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  1. ODESSA: The Controversial History of the Mysterious Network that Helped Nazis Escape Germany after World War II
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  2. ODESSA: The Controversial History of the Mysterious Network that Helped Nazis Escape Germany after World War II

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Additional Information

*Includes pictures
*Includes accounts of Nazis' escapes
*Discusses the question of whether ODESSA actually existed
*Includes online resources and a bibliography for further reading

Cloak and dagger espionage, assassination, dangerous adventure, and strange deceptions such as the Operation Mincemeat plan wherein the corpse of a Welsh pauper fitted with a uniform and false papers deceived the Nazi hierarchy about the location of the Western Allies' first landing in Europe, all constitute as real a part of World War II's kaleidoscopically varied history as battles and clear-cut policies. With such a complex and dramatic struggle, human nature dictates a crop of conspiracy theories also arise.

The ODESSA, or Organisation der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen (Organization for Former SS Members), appears quite plausible compared to some World War II legends. Next to tales of Hitler attempting to draw power from the Spear of Longinus or the Holy Grail, or the Japanese burying gold in foreign countries which thousands of treasure seekers cannot locate in the years since, the idea of an organization enabling the escape of SS and other Nazi individuals stands as modest and believable.

The escape of hundreds of Nazis to South America and the Middle East represents a factual matter of history, not legend. Some of the Nazi hierarchy's vilest members, such as Dr. Josef Mengele and the mass murderer Adolf Eichmann, slipped out of Europe and spent years or decades safe from retribution. There, some evidence strongly suggests, they worked to bring the overthrow of Western democracy, frequently with the wholehearted support of Islamic extremists and the aid of money in Swiss bank accounts.

Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi hunter, asserted the ODESSA existed. Some historians propose that Wiesenthal may in fact be the original source positing the network's reality. The reality of the ODESSA, and its successor organizations such as “Die Spinne” (“The Spider”) remains a subject of historical debate and contention. Some notable and extremely qualified historians maintain firmly that the ODESSA represents a phantasm, while other authors speak just as confidently of its existence.

Regardless of whether the ODESSA existed in the formal sense Wiesenthal and the American CIA posited, an organized program of Nazi rescue certainly developed in the immediate postwar period. While the Catholic Church and even U.S. intelligence had some hand in enabling some escapes to Argentina, the preponderance of fleeing Nazis sought refuge in the Middle East. Using Italy or Franco's right-wing Spain as stopping off points, financed by two former Third Reich bankers, and masterminded by a man who likely qualified as Hitler's direct successor, the extremist Grand Mufti Haj Amin al-Husaini, the real ODESSA – whether an officially constructed organization or a simple shorthand for an informal but powerful network animated by a common purpose – represented a new alliance between the defeated Nazis and a number of Islamic extremist groups and governments.

Among Simon Wiesenthal's other insights, the tireless and perceptive Nazi hunter shared one with his friend and colleague Alan Levy: “Then we talked of ‘leftist fascism’ and how the Russians and their Stalinist puppets in Eastern Europe issued decrees with the same wording used by the Nazi occupiers. As Simon put it: ‘The world is round. If you go right, right, right, you come out on the left.’” (Levy, 2002, 14). In other words, the real ODESSA transformed the Nazis from a primarily European racist phenomenon into a Middle Eastern and quasi-Islamic racist phenomenon. In the process, they came to view all European culture with the same lethal hostility as they held towards Jews, and they even contemplated assisting a Soviet conquest of Europe, proving Wiesenthal's axiom functionally true in more than one sense.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

After reading the book ODESSA: The Controversial History of the Mysterious Network that Helped Nazis Escape Germany after World War II, I understand why controversial is part of the title. After reading the book, I would agree that there was an informal network that allowed some of the Nazis to escape punishment by allowing them to enter South America and parts of the Middle East. I also agree that if I was a German soldier after World War II that I would have wanted to stay out of the reach of USSR and any other communist government. I am not sure why the book wasted so much time on the theory of the escape of Adolf Hitler. I had not heard before that Hitler thought/felt that the creed of Jihad was “perfectly suited to the Germanic temperament.” I have read very little about the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husaini but I knew he was anti-Semitic but I did not realize he was involved with former Nazi coming to the Middle East. In addition, the book covered... Read more
This book details the story of the ODESSA, which is thought to be an organization that assisted the escape Nazi individuals in the aftermath of WWII. The author points out that there is some dispute regarding the actual existence of ODESSA, but what is indisputable is the extraordinary tale of the escape of hundreds of Nazis to South America and the Middle East, including Dr. Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann. The author also explains how the former Nazis slipped out of Europe with the aid of a series of safe houses and at least the tacit support of individuals in the Allied occupying forces, Franco's Spanish government and the Catholic Church. They made their way to Argentina where with the support of Peron they spent years safe from retribution. They even they worked to bring the overthrow of Western democracy. The author also details the connection many had with Islamic extremists and supplemented by money in Swiss bank accounts.
This is a fascinating story that reads like... Read more
The Odessa; was a organization set up by The Nazi's To get the big wigs of the party out of Germany, at the end of The Second World War. Countless war criminals escape; With the help of The Odessa and a surprisingly large number of allied countries. This is a very good book, for setting the record straight . After reading The Odessa, the hairs on the back of your neck will stand up..D
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