical figure of the Cold War and a man – to be precise, a former Nazi – of many talents. He headed intelligence gathering on the Eastern Front during his career as a major general in the Wehrmacht during the Second World War, which ironically turned out to be exceedingly useful to the West.

It took Gehlen only three months after the total defeat of the Third Reich in June 1945 to land a job in America. He was a consummate risk-taker and successfully pitched himself as the perfect man to help the United States stand up to the USSR after the war because of his trove of knowledge on Stalin’s state. What he offered was a vast network of former Nazi spies and intelligence assets that would fill America’s arrow quiver in fighting the looming Soviet empire.

Gehlen was flown out of Germany to Fort Hunt, Virginia, in contravention of Allied promises at the Yalta Conference that they would hand over any German officers they got hold of to the Soviets if those officers had worked in the eastern theatre of the war. The next year, in 1946, Gehlen returned to Germany and headed up “the Org,” or Gehlen Organisation. He boosted US spy operations and NATO in their covert operations and information war against the USSR. The Org included numerous former Nazis and SS men, some of whom were war criminals like Alois Brunner who sent hundreds of thousands of Jews to their death in the concentration camps, and SS major general and Jew-killer Emil Augsburg who was listed in 1952 internal CIA documents as an aficionado of “good food and wine” with an “unprejudiced mind” and honest temperament.

Reinhard Gehlen as a Wehrmacht Major General in 1945.
After the war, Gehlen convinced the Americans to build a spy service from his old team. He was given the new name “Hans Holbein” and this ID card.

Gehlen later became the first president of West Germany’s spy agency, the BND, from 1956 to 1968. The BND employed an estimated minimum of 100 former Gestapo and SS officers, including former SS head Heinrich Himmler’s daughter and lifelong Nazi supporter Gudrun Burwitz from 1961 to 1963. They also hired “Butcher of Lyon” SS torturer Klaus Barbie who had already been working for the US as an anti-communist spy from his hiding place in Bolivia by the late 1940s. Moral scruples were not exactly the order of the day at this juncture of history, to put it mildly.

Operation Paperclip

More broadly, the US initiative to quietly import legions of former Nazi scientists into the US was going on behind-the-scenes and became instrumental in the success of many American endeavours, including the NASA space program. Some may be aware of Operation Paperclip, depicted in films such as The Good German, which was a key initiative of the US intelligence community for recruiting top Nazi scientists and relocating them stateside. Its purpose was to give the United States the edge over the Soviet Union militarily and in the Space Race – including the development of lethal chemical and biological weapons. Around 1,600 Nazi scientists and engineers – as well as their families – were brought over. The United States working with the Nazis is not the stuff of wild-eyed theories, but a matter of historical fact.

Dr Werner von Braun at White Sands, New Mexico, November 1946.

After the war, Americans ransacked Germany to find intelligence and came across research and plans that they desperately wanted to possess and master, including a weaponised form of the bubonic plague that Hitler’s scientists had been developing. Paperclip started slow, with under 100 scientists brought in, but steadily picked up steam as coveted Nazi scientists had their records of atrocities wiped clean by highly-placed figures in the US intelligence community. It was a top-secret program run by the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA), hidden even from the US Department of Justice’s special investigations office, who were deceived by their own government as they tried to pursue Nazi war criminals.

The most famous Paperclip alumnus is Werner von Braun who helped develop the V-2 rockets that terrorised Britain. Von Braun went on to become the head of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre and spearheaded the construction of the Saturn V launch vehicle that eventually took Americans to the moon. The full extent of technology and weaponry gleaned from Nazi minds may never be fully known or released, but it’s clear that the US benefited enormously from its cynical partnership with Third Reich bigwigs.

Nazis & Zionists

Rather unsettlingly, Israel was also a key partner of ex-Nazi war criminals.

Nazi SS officer Otto “Scarface” Skorzeny.

Indeed, Gehlen’s organisation of ex-Nazis helped Israel plan and succeed in its devastating surprise attack on Egypt and ensuing victory during the Six Day War in 1967. Using ex-Nazis to reach out and appeal to German scientists working for Egypt, Israel intimidated and killed off its enemies who were helping the Arabs mount a threat against them. The Mossad certainly had no scruples about working with war criminals, for example enlisting the help of former SS Commando and apple of Hitler’s eye Otto Skorzeny to kill scientists who were helping Egypt develop a missile program in the 1960s. 

The Mossad got Skorzeny to work for them in a masterful recruitment operation, playing on his need for adventure and risk and – some think – on some lingering feelings of guilt about persecution of Jews which he may have held from his war years. Interestingly, the Americans and British were flabbergasted and angry when Israel captured Adolf Eichmann in Argentina in 1960. The CIA, who reportedly knew Eichmann’s whereabouts and alias years before Mossad, panicked after he was taken. They were worried Eichmann could expose various agents working for the Gehlen Organisation who had been his accomplices, including Otto Albrecht von Bolschwing. More generally, the Americans were very worried about having their dealings with Nazis brought into the limelight – and it’s still not exactly the highlight of history textbooks.

Strange bedfellows. After the war, Nazi SS officer Otto “Scarface” Skorzeny was recruited by Mossad to carry out assassinations.

The scope of the United States involvement with officials from the Third Reich may seem mere historical trivia to some, but it points to a deeper and more fundamental truth about history and realpolitik. It also uncovers some alternate views of history which have long been strictly verboten.

Hardcore Zionist leaders and elites in early 1930s Germany had one big point of agreement with Adolf Hitler. Both wanted Jews to leave Germany. The Haavara Agreement (haavara means “transfer” in Hebrew) whereby the Nazis agreed to help financially support Jewish exodus to Palestine is a matter of historical fact. The agreement, signed in August of 1933 between Jewish Agency political secretary Chaim Arlosoroff and German officials, let tens of thousands of German Jews keep their assets if they agreed to leave for Palestine. It accomplished the Nazi goal of getting rid of Jews, supported German industry, and boosted Zionist ambitions. German Jews put their money in an account which was then used to buy German-made equipment exported to Palestine and then sold by the Haavara corporation in Tel Aviv. Proceeds from the company were given to Jews to recompense them for the money they had deposited back in Germany. Although some Zionists believed the agreement could undermine the worldwide Jewish boycott of Nazi Germany, those supporting the agreement won out and the agreement continued until the outbreak of the Second World War. Estimates hold that approximately ten percent of Germany’s 1933 Jewish population (some 60,000 individuals) emigrated to Palestine between 1933 and 1941 aided by agreements like Haavara and other German-Zionist arrangements.

The commemorative coin of the Haavara transfer agreement of 1933 between Zionists and the Third Reich.

Zionist groups helped set up around 40 agricultural work centres around Germany in the 1930s and cooperated with the Nazis to train and prepare Jewish Germans for a new life in Palestine. 

Although German opinion began to turn against the formation of a Jewish state in the late 1930s, under the claim that it would just be a bastion for international communism and Jewish interests, Hitler himself supported the emigration of Jews to Palestine in 1938 after reviewing plans. The British, who controlled the Palestine mandate, were increasingly opposed to Jews trying to migrate into the area and shift the balance of power. Accordingly, the SS made a deal with Mossad le-Aliya Bet to help Jews illegally immigrate to Palestine in ship convoys prior to the outbreak of war in 1939, but continuing with less intensity under the radar until March 1942. It’s also worth noting that the Israeli terrorist group the Stern Gang attempted to make an alliance with Nazi Germany in January 1941, considering them a lesser evil compared to Britain who controlled Palestine and at that time opposed the formation of a Jewish state. The proposal, as quoted by Avishai Margalit in ‘The Violent Life of Yitzhak Shamir’ appearing in the 1992 New York Review of Books reads partly:

“The establishment of the historical Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, and bound by treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of maintaining and strengthening the future German position of power in the Near East…

“The indirect participation of the Israel Freedom Movement in the New Order of Europe, already in the preparatory stage, combined with a positive-radical solution of the European Jewish problem on the basis of the national aspirations of the Jewish people mentioned above, would greatly strengthen the moral foundation of the New Order in the eyes of all humanity.

“The cooperation of the Israel Freedom Movement would also be consistent with a recent speech by the German Reich Chancellor, in which Hitler stressed that he would utilise any combination and coalition in order to isolate and defeat England.”

More than 70 years since the defeat of the Third Reich, mainstream media is only now  beginning to report the involvement of former Nazis with the Israeli Mossad and the American CIA. 

Fast-forward to the present day, and you have a bizarre world order dominated by Twitter tyrant Donald Trump and a bevy of autocratic hyper-capitalist stuffed suits. Even though Trump associates like Roger Stone may find it funny to joke about the revitalisation of NASA and Trump’s “Space Force” as a Nazi program and them as Nazis, when you study NASA’s roots and the US government’s extensive work with Nazis, it’s far from humorous. Whenever he is accused of racism, Trump pivots to his strong support of Israel whose own far right government is currently allying with Europe’s far right. 

Moreover, what exactly was the deal with naming a small object NASA discovered ‘Ultima Thule’? When you study the Third Reich’s use of Thule as a mythological Aryan homeland, the name starts to seem truly bizarre.

Today you have Bibi Netanyahu and his Likudniks openly allying with fascists worldwide from Brazil to Hungary. [Former] Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said the Holocaust could be “forgiven,” for example, and the leaders of Hungary, Poland, and other central and eastern European states regularly buddy up with Bibi over their shared hate of Muslims and desire to partner on military and economic issues. 

Europe is becoming less and less comfortable for ordinary Jews to live in – a majorly scaled down version of what happened in the 1930s. This creates precisely the do-or-die scenario which motivates everyday Jewish Europeans (and Americans) to seriously consider moving permanently to Israel. By cynically allying with the far right, Israel creates and enhances a scenario that’s untenable to Jews but very helpful to their “us versus them” paradigm of world conflict as they pursue the Greater Israel project.

There’s no reason to believe the world has become less cynical or cutthroat than it was during Operation Paperclip and the formation of the Gehlen Organisation. The neo-Darwinist, materialistic fascist ideology that underlay Nazism is alive and well in various forms throughout the world today and exerts enormous influence on US policy as the “good guys” continue to break down the world and move towards a one-world technocratic order of subdued, house-trained slaves who learn to never question the facile narratives foisted upon them. 

This article was published in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 13 No 3.
If you appreciate this article, please consider subscribing to help maintain this website.

© New Dawn Magazine and the respective author.
For our reproduction notice, click here.

About the Author

Paul Berringer is a US-based writer and researcher with an interest in the hidden side of history. Berringer has focused, in particular, on studying intelligence operations, geopolitical conflict, and risk assessment surrounding ethno-cultural tension. His research has taken him around the world, from Eastern Europe to the Middle East and beyond.

Author Archive Page