January 28, 2021
Uki Goñi has written a fantastic book with The Real Odessa. His research is considerable as he pieced together the secret trail that spirited Nazi war criminals and collaborators from post WW2 Europe to Argentina under its leader Juan Perón. Argentina at that time was deeply sympathetic to Nazi ideals and even joined the Allies in 1944 in a ruse to make it easier to help Nazis enter Argentina as they escaped allied advances as the Axis powers began to collapse. I’d never heard of a country being a secret agent, but that is precisely what Argentina was at that time pretending to be an Ally when in fact they were clandestinely supporting Nazi Germany. The covert measures worked and resulted in several secret networks being set up around Europe used to help hundreds of convicted war criminals escape to Argentina where they were welcomed by Perón. He saw these Nazis and their sympathizers as ardent anti-communists just as he was. He saw them as anti-capitalist just as he was as well. And they matched his strong anti-Semitic views additionally. So, they were a perfect match for the Peronista Argentina of that time. Even the Vatican, British, and Americans had a hand in supporting this network somewhat. It was a truly shameful coda in history to the most violent war the world has ever known — proving that war makes the oddest bedfellows and allies. While a little hard to follow at times, Goñi has written a brilliant history of this little known chapter of the war that is well worth the read.