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Hunting Nazis in Franco's Spain

David A. Messenger

Publication Year: 2014

In the waning days and immediate aftermath of World War II, Nazi diplomats and spies based in Spain decided to stay rather than return to a defeated Germany. The decidedly pro-German dictatorship of General Francisco Franco gave them refuge and welcomed other officials and agents from the Third Reich who had escaped and made their way to Iberia. Amid fears of a revival of the Third Reich, Allied intelligence and diplomatic officers developed a repatriation program across Europe to remove these individuals and return them to Germany where occupation authorities could further investigate them. Yet, due to Spain's longstanding ideological alliance with Hitler, German infiltration of the Spanish economy and society was extensive, and the Allies could count on minimal Spanish cooperation in this effort.

In Hunting Nazis in Franco's Spain, David Messenger deftly traces the development and execution of the Allied repatriation scheme, providing an analysis of Allied, Spanish, and expatriated Germans' responses. Messenger shows that by April 1946, British and American embassy staff in Madrid had compiled a census of the roughly 10,000 Germans then residing in Spain and had drawn up three lists of 1,677 men and women targeted for repatriation to occupied Germany. While the Spanish government did round up and turn over some Germans to the Allies, many of them were intentionally overlooked in the process. By mid-1947, Franco's regime had forced only 265 people to leave Spain; most Germans managed to evade repatriation by moving from Spain to Argentina or by solidifying their ties to the Franco regime and Span-ish life. By 1948, the program was effectively over.

Drawing on records in American, British, and Spanish archives, this first book-length study in English of the repatriation program tells the story of this dramatic chapter in the history of post--World War II Europe.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This project began as I completed my dissertation and first book and found myself in possession of a great deal of material on Allied intelligence in Spain that I had not used. A grant from the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial...


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pp. xi-xiv

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pp. 1-10

Walter Eugen Mosig was a businessman in 1930s Germany who dealt especially with firms in Spain and Argentina. When the National Socialists rose to power in Germany, Mosig joined the Criminal Police in Berlin. In 1936 he was sent to Spain as an observer of the Spanish...

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1. Denazification, Neutrality, and European Security after World War II

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pp. 11-36

On September 10, 1945, in Berlin the occupying powers in Germany —France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States—acting as the Allied Control Council (ACC), passed a resolution ordering all Germans who had been officials or intelligence...

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2. Intelligence Wars: Nazi and Allied Spies in Neutral Spain during and after the War

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pp. 37-69

A state with ties to local as well as German and Italian Fascism, but one still recovering from three years of civil war, Spain by the end of 1940 was in the middle of an internal debate about whether to remain neutral or join the Axis.1 Eventually it chose a status of “nonbelligerency...

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3. Neutrality, Postwar Politics, and the Diplomacy of Repatriation

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pp. 70-98

Whatever the considerations for transitional justice in Europe, punishment of criminals, investigations of spoilers, and so on, at the end of the day neutrals were very different from the defeated or even collaborationist states. They were not occupied by the Allies; they did...

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4. Petitions to Franco: German Activism and the Fight to Stay in Spain

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pp. 99-131

Germans actively engaged in Nazi intelligence operations and official economic or political work in Spain during World War II often were veterans of the Condor Legion or had been involved on the Nationalist side in the Civil War. Others had been resident in Spain from...

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5. The Fate of Repatriation in Germany, Spain, and Beyond, 1947–1948

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pp. 132-161

The main actors in the history of Allied repatriation policy were the intelligence and diplomatic agents of the United States and the United Kingdom in Spain, the Spanish government, and the German colony. However, the occupation authorities in the U.S. zone of...

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pp. 162-170

The United States struggled to find the proper way to deal with General Francisco Franco’s dictatorial regime after World War II. Both at the Potsdam Conference in July 1945 and in the Tripartite Statement of March 4, 1946, the United States condemned the Franco regime...


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pp. 171-200


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pp. 201-210


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pp. 211-218

E-ISBN-13: 9780807155646
E-ISBN-10: 0807155640
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807155639

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2014