Pivotal Role of Allen Dulles in Shielding Nazi War criminals

Allen Dulles was the longest-serving CIA Director who dominated American intelligence for a generation. He personified a cadre of Ivy League pragmatic elitists in high echelons of the government who greatly admired Germany’s scientific achievements. Princeton educated, Dulles affected the demeanor of a diplomat and professor rather than a spy. Prior to his CIA position he headed the operations of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in Switzerland. In the 1930s Dulles served as legal adviser to the delegations on arms limitation at the League of Nations where he met with the world’s leaders including: Hitler, Mussolini, Litvinov. He was a senior partner in the law firm, Sullivan & Cromwell.

Dulles and the other high ranking intelligence officials and in the State Department, had the highest regard for the Nazi elite – the Reich’s generals, chemists, medical doctors, and engineers – whose research and achievements were mostly in wartime technology, racial hygiene, torture, and genocide. Dulles exploited his post in OSS to quash war crimes prosecutions of senior Nazi officials and German business leaders who cooperated with him in a series of clandestine schemes to secure a U.S. advantage in Central Europe. Dulles personally intervened to ensure the escape from prosecution of major German bankers and industrialists complicit in the Nazis’ extermination-through-slave-labor program. Throughout the war and the years after, his reports to Washington ignored almost entirely the massacre of Jews – as though they were of no consequence.

A revealing vignette told by Eric Lichtblau (Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S., 2010) is about how Allen Dulles, who dominated American intelligence for a generation, saved the highest ranking SS officer who survived the war, General Karl Wolff, Heinrich Himm­ler’s Chief of Staff, from prosecution – and almost certain execution – at Nuremberg.  Wolff was a principal sponsor of the on trial at Treblinka extermination camp (Simpson, Splendid Blond Beast, 1995). He was Himmler’s Principal Liaison officer, one of the most sensitive posts within the Nazi regime, at the interface between Himmler and Hitler.

Between 1942 through 1943, Wolff played an active and knowing role in the administrative approval and organization of fatal diabolical medical experiments – including the high altitude, low pressure, and freezing experiments – performed on inmates at Dachau concentration and death camp. Wolff personally attended one of the Dachau experiments. “It is certain that Wolff’s administrative involvement in the medical experiments, involving concentration camp inmates, represented a “crime against humanity” under the Nuremberg Charter.” (Salter and Ost. War Crimes and Legal Immunities, Rutgers J of Law & Religion, 2004)

Even as the war still raged, in defiance of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s orders, Dulles took the time for a friendly fireside chat with Wolff in Zurich. Dulles was greatly impressed with Wolff, with whom he struck a secret deal in violation of an agreement among the Allies; Wolff surrendered the German forces in Italy days before the war’s end, enabling American forces to take Trieste. Dulles provided Wolff with U.S. protection, by removing his name from the list of defendants at Nuremberg; thereby saving his life. Allen Dulles’ betrayal had wide-ranging implications sowing seeds of distrust and the Cold War; and established a pattern of selective obstruction of justice. (Kerstin von Lingen. Allen Dulles, the OSS, and Nazi War Criminals, 2013)

While Wolff was in Allied custody, he was permitted to wear his uniform, carry a gun, take a yacht trip, and spend time with his family. Nevertheless, he complained that what he endured was “much more inhumane than the extermination of the Jews.” He said the Jews had been gassed in a few seconds, while he did not know how long he would be held.  When his monstrous crimes came to light, Germans gave Wolff the epithet – Vernichtungsbürokrat (“bureaucrat of death”).  In 1964, a German judge sentenced Wolff to 15 years in prison for various crimes, including the deportation of 300,000 Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to Treblinka death camp. He was released in 1968, pleading “poor health” but lived until 1984.

Dulles had the highest regard for Germany’s Nazi elite – the Reich’s industrialists, generals, chemists, medical doctors, and engineers – whose research and achievements were mostly in wartime technology, racial hygiene, torture, and genocide. Like the Nazis with whom he had cordial relationships, he had fanatic contempt for Soviet Communism and harbored decidedly anti- Semitic eugenic views. Under the Brothers Dulles’ leadership deadly lawless operations were executed with complete disregard for moral and legal proscriptions, to say nothing about the innocent human casualties that were a consequence of these operations.