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L’ODESSA (acr. ted. di Organisation Der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen, Organizzazione degli ex-membri delle SS), la fuga dei nazisti in Sud America, i trasferimenti di denaro tra Europa e America. I legami con le dittature filofasciste del Sud America come Peron e Stoessner. Veramente, la fuga dei criminali nazisti e ustascia in Sudamerica fu agevolata da organizzazioni cattoliche. Inoltre gran parte del denaro ritornò in Germania nel dopoguerra. Con la Guerra Fredda i nemici di ieri diventavano gli alleati di oggi. Dalla Ratline alla Golden Lily.

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“Ratline”, il patto con il demonio

Questa è una storia sporca con un’altrettanto sporca morale. Una storia in cui le vittime sono state uccise due volte, perdendo ancora. Mentre molti carnefici hanno vinto ancora, ottenendo la possibilità di una nuova vita. Con la scusa di combattere il comunismo molti criminali sono stati “perdonati”, passando da nemici di ieri ad amici di oggi.
Un romanzo di Frederick Forsyth, Dossier Odessa, racconta di un gruppo di membri delle SS che, in previsione della sconfitta, si erano raccolti in un’organizzazione segreta chiamata O.D.E.SS.A., acronimo di Organisation der Ehemaligen SS-Angehorigen (“Organizzazione degli ex-membri delle SS”).
Questo organismo aveva il triplice scopo di salvare i camerati dalle forche degli Alleati, esportare gli ingenti capitali che molti ufficiali tedeschi avevano accumulato negli anni del nazismo (soprattutto quelli proveniente dalla confisca di beni, preziosi e quant’altro ai deportati nei campi di sterminio) e creare un Quarto Reich che completasse l’opera di Hitler.
Per quanto romanzesca sia la trama inventata da Forsyth, il suo racconto però si avvicina in modo inquietante alla realtà. Infatti, già a due mesi dalla fine della guerra, furono approntati i primi piani di fuga per i dirigenti nazisti: il ministro dell’Interno del Reich e

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Aloise Hudal

comandante delle Schutzstaffel (le famigerate SS) Heinrich Luitpold Himmler, quando vide che tutto era perduto, diede vita all’operazione Außenweg, affidandone la direzione al giovane capitano delle SS Carlos Fuldner.
Non solo Odessa è quindi esistita davvero, ma il cuore e il cervello dell’intera operazione era a Roma nel cuore del Vaticano. Attraverso la cosiddetta “Via dei Monasteri” (detta anche ratline o Rattenlinien ovvero la “via dei ratti”), la Chiesa cattolica non fu solo complice dell’operazione, ma protagonista indiscussa a vari livelli: i suoi vertici furono i cardinali Eugène Tisserant e Antonio Caggiano (francese il primo e argentino il secondo), mentre la dimensione operativa fu curata da una pattuglia di alti prelati, tra cui il futuro cardinale genovese Giuseppe Siri, il vescovo austriaco Alöis Hudal, parroco della chiesa di Santa Maria dell’Anima in via della Pace a Roma e guida spirituale della comunità tedesca in Italia, il vescovo argentino Augustín Barrère, il sacerdote croato Krunoslav Draganovic, il francescano ungherese della parrocchia di Sant’Antonio di Pegli a Genova, Edoardo Dömoter, padre Carlo Petranovic, il sacerdote pallottino Antonio Weber e molti uomini che facevano parte dell’ “Entità”, il servizio segreto del Vaticano. Monsignor Montini (il futuro papa Paolo VI) era a conoscenza della cosiddetta “Via dei Monasteri” (secondo alcuni storici il futuro Paolo VI fu, assieme a Tisserant e Caggiano, uno dei “progettisti” della via di fuga dei criminali nazisti).

La fuga verso “porti sicuri”, non riguardò unicamente i criminali di guerra tedeschi, ma anche molti ustascia (termine che in croato significa “insorgere”, “risvegliare” e che è utilizzato per designare gli appartenenti al movimento cattolico-nazionalista croato di estrema destra che si opponeva a un regno di Jugoslavia federativo) e gerarchi italiani.
Questi ultimi, come Cesare Maria De Vecchi e Luigi Federzoni, espatriarono quando ancora erano ricercati dalla giustizia, grazie ai documenti falsi e alla protezione dei salesiani.
Più eclatanti sono invece le protezioni garantite agli ustascia. Si trattava di criminali che, per conseguire il risultato di uno Stato (la Croazia) razzialmente puro e cattolico al 100%, non avevano esitato a compiere fucilazioni di massa, decapitazioni, bastonature a morte, suscitando orrore perfino negli alleati nazisti.
Alla fine della guerra circa settecentomila persone erano morte nei campi di sterminio ustascia a Jasenovac e altrove: le vittime appartenevano soprattutto alla popolazione serba ortodossa, ma nell’elenco figuravano anche moltissimi ebrei e zingari.
Il principale teorico del regime croato, Ivo Gubernina, era un sacerdote cattolico romano che predicava la “purificazione religiosa” e l'”igiene razziale” per fare della Croazia una “terra ripulita da elementi considerati estranei”.
Molti ustascia, a iniziare dal dittatore fantoccio Ante Pavelic, beneficiarono dell’aiuto della Chiesa di Roma. Pavelic fu nascosto fino a maggio del 1946 nel Collegio Pio Pontificio, quindi trasferito in un edificio del complesso di Castelgandolfo, residenza estiva dei pontefici, dove quasi ogni settimana si riuniva con il cardinale Montini. Nel dicembre del 1946, il leader degli ustascia si rifugiò nel convento di San Girolamo, per poi trasferirsi a Genova. Qui, mentre si stava imbarcando per l’Argentina fu intercettato dai servizi segreti statunitensi e riuscì a nascondersi nel monastero di Santa Sabina. L’11 ottobre 1948 il criminale ustascia riuscì ad imbarcarsi per l’Argentina sulla nave Sestriere, in cabina di prima classe: aveva con se il passaporto della Croce Rossa numero 74369 a nome di Pal Aranyos, un ingegnere ungherese. Lo scortarono due agenti dell’Entità, restando con lui come guardie del corpo per ben due anni.

Tra i più noti criminali di guerra fuggiti in Sud America attraverso la Ratline, ricordiamo anche Adolf Eichmann (l’organizzatore della soluzione finale degli ebrei), Josef Mengele (medico autore di efferati esperimenti nel campo di Auschwitz), Heinrich Müller (capo della Gestapo), Richard Glücks (ispettore dei campi di concentramento), Klaus Barbie (comandante della Gestapo a Lione), Erich Priebke (coinvolto nell’eccidio delle Fosse

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San Girolamo degli Illirici a Roma

Ardeatine a Roma), Gerhard Bohne (responsabile del programma di eutanasia per lo sterminio degli handicappati fisici e mentali), Bilanovic Sakic (responsabile del campo di concentramento croato di Jasenovac), Franz Stangl (comandante del campo di concentramento di Treblinka), Walter Rauff (l’inventore dei camion-camera a gas), Edward Roschmann (l’ex comandante del ghetto di Riga), Josef Schwammberger (comandante altoatesino del ghetto di Przemsy), Herman von Alvensleben (responsabile in Polonia della morte di almeno ottantamila persone), Carl Vaernet (medico danese inventore, a suo dire, della “inversione della polarità ormonale”, che poteva dare una soluzione al problema dell’omosessualità). A loro si aggiunsero anche criminali di guerra o collaborazionisti francesi del rango di Marcel Boucher, Fernand de Menou, Robert Pincemin ed Emile Dewoitine.
Molti beneficiarono dell’esilio in Sudamerica. Si trattò nella maggior parte di “manovali” dell’Olocausto e della guerra sporca di Hitler. Tutti iniziarono nella nuova patria una vita tranquilla, col beneplacito dei regimi di destra latinoamericani, soprattutto dell’esordiente regime peronista, ma anche col viatico di Washington.
Molti sono gli studi su questa vicenda, come molti sono i documenti che comprovano le solidarietà e le complicità nella fuga dei criminali di guerra. Come il rapporto finale della Comisiòn para el Esclarecimiento de las Actividades del Nazismo en la Argentina (Ceana), costituita a suo tempo presso il Ministero degli Affari Esteri dal presidente argentino Menem e di cui è stato coordinatore scientifico lo storico Ignacio Klich dell’università di Westminster in Gran Bretagna.

L’organizzazione Odessa progettò minuziosi piani di fuga, tracciando tre itinerari principali: il primo partiva da Monaco di Baviera e si collegava a Salisburgo per approdare a Madrid; gli altri due percorsi partivano da Monaco e, via Strasburgo o attraverso il Tirolo, giungevano a Genova (il terminale ove operava l’arcivescovo Giuseppe Siri), dove i gerarchi potevano imbarcarsi verso l’Egitto, il Libano, la Siria, il Sudamerica.
Le vie di fuga convergevano sempre verso Memmingen, un’antica cittadina tra la Baviera e il Württemberg, per poi dirigere su Innsbruck ed entrare in Italia attraverso il valico del Brennero. Gli spostamenti tra Germania meridionale, Austria, Tirolo e Italia settentrionale si svolgevano in grande sicurezza a tappe di circa cinquanta chilometri, a ognuna delle quali corrispondeva una “stazione” gestita da tre-cinque persone che conoscevano solo la stazione precedente e quella successiva.
Il corridoio vaticano comprendeva due vie di fuga: Svizzera-Francia-Spagna-Gibilterra-Marocco-Sudamerica; Svizzera-San Girolamo-Genova-Sudamerica. Il primo fu praticato specialmente dai nazisti e da tutti i collaborazionisti del regime di Hitler, il secondo principalmente dagli ustascia che, prima di fuggire, trovarono sicuro alloggio presso il convento di San Girolamo, un monastero croato in via Tomacelli a Roma.
Come abbiamo visto, il capitano delle SS Carlos Fuldner fu scelto dal Reichsführer delle Schutzstaffel Himmler per coordinare la fuga dei nazisti dalla Germania. L’attività di Fuldner fu frenetica. Egli stabilì contatti a tutto campo per portare a conclusione gli ordini del suo superiore. Il primo contatto permise a Fuldner di ottenere il sostegno dell’allora ministro svizzero di giustizia, Eduard von Steiger, e del capo della polizia Heinrich Rothmund. In questo modo fu allestita alla Markgasse 49 di Berna la “filiale” svizzera di Odessa.
L’altro contatto Fuldner lo ebbe con il vescovo argentino Antonio Caggiano, che portò alla nascita della cosiddetta “Via dei Monasteri”. Il capitano nazista incontrò per la prima volta l’alto prelato a Madrid, nel ristorante Horcher in via Alfonso XIII. Caggiano era accompagnato da due uomini dell’Entità (il servizio segreto vaticano), di cui solo di uno si conosce il nome, Stefan Guisan.
Nel 1946 il cardinale Caggiano si recò in Vaticano offrendo alla Segreteria di Stato, a nome del governo di Buenos Aires, la disponibilità del Paese sudamericano a ricevere ex nazisti “perseguitati” dagli Alleati.
Nel frattempo il capitano Carlos Fuldner, che aveva passaporto argentino, divenne direttore della Daie, la “Dirección Argentina de Immigración Europea”, con sede a Genova in via Albaro. La Daie divenne il terminale europeo della “via dei topi”.

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Il dottor Menghele

L’ufficio genovese della Daie faceva pervenire a Buenos Aires l’elenco delle persone da ospitare. A Buenos Aires le pratiche erano sbrigate dalla “Sociedad Argentina de Recepción de Europeos” (Sare), fondata nel maggio del 1947 da Pierre Daye, un criminale di guerra belga in stretti rapporti con Peron e con l’arcivescovado argentino.
L’interessamento di Peron e della Chiesa argentina era così alto, che le primissime riunioni della Sociedad si tennero alla “Casa Rosada”, mentre la prima sede della Sare si trovava in un vecchio palazzo di proprietà della curia di Buenos Aires, in via Canning.
Ottenuti da Fuldner gli elenchi dei nazisti da far fuggire, la Sare spediva a Genova i visti d’ingresso, completi delle foto dei criminali ma intestate a nomi fittizi. Da Genova, la pratica passava a Roma, dove la sede della Croce Rossa rilasciava i passaporti relativi ai nomi falsi, rispedendoli a Genova. Fatto ciò, bastava trovare posto per i fuggitivi sulla prima nave per l’America Latina.

Il cardinale Giuseppe Siri (eletto vescovo ausiliare di Genova l’11 marzo 1944, e arcivescovo della stessa città il 14 maggio 1946) fu coinvolto direttamente in questi progetti di fuga. Fu tramite due associazioni, entrambe da lui fondate, che la Curia genovese possedeva per l’assistenza ai profughi, che l’arcivescovado di Genova diede assistenza alla rete di fuga.
Il diretto coinvolgimento di monsignor Siri trova conferma non solo nelle risultanze della “Comisión para el Esclarecimiento de las Actividades del Nazismo en la Argentina”, costituita dal presidente argentino Menem nel 1997, ma anche in una nota del “Counter Intelligence Corps” (servizio segreto militare statunitense), dove si afferma che Siri dirigeva “una organizzazione internazionale il cui scopo era favorire l’emigrazione di europei anticomunisti in Sudamerica [.]. Questa classificazione di anticomunista deve estendersi a tutte le persone politicamente impegnati contro i comunisti, ovvero fascisti, ustascia, e altri gruppi simili”.
Le due associazioni che facevano capo all’arcivescovado di Genova erano la “Auxilium”, fondata nel 1931 come ente di assistenza e beneficenza, e il “Comitato Nazionale Emigrazione in Argentina”, impiantato invece nel 1946. Anche la Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza aveva un ufficio nella stazione ferroviaria della città (Porta Principe).
Un importante centro di accoglienza della struttura gestita da Siri fu la chiesa genovese di San Teodoro, ove molti fuggiaschi sostarono e ricevettero cibo, assistenza, documenti per imbarcarsi sulle navi della salvezza. Il parroco di San Teodoro, Bruno Venturelli, fu ringraziato per il suo operato da William Guyedan, ex ministro francese del governo di Vichy condannato per collaborazionismo.
Importante pedina del canale genovese per la fuga degli ustascia fu padre Karl Petranovic: dai primi mesi del 1946 fino all’inizio del 1952 avrebbe gestito direttamente i rapporti tra Vaticano, Croce Rossa, Auxilium e “Comitato Nazionale Emigrazione in Argentina”. Petranovic, già cappellano ustascia, fuggì nel 1945 rifugiandosi a Milano. Da questa città passò a Genova, con tanto di “raccomandazione scritta” da parte del cardinale Shuster: “Eccellenza reverendissima – si legge nel biglietto rivelato il 2 agosto 2003 dal “Secolo XIX” – don Carlo ha conoscenza, in lingua e in cultura, della situazione dei rifugiati e dei profughi di guerra dell’Est e della Germania. Per questo è persona che può sostenere l’opera di carità dell’Auxilium”. Petranovic si occupò di prelevare da Roma i passaporti per una nuova vita dei nazisti in fuga. Egli stesso, a sua volta, fuggì in Canada, a Niagara Falls, ospite di una comunità di suore. L’8 giugno 1988, padre Petranovic ottenne anche il titolo di monsignore.
A Genova operava anche un altro sacerdote: don Edoardo Dömöter, francescano di origine ungherese, divenuto, alla fine degli anni Cinquanta del secolo scorso, parroco della chiesa di Sant’Antonio di Pegli. Negli archivi del Comitato Internazionale della Croce Rossa di Ginevra esiste una richiesta, la numero 100940, sottoscritta e inoltrata da padre Dömöter alla sede genovese della Croce Rossa per un passaporto intestato a tale Riccardo Klement, in realtà Adolf Eichmann.

A tenere i collegamenti tra nazisti e Vaticano furono Fuldner e padre Krunoslav Draganovic. Quest’ultimo, oltre ad essere segretario della Confraternita romana di San Girolamo, era anche “Visitator apostolico” per l’assistenza pontificia ai croati, cioè un funzionario della segreteria di Stato del Vaticano che dipendeva direttamente da monsignor Montini. Draganovic visitava ufficialmente i campi dei prigionieri di guerra e come Visitator apostolico era riconosciuto come rappresentante della Santa Sede dalle autorità alleate.
Fuldner e Draganovic, si servirono a loro volta di Reinhard Kops, da parte tedesca, e di Gino Monti di Valsassina (nobile italiano di origine croata), da parte vaticana. Reinhard Kops usava il nome fittizio di Hans Raschenbach e un passaporto falso fornito dall’Entità vaticana.

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Adolf Eichmann

Fu proprio don Krunoslav Stjepan Draganovic ha firmare il passaporto, rilasciato il 16 marzo del 1951 dalla sede genovese della Croce Rossa, a Klaus Altmann, meccanico d’origine tedesca in procinto di imbarcarsi sul piroscafo Corrientes alla volta di Buenos Aires; dietro questa identità si nascondeva Klaus Barbie.
Tra le altre persone “difese” da Draganovic figurano gli ex-ministri del governo ustascia Dragutin Toth, Vjekoslav Vrancic, Mile Starcevic e Stjiepo Peric, così come l’ex-capo dell’aviazione Vladimir Kren. Alcuni di loro si nascondevano all’interno dell’Istituto di San Girolamo o in Vaticano.
Il terminale austriaco di Draganovic fu padre Vilim Cecelja, già collaboratore del regime di Ante Pavelic durante la guerra e schedato dal governo di Tito come criminale di guerra numero 7103. Cecelja fu il sacerdote che officiò la cerimonia del giuramento di Pavelic, impartendo così la benedizione della Chiesa al regime fantoccio dei nazisti. Provvisto di documenti americani e della Croce Rossa, Cecelja potè svolgere il suo compito viaggiando liberamente nella zona di occupazione statunitense.
La rete di ecclesiastici impegnati nel facilitare la fuga di nazisti e fascisti faceva capo, a Roma, a monsignor Alois Hudal, rettore fino al 1952 del Pontificio Collegio di Santa Maria dell’Anima.
Nella relazione conclusiva presentata dalla Comisiòn para el Esclarecimiento de las Actividades del Nazismo en la Argentina nel 1999, le responsabilità di padre Hudal sono lampanti. In una lettera del 31 agosto 1948 il vescovo Hudal spiega a Peron che i visti richiesti non sono per profughi ma “per combattenti anticomunisti il sacrificio dei quali durante la guerra ha salvato l’Europa dalla dominazione sovietica”.
A Roma il vescovo Alois Hudal si servì di monsignor Heinemann e del sacerdote Karl Bayer: il primo era incaricato di esaudire le richieste dei nazisti rifugiati a Santa Maria dell’Anima, l’altro proteggeva e assisteva i criminali nazifascisti in fuga. Quest’ultimo era stato un paracadutista dell’esercito hitleriano, poi imprigionato nel campo di Ghedi, vicino Brescia, e fatto fuggire grazie all’aiuto di Draganovic. Divenuto membro del clero cattolico, fu inserito all’interno dell’organizzazione ecclesiastica che assisteva i criminali nazifascisti in fuga, procurando loro falsi documenti, denaro, cibo, lettere, alloggi.
Karl Bayer ammise (nel libro di Gitta Sereny, In quelle tenebre, Adelphi, Milano, 2005) che papa Pio XII forniva denaro per aiutare i nazisti in fuga, “a volte col contagocce, ma comunque arrivava”.
Un altro piccolo pezzo dell’ingranaggio che permise la fuga dei nazisti fu la ricca ereditiera Margherite d’Andurain, che aveva stretti contatti in Vaticano attraverso il nunzio a Parigi e con il vescovo austriaco Alois Hudal. Proprietaria di uno yatch, il Djeilan, la d’Andurain attraversava regolarmente lo stretto di Gibilterra sino a Tangeri. Il 5 novembre 1948 il suo corpo senza vita fu ritrovato nella baia di Tangeri.

Nel Catechismo della Chiesa cattolica (Parte Terza – Sezione Prima – Capitolo Primo – Articolo 8 – V. La proliferazione del peccato – 1868) si dichiara: “Il peccato è un atto personale. Inoltre, abbiamo una responsabilità nei peccati commessi dagli altri, quando ‘vi cooperiamo’: prendendovi parte direttamente e volontariamente; comandandoli, consigliandoli, lodandoli o approvandoli; non denunciandoli o non impedendoli, quando si è tenuti a farlo; proteggendo coloro che commettono il male”.
Aiutare criminali a sottrarsi alla giustizia è dunque per la Chiesa un crimine altrettanto grave, che prevede la colpa di chi vi è coinvolto in prima persona e la responsabilità morale di chi lo approva.
L’autodifesa della Chiesa cattolica è sempre consistita nel negare di conoscere l’identità di tali criminali e di voler in ogni caso assicurare assistenza a chiunque. Ma questo, come abbiamo visto, non è proprio vero. Infatti, se non mancarono nella Chiesa “complici” solo per malinteso spirito di carità cristiana (come traspare da diari e testimonianze di alcuni rettori di conventi che, pur conoscendo le “gesta” di alcuni criminali, diedero loro ugualmente rifugio), altri furono favoreggiatori veri e propri, diventando correi per i crimini contro l’umanità.
Anche se molti uomini della Chiesa di Roma, attraverso atteggiamenti ambigui, complicità e vere e proprie attività di copertura e aiuto si sono macchiati di complicità coi nazisti, questo non vuol dire che tutta la Chiesa è criminale. Certamente queste complicità sono responsabilità che, oltre ad essere meritevoli della punizione divina (e su questo non ho dubbi!), conseguirebbero anche quella degli uomini. Ma quest’ultima, purtroppo, non c’è stata!

BIBLIOGRAFIA

  • Ratlines, di M. Aarons M. e J. Loftus – Newton & Compton, Roma, 1993
  • Organizzazione ODESSA, di J. Camarasa – Mursia, Milano, 1998
  • Giustizia, non vendetta, di S. Wiesenthal – Mondadori, Milano, 1989
  • La via dei demoni, di G. M. Pace – Sperling & Kupfer, Milano 2000
  • La chiesa cattolica e l’olocausto, di M. Phayer – Newton & Compton, Roma 2001
  • “Dio è con noi!”, di M. A. Rivelli – Kaos, Milano, 2002
  • Una questione morale. La chiesa cattolica e l’olocausto, di D. J. Goldhagen – Mondadori, Milano, 2003
  • Operazione Odessa. La fuga dei gerarchi nazisti verso l’Argentina di Perón, di U. Goñi Uki – Garzanti, Milano, 2003
  • I nazisti che hanno vinto. Le brillanti carriere delle SS nel dopoguerra, di F. Calvi – Piemme, Casale Monferrato, 2007
  • La fuga dei nazisti. Mengele, Eichmann, Priebke, Pavelic da Genova all’impunità, di A. Casazza – Il Nuovo Melangolo, Genova, 2007
  • Oltremare sud. La fuga in sommergibile di più di 50 gerarchi nazisti, di J. Salinas J. e C. De Napoli – Tropea, Milano, 2007

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The Secret Gold Treaty

PART 2.4

THE BORMANN–PERON-KRUPP-MARCOS CONNECTION

The maneuvering in the US Senate to draw a blade across the war reparations agreement was unnecessary for some of the better-connected German industrialists. Alfried Krupp, widely regarded as a “super-Nazi” for financing Hitler and Himmler (and because he utilised slave labour and plundered occupied territories) was personally “pardoned” from a pending war crimes trial by John McCloy – High Commissioner in Germany. Not only that, but McCloy, a former director of the Ford Foundation, rescinded a property confiscation order that would have stripped the Baron of his enormous holdings, thereby bringing to a close his status as one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

In the post- war years, one of the more colourful Nazi characters employed by Krupp was Otto (“Scarface”) Skorzeny – dubbed Hitler’s “favourite commando.” In addition to being the head of the post- war SS escape network, Die Spinne (The Spider), Skorzeny was also an operative for the CIA. Krupp favoured the burly SS officer especially because of his valiant achievements in transferring Krupp’s wealth — and that of other industrialists, plus gold and other loot plundered by the Nazis — to banks in neutral nations shortly before the collapse of the Third Reich. Skorzeny had other powerful friends also. Allen Dulles is said to have personally involved himself in the 1953 decision by Reinhard Gehlen nominating Skorzeny as the chief military adviser to the Egyptian regime of General Mohammed Naguib.

Also intriguing is the close connection between Baron Krupp and Reichsleiter Martin Bormann, who escaped post-war Germany via the Vatican ratlines to Argentina after languishing for a few years in Italy.

Ladislas Farago in his book Aftermath – Martin Bormann and the Fourth Reich, reveals that Dr. Gustav Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach approached Bormann in August 1942 intent on passing his vast fortune – which was increasing under the Third Reich – via a “fideicommission” to a single heir, thus keeping the Krupp empire intact. The alternative was to see the amassed fortune divided many ways, which would have inevitably led to the disintegration of the house of Krupp. 

The problem was that the existing law interfered with his desire. He told Bormann that he wished the firm to pass on to his eldest son, Alfried, regarded as a “devout Nazi and SS man.” [i]  In exchange for Hitler’s agreeing to modify the law to permit Krupp’s request, Bormann extracted an agreement whereby Krupp assigned a portion of his vast assets, in secret, to the Nazi Party under Bormann’s control. Consequently, a new law was passed on 12 November 1943 permitting a “Lex Krupp.” Pleased with the agreement, Hitler lavished profitable contracts on him, making Krupphaus the “most prosperous cog in the industrial war-machine.” 

One of the assets assigned was a massive ranch in Argentina that was later used by Bormann as a favoured bolt-hole. Ever a realist, Bormann understood that the defeat at Stalingrad spelled the end of the Third Reich. Consequently, he began shipping plunder regularly, by U-boat, to Argentina throughout 1942 and 1944 under a plan known as “Aktion Fuerland” – Operation Land of Fire, so named because of the archipelago, Tierre del Fuego, Argentina’s southernmost “Land of Fire.” These transfers, totalling around 1,800 shipments, were to be used to “help the rebuilding of the Nazi empire,” according to Rudolph Freude, one of Bormann’s trustees and a close confidant of Eva Duarte – later to become Eva Peron. 

Evita Peron was, in fact, part of the Freude syndicate handling the vast stash of Nazi loot that was regularly being shipped to Argentina for deposit in four banks chosen by Freude. These banks were the Banco Aleman, the Banco Aleman Transatlantico, the Banco Germanico and the Banco Tornquist. In each case the gold, silver, gemstones and other treasure were deposited to accounts in the same name – that of Senorita Eva Duarte. Four individuals implicitly trusted by Bormann had joint control over all the deposits – a procedure designed to ensure that personal greed was checked before it could take root. 

The principal reason for Bormann’s sojourn in Italy, forcing his delay in travelling to Argentina to safety, was that Juan Domingo Peron, under the guidance of greedy Evita, wished to acquire some of Bormann’s hoard in exchange for allowing Bormann entry and providing him state security once he had arrived. Practical as ever, Bormann agreed to hand over a portion of the assets he controlled. He eventually arrived in Buenos Aires in the Spring of 1948 to begin his new life. 

It is, therefore, of considerable interest to learn that in the summer of 1947 – when negotiations between Bormann and Juan Peron were in full flow – Evita chose to make a “good-will” trip to Europe, travelling to Lisbon, Madrid, Geneva, Paris, Zurich, Lucerne and Rome, where, according to Ladislas Farago, negotiations with Bormann were finally steeled. [ii]  She also visited a less well known Spanish city – Avila — that lies to the west of Madrid.

Why she visited Avila is not known – at least by me. But there is an intriguing possibility worth mentioning. The Appendices at the end of this Dossier reveal a vast fortune in gold, gemstones and currency left as an inheritance by Sr. Don Franco Miguel de Avila and Sra. Dona Trinidad Asis de Villarba de Avila of Spain. The heirs of this vast estate were Francorito MC de Avila and Lolita Trinidad V. de Avila of Manila, Philippines.

Of interest, Dona de Avila shared the same middle name “Trinidad” as Imelda Marcos’s mother – Remedios Trinidad Romualdez, known to intimates as “Medy.” Whether this is happenstance or indicates that the heirs of this fortune are related to Imelda Marcos, I do not know. I do know that both Marcos’s preferred to use close confidantes and family as “cut-outs” whenever possible. 

The so-called “Melmer” hoard of gold and other blood money gathered by the SS at the death camps included 550,000 ounces of gold. [iii]  This is a quite specific amount of gold that converted totals just over 17 tonnes. It is, therefore, of more than passing interest to note that I have in my possession an ownership certificate dated 2 June 1980 in the name of Dra. Rosario Romualdez Ramo. Romualdez is, of course, the family name of Imelda Marcos. The certificate is too faded to reproduce, but it bears the account number 881-161426 together with the transaction code number RRR/51981-26. You will, by now, have gathered that it represents ownership of 17 tonnes of gold. 

The Peron connection to Bormann gold provides yet another twist. In early 1973 – the year Peron returned to power in Argentina — 400 tonnes of gold belonging to Peron was put on sale in the black market. Worth £700 million, it almost equalled the entirety of the Bank of England’s official gold reserves. In any event, the sale of Peron’s 400 tonnes of gold was code-named “Bormann 1345,” creating a suspicion that it might have originated as one of Bormann’s 1,800 odd “shipments” of loot to Argentina (a figure mentioned by both Tom Bower and Ladislas Farago). In any event, the Spanish government was tutor for this bullion and was required to sanction the sale that was being offered by a Chilean businessman living in Madrid. The transfer agent was, according to author, Robert Hutchison, Professor Vincenzo de Nardo – described as an “Inspector-General with the Italian Finance Ministry,” who stated that his involvement was private but conceded that the transactions was of a “political nature.” [iv]

Peron, it will be recalled, was an intimate of Licio Gelli, the grandmaster of the notorious P2 Masonic Lodge that has been described as a right-wing parallel government in waiting [see description of P2 Masonic Lodge below]. Gelli answered to the Vatican Chamberlain, Umberto Ortolani – a member of the inner council of the Knights of Malta.  [v]  Juan Peron, who visited Rome in 1973, was accompanied on his return to Argentina by Licio Gelli, who was appointed honorary Argentine Consul in Florence a few months later. Less than a year after Peron’s successful re-election, Escriva de Balanguer, the legendary founder of Opus Dei, visited Argentina, said to be home to one of Opus Dei’s most successful operations in South America. 

Throughout his long sojourn in South America, Bormann generally felt safe from being identified and, indeed, safe from capture. His life revolved around administering the ever growing mass of Nazi funds that long ago had been artfully invested. However, in November 1972, London’s Daily Express newspaper broke a series of articles showing that Bormann had escaped retribution and was living in South America. Bormann was, in fact, living in some comfort in a huge hacienda in Chile when the story broke, causing a worldwide sensation. 

News of the Daily Express’s Bormann “expose” quickly reached Captain Hans von Gerstein in Argentina. Gerstein was a close confidant of Bormann and more than the fear that his master might become a target of Israeli revenge or kidnapping, Gerstein’s concern was for the vast financial empire that Bormann still personally controlled and which was spread throughout 750 corporations located around the world.

With Bormann’s consent, a conference was held Santiago, Chile beginning 22 December 1972 and lasting until Christmas Eve. The meeting was carefully monitored and kept under 24- hour human and electronic surveillance by Chile’s secret police special bureau. Finally, after two days of intense meetings, control over Bormann’s assets moved into the hands of Captain von Gerstein. According to author Paul Manning in his book Martin Bormann – Nazi in Exile, Bormann’s assets are now administered by a “leadership group of twenty” younger men who oversee investment strategy in the form a board of directors, chaired by Bormann.

Among the institutions that have benefited from Bormann’s gold-hoarding efforts is Deutsche Bank, which, just prior to the collapse of the Third Reich, entrusted the Reichsleiter with its secret reserves to preserve them intact. [vi]  Manning notes that other major conglomerates that have reason to thank Bormann for his care of Nazi wealth include Bayer AG, BASF and Hoechst. The explosion of growth and profitability of these and numerous other corporations resulted from the huge flow of investment funds that “poured in from the interlocking companies established in safe haven countries by Martin Bormann and Hermann Schmitz.” [vii]

One additional interesting fact was Bormann’s return from Chile – where he had fled following the downfall of Juan Peron in 1955 — back to Buenos Aires in 1966 and 1967. His visits were timed to coincide with meetings of a shadowy group committed to building a reinvigorated worldwide movement of Third World nations patterned on the Third Reich. This was to be the successor to Hitler’s New Order with a focus on a coalition of anti-communist right-wing forces. One of the aims of the secretive group was “the seizure of total power in Argentina” together with a plan leading to the “ideological conquest of Latin America.” These aims were to be pressed forward in “collaboration” with the “chiefs of national Socialism in Germany and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.” [viii]

This “hierarchy” within the Roman Catholic Church would almost certainly have reached as high as Monsignor Giovanni Montini, who was the Vatican’s Undersecretary of State throughout the war years and shortly after. Montini, of course, would become Pope Paul VI. In their book The Secret War against the Jews, authors John Loftus and Mark Aarons say that some evidence exists that Montini became a “source” for the CIA after World War II. [ix]  Likewise, the Sicilian born banker, Michele Sindona, who knew Montini and who worked closely with Roberto Calvi, the disgraced Milanese banker who brought down Italy’s largest private bank, Banco Ambrosiano.

It was Montini who headed the Vatican-run “Ratlines” engaged in smuggling wanted war criminals, members of the SS and other Nazis on the run to safety in Latin America, the Middle East and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the shadowy anti-communist group that wished to induct Bormann into its circle as a notional figurehead to aid it with the task of “building a reinvigorated world-wide movement of Third World nations patterned on the Third Reich,” was the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) that was chaired by US CIA operative, John Singlaub. He entered our story earlier as a leading member of the Philippine gold-hunting Nippon Star group.

It is hardly surprising that another member of Singlaub’s WACL was Kodama Yoshio, who also earlier featured in this story. Another, of course, was Ferdinand Marcos, who attended WACL meetings throughout his 20-year reign as dictator of the plunder-rich Philippines. It is interesting to note that America’s tax authority, the IRS, granted the US arm of WACL tax-exempt status following serious pressure from Ronald Reagan’s White House. Singlaub and others would later leave their mark on public history due to their involvement in the Iran-Contra Affair that was given birth by Lt. Col. Oliver North’s so-called “Enterprise.”

Interestingly, Kodama was one of those who, in 1954, founded the Asian Peoples Anti-Communist League.  Kodama, along with his Yakuza compatriot and war-criminal cellmate, Ryoichi Sasakawa, ruled Japan with an iron fist artfully concealed in the gloved hand of political puppets. Sasakawa, in particular, boasted of a close, personal friendship with Ferdinand Marcos “long before he became president.”  Author Sterling Seagrave believes their friendship arose during “the Quirino presidency at the end of the 1940’s when Marcos and other Quirino lieutenants were busy trying to discover” where Japanese plunder had been buried in the Philippines.  Sasakawa was also deeply involved with the CIA, especially during the CIA sponsored anti-Sukarno campaign of the of the 1950’s when he was in charge of supplying “materials to the anti-Sukarno camp.” [x]

Other founding members of the APACL included the former Chinese warlord and patron of the feared Shanghai underworld Green Gang, Chiang Kai Shek and Korea’s Park Chung Hee — whose claim to fame was to establish the Korean Central Intelligence Agency modelled on America’s CIA.  Another founding member was the Reverend Sun Myung Moon of the Unification Church [Moonies] — a CIA tool if ever there was one. Meanwhile, one-time war criminal and Yakuza boss Ryoichi Sasakawa (together with Kodama) virtually ruled Japan from behind the scenes.

If there was one thing that connected the individual members of this odd group, it was their shared fascist beliefs and backgrounds that resulted in another common denominator — all became immensely wealthy.

Meanwhile, the stated objective of Hitler’s New Order / Vatican- backed coalition group mentioned earlier was simple – “A New World” based on Nazi ideals. The group had major bases in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Libya, Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Iran, Taiwan, Japan, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru and Venezuela, according to a report passed to Coordinacion Federal – Argentina’s secret service. This report additionally stated that funding for the organisation was provided from “hidden treasure of the Third Reich on deposit in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Paris, Monaco, Lucerne and Zurich,” as well as from a US$500 million sum available through “Group Peron” and other revenue “derived from dividends paid by Mercedes-Benz of Stuttgart” on investments placed there by this so-called “Sacred Movement.” It was a case of Nazi loot used to fund the European anti-communist movement and Japanese loot funding the Asian Anti-Communist League. 

Bormann’s role in the Fourth Reich group was little more than as an honorific figurehead. His induction into the “Sacred Movement” was scheduled for a meeting in Buenos Aires in the form of an “initiation” ceremony along Masonic lines. It is almost certain that this group was also an appendage of the secretive Italian Masonic Lodge, Propaganda Due (P2) that is known to have had deep and powerful connections in Latin America – especially Argentina. In any event, the Masonic “ceremony” proved a fiasco, with Bormann storming out in impatience. [xi]

It is of more than passing interest to learn that Singlaub’s Nippon Star venture also had ultra right-wing motives in its search for World War II plunder. According to Bob Curtis, who had earlier worked with Ferdinand Marcos following his development of a technique that would alter the metallurgical finger-print of gold (obviously of immense use to Marcos, who had recovered tens of thousands of tonnes of war plunder), Singlaub and others involved with Nippon Star had an ultra right-wing agenda. 

Curtis, who had earlier escaped Marcos’s clutches fearing for his life, fled with detailed photographs of all 172 maps made by the Japanese Golden Lily. These showed where each hoard of plunder had been buried and how much each trove was worth. Years later he was given the bulk of Ferdinand Marcos’s personal archives by Marcos’s mistress. These, Curtis said, totalled over 60,000 documents. Because of his possession of the Golden Lily treasure maps and his earlier involvement with Marcos, Curtis was invited to become involved with Singlaub and other members of Nippon Star in their recovery venture.

Curtis travelled to Hong Kong, where he was briefed over a three-day period by the CIA. Included in these briefing were details of a very sensitive transaction between Marcos and Manuel Noriega that involved gold for drugs. [xii]  Not least, Curtis speaks of a number of transactions that involved Madame Pineda – who was an intermediary for Imelda Marcos (and who regularly features in Peter Johnston’s correspondence in my keeping). On Pineda, Curtis had this to say: “When I learn how to scan and attach files, I’ll send you some goodies on Pineda, which is mind boggling. It involves the son of an ex-US president.” [xiii]  This may well be a reference to George W. Bush, who is rumoured by other sources to be involved in black market gold deals.

Not least, Curtis told me that he held many details of Krupp deals other than the one I was already privy to and added that the “Krupp involvement is deeper than you think. Several transactions were for a trillion dollars” [my emphasis]. [xiv]  Curtis also revealed that: “The China Mandate is a real earth shaker. 200,000 metric tons, negotiated with Nixon and Mao. The purpose: to keep China out of any Asian expansion for 50 years. The fear that America had over China’s crossing the border in Korea was that China would invade Formosa and the Philippines, leading to a nuclear war. This document could get you killed, so could the Trilateral document that I referred to earlier.”[xv]

Curtis also had some notes written by hand by Edward Lansdale, who he says typifies an “early player and mover” and who was also involved in the China deal. The Trilateral Commission reference, Curtis told me, regards a letter (in the possession of Curtis) that was sent to President Marcos on Trilateral notepaper – on the authority of Dr. Henry Kissinger – demanding that Marcos sell “63, 321 tons of gold to 2000 US and European banks admittedly controlled by the Trilateral.” This letter was dated 21 February 1986. Curtis adds that the last sentence of the 12 page letter states: “Release the 62,321 metric tons of gold now, while your are in a solid possession and right and you alone can do it and alone can claim immortal glory as the greatest man in Asia.”

According to Curtis, it was Marcos’s refusal that led to his loss of power three days later. The gold that Marcos refused to sell – in exchange for US Treasury certificates and some cash — was eventually shipped to the US aboard the US nuclear-powered aircraft carrier “President Eisenhower,” having been later “released” by Imelda Marcos, who was avoiding pursuit for criminal charges when she fled the Philippines with her husband. Curtis notes that President Reagan wanted the gold for the “Rainbow Dollars” that had already been printed and that Reagan planned to back with gold. What is interesting here is a news article that appeared in the Philippine Enquirer where 96 members of the 51st Army Engineering Brigade operating in total secrecy under President Marcos state in an affidavit that they recovered 60,000 tons of gold during the Marcos years. This article is reproduced in the Appendices.  Not least Curtis states that other players involved in Marcos gold over the years have included the Club of Rome and also the Tavistock Institute. [xvi]

Curtis’s claims will undoubtedly be seen by some as too conspiratorial and extravagant to be worth taking seriously. However, it is as well to know that Curtis has passed muster with a number of investigative journalists and authors, including, among others, columnist Jack Anderson and Sterling Seagrave. 

This was all very interesting to me simply because in addition to his activities with the Secret Treaty gold certificate negotiations, Peter Johnston was also involved with Imelda Marcos on other bullion transactions. One of these involved a vast transfer of money authorised by the last remaining heir of the Krupp family fortune, Baron Arndt Krupp von Bohlen & Halbach. Dated 4 November 1985, a letter issued on the Baron’s private letterhead – and bearing his signature – authorised Krupphausen attorney Carl Letermeyer to effect payment to Clem. T. Santiago of Manila, Philippines of the equivalent of “one percent (1%) from profits of Krupphausen in 1980 up to 1985 now on deposit at Volksbank Willislav AG, Switzerland.” [xvii]

However, complication beset the transaction, not least the death of Baron Krupp. As late as January 1988, Carl Letermeyer wrote to Clem T. Santiago at the Krupp Heritage & World Peace Foundation in Singapore enclosing a summary of figures covering the five-year period stated in the Baron’s November 1985 authorisation. The sums involved are almost unbelievable, and for this reason I recommend a careful study of Sterling Seagrave’s 1999 book The Yamato Dynasty (Bantam Press) – especially the footnotes on pages 354/5. In any event, the transfer sum due to Santiago at the Krupp Foundation – and representing 1% of profits over a five-year period — totalled US$112 billion. [xviii]

Seagrave’s intriguing and well researched book reveals the true story of the origin of Marcos gold that resulted from immense Japanese plunder throughout Southeast Asia World War II. The bulk of it – totalling 172 treasure troves – was buried on and around the Philippine islands prior to the war’s end. One site referenced by Seagrave, and audited by Japanese accountants, contained a staggering Yen777 billion. The dollar-yen exchange rate was almost four yen to the dollar, giving an equivalent in 1945 US currency of $194 billion. Nor can it be argued that Seagrave is exaggerating. Documents in my own possession amply confirm what he says. The foregoing facts corroborate Seagrave’s thesis that numerous wealthy individuals possessing right-wing sympathies aided and abetted the OSS/CIA by laundering plundered Japanese gold, gemstones and other booty. In fact, the OSS began recovering the loot from one Philippine 777 site commencing in 1945 and efforts have continued, more or less, up to the present.

Directly related to the foregoing are other equally interesting facts. Allen Dulles, together with former New York Governor Thomas Dewey, owned a large shareholding in Mary Carter Paint Company, a firm reputed to be a CIA front and owned by leading Mafia financier, Meyer Lansky. This company, later renamed Resorts International, caused a flurry of press interest when it was discovered it had made a 1968 contribution of $100,000 to the Nixon presidential campaign fund in the form of thirty-three cheques for $3,000 and one for $1,000.

Richard Nixon was, of course, Vice President during the Eisenhower Administration, which spanned the years 1952-1960. In 1971, Nixon closed the gold window, thus removing gold as a backing for the US dollar. In time, the mobbed-up Resorts International would demonstrate links to Castle Bank in the Bahamas – a CIA front company founded by veteran OSS and CIA bagman, Paul Helliwell. Castle Bank would later, in turn, reveal close connections to Wall Street’s junk bond investment bank, Drexel Burnham & Lambert – thus squaring the then- hazy but now- clear circle of associations among the CIA, the Mob, Wall Street and government.  

Meanwhile, it is of additional interest to note that the Bahamas-based Paradise Island Bridge Company was principally owned by Swiss and German investors, including the director of a BASF subsidiary company. BASF is, of course, the largest single successor firm of I.G. Farben. In any event, the company was highlighted throughout the Watergate years due to allegations that it had been laundering “skim money” (possibly from the joint Mob/ CIA- owned Paradise Island Casino or, perhaps, from World War II plunder recovered by the CIA?) for eventual payment to then President Nixon via his confidant, Bebe Rebozo. Allegations surrounding an amount of $200,000 paid to Nixon’s camp was made by an IRS informant. [xix]  Nixon and his top henchmen in the White House were so pro-Nazi that it began to sour relations with Israel. 

Crime boss Meyer Lansky had a controlling interest in the Swiss -registered and -based International Credit Bank through his henchmen Tibor Rosenbaum and John Pullman. Customers of the bank included the State of Israel, the Rothschild family and, not least, Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands.

Bernhard was born a German prince who married a Dutch queen and became an honorary member of the SS before joining the intelligence arm of I. G. Farben — which later became an indispensable spook asset of the Third Reich. When war broke out, Bernhard quit his German associations and joined the RAF, which, delighted to have this blue-blood aboard, gave him his own battle squadron. Post-war, he closely associated himself with both American and British intelligence and took bribes from American aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Corporation. This latter episode was during his chairmanship of the Bilderberg group – forcing his resignation — and at about the same time that he opened an account in Meyer Lansky’s private Swiss bank for landed financiers, princes, Mafiosi and casino gentry. Few, surely, can list these manifold and genteel credits on their vitae. The words “for sale” and “highest bidder” inevitably spring to mind.

Footnotes

[i] Ladislas Farago, Aftermath (New York : Simon & Schuster, 1974) at 222-5.

[ii] Ibid at 213.

[iii] Ibid at 203. This treasure also included 3,500 ounces of platinum, 4,638 carats in diamonds and others precious stones and an assortment of gold marks, pound sterling, dollars and Swiss francs.

[iv] Robert Hutchison, Their Kingdom Come (New York, St. Martin’s Press,1997) at 211.

[v] Ibid at 208.

[vi] See, Farago’s Aftermath.

[vii] Paul Manning, – Martin Bormann – Nazi in Exile (Lyle Stuart Inc., 1981) at 282.

[viii] Farago at 395.

[ix] John Loftus and Mark Aarons at 83-84.

[x] See Seagraves at 121

[xi] Farago at 397.

[xii] Personal correspondence with this writer.

[xiii] Ibid.

[xiv] Personal correspondence with this writer.

[xv] Ibid.[xvi] Personal correspondence with this writer. These claims have also proved impossible to corroborate thus far. However, I believe them to be worthy of inclusion with the understanding that they are unverified. I also think it worth noting that when researching his book, Marcos Dynasty, author Sterling Seagrave arranged for investigative reporter Don Goldberg to spend a few days reviewing thousands of Marcos documents in the possession of Curtis and concluded, based on Goldberg’s reports, he was telling the truth.  [xvii] See the “Krupp Letter” in the Appendices.[xviii] Copy of fax of original letter in this writer’s possession.[xix] From an unpublished manuscript by Peter Dale Scott.

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