What if the individual most responsible, perhaps, for the current world order did not die in a Berlin bunker in 1945 as popular history tells us but, instead, escaped to Argentina as the titular head of an internationalized Nazi Party-in-exile? Simon Dunstan and Gerrard Williams’ new book, Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler, is a fascinating look at a secret chronology of the late and post-war era and an intriguing investigation into rumors that Adolf Hitler quit Germany for South America in the final days of World War II. Dunstan is a military historian who has written more than a dozen books for Osprey Publishing, while Williams is a former international correspondent for Reuters and the BBC.
We spoke with Mr. Williams about the book and what implications a hidden past could have on the future.
PARAPOLITICAL: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler is a fascinating read. What was the impetus for writing it and how did you and Simon Dunstan come to collaborate?
WILLIAMS: I was making documentaries in Argentina after a lifetime covering international news stories, when I first came across the story that Hitler had escaped to the country by submarine and had died there many years later. Originally I had planned on doing a rather silly “”conspiracy theory” documentary on the subject – I had never done a “conspiracy” story and thought it might be a change from hard news and serious subjects. However, as I investigated it further it became clear that there was much more to the story. Simon and I had known each other for some years through a mutual contact in television and we got talking about the subject. Simon’s interest was piqued and, being a published author, suggested we investigate further and that led to us writing the book. We are also making a film dramatization of the events from the escape to Hitler’s death and hope to complete this in the New Year.
PARAPOLITICAL:Grey Wolf provides, what seems like, almost impossible detail about the route and timing of Hitler’s evacuation to South America. Some of the most fascinating parts, however, are in the fog of information that surrounds certain episodes of the escape. One such moment involves Peter Baumgart, the South African Luftwaffe pilot who flew the Hitler entourage to Denmark, the first stop in their trip to Argentina. According to period newspaper accounts you presented in the book, Baumgart was imprisoned in Poland, released in 1951 and “never heard of again.” If we can ask you to speculate for a moment, what do you think happened to him?
WILLIAMS: It’s possible that he survived and lived out his life in obscurity, possible under another name. We have not been able to trace him. It is also possible that he was silenced by the Bormann organisation. At least five murders of bankers and people in the know in Argentina during the early 1950’s can be directly linked to this grouping and with the Nazi’s reputation for mass murder, it is quite possible that Baumgart was killed.
PARAPOLITICAL: You mention in Grey Wolf that the U.S. government was given an ultimatum to turn a blind eye to Hitler’s relocation to Argentina, though you seemed to stop short of unambiguously stating that this was an offer which the U.S. accepted. Can you clarify your thoughts on this matter?
WILLIAMS: We believe that a small but very influential group of American intelligence officials, led by Allen Dulles and backed by a group of very wealthy American bankers and industrialists, had been in contact with Martin Bormann and other senior Nazis from before the war and continued those contacts throughout WW2. It was this group who negotiated the escape of Hitler, Bormann and finally 30,000 European Fascists to Latin America. I believe that from 1944 this grouping saw the Nazis as finished and believed the real threat was the Soviet Union. It would have been useful to have Hitler on hand to potentially lead Germany along with the Allies in any conflict with the Soviets. This plan collapsed when the true horror of the Holocaust was revealed with almost 7 million people having been industrially murdered. It was no longer possible to work with Hitler and the Bormann organisation but by that stage it was too late. They had escaped and were secure in their protected Andean bolt-hole. In return the US gained amazing technology, and intelligence, which would eventually take them to the Moon.
PARAPOLITICAL: Though the U.S. government had come to an agreement with Hitler that would allow him to escape Germany, the FBI – apparently – continued to investigate the possibility of his presence in Argentina until the 1950s. This seems to suggest an – at best – schizophrenic government and – at worst – the presence of an extra-constitutional decision-making authority inside it. Which, if either, do you believe is the case? Do you think there are those inside the U.S. government, today, who know about an arrangement with the Bormann Organization to facilitate Hitler’s departure from Germany?
WILLIAMS: It’s important to differentiate between the US government at the time – which I do not believe knew of the deal – and the grouping discussed above. It seems that Director Hoover was not privy to the information. I think that within the archives of OSS/CIA there will be definitive proof of this deal and how CIA used many Nazis post-war for their own ends across the globe and especially in Latin America. Many of the FBI files are also yet to be released. The few we have been able to access in the public domain are heavily redacted, even 75 years later.
PARAPOLITICAL: In the post-war period the Bormann Organization had – through a variety of front companies – access to incredible wealth that, through Martin Bormann’s acute business sense, continued to grow. How were these holdings dispersed on Bormann’s death and to what end are they being used toward today?
WILLIAMS: We believe much of the Organisation’s wealth was filtered back into West Germany in the 1950’s helping to bring about the “West German Economic Miracle.” The loot of occupied Europe, the wealth of the murdered European Jews, has all been laundered through many stages and today probably represents significant share holdings in major companies around the world. It’s probable this is still being run by the children of Nazi officials who escaped with Bormann and Hitler.
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