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The Real Odessa by author Uki Goñi reveals for the first time the exact roles played by the Vatican, Swiss authorities, the Red Cross and the Argentine government in the escape from justice of Nazi war criminals after world War II.

Published to wide acclaim in London, New York, Berlin, Rome, Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Ljubljana and Buenos Aires, the book has provoked strong reactions and resulted in the opening up of archives related to the Nazi escape.

In Rome, SS criminal Erich Priebke, who served a life sentence for his part in the wartime massacre of 335 Italian civilians, sued Goñi, demanding 50,000 euros and the bannning of the Italian translation of his book. The judge threw out Priebke's suit. "This book will not be burnt as in the Nazi Germany of Priebke's youth," cheered the Roman newspaper l'Unitá.

In Genoa, the archbishop set up a commission to attempt to disprove the book's allegations about aid provided to Nazis by Catholic officials there. The commission never returned a verdict.

In Holland, KLM set up its own commission of inquiry after a Dutch television documentary based on Goñi's book showed how the airline had provided safe passage for Nazis leaving Europe.

In Argentina, the government was forced to make public and overturn a Nazi-era secret order against the arrival of Jews that Goñi proved was still on the books.

TIME: A corageous book.
The Observer: Fascinating ... frightening.
New York Times: Documents how Perón maneuvered to bring Nazi war criminals to Argentina.


© Uki Goñi
Photo Leticia Fraguela