Die Spinne, translated as The Spider, was the "leading post-war SS organization led (in part) by Otto Skorzeny" (Infield, p.8), Hitler's commando chief, as well as Nazi intelligence officer Reinhard Gehlen, who was later instrumental in the formation of the post-war German intelligence agency, the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) (Infield p. 238-239) The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg branded the SS, which supplied members and resources for Die Spinne after World War II, as an 'army of outlaws' (Infield, p.8) reflecting the cruel and opportunistic nature of the Nazi Party and its political and military operations. According to Infield, the idea for the Die Spinne network had actually begun in 1944 as Hitler's chief intelligence officer Reinhard Gehlen foresaw a possible downfall of the Third Reich (Infield p.201) due to Nazi military failures in Russia. T.H. Tetens, expert on German geopolitics and member of the US War Crimes Commission in 1946-1947, referred to a group overlapping with die Spinne as the Führungsring "a kind of political Mafia, with headquarters in Madrid... serving various purposes" (Tetens p.31). The Madrid office built up what was referred to as a sort of Fascist International, per Tetens (Tetens p.73). Within Germany, the leadership circle, according to Tetens, also included Dr. Hans Globke, who had written the official commentary on the Nuremberg Laws. (Tetens p.38) Globke held the important position of Director of the German Chancellery from 1953 until 1963, serving as adviser for Konrad Adenauer (Tetens pp.39-41)
The "Fascist International"
During the period from 1945 to 1950, Die Spinne leader Skorzeny facilitated the escape of Nazi war criminals from war-criminal prisons to Memmingen, Bavaria, through Austria and Switzerland into Italy (Infield p.197). The skillful and well-planned escapes were unnoticed by many US military personnel, although certain US military authorities supposedly knew and took no action (Infield p.197). The Central European headquarters of Die Spinne as of 1948 was in Gmunden, Austria (Wechsberg p.116). A coordinating office for international Die Spinne operations in Madrid, Spain, by Otto Skorzeny, under the control of Generalissimo Francisco Franco (Infield, p.8), whose victory in the Spanish Civil War was guaranteed by economic and military support from Hitler and Mussolini. When a Die Spinne Nazi delegation visited Madrid in 1959, Franco stated, "Please regard Spain as your second Fatherland" (Tetens p.73). Skorzeny used the resources of Die Spinne to allow Nazi Concentration Camp "Doctor" Joseph Mengele, conductor of innumerable torturous 'medical experiments' detainees to escape to Argentina in 1949 (Infield, p.209). Die Spinne leader Skorzeny requested the assistance of ultra-wealthy German industrialist Alfried Krupp, whose company controlled 138 private Concentration Camps under the Third Reich, and this was granted in 1951. Skorzeny became Krupp's representative in industrial business ventures in Argentina (Infield p.199), a country harbored a strong pro-Nazi political element throughout World War II and afterward (Wechsberg p.337-338), regardless of a nominal declaration of loyalty to the Allies as World War II ended. It was in Argentina, Chile, and Paraguay that Die Spinne became most influential in the Western Hemisphere by the early 1980s, with the help of Die Spinne leaders in Spain, with ties involving Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner (Wechsberg, p.166). War Crimes investigator Simon Wiesenthal claimed that Joseph Mengele had stayed at the notorious Colonia Dignidad Nazi colony in Chile in 1979 (Infield p.208), and ultimately was harbored in Paraguay until his death. As of the early 1980s, Die Spinne's Mengele was reported by Infield (p.210) to have been advising Stroessner's ethnic German Paraguayan police on how to reduce native Paraguayan Indians in the Chaco Region to slave labor (Infield p.210). A wealthy and powerful post-World-War-II underground Nazi political contingent held sway in Argentina as of the late 1960s, which included many ethnic German Nazi immigrants and their descendants (Wechsberg pp.123-124, 159, 162).
Infield, Glenn: The Secrets of the SS, Stein and Day, New York, 1981. ISBN 0-8128-2790-2.
Tetens, T.H.: The New Germany and the Old Nazis, Random House/Marzani+Munsel, 1961. LCN 61-7240.
Wechsberg, Joseph: The Murderers Among Us, McGraw Hill, New York, 1967. LCN 67-13204.