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Nazis and Nazi Sympathizers in South America after 1945. Careers and Networks in their Destination Countries

von Donnerstag, 31. März 2022 -  10:00
bis Freitag, 1. April 2022 - 16:00

Vienna Wiesenthal Institute, Research Lounge 1010 Vienna, Rabensteig 3, 3rd Floor


Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele, Klaus Barbie, and Erich Priebke: These names are exemplary of the Nazi criminals who found refuge in South America after 1945. There, they either remained untroubled or were only made accountable for their crimes many years later.

Suedam WS

Investigations into their whereabouts in South America – when they were still alive – were conducted painstakingly among others by Simon Wiesenthal as well as the Klarsfelds. Since then, many publications by historians and journalists have dealt with the biographies of individual former Nazis (with the focus always lying on men), their escape routes, their acceptance into their destination countries, and partly also with their political activities in their new homelands.

Aside from the prominent perpetrators and their thoroughly researched biographies, there were numerous other cases of more or less influential (former) Nazis and Nazi sympathizers who ended up in Argentina, Chile, and other South American countries. Their life trajectories and professional as well as private activities in their new homes have hardly been subject to systematic research to date. Their biographies and their new lives in South America will therefore be the focus of this workshop.

Now, more than 75 years after the end of the Second World War, the aim is first to take stock of the state of the field. On this basis, we wish to address new research questions and to identify hitherto unmined source bases and new groups of individuals to be researched. The objective is thus to redefine the research field focusing on German and Austrian Nazis in South America and their (inter-)national connections. We will discuss new insights on the forms, paths, and networks of flight and migration and will raise questions such as: which conditions did the (former) Nazis and Nazi sympathizers encounter in South America? Which opportunities were offered by the destination states and the local societies for their integration and who were their individual and institutional cooperation partners? In which professional areas could they establish themselves? Can we detect continuities from the Nazi-era and what impact did they have on their post-war careers? What was the relationship between the (former) Nazis to locals and what mutual influences can we observe, especially within the elites?

Thursday, 31 March 2022

10:00 Welcome Notes
Éva Kovács (VWI)
Linda Erker (Vienna University)
Susanne Heim (VWI-International Academic Advisory Board)

10:15 Keynote
Raanan Rein (Tel Aviv University)
From the Blue Book to the CEANA Report and Back. Narratives of Argentina’s Complicity with the Third Reich and Nazi Fugitives

11:00 Old And New Connections: The Establishment Of Fugitive National Socialists In South America

Martin Finkenberger (Bonn)
“But it was a long and difficult road until we had become established”. The Networks of NS-Propagandists Johann von Leers and Wilfred von Oven on the Rio de la Plata

Gustavo Guzmán (University of Potsdam/Tel Aviv University)
A Story of Silence. The Life and Networks of Walther Rauff in Chile, 1958–1984

Commented by Dorothee Schlüter (Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation) & discussion

12:30 Lunch Break

13:30 NS-Continuities in German Institutions After 1945

Daniel Stahl (Friedrich Schiller University Jena)
German Embassies and the Nazi Exile in South America

Christian Cwik (University of Graz)
The NSDAP/AO and its Substructures in the Aftermath of World War II

Holger M. Meding (University of Cologne)
A Menacing Past. Spies with a National Socialist Background on Mission for the West German Secret Service in South America

Commented by Linda Erker (Vienna University) & discussion

15:00 Coffee Break

15:15 Rome as a Hub for Nazis on the Run: Migration Management and Support for War Criminals After 1945

Suzanne Brown-Fleming (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C.)
“Il Papa Tedesco” (The German Pope). Pius XII and German War Criminals

Klaus Taschwer (Vienna)
Alois Hudal and the Ratline Revisited. New Findings on the Bishop’s Help for War Criminals and other National-Socialists on Their Way to South America

Commented by Kerstin von Lingen (Vienna University) & discussion

17:00 Guided Tour Through the Simon Wiesenthal Archive

Kinga Frojimovics/Marianne Windsperger (VWI)
“via área”/“por correo aéreo”. Correspondence with Jewish Communities in South America in the Simon Wiesenthal Archive

19:00 Podium Discussion, Bookshop Singer am Rabensteig 3

The Legacies of Simon Wiesenthal: The Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies – Looking Back, Moving Forward

Participants: Brigitte Bailer (DÖW), Shimon Samuels (SWC Paris), Efraim Zuroff (SWC Jerusalem)

Moderated by Alexia Weiss (WINA)

Friday, 1 April 2022

9:30 Austrian National Socialists in Argentina: Old Comrades From Vienna

Robert Obermair (University of Salzburg)
The Broad Support for a National Socialist on the Run. Oswald Menghin’s Safety Net Created by Religious, Political and Scientific Networks

Jutta Fuchshuber/Andreas Schrabauer (Vienna University)
Hans Fischböck. An Economic Careerist and his Antisemitic Networks

Commented by Margit Reiter (University of Salzburg) & discussion

11:00 Coffee Break

11:10 Export/Import. Chemists In Military Research in Argentina Under Perón

Jason Lemberg (Goethe-University Frankfurt a. M.)
Warfare Research and the two Careers of Hans-Joachim Schumacher

Linda Erker (Vienna University)
Armin Dadieu. A Chemist as SS-Oberführer, Gauhauptmann, Rocket Scientist for Perón and Re-integrated Returnee

Commented by Sandra Carreras (Ibero-American Institute Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) & discussion

12:40 Lunch Break

13:45 New Perspectives on Familiar Faces. Writing History In A Different Way

Karin Harrasser (University of Art and Design Linz)
Monika und Hans Ertl. Family as a Tangle of Symptoms for a Transatlantic Contemporary History

Ursula Prutsch (Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich)
The Ammunition-King Fritz Mandl. How an Emigrant of Jewish Origin was Turned into a Nazi

Commented by Erhard Stackl (Vienna) & discussion

15:15 Closing Session

Organised by the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies and the Department of Contemporary History at Vienna University

Concept: Linda Erker (Vienna University)

In cooperation with the Department of History at the University of Salzburg and Ibero-American Institute Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.
Kindly supported by the Research Network Latin America at Vienna University, the Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies at Vienna University, the National Fund of the Republic of Austria for Victims of National Socialism and the Future Fund of the Republic of Austria.

Image: Letters to Simon Wiesenthal supporting his investigations on Nazis in South America, Correspondence 1945–2015, VWI.SWA.III.9

This will be a live event only. Due to limited number of places, we kindly ask you to register at Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein! by 24 March 2022. We will then confirm your participation and inform you about the COVID-safety regulations in place via e-mail.

By participating in this event, you consent to the publication of photos, video and audio recordings that are made during the event.


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