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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Nazi thug dies

Ex-Nazi Camp Commander Schwammberger Dies

By DAVID RISING, Associated Press Writer

BERLIN - Josef Schwammberger, a former Nazi labor-camp commander who was known for his particular sadism and hid for 40 years in Argentina before being captured and returned to Germany for trial, has died in a prison hospital. He was 92.

Schwammberger died during the night in the hospital in Hohenasperg, outside the southwestern city of Stuttgart, said Tomke Beddies, a spokeswoman for Stuttgart's prosecutors office said Friday.

He had been at the hospital for treatment since Sept. 20, but Beddies said she could not comment on the cause of death.

Schwammberger, a native of Austria, was convicted in 1992 in Stuttgart of seven counts of murder and 32 counts of accessory to murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Schwammberger, who was born Feb. 14, 1912, appealed his incarceration in 2002 on the grounds that he was too frail to remain in prison. But he was ordered to continue serving his sentence when the court ruled his "particularly cruel" crimes outweighed his health concerns.

He was originally charged with murdering or helping murder 3,377 people, including more than 40 by his own hand.

But in the final days of the 11-month trial, prosecutors reduced the number of charges, because of lack of evidence, to 34 inmates killed by Schwammberger and at least 275 who died as a result of his orders.

Most of the victims were Jewish inmates of three forced labor camps in World War II Poland - Przemysl, Rozwadow and Mielec.

Schwammberger admitted having been an SS lieutenant in command of the three camps between 1942 and 1944, but denied the charges.

Witnesses traveled from as far away as Israel, Canada and the United States for the trial, telling the court how he set his German shepherd dog Prinz on camp inmates and how he killed a man for stealing bread for his hungry child.

American Abraham Secemski recalled watching as Schwammberger killed his uncle, apparently for wearing a ring after being told to turn over all valuables.

"His face, his actions are engraved in my brain. To my dying day, I'm going to have it," said Secemski, who traveled to Germany from San Diego to testify in 1991.

Schwammberger called Secemski's uncle out of an inspection line after spotting the jewelry, pulled out his pistol and shot him, the Polish native, who resettled in California, testified.

"He fell and he was moaning," Secemski testified. Schwammberger "didn't have the decency to give him another bullet to put him out of his misery. We went to work. When we came back my uncle wasn't there."

Schwammberger was arrested in Innsbruck, Austria, in the French occupation zone after the war on July 19, 1945, but escaped in January 1948 from a train taking him to U.S. military authorities in Austria for trial.

Within months he was able to enter Argentina, allegedly with the help of Odessa, a shadowy organization formed to help former SS officers escape punishment.

He lived under his own name and obtained Argentine citizenship in 1965, working for years at a petrochemical plant in La Plata, 30 miles south of the capital, Buenos Aires.

West German authorities had sought Schwammberger's extradition since 1973, when they notified Argentina he might be living there and was on the top 10 list of most wanted Nazis compiled by famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

Argentine officials tracked him down on Nov. 13, 1987, in Huerta Grande, a village 500 miles northwest of Buenos Aires near a German-Argentine settlement. After two years of appeals to fight extradition, Schwammberger was eventually returned to Germany in May 1990 for trial.

There were no immediate details of survivors or funeral arrangements available.
 

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Interesting. Had known that there was an organization of former SS-men who helped out their colleagues after the war (they offered Otto Skorzeny assistance in escaping from Allied custody, and had encouraged Skorzeny to use a private defense attorney they would pay for, instead of the American defense attorney appointed to him for his war-crimes trial.). And knew that Skorzeny participated himself by helping out a lot of former SS men after he beat the charges*. But hadn't known that it had formalized to the point of being known as "Odessa".

You know, the latter half of 1945 would not have been a good time to be a member of the SS...

* He and his SS colleagues were hired by Egypt, who wanted their military to be trained in what the SS had obtained a reputation for being especially good at - killing Jews.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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The Odessa File is of course a piece of fiction, but many of the characters that populate it -- especially the unsavory ones -- aren't fictitious at all. SS Captain Eduard Roschmann, for instance, really was the Butcher of Riga, and he really did sneak past the mob of tribunals and other judiciary apparatuses that sprung up after the war (at least as far as anyone knows). Peter Miller, the reporter who hunts him down, we may confidently assume to be an authorial invention; but as for everyone in between -- who knows?
Therein lies much of the novel's suspense. What really happened to the German-designed rockets that Nasser was supposed to have ready in time for the Six Day War? How did the SS acquire new identities for its members so quickly after the war's end and where did it get the money needed to do so? Could the head of the company that made your coffee machine be a former officer of the SS and a wanted war criminal? These questions and more will be answered to the reader's delight and amazement in Frederick Forsyth's second novel.

Oh yes, The Odessa File delights and amazes all right. From the moment the diary of a broken and desolate concentration camp survivor lands in Peter Miller's lap, the reader is pulled along into a world of crazed Nazi revanchists, wily and vengeful Mossad infiltrators, obstructionist German bureaucrats, and a pathetic, browbeaten printer who's just a little too clever for his own good. Miller is warned off, shoved around, ambushed, and almost blown up; but he manages eventually (with a little help from Simon Wiesenthal) to find his way into the heart of the shadowy organization known as the ODESSA.

The story's characters are vividly imagined (if they are imagined at all), and in the 23 years since its first publication, they've lost none of their energy. One has no trouble imagining a zillion copies flying off the shelves when Austrian president and former UN secretary general Kurt Waldheim was exposed as an ex-officer of the hated Nazi secret police. And it sure can't hurt that the Jews and the Arabs are still trying to bomb each other back to biblical times.

To this reviewer's mind, The Odessa File is the novel that established Forsyth as the heavyweight champion of his genre. It is compact, credible, as politically sophisticated as his first novel, The Day of the Jackal, and (although it didn't make as good a movie) more skillfully researched and much more neatly written. Assuming peace doesn't unexpectedly arrive in the Middle East, The Odessa File will still be delivering knockout punches long after the average thriller has called off the fight.



Movie:

Cast & Crew:
Jon Voight, Maximilian Schell, Derek Jacobi, Maria Schell, Mary Tamm directed by Ronald Neame more ?
Synopsis:
Set in 1963 Germany, right after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a young German freelance journalist finds himself in possession of a journal left by a concentration camp survivor who has committed suicide. From the diary the journalist realizes that former Nazi SS officers are still living in Germany protected by the government and furnished with money and whatever else they need by an underground society called "Odessa." more ?

MPAA Rating: PG

Runtime: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Genre: Dramas, Action, Drama, Suspense

Fansites:
For The Odessa File
 

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I worked with a former SS man when I was younger. He was just retiring from a life as a maintenance man. He never really admitted to much of anything other than having served as an officer in the SS as well as an intense hatred of Jews. He was fluent in 7 languages and had lived in Argentina after the war for a while.

He was not a nice man in the least and you cold almost feel a room go cold when he entered.

Even though the guy was in his 70's he scared the crap out of many people I worked with, just something not right if you know what I mean.
 

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The Argentine military was almost exclusively trained by German military men...Hans Ulrich Rudel the famous Stuka Pilot, and Germany's highest decorated soldier, worked training the Air Force there (amongst several other German aces). Skorzeny did a lot of training of the Army, as did many other former Waffen SS troops.

Peron had a great love for the German military, and his troops were equipped with German weapons and helmets and the like. In fact many of the caches of WWII German stuff (equipment, guns) in the past few decades have come from Argentinian stocks....
 

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Cephus said:
And we can still see the damage they caused around the world. I believe that Arrafat was one of there pupils as were several other,If you have seen some of the pics from Argentina when they were fighting the UK over the Faulklen Islands you could see there influance on how the troops dressed and thw way they moved.They still have the clout in parts of the world.
Not unlikely. Arafat was Egyptian-born. And after Skorzeny worked for the Egyptians, he went on to work for Peron in Argentina.
 
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