Nazis in South America
On Sunday, July 11, 2004, the Chilean newspaper Las Ultimas Noticias published a brief interview with an author whose book had created a stir throughout South America. Abel Basti’s Bariloche Nazi openly suggested that the German Führer Adolf Hitler did not die in a Berlin bunker, but managed to escape to South America along with his mistress Eva Braun. Both spent their last days in the Argentinean mountain resort of San Carlos de Bariloche in the Andes.
According to Basti, Hitler died in 1960. No date for Braun’s death has been put forth. One of the locations identified as a hideaway for Hitler in Argentina is the San Ramón estancia or ranch, owned by the German principality of Schaumburg-Lippe. Another is the Inalco Mansion on the shores of Lake Nahuel Huapi. Hitler’s days in Argentina were apparently uneventful. He went for long hikes along the shores of Nahuel Huapi and took in the clean Andean air. His trademark mustache shaven and his hair gone gray, the architect of millions of deaths had settled down as a householder.
If Hitler did, in fact, live out his final years in South America, how did he get there from the bunker in Berlin where he is believed to have committed suicide?
After the fall of Germany, the British Admiralty had issued a command to all German submarines in the high seas advising them to hoist a black flag or emblem after surfacing and to turn themselves in at the nearest port. This directly countermanded coded message 0953/4, the Nazi fleet’s last official communication, which advised U-boat commanders of the surrender and directed that their vessels be scuttled before falling into enemy hands.
As of May 29, 1945, the seas were believed to have been cleared of Nazi subs, until one of them pulled into the Portuguese port of Leixoes. The Allied Command began to wonder if Hitler could have escaped aboard one of his subs. A few weeks later, the U.S Navy reported that four or five U-boats remained unaccounted for. Hunted and running out of fuel, it was a matter of time before the dead-enders turned up. But where?
On July 10, the Argentinean submarine base at Mar del Plata was surprised by the arrival of U-530, commanded by Otto Vermouth. A month later, U-977 under the command of Heinz Schaeffer surfaced off the Argentinean coast and surrendered to two coastal patrol vessels engaged in exercises.
Were there more rogue submarines somewhere in the South Atlantic Ocean?
In the late summer of 1945, Basti alleges, two former crewmen of the battleship Graf Spee (scuttled outside the city of Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1939 to keep it from being captured by the British Navy) traveled to an undisclosed location in Patagonia to rendezvous with a submarine carrying some very important exiles from the shattered Third Reich.
Basti continues: “The sailors say that they slept in a Patagonian ranch and in the early morning hours were on hand to receive the submarines. They brought trucks and loaded baggage and people onto them. One researcher spoke with the sailors—now deceased—and they confirmed the story.”
The convoy of Kriegsmarine U-boats consisted of ten vessels carrying at least 60 passengers each, Adolf Hitler among them. According to Basti, the sailors went public with their story in 1950.
Allied forces reconstructed the trajectory of the U-977 from its departure from Norway on May 2, 1945, to its arrival in Argentinean territorial waters in August thanks to the U-boat’s log. Captain Schaeffer and his crew had sailed underwater from Bergen to the South Atlantic without surfacing.
Was this submarine part of the ten-ship convoy that the nameless sailors of the Graf Spee had received in Patagonia?
A book written in 1956 by Jochen Brennecke, another crewman of the Graf Spee, described having loaded half a dozen trucks with a series of boxes stamped geheime Reichssache, which had been unloaded from submarines off the Argentine coast, and later taken to an estancia or ranch deep in Patagonia. Other authors have suggested that these boxes contained nearly 90 kilos of platinum and 2,000 kilos of gold and precious jewels that formed part of the Waffen-S.S.’s treasure: enough to finance a war of resistance from a hidden location.
Stories like this one, or their variants, have been told for the past 50 years. The Führer and his closest advisors board a submarine (the Baltic port of Kiel is often mentioned as the point of departure) and take off for parts unknown, usually Antarctica or some South American location (Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, or perhaps even Chile) from which the Reich could reorganize and strike back at the world. Some versions posit that advanced technology in the form of “flying saucers” was brought along during the escape, and that the blond haired, blue-eyed saucernauts were perfect Aryans achieved through advanced genetic engineering.
But what Abel Basti probably doesn’t know (and what many Nazi history buffs have probably overlooked) is that Hitler had cast a predatory eye on Latin America long before the rise of the thousand-year Reich. According to an article in Executive Intelligence Review by William F. Wertz, Jr., titled “The Nazi-Instigated National Synarchist Union of Mexico,” the Führer’s greater geopolitical strategy included Latin America as a fertile and very enticing part of the world to be brought to heel.
According to Wertz, Hitler believed that the Mexican Republic was “the best and richest country in the world, with the laziest and most dissipated population under the sun…a country that cries for a capable master. With the treasure of Mexican soil, Germany could be rich and great!” The source of this quote is Hermann Rauschning, the governor of Danzig who left the Nazi cause in 1934 and who is better known in conspiracy and paranormal circles as the source of information about Hitler’s terrifying contacts with extrahuman forces.
Hitler did not envision hundreds of thousands of infantrymen and mechanized divisions crossing the Atlantic to win this prize, rather, his plan was to make use of German nationals already living in Latin American countries, subverting the local political process with the assistance of the German industrial and economic presence in Latin America. It isn’t clear if he ever imagined having to take refuge in the lands he saw as ripe for the taking.
In the Shadow of the Swastika
Argentina remained neutral throughout World War II, though there was strong pro-Axis sentiment in the country. The Secretary of War at the time was Juan Domingo Perón, the legendary strongman whose wife was immortalized by a Broadway musical. In 1945. Perón countermanded an order given to the Argentinean Navy to intercept Kriegsmarine elements attempting to round Cape Horn and escape into the Pacific Ocean, presumably toward Axis Japan. The Argentinean fleet was instructed to return to its base at Port Belgrano. That very spring, Peron’s wife, the glamorous María Eva (“Evita”) Duarte, had received considerable deposits in her name from the Transatlantic German Bank, the Banco Germánico, and the Tornquist Bank. A year later, Evita Perón visited Genoa to play an instrumental role in getting Martin Bormann into Argentina.
The long, hot summer of 1945 was a busy one indeed. Gestapo chief Heinrich Miller emerged from a submarine at Orense Beach in southern Buenos Aires province while other U-boats were reportedly seen at Claromecó and Reta. In his book ODESSA al Sur (The Southern Odessa), Jorge Camarasa states: “Someone had told me that Heinrich Miller had come ashore at Orense in 1945, and that the trawler Ottolenghi had transferred him to Necochea, from where he headed to [the town of] Coronel Pringles to organize the escape of sailors from the Graf Spee who were interned in the old Sierra de la Ventana hotel.” Could some of these sailors have formed part of Hitler’s welcoming committee, as described in Bariloche Nazi?
Camarasa worked closely with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Buenos Aires on the extradition of Nazi war criminals, and his research turned up some fascinating information. Over 50 documents from Argentina’s naval authorities were found regarding reports of U-boats on the Patagonian littoral in a 40-day period, including a landing in Quequén and multiple sightings off the coastal towns of Comodoro Rivadavia, Ingeniero White, and San Antonio Oeste. Camarasa believes that another landing occurred near the current location of Villa Gessell, where small numbers of personnel debarked with boxes of unknown content and remained there for a certain time before leaving to other destinations, perhaps elsewhere in South America.
In the 1990s, the World Jewish Congress pressured then-president Carlos Menem to declassify all information regarding the presence of Nazi war criminals in Argentina, but it would not be until May 2003 that President Néstor Kirchner ordered his Ministry of the Interior to look into the “dark migration” of war criminals to his country, a task which started with the opening of that department’s files. Entry cards for one Helmut Gregor (an alias employed by “Doctor Death,” Josef Mengele), for example, report his arrival in Buenos Aires in 1949 aboard a Panamanian freighter, describing him as a 38 year-old Catholic lathe operator from Germany.
Another investigative journalist, Uki Goñi, unearthed more leads on the Nazi migration southward and the complicity of government functionaries in allowing the entry not only of former Gestapo, SS, and military personnel, but also members of the Croatian Ustasche (at least 15 war criminals among 7,000 immigrants).
Two to four years after the U-boat landings, “superstars” like Adolf Eichmann and Erich Priebke began to arrive in Argentina, allegedly aided by members of the Catholic clergy, particularly an Italian bishop who facilitated their escape through the port city of Genoa.
Children of the Reich
In 1956, a land purchase took place in the Chilean locality of La Parra, some 400 kilometers south of Santiago de Chile. The buyer was a man named Paul Shafer, who quickly established the “Sociedad Benefactora y Educacional Dignidad” as a settlement for a small knot of European emigrés. Before long, the tiny settlement had evolved into a major center of activity, complete with an airstrip, several factories, filling stations, trucks, schools, and its own power station. It became known as “Colonia Dignidad” and become the focus of Nazi activity in Chile, playing a major role in aiding the Pinochet dictatorship.
This was just part of a process that had been taking place for decades. The first National Socialist organization in Chile was established in the town of Osorno in April 1931; within eight years, the Chilean Nazi Party had over 1,000 card-carrying members, most of them influential figures from the spheres of business and politics.
Chile is also the home of one of the most notorious proponents of “Esoteric Hitlerism,” former diplomat and author Miguel Serrano. Serrano’s career brought him into contact with Indian traditions while he served as Chile’s ambassador to India in the 1950s, soaking in the same Tibetan lore and wisdom that had so fascinated European Nazis. He later went on to hold a number of prestigious positions with the United Nations.
Serrano’s works of occult fascism appeared as a trilogy whose first book, published in 1984, bears the title Adolfo Hitler, el último avatara (Hitler, the last avatar) and tries to establish a link between Nazism and the Germanic mystical tradition, the Knights Templar, the ancient Aryans, and the belief in underground civilizations of supermen like Agarttha. In Serrano’s viewpoint, his ideology seeks to perform the holy task of keeping the world safe from a Zionist-Masonic plot for world domination and enshrining the sacred teachings handed down from the hidden realm presided over by the “King of the World.”
Written by Scott Corrales, a long-time contributor to Fate. He is the editor of Inexplicata: The Journal of Hispanic Ufology. Published in FATE Jan/Feb 2009.