Top Official in Nazi Secret Police Evaded Trial by Working for U.S., German Intel, Declassified Docs Show

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Franz Josef Huber, Arthur Nebe, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller, in Munich, in 1939.
Franz Josef Huber, Arthur Nebe, Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich and Heinrich Müller, in Munich, in 1939.Credit: The German Federal Archive / Wikimedia Commons
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Ofer Aderet

A top official in Nazi Germany's secret police escaped prosecution for crimes against humanity – including for his part in the killings of tens of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust – by working for American and West German intelligence services in the post-war years, according to newly declassified German intelligence files.

The documents on Franz Josef Huber, the Gestapo commander in the Austrian capital Vienna, have been released for the first time as part of a documentary movie by German broadcaster ARD.

Huber joined the Nazi party in 1937. A year later, after the Nazi regime annexed Austria, he was appointed for a senior position in Vienna, which put the local Gestapo branch in his realm of authority. He was also part of the management team at the Nazis' "Central Office for Jewish Emigration," headed by Adolf Eichmann.

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Despite his responsibility for the mass deportation of European Jews during World War II, Huber was never tried nor did he ever have to go underground, as some Nazi war criminals did.

In post-war Germany, the West's intelligence service used Nazi officials' professional expertise and anti-Communist ideology as part of its campaign against communism in general and specifically East Germany.

The newly declassified documents show that after the war, Huber worked for the West German Intelligence service – the BND's precursor – and the CIA, gathering information on the Soviet Union in the heat of the Cold War efforts.

The United States even prevented Huber's extradition to Austria after authorities there sought to try him for crimes against humanity, according to the documents published by ARD.

The files show Huber was recruited in 1955, despite the fact that German intelligence was aware of his past. In a 1964 memo, Huber is described as the one responsible for the "racist" actions perpetrated by the agencies he headed.

Huber died in 1975 in Munich, where he had lived out his life under his real name.

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