Red Cross Admits It Helped
Mengele And Other Nazis Flee
BBC News
Auschwitz's Angel of Death Josef Mengele obtained Red Cross papers
Nazi war criminals escaped to Argentina using false identities supplied by the Red Cross, the humanitarian organisation has admitted.
The International Committee of the Red Cross has said it unwittingly provided travel papers to at least 10 Nazis, including Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele and Klaus Barbie.
A statement issued by the ICRC, from its Geneva headquarters, said they were among thousands of people found in refugee camps who were given Red Cross travel documents.
The ICRC said documents were provided unknowingly and it was committed to dealing openly with the "painful and regrettable experiences" of the past.
ICRC spokesman Urs Boegli said: "The travel documents were swindled out of the ICRC."
The Nazi deception was uncovered after the ICRC was given a list of aliases used by Nazi war criminals.
But it remains unclear exactly how many Nazis used the Red Cross as a means of escaping war crime trials.
Fales identities
Rene Kosirnick, who heads the ICRC's World War II working group, said: "All we can do is check whether we issued travel documents that correspond to the aliases we have been given."
Mr Boegli said applicants for passports had to supply an identity document, proof of permission to leave the country they were in and proof of permission to enter their country of destination.
Mengele, known as the Auschwitz 'Angel of Death', gave an Italian residency document with a false name and permission to enter Argentina. He received his passport in 1949.
Eichmann was abducted in 1960 from Argentina by Israeli agents. He was taken to Israel where he was tried and executed.
Barbie, a Gestapo leader in Lyon, France, was convicted of crimes against humanity in 1987.
SS captain Erich Priebke also obtained Red Cross travel documents. He was convicted in 1997 for his role in the 1944 massacre of 335 civilians at the Ardeatine Caves outside Rome and sentenced to life imprisonment. a