Fugitive Fascists: 5 Nazis Who Got Away

Alois Brunner. Wikipedia

2 – Alois Brunner

While Adolf Eichmann was at least brought to justice, the same could not be said for Alois Brunner. He represents arguably the biggest failure of the Nazi hunters, surviving long after the end of the war and dying a free man. Brunner interacted closely with Eichmann during the build up to the Holocaust – they were both working at the the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Vienna – eventually succeeding him as head in 1939. He was responsible for the deportations of thousands upon thousands of Jews to the concentration camps of Eastern Europe, particularly from Austria, Greece and later France.

By 1943, Alois Brunner was the commandant of Drancy internment camp, a facility just outside Paris that was used to centralize Jews from Vichy Regime France before they were sent to the gas chambers in the East. While the camp had previously been run by local French police, Brunner’s arrival began an acceleration of deportations. He was famed for his brutality, with tales of him personally executing Jews and ordering revenge killings after French resistance attacks widely known.

In 1944, Brunner was sent from France to Slovakia on the personal order of Adolf Eichmann with the task of deporting the entire Jewish population of the country. Thousands were sent to Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen and the ghetto-city of Theresienstadt, where very few survived.

As the war became increasingly unwinnable for the Germans, it became clear that leading Nazis would have to go to ground to survive. Alois Brunner was lucky: he was confused for a similarly named Nazi – Anton Brunner – and managed to evade capture by Allied forces. His namesake was less fortunate and was executed for war crimes. Alois’ luck would continue, as he lacked the SS tattoo that marked out ex-members for the Nazi hunters. He managed to avoid justice and remain in Germany until as late as 1954. During this postwar period, he claimed to have been worked by the Gehlen Organization, an American-lead intelligence agencies that controversially used former Nazis to undermine the Soviet Bloc during the early days of the Cold War.

Brunner finally left Germany for the Middle East under a Red Cross passport. After a short period in Egypt, he emerged in Syria, where he would live the rest of his life in relative comfort. Brunner spoke openly to the press about his former life as a leading functionary of the Holocaust – appearing in interviews with German and American press – and showed little remorse. Speaking to the Chicago Sun Times in 1987, he said “All of [the Jews] deserved to die because they were the Devil’s agents and human garbage. I have no regrets and would do it again.”

Periodically there would be calls to extradite him, particularly from the East German state, but the collapse of communism would ensure that Brunner continued to live freely in Syria. Sightings of him were relatively common and his address was known – he was twice injured by letter bombs – but efforts to bring Brunner to justice failed. His death was confirmed in 2014 and dated to 2010. He was the highest ranking Nazi never to have been captured.


  • William The Warlord

    The body found in Berlin was never conclusively confirmed to be Bormann.The DNA profile was never released to the public,the German government had a vested interest in sweeping him under the rug and the top Nazi’s planned to escape and left behind many false leads.

    I believe Bormann escaped Berlin in 1945 and lived on until the 1970’s!

    • cargosquid

      The show “Hunting Hitler” brought up interesting information about him.

      Eyewitness accounts and his burial site in South America. When Bormann’s body was “found” in Germany, it had red dirt……which is the same dirt found where he was said to be buried in S. Am.

      • William The Warlord

        I have no doubt that Bormann and Hitler escaped to Argentina following the defeat in Berlin. My Argentine relatives were adamant that it was common knowledge through out the German Colonies that Hitler and Eva Braun survived and escaped to Bariloche Argentina.Bormann,Hans Kammler,Fegelien and Gestapo Mueller are all believed to have survived and escaped as well.Try reading the “Grey Wolf” or the Corso book.I also found the “Hitler Book” put together for Stalin to be very informative.All have quite accurate information.I have no doubt that the US knew and allowed it to happen in exchange for the Paperclip scientists and the German Atomic bombs.

        As usual,we the people have been lied to and deceived again.

        • cargosquid

          The Hunting Hitler show was interesting, even if the show’s people did some stupid things only for TV.

        • osimendoza

          The Russians, already confirmed, the found the body, buried aoutside the Bunker, they send it back to Russia.

          • William The Warlord

            Sorry but the body that the Russians brought back was NOT Hitler’s! The Russians allowed a DNA analysis on the piece of skull from “Hitler’s body” and it was proved beyond a doubt to be from a female who was NOT Eva Braun!

            Even Stalin believed that Hitler had “escaped and fled to Spain or Argentina”!The allies had to make believe Hitler killed himself because that was what their deal withe Nazi’s(through Bormann and Dulles)required them to do so.Plus it was considered to be socially and politically unacceptable to reveal that Hitler and many top Nazi’s escaped with all the gold and money from Europe.

          • osimendoza

            Didn’t knew that part, The one I remenbr=er was at the end of the 80’s, when the Russians release a report. about it. Your’s must be a new version. Please send me a Link about it. I love the history and that theme

          • William The Warlord

            I believe the DNA tests took place at a University in Connecticut or Maine.It was around ten years ago.I do not have a link as I read that in a newspaper article.You should read the book,The Grey Wolf,it was written by two scholars who sought to “debunk” the Hitler Escapes story and only found out through research that Hitler,Bormann and others did escape to Argentina.There are a number of books in Argentina that document Hitler and Eva living post war in Argentina.Those books where written in Spanish so did not get much attention in the “West”but I believe are very accurate!

          • osimendoza

            Tks, for the info, looking for the book already

          • jon mihans

            Hold on a second William, I wanted to hear your reply to Jess Me. I was following the back and forth between you. Granted, I haven’t the knowledge of either of you, but I enjoyed reading the article and the comments. I am just interested in what you think of his rebuttal. Thanks Jon

          • William The Warlord

            My reply to Jess Me is that is he is not looking at the big picture and the two details that he cherry picked were portrayed as speculation not proven fact.
            I have had a personal interest in this since childhood when my relatives were adamant that he survived and lived in Bariloche among other places.I did not believe it at the time but I do so now!Which submarine he came on is not important,the fact that he made it out is.He might have flown on the missing Junkers-390. Quisling admitted there was an escape convoy of submarines but Quisling decided not to flee.

            Much details of WW2 are classified and records have been falsified or stolen from the American National Archives.Example the manifest from U-234 that secretly offloaded material in Portland Maine Harbor before the U-Boat was brought to Portsmouth NSY for final surrender was falsified from the National Archives but the Navy kept copies of the original which had the barrels of “nuclear” material listed on the German and American manifest.I know way too much and there is no small danger talking about these matters but I think it is time for the truth to come out!

          • jon mihans

            Very interesting, like I said I don’t have the knowledge you guys do. But the escape theory seems plausible and knowing US intelligence behavior, possible. I may have to read the Grey Wolf. Thanks for your time, and one more question. What if anything has Mossad reported regarding Hitlers escape?

          • William The Warlord

            My reply to you is now pending because I used theN@z@ word!

          • William The Warlord

            I just posted my reply to Jess Me above.Let us know what you think!

        • Jess Mee

          “Grey Wolf” is a load of BS, with multiple errors of documented historical fact.

          • William The Warlord

            Right! Since you read Grey Wolf why do you not tell us all about it!

          • Jess Mee

            I thought you’d never ask! First, the book claims that Hitler flew from Berlin and made a stopover in Magdeburg. But by that time Magdeburg and all of Lower Saxony were in Allied hands. There was no safe place anywhere near there for a plane carrying Adolf Hitler to land.

            Second, it claims that Hitler left Europe for South America aboard the U-518. The author acknowledges that the U-boat was attacked, but claims it was never positively ID’d and that while it was depth-charged, no wreckage was recovered. US Navy archives report an engagement between U-518 and the destroyer escorts USS Carter and USS Neal A. Scott. The U-boat was positively identified when her captain radioed a weather report to Berlin. The escorts attacked U-518 not with depth charges, but with hedgehogs. I don’t know if you’re familiar with WW II antisubmarine munitions, but a hedgehog is a very different weapon than a depth charge. It uses a contact detonator instead of a depth activated detonator. It doesn’t explode unless it hits something. The report of the engagement states that there were several smaller underwater explosions followed by one very big one. This did bring wreckage to the surface which also aided in identifying the vessel.

            Last, the book alleges that Hitler was cared for until his death by a Heinrich Bethe, who was a former crewman of the Admiral Graf Spee interned in Argentina after it was scuttled. German Kriegsmarine archives indicate that Bethe actually escaped from internment and managed to return to Germany. He was subsequently assigned to the battleship Bismarck and was one of the casualties when it sank. Bethe couldn’t care for Hitler or anyone after the war because he was dead. At best, it is a poorly researched book, if not an outright fabrication.

          • William The Warlord

            Jess Me,I just reread the book Grey Wolf to make sure of my facts and you are simply wrong about your conclusions.

            1.) The authors NEVER made the claim the First airplane stopped in Magedeburg.The authors claim the aircraft “detoured to Magdeburg” to avoid a Bomber stream(which all had fighter escorts at that time).See page 162 for map of the flight.The map shows no landing in Magdeburg, but shows the plane merely flying to within visual range and then turning North following the Elbe river.From there the flight flew to Tonder Denmark were the Germans still held the airfield.

            2.)The authors only speculated that U-Boat U-518 carried Hitler and Braun only because that was one of the U-boats that was confirmed beyond any doubt to have arrived in Argentina! I personally believe that Hitler traveled on another U-Boat or on the missing Junkers 390 which was destroyed after a safe landing,cut up and thrown in a river at a possible known location in South America..It would be very instructive to try and raise parts of that plane to confirm the story further.You have no proof that the authors were wrong and their U-Boat speculation fits with the known provable facts!

            3.) The “story” of Heinrich Bethe raises more questions than it answers.The story originated with an interview in 1977 and was based almost all on Bethe’s claims that were unable to be confirmed as the other man(Dr.Lehmann) had disappeared and was presumed dead.Without any facts to dispute Bethe’s account it was taken at face value and may be accurate.
            The allegation that Bethe died on the Bismark may be accurate or may not be. Since Bethe was known to use other aliases it is quite possible that”Bethe” was his German identity and he was unaware the real Bethe died on the Bismark.It is also possible that the Germans falsified the death as a cover for the real Bethe. My personal opinion is that Bethe was fabricating his account by substituting himself for Hitler’s real companion.Bethe was more likely a simple guard for Hitler,who later expanded his role with Hitler when no one else could contradict him.That is why he knew so much about Hitlers final end.

            None of your complaints take away from the primary thesis that Hitler escaped to Argentina.Remember the Germans started the evacuation operations in July 1943 after the failure of the Kursk offensive.It is very possible that Bormann planned an escape route even earlier when he began the smuggling of Europe’s treasures and gold by U-boat earlier in 1943.

            None of your conclusions point to any outright fabrications or any proof of poor research.In fact it seems the Authors uncovered more facts than any prior authors.I know this is very emotional for many people but available facts indicate that the “Death of Hitler” in the bunker was a staged event,to make it look like he died, to prevent the world wide search that would have ensued if Trevor Roper had not been called in to create an acceptable story of Hitler’s death.

            There is no evidence that would hold up in a Court of Law that Hitler died in Berlin or that his body or Eva Braun’s body was ever found.Both bodies recovered from the garden of the bunker by the Russians tested negative for cyanide poisoning.The female body had died of massive shrapnel wounds to the upper body and the so called Hitler body skull fragment was determined to be from a female who was not Eva Braun.(Stalin’s Hitler Book). Hitler’s staff was unable to find any ejected shells from Hitler’s pistols when they cleaned up the room and removed the rug.(Ibd.)Many facts do not ad up to the Bunker suicide story!The truth is still out there!
            There are way too many details that do not add up to Hitler’s suicide!

  • cargosquid

    The FBI was looking for Hitler for YEARS.

  • Joe Dalva

    No Heinrich Müller, head of of the Gestapo on this list??

    • William The Warlord

      He should be,when they opened his grave it contained the remains of three individuals none of whom was Muller.He is another that escaped and was likely the one who helped Bormann and Hitler escape!

  • Eric van Tassell

    eichmann got away? not.

  • Navy Vet

    I believe Hitler, as sick and frail as he was, disquised himself as a jew. He died in Hamburg Germany 1in 1955. Eva died in the bunker.