It’s no secret that as World War II was winding down and Germany’s defeat became imminent that many Nazis fled to South America where they established new lives for themselves in countries such as Argentina and Brazil. Most notably among these were Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele.
Well, earlier this week off the coast of Denmark, researchers discovered the wreckage of a German submarine that was long rumored to have played a pivotal role in carrying the Nazis to South America.
From the NY Post:
“The U-3523 was one of Hitler’s Type XXI submarines – a new and highly advanced design which came too late to stop an allied victory.
It was the first class of U-boats designed to sail submerged for a prolonged period of time and had a range which allowed it to sail non-stop to South America.
The U-3523 was thought to have been sunk by a British B24 Liberator attack on May 6, 1945, but the inability to locate the wreck fuelled rumors that it had escaped.
Now the wreck has been located ten nautical miles north of Skagen – Denmark’s northernmost town – and nine miles west of the position reported by the British bomber.”
The discovery has put an end to conspiracy theories that the submarine was trying to escape with prominent Nazis and loot.
More from NY Post:
Denmark’s Sea War Museum, which found the submarine, said there was no evidence that it was escaping with Nazi leaders or loot.
Gert Normann Andersen, the museum’s director, said: “Rumor has it that the submarine had great valuables from Germany because it was heading away from Germany even though the war ended.”
“I think the rumor developed because U-3523 was a very modern, long-distance U-boat and some Nazis tried to escape with valuables in the last days.”
“But the submarine was going to Norway, and not to South America with Nazis and valuables.”
So, how did the South America rumors get started, and why do people believe that’s where this submarine was headed?
Well, as mentioned before, many Nazis did successfully make it to South America where they assumed new identities, and even declassified documents from the CIA and FBI reveal that the US Government had information that several prominent Nazis — possibly even Adolph Hitler made the trip.
Again from the NY Post:
One CIA file dated October 3, 1955, carried allegations from a former SS trooper named Phillip Citroen that Hitler had been hiding in Colombia and later Argentina.
The trooper even had a photo taken in 1954 in the Colombian city of Tunja, allegedly showing him with a man said to be Hitler.
The document stated: “According to Citroen, the Germans residing in Tunja followed this alleged Adolf Hitler with an idolatry of the Nazi past, addressing him as ‘der Fuhrer’ and affording him the Nazi salute and storm-trooper adulation.”
Meanwhile a file from the FBI archives, dated September 21, 1945, detailed eyewitness claims that Hitler had arrived in Argentina via a submarine two-and-a-half weeks after the fall of Berlin.
It said: “By pre-arranged plan with six top Argentine officials, pack horses were waiting for the group and by daylight all supplies were loaded on the horses and an all-day trip inland toward the foothills of the southern Andes was started.”
“At dusk the party arrived at the ranch where Hitler and his party, according to (redacted), are now in hiding.”
It’s rumored that as many as 9,000 Nazis escaped to South America. Of the prominent ones, Mengele, aka the “Angel of Death,” was never brought to justice and died in Brazil in 1979.
Adolf Eichmann, a major organizer of the holocaust was eventually tracked down and captured by Israel’s Mossad security force. He was tried for his crimes and hanged in Buenos Aires in 1962.
Additional H/T to Newsweek