Spies, Lies, and Citizenship: The Hunt for Nazi Criminals

Spies, Lies, and Citizenship: The Hunt for Nazi Criminals

Spies, Lies, and Citizenship: The Hunt for Nazi Criminals

Spies, Lies, and Citizenship: The Hunt for Nazi Criminals


In the 1970s news broke that former Nazis had escaped prosecution and were living the good life in the United States. Outrage swept the nation, and the public outcry put extreme pressure on the U.S. government to investigate these claims and to deport offenders. The subsequent creation of the Office of Special Investigations marked the official beginning of Nazi-hunting in the United States, but it was far from the end.

Thirty years later, in November 2010, the New York Times obtained a copy of a confidential 2006 report by the Justice Department titled "The Office of Special Investigations: Striving for Accountability in the Aftermath of the Holocaust." The six-hundred-page report held shocking secrets regarding the government's botched attempts to hunt down and prosecute Nazis in the United States and its willingness to harbor and even employ these criminals after World War II.

Drawing from this report as well as other sources, Spies, Lies, and Citizenship exposes scandalous new information about infamous Nazi perpetrators, including Andrija Artucković, Klaus Barbie, and Arthur Rudolph, who were sheltered and protected in the United States and beyond, and the ongoing attempts to bring the remaining Nazis, such as Josef Mengele, to justice.


French novelist and philosopher George Bernanos once defined realism as “the good sense of bastards.” That cynical phrase seldom finds more frequent application than in accounts of one of the greatest surprises after World War II: the revelation that literally thousands of former Nazis had not only escaped punishment for their crimes but were living peacefully and prosperously in the United States under the sponsorship and protection of various government agencies, with their files comprehensively sanitized. Not only that, but hundreds of others, now relocated to Germany, were receiving social security payments!

On one level Americans should have been little more surprised than Casablanca’s police chief, who is “shocked” to learn that gambling is going on in Rick’s American Bar. German scientists and technicians had been high-profile figures in the U.S. space program from its inception. the West German Bundeswehr initially depended heavily at all levels on Wehrmacht veterans. American occupiers found it impossible to administer their conquest effectively without at least tacit cooperation from locals whose recent pasts were unlikely to withstand close questioning. But there was the Fulda Gap to screen, Europe to rebuild, and a Cold War to wage.

By the 1970s, however, times were changing. the Cold War seemed little more than a ritualized game played by the rules of John le Carré. a quarter century of research and memory had exposed the Third Reich as a comprehensive experience that had left “good Germans” thin on the ground. Under growing public and congressional pressure in 1979, the Office of Special Investigations was established in the Department of Justice. Its mission was to find and prosecute war . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.