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Walter Rauff
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Military Personnel
    (June 19, 1906-May 14, 1984)
    Born in Kothen, Germany
    SS Colonel
    Aide to Reinhard Heydrich (1938-42)
    In charge of Gestapo operations in northern Italy (1943-45)
    Escaped from an American internment camp in Rimini, Italy
    Eventually settled in Chile (1958)
    He was a naval officer until being named the 'other man' in a high-society divorce ended his prospects for advancement (1937).
    He designed 'Black Raven' vans that directed exhaust fumes to the sealed rear compartment, asphyxiating the occupants.
    He reported that 97,000 people, mostly East European Jews, had been 'processed' in the vans during the previous seven months (July 5, 1942).
    He headed an SS extermination unit that followed Rommel's Afrika Korps and killed at least 2500 Jews in North Africa.
    MI5 (British military intelligence) wrote that he had 'a reputation for utter ruthlessness.'
    BND (West German intelligence) paid him 70,000 marks to set up a spy network in Chile before concluding that he was 'untrustworthy' and a drunkard (1958-62).
    When the West German government requested his extradition, the ambassador, a sympathizer with exiled Nazis, avoided passing on the request for 14 months, by which point the Chilean statute of limitations for his crimes had expired (1963).
    He died without ever being tried for his crimes.
    His funeral became a Nazi celebration.
    He designed the gas vans for humanitarian reasons. No, really: 'The most important consideration for me was the psychological stress felt by the men involved in the shootings. This problem was overcome by the use of gas vans.'
    He and several other SS officers had to barricade themselves inside Milan's Hotel Regina to escape being lynched by an Italian mob at the end of WWII.
    Before heading for South America, he briefly worked for Israeli intelligence, who figured that Arab governments would never suspect ex-Nazis of being Israeli agents (1949-50).

Credit: C. Fishel


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