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EPILOGUE: The Aftermath
 pg. 670 
Fugitive Nazis in the Americas

Not all Nazis followed the path of Joseph Goebbels, who chose suicide rather than face life without the Führer. Many others, including some directly responsible for implementing the "Final Solution," fled Germany in the hope of eluding judgment.

Helped by secret networks of Nazi sympathizers, Adolf Eichmann, Franz Stangl, and Josef Mengele, along with untold others, escaped to South America. Eichmann, the SS "Jewish expert," fled to Argentina, but was eventually located and spirited out of the country by Israeli security agents. Stangl, commandant of the Sobibór and Treblinka death camps, escaped first to Syria with the aid of a sympathetic Catholic bishop and then journeyed to Brazil. For 16 years he lived there with his family, using his own name and working in a Volkswagen factory, until war-crimes investigators finally extradited him for trial in Germany.

Josef Mengele, the Auschwitz doctor known as the "Angel of Death," found asylum in Argentina. Facing extradition, he hid in Brazil and Paraguay, managing to avoid capture. He died a free man in 1978. Others, including concentration- and death-camp guards, joined the swell of refugees who immigrated to the United States, building new lives and escaping prosecution for their crimes. In the summer of 1998, Argentina signed an accord with Germany, Israel, and the United States to share information about Nazis still at large in Argentina.

In Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Daniel Goldhagen argues that widespread and deeply ingrained antisemitism caused average Germans to become "willing" killers of Jews.
Photo: Rijks Instituut Voor Oorlogsdocumentatie, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Daniel Goldhagen
Photo: Ullstein Bilderdienst
The Berlin memorial, which will testify to the immensity of the "Final Solution," also suggests that German responsibility for the destruction of the European Jews was widespread. It included people such as Alfons Goetzfried and his Gestapo colleagues; it also implicated the Wehrmacht. At least for one scholar, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, a young Harvard University professor of government, German responsibility was so vast that it became appropriate to let the title of his best-selling 1996 book--Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust--identify Germans generally. Half a century after the Holocaust ended, no writing about the Holocaust--not even the most determined efforts of the pseudo-scholars who deny that the Holocaust took place--provoked greater controversy about Ger-man identity than his.

Even when they are about immensely important subjects such as the Holocaust, 600-page history books rarely get the attention received by Hitler's Willing Executioners. Finding his conclusions at odds with their own, most Holocaust scholars in the United States, Europe, and Israel have not given Goldhagen marks to match the high sales figures that his book enjoyed.

 1955: French film director Alain Resnais releases Nuit et Brouillard (Night and Fog), a powerful short documentary about Nazi concentration- and death-camp atrocities. Its major flaw is the omission of the fact that the Jews were the central victims of the Holocaust.
 1955: Jud Süss, the most notorious antisemitic feature film to be produced in Germany during the Hitler era, is dubbed into Arabic and distributed in the Arab states by Sovexport, a Soviet government agency.
 1956: Polish film director Andrzej Wajda releases Kanal, a harrowing drama about fugitive Jews hiding beneath the streets in the Warsaw sewer system in September 1944.
 October 29, 1956: In response to Egypt's July 26 nationalization of the Suez Canal, Israel attacks Egypt's Sinai peninsula and drives toward the canal.
 November 6, 1956: A U.S.-forced cease-fire ends Arab-Israeli hostilities and preserves free use of the Suez Canal.
EPILOGUE: The Aftermath
 pg. 670 
The Holocaust Chronicle
© 2009 Publications International, Ltd.