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Otto Skorzeny; Hitler's favorite Nazi who ended up working for Israel

Updated: Sep 22, 2021

The Nazi war criminal who was one of Hitler's most favorite officers ended up working for Israel after the war. Otto Skorzeny was an enthusiastic Nazi, joining the Austrian equivalent of the Nazi party in 1931. When World War II broke out in 1939, Skorzeny volunteered for the SS, joining a unit called Leibstandarte, which had been set up as Hitler’s bodyguard.

Skorzeny was one of Hitler's most favorite officers. The Führer, in fact, awarded Skorzeny the army’s most prestigious medal, the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross, for leading the rescue operation that plucked his friend Benito Mussolini out from the hands of his captors.

Otto Skorzeny with Benito Mussolini after his rescue in 1943

During the war Otto Skorzeny and his SS military unit were responsible for countless of war crimes and atrocities, however all of his crimes were whitewashed and expunged after the war, as almost any other Nazi or German war criminal, by the West German government. Like almost all other former Nazis and German war criminals, Skorzeny was declared entnazifiziert (denazified) in absentia in 1952 by a West German government arbitration board, which meant that he could now travel from Spain, where he fled to after the war ended, into other Western countries and around the world. He ended up working as military adviser for dictatorships like in Argentina and Egypt before being approached by the Israeli Mossad in 1962.

Otto Skorzeny after the war

Skorzeny was recruited by the Mossad, conducting operations for the agency from 1963, where he worked with Avraham Ahituv and Rafi Eitan, as has been confirmed by Eitan himself and other top former Mossad agents. In exchange for his cooperation and help Mossad promised to take Skorzeny off their Nazi criminal hit-list. According to Israeli journalists Yossi Melman and Dan Raviv, on Israel’s request, Skorzeny flew to Egypt and compiled a detailed list of German scientists and their addresses. Skorzeny also found for Mossad the names of many front companies in Europe that were procuring and shipping components for Egypt’s military projects. Skorzeny became an enthusiastic and cooperative agent for the Jewish State. His work for the Mossad included assassinating a German rocket scientist Heinz Krug who was working with Egypt, and mailing a letter bomb which killed five Egyptians at the Egyptian military rocket site Factory 333. The fact is that Israel used a Nazi war criminal, and not just some common thug but one of Hitler's personal favorites, to achieve its goals and even murder its enemies.

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