Nazis given safe haven in US: Report

A report says Nazis were given a "safe haven" in the US by CIA after WWII.

New York: The notorious Nazis and their collaborators were given a "safe haven" in America by the CIA after World War II, a newspaper has said, citing a declassified report of the US government.

`The New York Times` said that the 600-page report contains details of decades of clashes with other nations over war criminals here and abroad, and provides new evidence about 24 of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.

"America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became -- in some small measure -- a safe haven for persecutors as well," according to the US Justice Department report.

The report cites help that CIA officials provided in 1954 to Otto Von Bolschwing, an associate of Adolph Eichmann, who had helped develop the initial plans "to purge Germany of the Jews", and later worked for the CIA in the US.

In a chain of memos, CIA officials debated what to do if Von Bolschwing were confronted about his past -- whether to deny any Nazi affiliation or "explain it away on the basis of extenuating circumstances", the document said.

The Justice Department, after learning of Von Bolschwing`s Nazi ties, sought to deport him in 1981. He died that year at age 72, the US newspaper said. The US government report also examines the case of Arthur L Rudolph, a Nazi scientist who ran the Mittelwerk munitions factory. He was brought to the US in 1945 for his rocket-making expertise under Operation Paperclip, an American programme that recruited scientists who had worked in Germany.

Rudolph has been honoured by NASA and is credited as the father of the Saturn V rocket, the newspaper said. The report also cites a 1949 memo from the Justice Department`s No 2 official urging immigration officers to let Rudolph back in the country after a stay in Mexico, saying that a failure to do so "would be to the detriment of the national interest".

The report documents divisions within the US government over the effort and the legal pitfalls in relying on testimony from Holocaust survivors that was decades old, the newspaper said.

The report concluded that the number of Nazis who made it into the United States was almost certainly much smaller than 10,000, the figure widely cited by government officials.