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Hunting Evil
Cover of Hunting Evil
Hunting Evil
The Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and the Quest to Bring Them to Justice
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Already acclaimed in England as "first-rate" (The Sunday Times); "a model of meticulous, courageous and path-breaking scholarship"(Literary Review); and "absorbing and thoroughly gripping... deserves a lasting place among histories of the war." (The Sunday Telegraph), Hunting Evil is the first complete and definitive account of how the Nazis escaped and were pursued and captured — or managed to live long lives as fugitives.

At the end of the Second World War, an estimated 30,000 Nazi war criminals fled from justice, including some of the highest ranking members of the Nazi Party. Many of them have names that resonate deeply in twentieth-century history — Eichmann, Mengele, Martin Bormann, and Klaus Barbie — not just for the monstrosity of their crimes, but also because of the shadowy nature of their post-war existence, holed up in the depths of Latin America, always one step ahead of their pursuers. Aided and abetted by prominent people throughout Europe, they hid in foreboding castles high in the Austrian alps, and were taken in by shady Argentine secret agents. The attempts to bring them to justice are no less dramatic, featuring vengeful Holocaust survivors, inept politicians, and daring plots to kidnap or assassinate the fugitives.

In this exhaustively researched and compellingly written work of World War II history and investigative reporting, journalist and novelist Guy Walters gives a comprehensive account of one of the most shocking and important aspects of the war: how the most notorious Nazi war criminals escaped justice, how they were pursued, captured or able to remain free until their natural deaths and how the Nazis were assisted while they were on the run by "helpers" ranging from a Vatican bishop to a British camel doctor, and even members of Western intelligence services. Based on all new interviews with Nazi hunters and former Nazis and intelligence agents, travels along the actual escape routes, and archival research in Germany, Britain, the United States, Austria, and Italy, Hunting Evil authoritatively debunks much of what has previously been understood about Nazis and Nazi hunters in the post war era, including myths about the alleged "Spider" and "Odessa" escape networks and the surprising truth about the world's most legendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

From its haunting chronicle of the monstrous mass murders the Nazis perpetrated and the murky details of their postwar existence to the challenges of hunting them down, Hunting Evil is a monumental work of nonfiction written with the pacing and intrigue of a thriller.

From the Hardcover edition.
Already acclaimed in England as "first-rate" (The Sunday Times); "a model of meticulous, courageous and path-breaking scholarship"(Literary Review); and "absorbing and thoroughly gripping... deserves a lasting place among histories of the war." (The Sunday Telegraph), Hunting Evil is the first complete and definitive account of how the Nazis escaped and were pursued and captured — or managed to live long lives as fugitives.

At the end of the Second World War, an estimated 30,000 Nazi war criminals fled from justice, including some of the highest ranking members of the Nazi Party. Many of them have names that resonate deeply in twentieth-century history — Eichmann, Mengele, Martin Bormann, and Klaus Barbie — not just for the monstrosity of their crimes, but also because of the shadowy nature of their post-war existence, holed up in the depths of Latin America, always one step ahead of their pursuers. Aided and abetted by prominent people throughout Europe, they hid in foreboding castles high in the Austrian alps, and were taken in by shady Argentine secret agents. The attempts to bring them to justice are no less dramatic, featuring vengeful Holocaust survivors, inept politicians, and daring plots to kidnap or assassinate the fugitives.

In this exhaustively researched and compellingly written work of World War II history and investigative reporting, journalist and novelist Guy Walters gives a comprehensive account of one of the most shocking and important aspects of the war: how the most notorious Nazi war criminals escaped justice, how they were pursued, captured or able to remain free until their natural deaths and how the Nazis were assisted while they were on the run by "helpers" ranging from a Vatican bishop to a British camel doctor, and even members of Western intelligence services. Based on all new interviews with Nazi hunters and former Nazis and intelligence agents, travels along the actual escape routes, and archival research in Germany, Britain, the United States, Austria, and Italy, Hunting Evil authoritatively debunks much of what has previously been understood about Nazis and Nazi hunters in the post war era, including myths about the alleged "Spider" and "Odessa" escape networks and the surprising truth about the world's most legendary Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

From its haunting chronicle of the monstrous mass murders the Nazis perpetrated and the murky details of their postwar existence to the challenges of hunting them down, Hunting Evil is a monumental work of nonfiction written with the pacing and intrigue of a thriller.

From the Hardcover edition.
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    Chapter One
    "The air became cleaner"

    ON MAY 6, 1945, two middle-ranking SS officers stood on a small road bridge in the Austrian Alpine resort of Altaussee. Below them raced a clear mountain stream, and above loomed the giant pale-gray limestone of the Loser plateau. Nearby stood several wooden houses and cottages, whose gemütlich interiors are designed for late-night schnapps in front of fires after exhausting mountain hikes or invigorating swims in the therapeutic waters of the lake. However, neither man would have had his mind on such pleasant activities. Instead, they were discussing their options now that the American tanks were just a few miles away. As SS officers, neither relished the prospect of Allied captivity, yet both had different ideas of their next moves.

    The younger man, an SS-Sturmbannführer--the equivalent of a major in the German army--intended to stay. A member of the Nazi party since he was sixteen, the thirty-year-old Dr. Wilhelm Höttl had spent his war working for the Sicherheitsdienst or SD, the SS intelligence service, and had served in Vienna, Berlin, and Budapest. Although his career was meteoric, he was not without his detractors. One of his superiors had described him as "the typical troublesome Viennese--a liar, a toady, a schemer, and a pronounced operator."1 Such qualities are arguably useful for intelligence work, and it was these that Höttl intended to draw on. With his experience of waging a secret war against communist cells, he reckoned that he might be of use to the Americans, and instead of treating him as a war criminal, they might even regard him as an asset.

    Höttl's hopes were far from vain. Since February, he had been in contact with the American Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner to the CIA, in an attempt to broker a separate peace deal for his native Austria. The putative deal was codenamed "Herzog" and was the formulation of Höttl's boss, SS-Obergruppenführer (General) Ernst Kaltenbrunner, himself an Austrian and the head of the Reich Security Main Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt or RSHA).2 Höttl had made several trips to Switzerland to talk to representatives of Allen Dulles, the OSS station chief in Berne, and he was keen to ingratiate himself with the Americans, offering them information about Axis military preparations for a desperate last stand in the so-called "Alpine Redoubt," as well as about gold shipments that were to be buried deep in the Austrian mountains.3 Unfortunately for Höttl, events overtook him, and before he could arrange a meeting between Dulles and Kaltenbrunner, an "independent" Austria was declared in Russian-occupied Vienna on April 27. Höttl made a final attempt to reach Switzerland at the beginning of May, but with French troops on the Austro-Swiss border, he was forced to stop when he had reached Liechtenstein and returned to seek refuge in Altaussee.4 Unbeknown to him, the Americans were indeed making plans for his exploitation. On April 21, Dulles reported that "Höttl's record as [an] SD man and collaborator [of] Kaltenbrunner is of course bad, but I believe he desires to save his skin and therefore may be useful."5 Another OSS officer agreed, although he advised caution: "To avoid any accusation that we are working with a Nazi reactionary," reported Edgeworth Murray Leslie to Dulles, "I believe that we should keep our contact with him as indirect as possible."6

    The other man standing on the bridge that day did not share Höttl's fluid sense of loyalty to the Nazi regime. Nine years older and one rank senior, the SS-Obersturmbannführer (lieutenant colonel) was far from interested in...

About the Author-
  • GUY WALTERS is a former Times of London reporter and is the author or editor of six books about the Second World War and the Nazi period: four thrillers including The Traitor, a collection of WWII memoirs and a critically acclaimed history of the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. He lives in England with his wife and two children. For more information, visit his website, http://www.guywalters.com
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Walters details the history of hunting Nazi war criminals from the period immediately after the war (with some painful looks at the crimes themselves) to current times. Unfortunately, the hunt was often frustratingly lackluster. Jonathan Cowley's voice is strong, his reading energetic, his accent very British. The dark coloring and rough edge of his voice fit the somber material, and his clipped, sometimes abrupt, readings help convey the author's disgust for the Nazis and scorn for those who cynically employed them, shielded them, or pretended to hunt them. But Cowley's pronunciation of other languages, mostly German, is inconsistent and at times awkward. It's usually comprehensible but not always. Still, he gives a vigorous reading of a consistently interesting, if disheartening, book. W.M. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Hunting Evil
Hunting Evil
The Nazi War Criminals Who Escaped and the Quest to Bring Them to Justice
Guy Walters
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