The JFK files have revealed concern that Hitler was alive and well in Venezuela.
The CIA wrote in 1955 that it had received reports that the Nazi dictator was alive and well in South America.
Phillip Citroen, a former German paratrooper, told the CIA that he had met the Fuhrer and confidently informed them that he could no longer be prosecuted because a decade had elapsed since the Allies’ victory.
"CITROEN claimed to have contacted HITLER about once a month in Colombia on his trip from Maracaibo to that country as/an employee of the KNSM (Royal Dutch) Shipping Co. in Maracaibo," the document states.
Citroen also claimed that he had posed for a picture with Hitler and a “copy” is included in the file.
The CIA wrote back, “It is felt that enormous efforts (spent trying to confirm the rumors) could be expanded on this matter with remote possibilities of establishing anything concrete. Therefore, we suggest that this matter be dropped.”
Whilst with hindsight dismissal seems like the obvious course of action, the CIA did in fact spend some time investigating.
“The source thought it worthy of sending up to HQ which is notable,” a Department of Defense employee told The National Interest Blog.
“Even at the time, those guys had to do a lot of separating the wheat from the chaff.”
Many Nazis did indeed flee to South America where for the most part they lived unharassed amongst other members of the German diaspora - the kids of some war criminals were even known to play and go to school with the children of Holocaust survivors.
The Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires was particularly well known for sheltering war criminals and it was there that the most infamous of all time, Adolf Eichmann, made his home for several years.
Eichmann was one of the principal architects of the Holocaust and was kidnapped by the Israelis in 1960, bungled into a plane and flown to Jerusalem for trial.
His trial led to worldwide media attention, particularly in the US with its large Jewish population. He was cleared of personally killing anyway but his conviction for crimes against humanity and war crimes meant an appointment with a noose and hangman on 15 December 1961 where he became the first, and so far only person, ever executed by the Jewish state.
Other prominent Nazis, such as Auschwitz Doctor Josef Mengele, evaded capture. The Angel of Death, as he was nicknamed, drowned in a Brazilian swimming pool in 1979; Israel was aware of his continued freedom in South America but opted to kidnap Eichmann instead.