[see also MAXIMA CULPA
in "HITLER - ROMAN CATHOLIC" FILE
& in "NAZI - ROMAN CATHOLIC" FILE]
March 24, 1997
Group Seeks Peron, Nazi Files
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - The Simon Wiesenthal Center asked on Monday for access to files said to document contact between former Argentinian President Juan Peron, his wife, Evita, and leading officials of the Third Reich.
Earlier this month, President Carlos Menem offered Jewish groups access to Central Bank archives to determine whether any gold plundered by the Nazis landed in Argentina.
The center has asked several countries in Europe and South America to search their bank files for more than 300 names, including Adolf Hitler and his mistress, Eva Braun.
``We're pleased that President Menem has indicated that our list is currently being investigated,'' said the dean of the Los Angeles-based center, Rabbi Marvin Hier. ``But we think there needs to be an even more complete disclosure on the connection between the Peron regime and the Nazis.''
It has been widely debated whether Peron's 1946-55 government was ideologically aligned with Hitler and allowed Nazis into the country because of their scientific and military expertise.
Just how many Nazis entered Argentina is not publicly known. Among those who came was Adolf Eichmann, who oversaw the deportation of millions of Jews, and former SS Capt. Erich Priebke, who participated in a 1944 massacre of 335 civilians outside Rome.
A Jewish historian who has spent four years sifting through some 22,000 documents from the national archive says Peron set up a team to find key Nazis and offer them safe passage to Argentina after World War II.
March 24, 1997
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - The Simon Wiesenthal Center sought access Monday to government files allegedly documenting contacts between the late Juan and Evita Peron and leaders of the Third Reich.
The request follows allegations by a Jewish historian that the Peron regime actively sought out leading Nazis after World War II to offer them haven in Argentina.
Earlier this month, President Carlos Menem offered to let Jewish groups inspect national bank archives to investigate whether any gold plundered by the Nazis wound up in Argentina.
Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Wiesenthal Center -- a leading Nazi-hunting organization -- welcomed Menem's action, but said Monday that Argentina needs to do more.
``We think there needs to be an even more complete disclosure on the connection between the Peron regime and the Nazis,'' he said.
Nazis known to have come to Argentina after the war include Adolf Eichmann, who oversaw the deportation of millions of Jews, and former SS Capt. Erich Priebke, who participated in a 1944 massacre of 335 civilians outside Rome.
April 18, 1997
Wiesenthal Center wants to aid Argentine Nazi probe
BUENOS AIRES - The Simon Wiesenthal Center Friday welcomed Argentina's decision to set up a commission to investigate the country's past as a haven for Nazi war criminals and a hiding place for gold stolen from Holocaust victims.
The Jewish organization, dedicated to hunting ex-Nazis, made an official request to Argentine Foreign Minister Guido Di Tella to be included on a panel of Argentine and foreign experts. Its creation was announced Thursday.
The Center wrote to Di Tella saying that, as one of the main organizations taking part in international efforts to track down Jewish wealth ``plundered by the Nazis during the second World War, ``it would be ``honored to be on the committee.''
In the name of its 400,000 members worldwide, the Wiesenthal Center expressed its ``support for this decision by the Argentine government, which is in the same spirit as the decree by President Carlos Menem in 1992 ordering the opening of the so-called 'Nazi archives'.''
Menem, who opened Argentine police files to investigators that year and has since offered access to Central Bank files, is eager for Argentina to shed its image as refuge for Nazi fugitives
The founder of his Peronist Party, Juan Peron, is believed by the Wiesenthal Center to have given thousands of blank passports to Nazi war criminals to flee post-war Europe.
Peron, president from 1946-55 and 1973 until his death in 1974, admired Italian fascist ruler Benito Mussolini. In his first period in power, Argentina was the refuge for some top Third Reich officials including Hitler's confidante Martin Bormann, Holocaust ``architect'' Adolf Eichmann and possibly Auschwitz concentration camp doctor Josef Mengele.
Recently declassified U.S. wartime documents from 1945 estimate that the Nazis secretly sent more than $1 billion to be invested in Argentina one month before the war ended.
June 26, 1997
Wiesenthal says Evita likely stashed Nazi loot
BUENOS AIRES - Simon Wiesenthal, the hunter of Nazi war criminals, said in an interview published Thursday that Argentina should investigate whether Eva Peron stashed Nazi gold in secret Swiss bank accounts.
Journalists and historians have long suspected that Peron, wife of Juan Peron who ruled Argentina from 1946-55 and from 1973 until his death in 1974, used her European tour in 1947 to deposit bribes from Nazi war criminals in Swiss banks.
``In principle I would say it seems probable that those accounts exist because of the contacts Evita had with German and Croatian war criminals,'' 88-year-old Wiesenthal, himself a Holocaust survivor, told Argentina's Pagina 12 newspaper.
Argentina under the Perons was the refuge of some top Third Reich officials on the run from Europe, including Hitler's confidant Martin Borman, Holocaust ``architect'' Adolf Eichman and possibly Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele.
Peron is alleged to have given thousands of blank passports to Nazis and U.S. wartime documents estimate the Nazis secretly sent more than $1 billion to be invested in Argentina one month before the war ended.
Wiesenthal told Pagina 12 at a Geneva conference on Jewish property looted by Nazis that Argentina should look into ''German companies that received big investments in 1943 and 1944'' and reports of secret trips by German submarines.
``It should also look at whether Eva Peron's accounts in Switzerland existed or not,'' the world-famous Nazi hunter said. He urged investigation into a ``Swiss-Argentine axis'' where Nazi loot was laundered in Switzerland and sent on to Argentina, which he said set up a virtual ``welcoming committee for Nazis, giving them passports, visas and shelter.''
``All South American countries had broken links with the Nazis except for Argentina, which continued keeping up good contacts with Hitler and doing business with the blood of the victims,'' said Wiesenthal, founder of a Los Angeles center in his name that investigates Nazi war criminals still at large.
Argentine President Carlos Menem, a Peronist, promised in May to set up a committee to investigate his country's Nazi sympathies of the past. Wiesenthal praised the initiative but said there was no sign of it starting work yet.
``It's a much better attitude than Argentine governments had years ago, but for now it's just promises. They have to investigate once and for all because no less than half a century has gone by,'' he said.