Otto Skorzeny: The Most Dangerous Man in Europe

Otto Skorzeny, henchman, assassin, commando,
spy, double-agent, mercenary. What was the truth about him? You asked for him like a million times, you
got him. Roll title! The Most Dangerous Man in Vienna Otto Skorzeny was born into a middle-class
family in Vienna, Austria, on June 12, 1908. As a student he distinguished himself in scientific
topics, and after graduating he enlisted at the University of Vienna as an engineering
student. His great passion was fencing. He joined the University fencing team and
during a match he received the prominent scar on his cheek, known in German as a ‘Schmiss’
which was then a coveted mark of bravery among German and Austrian youth. In 1931, as Nazism was gaining popularity
in Europe, Skorzeny joined the Austrian Nazi Party, filling the ranks of the local version
of the paramilitary SA Brownshirts. Clever, ambitious and physically imposing
at 6 ft 4 [1.93 Metres] he must have been a valued member. In the meanwhile he had earned his degree
and had started working as a civil engineer. The Most Dangerous Man in Berlin
Austria had become part of Germany with the 1938 Anschluss. So, when World War II broke out in 1939, Skorzeny
applied to join the Wehrmacht. But his military career got off to a bumpy
start when his application to join the Luftwaffe was denied. He was told he was too tall and too old at
the age of 31. Instead, he joined the SS and became an officer-cadet
in the Liebstandarte, Hitler’s bodyguard regiment. In 1940, Skorzeny was a second lieutenant
in the Waffen-SS. His engineering skills proved useful when
he designed special ramps to load tanks onto ships. But he also proved his courage under fire
during combat in Holland, France, and the Balkans. Here he was decorated after capturing a large
Yugoslav force, and was promoted to first lieutenant. Skorzeny was then transferred to the Eastern
Front after the launch of Operation Barbarossa in June 1941, with the 2nd SS Panzer Division
“Das Reich”. He was part of the unsuccessful siege of Moscow
and in December 1942, now a captain, received a head wound from a piece of shrapnel. Skorzeny was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery,
and then sent home to Vienna to recuperate. While there, he became fascinated by the idea
of commando operations and read all the books he could find about them. He then transformed those ideas into plans
for unconventional warfare, which he submitted to higher headquarters. And they started to take notice. His concepts soon reached the desk of Ernst
Kaltenbrunner, the new head of the Reich security services and successor to Reinhard Heydrich. Skorzeny’s ideas were passed on to General
Schellenberg, head of the SS foreign intelligence service. Skorzeny and Schellenberg met and the General
was so impressed that he appointed him as commander of the newly created Waffen Sonderverband
z.b.V. Friedenthal, an SS unit dedicated to special
operations. His career as a commando leader had just begun. The Most Dangerous Man on a Glider
Skorzeny and his unit launched into their first mission in the summer of 1943: Operation
François. The plan was to organize the nomadic Qashqai
people, in Iran, into an armed guerrilla force which could serve the German war effort. Skorzeny’s paratroopers were also assigned
to disrupt the supply lines between the Allies and the Soviets and to turn the local population
against the Allied presence. Skorzeny parachuted into Northern Iran packed
with gold and explosives. His intention was to bribe the tribesmen elders
and win their support for the mobilization of the entire people. The operation proved to be a failure: a fellow
agent, Paul Ernst Fackenheim, made a remark that as soon as they were out of gold, the
Persians sold them to the British. Skorzeny’s next mission would prove his
most famous and spectacular success: Operation Oak, the rescue of Benito Mussolini, imprisoned
after the Monarchist coup in July 1943. First Skorzeny had to find Mussolini. The ex-dictator was continually moved from
one hiding place to another, but the Germans discovered him at a villa on the isle of La
Maddalena, near Sardinia. Skorzeny then flew over in a Heinkel He-111
bomber to take aerial photos of the location, but the plane was shot down by Allied fighters
and crashed into the sea. Skorzeny and his men were rescued by an Italian
warship. Mussolini was moved again and the chase continued. Finally, Skorzeny tracked him down to the
Campo Imperatore Hotel, a remote and fortified resort on the Gran Sasso mountain in central
Italy. The hotel was accessible only by funicular. He, Luftwaffe General Kurt Student and Major
Otto-Harald Mors, a paratrooper battalion commander, came up with a workable plan. Skorzeny assembled a team of 107 commandos
who would be landed in gliders. On the 12th of September 1943 the gliders
approached the hotel. Skorzeny realised too late that what he thought
to be a patch of grass was a rocky incline. His glider almost crashed, but he made it
out in one piece. Twelve minutes later, Skorzeny had found Mussolini
and not one person had been killed. The Fuhrer, delighted with Skorzeny, awarded
him the Knights Cross. As a result, he became Hitler’s favourite
commando and was dubbed “the most dangerous man in Europe” by the Allies … although
propaganda chief Dr Goebbels may have been the first to give him that title. Propaganda coverage of the event however hid
the fact that most of the planning and execution had to be credited to Skorzeny’s associates,
General Student and Major Mors. Skorzeny stole their thunder by making sure
he would be the one escorting Mussolini to the get-away plane in full view of the cameras. Skorzeny though should be recognised with
the stroke of genius that ensured the raid was bloodless. He had secured the cooperation of General
Soleti of the Carabinieri, the military police. Soleti was actually the first one to approach
the Hotel and ordered the heavily armed military policemen to stand down. It should be noted that footage and photos
of the event show many of the Italian guards posing with big smiles by Mussolini and Skorzeny,
hinting at their true loyalties. Based on testimonies from one of the guards,
Mussolini seemed to be the least happy to have been rescued …
The next mission for Skorzeny was Operation Long Jump, November 1943. Its ambitious goal was to kill or kidnap the
Allies’ “Big Three” leaders – Stalin, Churchill, Roosevelt—at their strategic
conference in Tehran, Iran. A first group of six German operatives landed
in Qom, before proceeding to Teheran on camel back. Skorzeny was supposed to join the group with
a second team of assassins. Unfortunately for them, a few months earlier,
the Operation’s planner SS officer von Ortel had just made friends with a Wehrmacht Lieutenant
in a bar in Copenhagen. Blind drunk, Ortel had spilled the beans on
Long Jump. That lieutenant, well he was a Soviet intelligence
officer in disguise. Roosevelt and Churchill were alerted to the
plot and were kept safe at the Soviet Embassy. The NKVD then seized the six German commandos
and forced them to radio to Skorzeny’s team that the operation had failed. To give the full picture, some sources claim
that this plot never existed. It was just a clever ruse of Stalin and/or
the NKVD to force the Western leaders to stay inside the Soviet Embassy, where their conversations
could be easily bugged. The next high level hit commissioned to Skorzeny
was the capture of Tito, Operation Knight’s Leap. Also in this case Skorzeny and his commandos
attacked by gliders, while conventional forces engaged Tito’s partisans around his mountain
helicopters. Did I say helicopters? Sorry, I meant headquarters. In any case, the partisans’ resistance was
fierce, stalling the pincer movement and allowing Tito to escape. Skorzeny would finally have time to shine
after the 20th of July 1944, following the attempted bombing on Hitler. In his memoir, he claimed he played an integral
part in restoring order to Berlin, where the conspirators had initiated plan ‘Valkyrie’
to topple the regime. Skorzeny infiltrated the conspirators’ base
of operations and had the “Valkyrie” order rescinded. This was an order intended to quell a possible
coup, but had been cleverly exploited by the conspirators to trick German troops into arresting
loyal Nazi officials. Skorzeny’s actions contributed to dissipate
confusion, restore communications to Fuhrer Headquarters and preventing a possible civil
war between German troops. Skorzeny took charge of Wehrmacht administration
until normalcy returned. Again, Hitler was delighted. In October 1944 he dispatched him to Budapest
to lead Operation Panzerfaust, aka Operation Mickey Mouse. The Fuehrer was not pleased with Hungarian
leader Admiral Horthy, an uneasy ally against the Soviet Union, who was actually pro-American
and had always refused to deport the Jewish population. The Germans got wind that he was negotiating
with the allies and Skorzeny was sent to exact punishment. Skorzeny and his commandos stormed the presidential
palace, seized the Admiral’s son, rolled him into a carpet and kidnapped him. Horthy was forced to negotiate, and eventually
to stand down. His leadership was replaced by a puppet government
under the Arrow Cross party, staunchly anti-Semitic. During the following 56 days, an estimated
320,000 Hungarian Jews were sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. Another 100,000 starved or died of disease. In December of 1944 Skorzeny launched his
most infamous mission: Operation Greif, or ‘Griffin’. The goal was to capture key bridges over the
Meuse river during the Battle of the Bulge, the last German offensive in the West. Skorzeny’s plan was ingenious: he selected
commandos who were fluent in English, dressed them in American uniforms and sent them behind
enemy lines in Belgium to spread panic and confusion. Skorzeny’s men cut communication wires,
issued fake orders, and turned around road signs. The Americans grew paranoid: some GIs fired
on each other, while others grilled their mates about American popular culture to identify
if they were German agents. If you were American, but did not care about
baseball nor movie stars, you could get arrested! At one point, Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery
refused to show his ID and had his car tires shot out. He was then dragged into a barn and restrained
until his identity could be confirmed. Skorzeny spread the false rumour among his
men that the real aim was the assassination of General Eisenhower, headquartered in Paris. German agents captured by the Americans, confessed
to this plot. As a result, Eisenhower was put under virtual
arrest for his own protection. Griffin eventually failed and many Germans
were easily identified and shot as spies. As the Reich crumbled, Skorzeny’s final
involvement was with Operation Werewolf. This was a resistance movement, mostly composed
of Hitler Youth members, trained in guerrilla tactics to oppose an Allied occupation. It actually was a desperate propaganda ruse
by Goebbels to raise morale. But Skorzeny hijacked the plan and used this
small force to aid the escaping Nazi high officials. The Soviet NKVD, probably overestimating the
size and importance of Werewolf, killed roughly 5,000 boys, aged 15 to 17, for suspected guerrilla
activity. A few days after Hitler’s suicide, Skorzeny
handed himself over to the Americans. He was a highly decorated, well-respected
military professional but his directive for his men to wear American uniforms got him
in trouble. This was considered a war crime and was put
on trial in 1947. Luckily for him, he escaped execution when
British SOE operatives confirmed they wore German uniforms during the war. But he had to answer from other charges. Before he could be prosecuted, though, Skorzeny
escaped from the POW camp with the help of two ex-SS men, dressed as American military
police. He later claimed this was a plan of the OSS,
the CIA’s predecessor: his freedom, in return for his services. Was this true? The Most Dangerous Man in Madrid
Skorzeny first hid in Bavaria, then Salzburg and finally Spain, where he cooperated with
Francisco Franco’s military and intelligence services. He was “de-Nazified” in absentia by a
German court in 1952 but was still a “person of interest” for the famed Austrian Nazi
hunter, Simon Wiesenthal. In any case, he could lead an open life. He had a young wife, Ilse von Finckenstein. He had several legitimate activities: an engineering
firm, an import-export business … and a mercenary security company. But he apparently had time for other endeavours. He founded a Neo-Nazi group called CEDADE,
the Spanish Circle of Friends of Europe and is rumoured to have smuggled ex-Nazis to South
America. Particularly in Argentina, where he served
briefly as military advisor to Juan Perón. Most notably he was bodyguard to Evita. There are even rumours of an affair between
the two. I wonder who may have spread them …
In the late 50s he became fixated with gaining entry to the UK. This may be the reason why in 1959 Otto Skorzeny
bought a farm in County Kildare, Ireland. He was granted temporary visas to stay in
Ireland, but state records mention his indignation at the continual refusal of the British authorities
to allow him entry in the UK. Newspaper reports in the 1960s give another
version: his farm in Ireland was a place where fleeing Nazis could hide, but no evidence
was found to substantiate this claim. Maybe he just liked the Guinness? The Most Dangerous Man in Tel Aviv
And now for something truly puzzling. As an escaped former SS, who had indirectly
contributed to the deportation of the Hungarian Jews, Skorzeny knew very well that his name
was top in the list of Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. And so, he was the first one to be surprised
when agents of the Mossad, Israeli intelligence, came to recruit him …
Early 1962. Skorzeny was having some drinks at a bar in
Madrid with his wife Ilse. The two befriended another younger couple
of German tourists, who had just been robbed and were looking for some help. The two couples went on drinking and, apparently,
flirting, until the Skorzenys invited them to their villa. Just when things seemed to, well … kick
off … well they did kick off, but in another way. Skorzeny pulled a gun on the couple:
“I know who you are, and I know why you are here. You are Mossad, and you’ve come here to
kill me!” The man replied
“If we had come to kill you, you would have been dead weeks ago.” The two operatives were there to offer Skorzeny
a deal: they needed his services and would pay handsomely. Skorzeny’s was not interested in money. What he wanted, was to be removed from Wiesenthal’s
list. The Mossad agents agreed. Skorzeny was flown to Tel Aviv, where he met
Mossad agent Joe Ranaan. He was also Viennese, but as a Jew, he had
lost all his family in the camps. Ranaan took the ex-SS to the Yad Vashem, the
Holocaust Museum, and observed that he appeared respectful. Skorzeny’s mission was to thwart Egypt’s
military rocket programme, led by Heinz Krug, a German scientist formerly associated with
Werner Von Braun. The Austrian commando was shown a letter from
Wiesenthal, accepting the removal of his name from the list of Nazi criminals. In truth, Wiesenthal had refused. The letter was a Mossad forgery. Skorzeny kept his promise and he delivered,
big time. He flew to Egypt and identified all German
scientists working for the programme. He then unmasked several companies around
Europe that were secretly selling rocket components to the Egyptians. He even carried out a campaign of intimidation
against the scientists and mailed explosive packages prepared by the Mossad, killing five
Egyptian technicians. One day in 1962, while in Madrid, Skorzeny
received a phone call. It was Heinz Krug, the lead scientist of the
programme. Krug was dead scared and was seeking Skorzeny’s
help and protection. Skorzeny arranged to meet him in Munich. As he drove him out of town in a white Mercedes
he reassured him: he had already hired some bodyguards and they were driving to meet them. As they stepped out of the car and into the
woods, Skorzeny shot Krug. Three Mossad agents then took care of the
body by dissolving it in acid. Skorzeny’s job was done. He had not made a penny out of it. He didn’t know it but was still on Wiesenthal
list. But at least he would be spared by the Mossad. The Most Dangerous Man in a FOIA Search Engine
Another intelligence service famously associated with Otto Skorzeny was the CIA. We wanted to verify this claim directly at
the source and so we did some rummaging in the CIA’s own Freedom Of Information Act
(FOIA) search engine. A brief memo states that in 1961 Skorzeny
had a plan to kidnap Fidel Castro. This plan had the approval of CIA Director
Allen Dulles, but had been vetoed by JFK. There is a catch: the memo quotes an interview
released by Skorzeny to a Peruvian newspaper in 1966. Knowing the man’s knack for self-publicity,
can we truly believe this? So, we dug deeper. On the 26th of January 1951 a report was sent
to the Secretary of State from Germany by John J. McCloy, American High Commissioner
for Occupied Germany. McCloy reports that Chancellor Adenauer was
worried about rumours of Skorzeny training the Spanish military with US covert support. McCloy was not aware of this scheme and admitted
it was worrying. The CIA knew very well that Skorzeny was in
Spain. They learned this from a letter dated 21st
of September 1949, sent by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. Skorzeny had been sighted
“working in Spain with a group of Nazis with the blessings of Franco”. In April 1951, the CIA was keeping tabs on
Skorzeny’s activities in Madrid. In particular, they wrote about internal feuding
amongst former Nazi officers, with concerns for it to go public. The memo reads:
“View possibility unfavourable publicity break as result Skorzeny’s manoeuvring. Consider important we clarify our interests
and any US connections fully. Can you explain claims Skorzeny connected
with or supported by US Colonel Thompson or Stimpson. View categorical denial”
The agent asks the question: is possibly the CIC, Counter-Intelligence Corps behind Skorzeny? The CIC was a Cold War era secret service
within the US Army ranks. Moving to the 1960s, the CIA kept a close
eye on Skorzeny’s relationship to ‘UPHILL’ which appears to be a code name for an organisation. One report states that the Chief of Uphill
had warned that US support for Skorzeny would be a source of embarrassment for the White
House. This is similar to Adenauer’s warning. The picture that emerges so far is that some
US agency, possibly the CIC, had some form of contact with him, and German authorities
had warned the US to be careful about it. But what of Skorzeny’s relationship with
other powers? There is another document that complicates
matters even more. The agent signs himself as ‘Heckenschuetze’
– ‘sniper’. We’ll post the link in the description,
so you can read it in full, but here is the gist of it. At the end of 1943, sensing that the War would
be lost, Martin Bormann, Hitler’s secretary, created a secret organization called
‘HACKE’ It was so exclusive to count only 35 members. And so secretive that even Himmler was unaware
of it. The purpose of Hacke was to guarantee the
survival of Nazi officials in case of defeat. To do so, Hacke racked up half a billion dollars
from concentration camp victims and created hideouts in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Japan
and Argentina. But the twist is that the Soviet intelligence
had infiltrated this network, apparently by blackmailing Bormann, lest they revealed the
existence of Hacke to Himmler. Hacke remained active after the war, but here
comes anothet twist: “One of the dark and dangerous KGB figures
in Hacke is the famous SS Colonel Skorzeny
who presently lives in Madrid and also works for the Spanish IS (intelligence service). Skorzeny was under active development by Abakumow
as early as 1942 … Skorzeny was finally recruited as a collaborator
of Abakumow in the middle of 1944” Abakumow being a Soviet intelligence General. His plan was to exploit ex-Nazi officials
and agents settled in the Americas. The author of the document to be fair states
that it is unclear whether Abakumow succeeded in his plans, and looks for other clues to
confirm Skorzeny’s allegiance to the KGB. One of these clues is that Skorzeny was very
close to another ex-Nazi operative, Karl Rudl. The two had been tasked with a secret mission
by the Vatican (!!!!!) to smuggle a Hungarian Cardinal out of prison. Rudl was actually an agent of Abakumow, who
had intentions to hijack the prison escape to have the Cardinal shot. Rudl smelled a rat – he was probably going
to get shot, too, while Abakumow would leave Skorzeny alive. And so, he aborted the operation. To recap, from the 1940s to the 1960s Otto
Skorzeny was A commando for the Nazi security services
A possible double-agent for the Soviets A member of the neo-Nazi ring ‘HACKE’
An agent of Franco’s intelligence A hitman for the Mossad
A possible informant to the US CIC An operative for the Vatican
As you can see, our initial question ‘did Skorzeny work for the CIA?’ seems irrelevant now. The answer is probably, no. If anything, his calendar was too full to
fit them in. The Most Dangerous Man is no more
In his later years, Otto Skorzeny fell ill from lung cancer. On July 5, 1975 he died in Madrid at the age
of 67. He had two funerals, one in Madrid, and the
other at his family plot in Vienna. At both, he received full Nazi honours, with
veterans giving him the Nazi salute and singing some of Hitler’s favourite songs. Among those present, one man stood apart. He did not join in with the Nazi nostalgic
paraphernalia, but offered a silent salute to a fellow secret agent and fighter. Someone he had grown up hating, but had learned
to respect. That man was Mossad agent Joe Ranaan. And it’s with this strange image of an Israeli
spy at a Nazi funeral that we end our story today. An image which sums up the career of a man
who had been clearly a follower of Nazi ideology – but was ultimately loyal only to himself. I’d like to propose a little game for the
comments section: have a look at the CIA FOIA Search page, the link is below, and have a
search around, maybe for a famous personality or event, or even for your own name, why not? And let us know what you found out! As usual, thank you for watching.

Posts Tagged with…

Reader Comments

  1. Fredrik Larsson

    This is a remarkable story about a remarkable man. Not in the least nice, but absolutely interesting. If Mussolini hadn't been "saved", it had been hard to declare him a war criminal. Now, he became the figure head of the Salo Republic and committed national treason and had got a capital punishment by a court if the partisans hadn't decided to do it immediately. Skorzeny couldn't know all that, of course, and Hitler was hellbent to get him out.

    The only two institutions in Italy behaving decently were The Catholic Church with Pope Pius XII, and strangely enough also the leadership of the Fascist Party which deposed Mussolini with completely legal means and in cooperation with the legal Head of State, King Victor Emmanuel.

  2. Edward j j

    Dangerous?The British commandos will be very proud to have officer like that Great leadership tactics discipline and fitting spirit was always been presented by him MY HONOR IS MY LOYALTY

  3. Robert Maheu

    wow how did he miss a massive part of skorzeny's career he was given command of a division against the Russians in more traditional battlefield roles on the eastern front just before Berlin.

  4. Michele Di Raimondo

    Dude, he did not join the local fencing team, but the Burschenschaft Markomannia Vienna, a fraternity which would practice the Mensur, a special way of fencing. Apparently he had more than 13 Mensuren, one of which with saber, that's where he got the big Schmiss.

  5. Hi Me

    Nietzsche was right, if the Germans attack the Jews, the Jews will dominate Europe, oh dear, look what they have done to Europe since 1945, do you notice any changes? There's a way to reverse the changes, breeding and killing.

  6. Christlich, Deutsch, Gerecht und Frei

    He didn‘t join the „fencing team“. He was in a Burschenschaft. These are German fraternities that practice fencing with sharp blades.

  7. Gary Truthteller

    Sometimes I wish you could slow down just a 'tich' – I especially noticed during the Tiberius bio. Otherwise, am appreciating the efforts….

  8. PrivateSi

    Everybody he has ever worked for and all his friends and aquaintances deserved to have their heads ripped from their bodies by hoards of revolting masses, fed up with Warons running the world into ruination…. But it's a Waster's world run by various Nazti factions…

  9. Robert Emmet

    You know he did that scar himself with a rusty bayonet in a small, steamy bathroom… His cry bellowed through the meadow. Cows scattered, birds flew off…and scene.

  10. bassbuckmaster

    "total war"… the Nazis rounding up children to fill their ranks especially when it was clear nothing was going to stop the Russian Juggernaut. Its a miracle there was a Germany left in Europe from being attacked on all sides and within.Hanging 12 year old German boy not wanting to fight Russian tanks.

  11. Ralph Watzke

    Skorzeny ("Sko-zhen-ih") is actually a Polish name – there are lots of top "Nazis" who had Slavic names, e.g. Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, Odilo Globocnik, to name just a couple. General Guderian was of Armenian descent from Polish aristocracy, Admiral Canaris was a Greek!
    One of my friends in rehabilitation field is interested to know about the treatment that he got to get him walking again 6 months after the accident that paralyzed him c. 1970 – who treated him and where, etc. what methods were used?
    Another friend knew him personally: He says: "There are many myths and false information about Otto Skorzeny. I meet him through Gergely Pongrátz and Dr.Shay-Toth while living in Madrid. He was helpful with some military connections in Portugal and his Paladin firm was a respected security providing organization – nowadays you would call them "contractors" "

  12. J. D.

    He didn’t join the University fencing team, he was in a political and fencing fraternity, Burschenschaft Markommania. The style of fencing there is completely different from olympic fencing and one of its primary aims is scarification.

  13. Gawaine Ross

    Thanks for all your research into this man's history. What a complicated story. The world of espionage is sleazier than we can imagine.

  14. Melvin Shelton

    I once read a biography of Otto Skorzeny, formerly an officer of the Waffen SS, German Third Reich. It was entitled, "Commando Extraordinary", written sometime in the 1960s, and may by now be out of print. At any rate, the writing was done after WW-II, when Skorzeny was living in Madrid. He was interviewed at least once by the author, and the book was written with his personal cooperation. Its title was "Commando Extraordinary". I don't remember who wrote it (I was a kid.), but it was well-written. I thought It was clear that the author had to an extent fallen under the Skorzeny's charm, which was known to be exceptional. He described his first meeting with Skorzeny, who arrived late for the meeting, apologizing for his tardiness. The author arose from the table, arm outstretched for a handshake. As he did so, he noticed that many of the other diners had paused in their meals, staring blatantly up at Skorzeny as he passed. The author admits, somewhat grudgingly, "And so, from my six feet, did I." Skorzeny is described as standing between 6'3" and 6'4" tall.
    Startlingly, he denies ever having been an ardent Nazi. Instead, he states that he saw himself as an ardent anticommunist, and if that constituted being a Nazi, then he had always been a Nazi, and he still was. He was proud of having been in the Waffen SS, which he completely dissociated from the heavily, if not totally, SS-run concentration camps. He dismissed those SS members linked to them simply as executioners. I got the impression that he was contemptuous of them, but his feelings toward them, and Hitler, are not recorded.
    The vid does not describe many of Skorzeny's postwar activities, e.g., his purely combat actions in Vietnam against the Viet Minh/Viet Cong, whom he describes as "the same enemy in a different uniform", but describes the French Foreign Legionnaires (who were in Vietnam before Americans were involved there), as "magnificent fighters". He describes, with obvious pride, using the communists' own tactics against them, and winning. For example, he would tie the families of the enemy to his tanks to stop their attacks, goading them to utter impotent fury at their inability to do anything about it but stop fighting and go home.
    He is contemptuous of South Vietnamese soldiers.
    Having seen this vid, which I think is also very well done, it is interesting to compare the book and the vid, and see what each leaves out of picture. The book doesn't mention his pride in the third world army troopers he trained after the war. His describes them, before training as useless. After training, he says simply, "You could incorporate the into any army in the world, without further drilling".

    The vid includes a far larger account of Skorzeny's interactions with the German Army brass, and in passing, with Hitler himself.. But most importantly, the vid describes the virtually unbelievable range of countries and organizations for which he conducted clandestine operations at the close of the war, and afterward. I didn't take notes. But they included the Mossad (Israel) and the NKVD (USSR). As for the OSS (USA), again, surprisingly, not much of anything.
    I think the grand total of espionage customers he had was somewhere around nine or ten. He must have worked like a banshee screams. He may have been a grandmaster at time management. It seems that much, or most, or all of these jobs must have been done simultaneously. Maybe he just didn't breathe, and I don't recall any reference to a family.
    I am a psychiatrist and a neuropsychologist. I would like to have had

    his only client, l sometimes merely the most important. For a while, I wondered whether he had ever felt empathy, or even sympathy, for another person. MAYBE HE DID: He didn't kill the villagers he had kidnapped and used as shields. He let them go home. MAYBE HE DIDN'T: He didn't kill his hostage families after the battle was won. But he didn't need to; it would accomplish nothing other than further uniting the furious enemy fighters, and pissing them off even further, maybe even to the the point of death by proxy, in battle. 0
    This man was like an onion: a little deeper, and you will find something completely different.

  15. Antonios Koutsoyiannis

    It hurts the alleys and the eastern tribe that was crying and acting like a baby, that they dib not have, and never will, have someone like Otto in their ranks.

  16. ro eng

    Skorzeny lived in Calverstown Co.Kildare. He fled overnight when it was made public who and what he was and the farm he owned there was subsequently sold. He never returned.

  17. APS Chauhan

    Skorzeny our most admired and exemplary officer . We lay tribute to him .An excellent innovator and valiant German . Salute to Skorzeny .

  18. skygrasper_550

    I feel bad for the German scientist, but that said Skorzeny's life of espionage is really unbelievable. As the saying goes: "Beware of an old man in a profession where men die young."

  19. Eulenkeks

    This whole (hi)story shows one thing very clearly: Those that guide the fate of the world are without morals and without scruples if they're willing to court and employ a person like that. No matter your ideology, no matter your crimes – as long as you're useful, you won't suffer any consequences. The only person involved in this whole mess to deserve any respect is Wiesenthal. He stood firm and couldn't be persuaded, bought, or intimidated. Kudos.

  20. Mike Brown

    This dude was a real life Comando!! And the first of its kind!
    He was like a combination of James Bond mixed with Comando. Im sure they based Hollywood characters after this guy like the Arnold Swartzaneger movie Comando!
    He definitely gets a Nazi Salute from me✋

  21. Banderas Vaduva

    Otto Skorzeny was a mercenary, an egoistic man that only cared for himself and no one else. And in the end, that was what truly mattered, by collaborating with everyone, he granted himself important intel that made his a useful agent, which in the end, granted him protection.

    Shows us that sometimes being selfish in life, it repays.

  22. Hannu Koistinen

    Stupid clown you are:). All knowing englishman:)!! If you can't speak english American way, shut up and "druive joo tuu stoori buses".

  23. fintan darcy

    O'Donovan's IRA liaison officers in the English midlands was Dominic Adams, Gerry's uncle. There are other similar characters worthy of research. There is the enigmatic and genuinely tragic figure of the Frank Ryan, sometime editor of the Sinn Féin newspaper 'An Phoblacht', who fought on the Republican side in the Spanish Civil war Christy Moore wrote a song in tribute to his brigade and after being captured and languishing in a Spanish prison, was mysteriously handed over to Nazi Germany by General Franco. There, Frank Ryan resided in a Berlin flat where he found companionship and support in the sometime company of the late Helmut Clissmann and the late Francis Stuart, who would broadcast for the Reich on a special wavelength aimed at Ireland (documented in another of David O'Donoghue's books, 'Hitler's Irish Voices.
    That Berlin flat must have been fascinating at times, while plans were afoot to despatch Ryan, the IRA Abwehr liaison agent, in a U-boat to Ireland, so as to rescue the Irish people from British oppression, or any threat of British invasion. But Ryan died in 1944 before he could embark on his mission – either from TB, or from the effects of prison in Spain.
    Another visitor to Berlin during the 1930s was Sean MacBride, sometime chief of staff of the IRA. Like Martin McGuinness after him, MacBride ultimately became an advocate of world peace, but as a young man he had adhered to the well tried doctrine that England's difficulty is Ireland's opportunity, and anyone who was giving the Brits a headache might be used for Ireland's national cause. As a strategic point of view, perhaps many Irish nationalists might have justified that idea. Mao Tse Tung declared "My enemy's enemy is my friend". Russell, O'Donovan and Ryan were, it might be said, just following that strategy through.
    But on the substance of hostility to the Jews, Mr Kenny right need only take a short walk from Dáil Éireann to the Irish Jewish Museum, at 3 Walworth Road, off Dublin's South Circular Road, where he may peruse Sinn Féin pamphlets from the 1930s on display. Anti-Semitic attitudes are openly expressed in Sinn Féin publications proudly boasting of work-places where "no Jews are employed" and exhorting Irish business to employ Irish labour only no Jews. Jews are portrayed as exploiters of Irish workers, money-lenders and particularly nefarious in the tailoring trade.
    So go on, Martin: if you "wonder" about history, take a walk over to the Walworth Road and do the research. I imagine that most Irish people are distressed, and indeed ashamed, of what occurred at the mother and baby homes run by the religious orders, and it behoves us to ask if our own family's attitudes made any contribution to the cruel conditions. But there is no evidence that anyone planned to murder mothers and babies, or, indeed, a whole race of people (not forgetting the gypsies, who lost three million in the Reich's concentration camps or homosexuals. In short, nothing compares to the Nazis.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *