The Strange Case of a Nazi Who Became an Israeli Hitman

If you’ve ever studied WWII history the name Otto Skorzeny will resonate with you. He was Hitler’s top Waffen-SS commando and considered by the Allies to be “the most dangerous man in Europe”. He earned that name. Not just a dedicated Nazi, he was Hitler’s go-to guy for difficult jobs. Among his accomplishments during the war was the rescue of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini after he was deposed in 1943.

Skorzeny was acquitted of war crimes for his plot to interfere with the D-Day invasion by having Nazi soldiers impersonate Americans and was living freely in Spain.

Following the war and the establishment of Israel in 1948, Egypt began a program of employing former Nazi rocket scientists to create and manage a missile program the Israelis felt was a direct threat. To deal with this threat, the Israeli spy organization Mossad made a difficult and surprising decision, to try and employ Skorzeny to trap and eliminate these former Nazis. Even more surprisingly, Skorzeny accepted.

No one knows why he took the job. Skorzeny wrote multiple books on his WWII adventures but was silent about any post-war activities. His motivations, what ever they were, went with him when he died in 1975.

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