Episode 156: Project ODESSA: Underground Nazi Smugglers

On this episode of Sofa King Podcast, we talk about ODESSA: a secret Nazi organization that helped smuggle top S.S. officers out of the Third Reich as World War II came to a close. ODESSA is direct acronym of the German Organisation der Ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen, meaning: Organization of Former SS Members. Though some claim that this organization may not have existed, or at least not in a meaningful way, there is a lot of evidence that suggests ODESSA and operations like it did, indeed, help get top Nazis out of Europe and into countries like Argentina, Brazil, and even Australia.

So what proof do we have that ODESSA existed? For one, the American Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) documented it in now declassified papers from as early as 1945. French Intelligence and resistance papers confirm its existence in 1944, and the infamous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal confirms that many of the Nazi he helped capture used this network as a way to escape the end of World War Two.

So, who were the masterminds behind this human smuggling operation? Believe it or not, it was the Vatican. Several priests, bishops, and cardinals helped to establish the smuggling routes (called Ratlines) early in the war to allow Catholics to escape to countries that were at piece. However, priests such as Aloïs Hudal were pro-Nazi and helped to forge paperwork for known S.S. members and commanders of concentration camps to get them to safe countries.

People throughout the Vatican used the Red Cross as a means to secure work visas and forged papers for Nazis and helped the president of Argentina recruit these war criminals for use in his own government. How many Nazis escaped via these Ratlines? How were corporations involved in the attempted formation of a Fourth Reich? Which major Nazi figures escaped trial by using the ODESSA network? Listen, Laugh, Learn.

Oh, and as promised in the episode, here is the link to the FBI’s official page with declassified documents about their investigation as to whether or not Hitler survived the bunker and moved to Argentina as part of ODESSA: https://vault.fbi.gov/adolf-hitler

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