Sale 46 Lot 8
OTTO SKORZENY'S "PLAN SKORZENY" - COLLABORATING WITH FRANCO, THE VATICAN AND EX-NAZI GENERALS TO BUILD A SECRET ARMY IN SPAIN
On Sep. 7, 1950 Otto Skorzeny, bearing a passport under the alias of "Hans Frey", met with ex-Wehrmacht Gen. Hans Speidel to discuss a matter of great importance to Skorzeny and many of his fellow ex-Nazis. On the very same day, he obtained a temporary visa to travel to Spain and on Sep. 16, 1950, Skorzeny entered Spain under an alias to begin a collaboration with Spain's top military leaders, ex-SS generals and officers, and even the highest levels of the Vatican to plan the formation of a secret army of ex-Nazis and Spanish military in Spain and North Africa, prepared at any time to counter a Russian attack from East Germany. This grouping of documents, directly from Skorzeny's estate, documents his efforts to form such an "army in exile", perhaps with even more sinister intent. Its contents have remained hidden for over sixty years, totally unknown to journalists and historians alike.
The archive opens with Skorzeny's "Deutsche Kenncarte", or identity card, issued to him under his hitherto unknown alias "Hans R. Frey". The document is 4pp. sm. 8vo., issued in Freiburg on Feb. 21, 1950 and bearing the official stamp and signature of a police official. Skorzeny's photo and two fingerprints are affixed to the document, and it appears to have been filled-out in his hand. A false birth place ("Breslau") and birth date are inserted to throw off any potential investigators, as Skorzeny had fled Dachau and was being sought by Czech authorities at the time. Also included is the temporary visa mentioned above on Consul General of Spain letterhead, 1p. 4to., Frankfurt, Sep. 7, 1950. Skorzeny's photo is attached by rivets and tied to the document with a consular seal. The document, signed by Consul Jorge Spottorno, which bears yet another Skorzeny alias: "Rolf Steinbauer", asks that Skorzeny be issued a temporary, 30 day entrance visa into Spain. The visa is stamped with the date of his entry, Sep. 16, 1950. On Sep. 23, he is granted a three month extension, and on Jan. 18, 1951 he is granted yet another three month extension. Skorzeny set to work immediately preparing his "expose" (as he calls it), his plan to form a secret army based in Spain, prepared to counteract any invasion of Germany from the east. A copy of this expose is present, ca. early-1950, 4pp. 4to., in German, unsigned. Skorzeny fears that if Russia were to invade Germany, it would spell the end of Europe. He notes: "...for reasons of their survival, the Asian Bolsheviks would completely rot out western Europe, just like the satellite states Poland, Hungary (Katyn!)…the conquest of Europe, with the exception of a bridgehead (Spain), is possible at any time in one of two ways: an open war. If the Russian troops which are stationed in East Germany and Hungary were to march today, they would reach the Atlantic in a maximum of eight days…" He claims that the Allied forces remaining in Europe would be too weak to repulse such an attack. Skorzeny cites a potential second source of belligerence as being civil war incited by the Soviet Union wherein East German forces would occupy West Germany. Communist parties in Italy and France would in turn rebel, and those countries would fall under the Soviet occupation as well. On the other hand, Skorzeny warns that defensive rearmament by Germany could be viewed by Stalin as a provocation, and in any event an army could not be made ready for at least two years. Stalin sees that Germany is beginning to prosper under the Marshall Plan and will not bide his time.
Skorzeny urges that German military manpower, scientists and engineers should be brought to safety in Spain so that Europe would not be quickly surrendered in a general war. Skorzeny then outlines his plan: "Today I can speak for all the real active German powers that are not represented in Bonn…the participation of the highest military powers is assured, for example…[Panzer general Heinz] Guderian…[top Waffen-SS Gen. Paul] Hausser…and the generals [Hasso von] Manteuffel and Genl. Dr. [Hans] Speidel [Speidel was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Allied NATO ground forces in Central Europe in April 1957]…this goes so far that…Speidel…who will most likely be in the highest post in a possible new German Wehrmacht…will incorporate this plan in his organization…in various German cities we have established small leadership circles that include excellent men from the former Waffen-SS…Kriegsmarine…Luftwaffe…every man in these circles will attract another four or five officers…each of these groups will secure a truck…each is buying 20 liters of gasoline…to reach the Pyrenees…through the Rhone Valley…across Marseille…there is an additional plan to get financial support from the U.S.A….Guderian is already active working on [this] plan…the small German specialist groups could be established now under cover of the Spanish Foreign Legion…". In a retained copy of a letter (unsigned) 2pp. 4to., Madrid, Nov. 17, 1950 to an unknown party, Skorzeny states that Speidel's name should be dropped from his "expose" and that all parties to the document be advised of the change. He adds that in September, 1950 he met with Speidel and Karl Heinze Mende (an ex-German captain's name, but more likely the alias used by SWEN OLOV STENANDER, ex-member of the Danish Nazi Party) in Freudenstadt/Baden for two hours. He explained his plan to Speidel and Speidel fully agreed with its objectives. Skorzeny states that now he understands that Speidel is speaking to others claiming that Skorzeny's plan is outdated, as a result of UN victories early in the Korean War.
Speidel's backpedaling on his acceptance of the plan may be partly explained by two documents. In a typed translated copy of a 2pp. 4to. Mar. 4 letter from Karl Heinz Mende in Salz am Neckar to Skorzeny (under his alias as Rolf Frey), Mende confirms that the Sep. 7, 1950 meeting was indeed held with Speidel, and that the ex-general had fully agreed with Skorzeny's plan, but had insisted that his involvement be kept absolutely confidential. Also present, prepared by Skorzeny on the same day, are four typed statements of fact, each 1p. 4to., each signed at the bottom by Skorzeny as "Rolf Frey", also signed by one "Willy Simmet" and "Karl Ott" (whose real identities are unknown to us). The statements, all identical, declare that the signers, as well as "Baron Stauffenberg…Friedl Griesmair…Hannes Kraemer…" were all aware that Skorzeny had discussed his plan with Speidel. It further states that after the meeting, Mende reported to the signers and Kraemer that Speidel was in full agreement with Skorzeny/Frey and if he (Speidel) were to obtain an official position in the future, he would institute such a plan. The statement declares that there was no explicit request for confidentiality, and as a result, Skorzeny felt free to mention the names of all those invloved with the Spanish general staff. It closes mentioning that if Mende had attended their meeting of the same day, Skorzeny's "expose" revealing Speidel's name would not have been sent to the Spaniards (and their plan would not have been set back).
In a 2pp. carbon copy of his typed notes dated Dec. 12, 1950, Skorzeny reveals what may have been the true intentions of "Plan Skorzeny". He discusses the difficulty of recruiting German members from Spain, and proposes to openly recruit members for his army who had been active during World War II, who had fought for the same concept of a "greater Europe", and who had been or were imprisoned: "…for their political activity, were imprisoned, persecuted…or through circumstances of the war were deported…you have to inspire the idealism and will to fight in these people…beside the main goal, there are two other important parts…the organization would be a strong moral weapon for the personal moral injustices inflicted on its members…[and] a concurrent fight to release likeminded comrades still in prison…there is only one country that is understanding and supportive, Spain…".
On November 19, 1951 Skorzeny brought Father Conrado de Hamburgo into his plan. Little is known of this Capuchin friar. He was born Konrad Simonsen Mackey, at an early age immigrated to Colombia where he joined the Capuchin order, and some time later was sent by the church to Spain. At the outbreak of the Spanish Revolution in 1936, his monastery fell into the hands of the Communists, but as a foreigner, Mackey received a safe conduct pass through the lines and made his way to Franco's forces. There he made acquaintance with members of the German "Condor Legion", volunteers fighting with the Nationalists. He joined the legion as a chaplain, and after the victory of the fascists he joined the Spanish "Blue Division" which served in the German Army on the Eastern Front. That division was led by the future Spanish Minister of Defense Augustin Munoz Grandes. Munoz Grandes had close ties with Hitler and Abwehr chief Wilhelm Canaris, and was awarded the Knights Cross with Oak Leaves personally by Hitler. Incredibly, Munoz Grandes would be decorated by Eisenhower and Konrad Adenaur after the war. Mackey and Skorzeny would soon deal directly with Munoz Grandes in promoting "Plan Skorzeny". The first evidence of Skorzeny using the influence of the Catholic Church to promote his plan appears in a signed copy (in pencil) of a T.L.S. by Mackey, 2pp. legal folio, Madrid, Nov. 19, 1951, sent to Juan Vigon, a Lieutenant General in Franco's army. Working in concert with Skorzeny, Mackey proposes the formation of a German "Legion" in the Spanish army, in the event of the outbreak of a war on Germany's borders: "...components were to be recruited among the Germans in Spain (many German soldiers who were escaped prisoners of the French came to Spain across the Pyrenees, and have remained in Spain), and especially among specialists who were brought from Germany. I have talked several times...with Mr. Colonel Otto Skorzeny...[and with military attaches at the American Embassy]...he has an excellent reputation among the German military circles, being so well known for his exploits during the last World War...including General Guderian...I have completed this military plan including a proposal for ideological and spiritual direction...[I am] willing to take charge, assuring that the spirit of these troops was that of an unblemished Christian-Catholic patriotism, as would correspond to a unit within the Spanish army, and the ideal that animated the recent victorious Spanish Crusade [Civil War] and which should also encourage the new universal anti-communist crusade..."
Mackey must have been well-placed and his letter convincing, as within a month he was in contact with Spanish dictator Francisco Franco himself: Present is a carbon copy of a letter sent by Mackey, 2pp. legal folio, Madrid, Dec. 17, 1951 (unsigned) to Franco seeking support for Skorzeny's plan: "…German volunteers in the Spanish armies in the case of a new universal conflagration...the world situation has evolved rapidly...with opposition between East and West...In view of that, I lately have contacted the High Chiefs of Staff...Also taking part in these conversations was the former German Colonel Otto Skorzeny, who now resides in Madrid, known for his heroic exploits during the last world war...a detailed military plan for the formation of a united German volunteer [force], and I have completed this plan with a proposal on its...spiritual and ideological direction...[I am] dealing with this issue also with my friends, the military attaches of the U.S. Embassy...officers and German soldiers prefer to join the army of a nation historically friendly to Germany, Spain. The fresh memory of the "Legion Condor" is on everyone's mind...the Allies prefer this solution...instead of allowing the formation of a German army itself, as it avoids making political concessions to the Government of Bonn ...While no one wants the resurrection of National Socialism, as extremist and anti-Catholic as was the deceased Hitler...however...the 'Bonn regime' has no prestige, and is regarded as a purely circumstantial and transitory regime...does not have the support of most of the German people or the masses, nor youth nor the patriots...[nor] activists...the government...discriminated against and humiliated the military profession...same Christian Democratic Party is dominated by Protestants and even by the Freemasons...the Bonn regime has adopted as the flag a symbol of the defeat of 1918, which is not accepted by German patriots as the tricolor was not by the Spaniards.... German patriots have faith in Spain and its historic mission, which does not want to be viewed as cluttered or complicated by commitments to the transient regime of Bonn..."
In February, 1951 Skorzeny returned to Germany to meet with cell members and an organizer of a similar supporter of ex-Nazis. In an original typed report prepared by Skorzeny, 2pp, 4to., [Madrid], Mar. 21, 1951 headed: "Report About My Observations During My Trip to Germany" Skorzeny relates again that Speidel had denied any knowledge of the plan. He also mentions meeting with the former German military attaché to Italy, Johann S. Jandl who suggests that Skorzeny meet with an "Oberst Schnetz" in Germany. In the middle of February, 1951 Skorzeny meets with Schnetz in Stuttgart where the latter confirms that he is working with Speidel on a plan very much like Skorzeny's. Schnetz's force is, however, limited to 10,000 men who would gather in the Black Forest region, march to Switzerland, and report to the Swiss general staff. Skorzeny objects, calling the Schnetz plan "egoistic" and calling Switzerland a "mousetrap". Schnetz agrees, and he and Skorzeny agree to merge their organizations and make Spain their ultimate destination. Ex-SS Gen Paul Hausser is introduced to Schnetz, and Skorzeny promises to send his top planners to Swabia to cooperate.
In a daring T.L.S. "Otto Skorzeny", 1p. large 4to., Madrid, July 12, 1951 (signed retained copy), Skorzeny writes to Konrad Adenauer, Chancellor of Germany. Skorzeny defends his reputation against personal attacks, and promotes his idea of forming an army in exile. In part: "…whatever you read in the cheap news media and the press services is wrong...due to the difficulty in Germany…I am working in exile, as are so many others…". Skorzeny discusses his hope to remove and save "many valuable Germans", including soldiers, technicians and scientists from the reach of "Asian Bolsheviks". He also claims that his plan is already being put in place in Italy and other countries, "for the greater good…". In a signed carbon T.L.S. "Otto Skorzeny", 1p. 4to., [n.p.], Sep. 30, 1951, Skorzeny writes to an unidentified ex-general expressing his disappointment that he had not attended a meeting in Frankfurt with Col. Ernst Wellmann and SS-Untersturmfuhrer Odo Willscher. He states that also at the meeting were Adm. Hellmuth Heye, Waffen-SS Gen. Paul Hausser and Generalmajor Guenther Pape. This meeting was likely held at the same time that Skorzeny met with Sc hnetz. In an original undated typed memo to himself, 1p. large 4to., undated but after October, 1951 (with copies in German and Spanish), Skorzeny cites a "trusted source" as advising him that a circle surrounding "Morgenthau" in Eisenhower's headquarters were agitating to exile certain elements in Germany who held an "opposing opinion". The French were in agreement, and viewed such deportations as essential before Germany could be allowed to rearm. If the Democrats were to lose the next election, Taft and MacArthur would ensure that European troops, especially a potential German army, would receive financial assistance, even if part of it were based in Spain. In exchange for economic aid, Spain could point to the fact that it was maintaining elite troops there and in North Africa - the soldiers' nationality would not be of any importance. Skorzeny concludes indicating that advantages included a strong force in North Africa, well equipped with the help of the Americans, with the side benefit of economic aid to Spain.
On Jan. 25, 1952 Mackey writes to Spanish Minister of Defense Augustin Munoz Grandes who had commanded Mackey and the "Blue Division" on the Russian Front. He further describes Skorzeny's plan in a 2pp. legal folio T.L.S. (in pencil) retained carbon copy of the letter. In part: "...the evolution of the negotiations between the European states shows that the formation of a true German army is unlikely. Consequently one must consider the formation of German troops outside of Germany...German units are directly aggregated in the foreign occupying armies in Germany, but these units are composed of elements not valuable because the majority of Germans reject soldiers organized in those ranks...our nation has always been a friend of Germany...Spanish and German soldiers fighting together in many decisive moments in history...units could form "boxes"...hand-picked troops...commandos...in Spain there is great interest in this project, but its adoption is conditioned by the consent of the Americans. In view of this, I contacted the U.S. military circles in Madrid and found they have the same interests...My American friends...hope of course that first Spanish authorities give their consent...if it were not [risking] resurrection of the deceased Hitlerian Nazism. Colonel Skorzeny personally has given me full assurances in this regard, with myself directing the direction of that unit, and maintaining a spirit permeated with Christian patriotism and Catholic strength..."
In an explosive typed letter signed, 1p. 4to., Madrid, Feb. 29, 1952 (signed carbon, with church ink stamp), Hamburg writes to "Monsignore Montini, Sostituto Affari Esteri", the Deputy of Foreign Affairs of the Vatican who would become Pope Paul VI two years later. In the letter, he thanks Montini, who was charged with disbursing funds for refugees, for aid given to Germans living in Spain. In part: "…I feel the responsibility in the name of the political refugees and Germans living in Spain to thank the Holy Catholic Church for the generous and warm acceptance which the above-named received from Franco's Catholic Spain. We all are very blessed to ensure your High Excellency that practically all of those refugees are from all of their hearts truly thankful towards the Holy Throne…". Mackey has signed as the Pope's representative in Madrid for the "Allocation of the Papal Donations for German Refugees in Spain for the Year 1949". Montini has been accused in some circles of arranging the "ratlines", or escape routes used by wanted Nazis and collaborators to flee to the Middle East and South America following World War II. A 1999 article in the Israeli journal Ha'aretz cites the case of ex-OSS agent William Gowen who gave evidence in a case of survivors suing the Catholic Church claiming that Montini was a willing agent in the theft of stolen victims' money and assets, and in the escape from justice of Croatian Nazis. These charges continue to dog Paul VI and the church to this day. In an undated, unaddressed 2pp. draft letter intended for translation into Spanish and for delivery to Munoz Grandes, Mackey expresses his doubts that a capable German army will soon be established and believes that a German force outside that country would be more effective. He hopes for the establishment of flexible, elite units in Spain with the inclusion of German "specialists" within the Spanish Army. Spain has already expressed an interest in the idea, but requires the approval of the Americans who, according to Skorzeny, are also interested. On his part, he mentions that Skorzeny is proud of his connections and assures the support of important German leaders such as General Guderian. He closes hoping for renewed German-Spanish ties.
On Mar. 25, 1952 Skorzeny typed himself another one-page memo headed: "Outline for the Confirmation Letter about Talks with Defense Minister Munoz Grandes on 11.3.52". In this draft letter, Skorzeny thanks Munoz Grandes for the lengthy audience during which they agreed on the current political situation, particularly on the fact that the U.S. fails to recognize that its only friendly allies in Europe are Spain and Germany. Skorzeny believes that the German people would welcome a neutral armed Germany, but no progress had yet been made. Germany would have to re-build its entire armed forces, and he states his belief that its present-day soldiers were second-rate as regards their morality and humanity. At conclusion, he asks that Mackey prepare a good translation of this text. On April 2, 1952 Mackey, together with Skorzeny, send a signed T.L.S. (signed retained copy here), 2pp. folio, Madrid, again writing to Munoz Grandes adding some details to their plan. They refer to a meeting that the three had held on March 11: "…to personally present our ideas regarding the possible formation of German 'box' units in Spain…presented by Colonel Skorzeny [to Franco] …last year…In our conversation of 11.3 Your Excellency had the satisfaction of fully agreeing with the findings...about the situation and possible developments noting the that the interests of Spain and Germany coincide...represented by ...soldiers and patriots, outside of the transient current regime born of the German defeat of 1945 and the subsequent occupation. We also agreed on the fact that the U.S. has not yet realized to fight communism effectively there is only Germany and Spain...hope that America wakes up to reality...We are also fully consistent with the view of the danger of communism...in the United States U.S. and sabotage might arise...our opinion regarding the remilitarization of West Germany...greatly increased the confusion in Germany. For this reason it would be most desirable to have 'armed neutrals' in a war between Americans and Russians. But this does not seem feasible ...'Westerners' are discussing the formation of the "European army" including a German contingent...if you really form a 'German contingent' within the European army...men of the least value and little character will swell their ranks ...in an open war against the East, with the possibility of the withdrawal of Western troops...a counter-offensive could be launched the Iberian peninsula to lead to a decisive victory. The German contingent of the European army would have to retire to Spain...there is also the opportunity to construct this contingent outside a European army and improve its composition through a reorganization within the Spanish army, serving as a means for the German army to take part in the re-conquest of Germany and the whole of Europe...". On October 1952 Skorzeny types a two-page memo upon the importance of establishing an "honor council" within the Fellowship of German Knights Cross Recipients to determine which recipients was actually eligible. Skorzeny may have used this screening process to vet candidates for his proposed "army". Overall all documents are in very good to fine condition. On the face of it, it appears that Skorzeny's motives were altruistic. Germany was indeed defenseless in 1950, having no army of her own and only a token occupation force with which to face any attack. The Korean peninsula was engaged in a full-scale war, and as the conflict progressed, it appeared that the war would escalate into a nuclear event. The church's involvement can easily be explained: there was no place in communism for organized religion, a fact the Catholic Church made clear through its non-involvement in politics during the world war. But Skorzeny's discussion of freeing "political" prisoners, and righting the wrongs done to those jailed and persecuted strongly suggests another motivation. First, the timing of Skorzeny's meeting with Speidel and his departure for Spain (the same day) suggests this was not a mission he undertook alone. Skorzeny's close association with Konrad Mackey, the ex-Condor Legion and Blue Division volunteer and clearly a Nazi sympathizer, with Mackey's constant references to spiritual guidance and connections with the American Embassy, also raises serious suspicions. And it is no secret at all that Spain became a well-known "resting place" for ex-Nazis on the run while en route to South America and the Middle East. As a matter of fact, it is believed that a wide swath of coastline owned by Skorzeny near Majorca was used to smuggle his comrades in and out of Spain. This archive, carefully researched, may help put together the pieces of the history of the post-war Nazi escape routes and "rat lines"
Estimate $ 5,000-7,000
© Alexander Historical Auctions.
Images, descriptions and condition reports used on this site are original
copyright material and are not to be reproduced without permission. For
further information telephone (203) 276-1570