Otto Skorzeny, one of the wiliest and most dangerous Nazis, once worked for the Mossad, Israel’s secret intelligence agency, according to an article that will appear in Matara, a monthly devoted to weaponry and intelligence.
According to the editor, Amnon Kave, the former Waffen SS colonel helped Israel end the collaboration of Nazi scientists with Egypt in the early 1960s.
The Mossad was convinced in 1963 that German scientists — unregenerate Nazis desiring Israel’s destruction — were helping Egypt build rockets and other weapons to attack Israel.
Based on that rationale, a high-level decision was taken to employ Skorzeny, whose legendary exploits made him a powerful and influential figure in post-war Nazi circles.
Skorzeny, once dubbed “the most dangerous man in Europe,” was then living in Spain.
According to the article, Mossad agents secured an invitation to his heavily guarded villa in Madrid in 1963, and after a sumptuous all-night dinner and breakfast, persuaded Skorzeny to convince the Nazis working for Egypt to abandon their projects.
The result was that Skorzeny summoned to Spain a former soldier of his command then working in Egypt.
He introduced the two Mossad agents — who were posing as NATO officers — as his friends, explaining that NATO was very interested in details of the weapons project in Egypt.
According to the story, the ex-soldier eventually helped the Mossad end the presence of German scientists in Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt.
A former senior Mossad agent confirmed the account, Yediot Achronot reported Monday. He stressed, however, that “Skorzeny never worked in the Mossad but he was certainly our agent.”
The Austrian-born Skorzeny gained prominence in 1943 for organizing the glider raid that freed the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, who was imprisoned after Italy’s surrender to the Allies.
Nearly a year later, Skorzeny accomplished a similar feat in Budapest, when he abducted the Hungarian dictator Admiral Horthy to ensure that Hungary remained in the war on Germany’s side.
Skorzeny was taken prisoner in 1945 after a failed mission to kidnap Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe.
Skorzeny was tried for war crimes and cleared, but he was not released. He subsequently escaped from prison in Germany and settled in Spain, where he prospered in real estate.
Skorzeny died July 5, 1975, of lung cancer.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.