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Price: $19.95

Paperback 416 pp.
16pp b/w plates, 135 mm x 216 mm



Publication date:
August 2012

Imprint: OUP UK

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Nazis on the Run

How Hitler's Henchmen Fled Justice

Gerald Steinacher

This is the story of how Nazi war criminals escaped from justice at the end of the Second World War by fleeing through the Tyrolean Alps to Italian seaports, and the role played by the Red Cross, the Vatican, and the Secret Services of the major powers in smuggling them away from prosecution in Europe to a new life in South America.

The Nazi sympathies held by groups and individuals within these organizations evolved into a successful assistance network for fugitive criminals, providing them not only with secret escape routes but hiding places for their loot. Gerald Steinacher skillfully traces the complex escape stories of some of the most prominent Nazi war criminals, including Adolf Eichmann, showing how they mingled and blended with thousands of technically stateless or displaced persons, all flooding across the Alps to Italy and from there, to destinations abroad.

The story of their escape shows clearly just how difficult the apprehending of war criminals can be. As Steinacher shows, all the major countries in the post-war world had 'mixed motives' for their actions, ranging from the shortage of trained intelligence personnel in the immediate aftermath of the war to the emerging East-West confrontation after 1947, which led to many former Nazis being recruited as agents turned in the Cold War.

Readership : All those interested in the history of Nazi Germany and the issue of war criminals and the hunt for them.


  • "A well-written book that is packed with startling information and grubby stories about the moral cost of political exigency."

    --New Statesman
  • "In this murky world of hidden identities, deception and secrets, it is good to have a book as level-headed as this one, based on thorough research."

    --The Guardian
  • "This book will be the standard for generations of historians who wish to study the fate of Hitler's followers who evaded justice for decades or escaped it altogether. Recommended."

    --Library Journal
  • "The latest and broadest effort to dispel the fog of myths regarding the fate of Nazi war criminals after World War II. This is a work based on careful and impressively wide research; it is a reliable guide to a controversial and fascinating subject"

    --Richard Breitman, American University

1. The Nazi Escape Route Through Italy
2. The Co-Responsibility of the International Red Cross
3. The Vatican Network
4. The Intelligence Service Ratline
5. Destination Argentina

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Gerald Steinacher is currently a Joseph A. Schumpeter Research Fellow at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University and Lecturer on Contemporary History at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. He is the author of numerous publications on German and Italian twentieth century history and is currently working on a study of the general attitudes and specific policies of the International Committee of the Red Cross in response to the Holocaust, the post-Second World War refugee crisis, and the early days of the Cold War.

Hitler's First War - Thomas Weber

Special Features

  • The gripping story of how Nazi war criminals fled from justice at the end of the Second World War.
  • Reveals the role played by the Vatican, the Red Cross, and the secret services of the major powers in smuggling them away.
  • Traces the complex escape routes of some of the most prominent Nazis, including Adolf Eichmann, through the Alps to safety in South America.