Monday, July 7, 2014

Finally Finished: "Useful Enemies"by Richard Rashke

Finally Finished: Useful Enemies: John Demanjanjuk and America's open-door policy for nazi war criminals by Richard Rashke, 2013, 9781883285517.

Committee book.  Long but well done and very well researched.  A dual tale of Denjanjuk's many legal trials compared against the U.S. government's open arms welcome for other former nazis and active collaborators.  A long and involved tale with:
1. foreign and U.S. documents
2. multiple lawyers, hearings, trials, transcripts
3. conflicting evidence from expert witnesses and lost-and-found documents
4. legal proceedings in the U.S., Israel, and Germany and questionable information from the USSR and Ukraine
5. unreliable memory - or is it reliable? We don't know for sure, do we?

Short story is this: After WWII the U.S. scooped up all sorts of nazis.  Many were nabbed for their scientific skill even if they were actively involved in managing projects that used slave labor.  Other nazis were hired as anti-communist spies and paramilitaries for Easter European operations. There was not always an active recruitment of nazis, more of a "no one said we couldn't" philosophy.  Sure, these were the same people who murdered a few million Jews, gypsies, POWs, Russians, Poles, and others but hey, they don't like the reds.

Some of those nazis were brought immediately to the U.S. and others came later.  All were protected by different government agencies. Once the government did start prosecuting nazis for immigration violations in the '70s they were stonewalled and ignored by other government agencies.

Demjanjuk was not recruited by the CIA.  Demjanjuk fought in the Soviet Army, was captured, and hired by the krauts as a camp guard.  Demjanjuk ended up in a refugee camp, applied to emigrate, and came over.  He was first suspected and tried as Ivan the Terrible - since disproved - but did work at other camps.  Demjanjuk's citizneship was revoked since his application never mentioned working for the krauts.

Demjanjuk's case lasted 34 years. The book lasted 544 pages.

1. Rashke was on BookTV a couple months ago - that itself was  replay from 2013 - and spoke a little about this topic.  His talk was at the Archives - or similar - and he'd focused his talk to topics that related to the Archives. 
2. Impressive research by Rashke.  He put all that research and the conflicting arguments together into a readable and interesting book.
3. One issue with a book like this is the anger and aggravation you have when reading how some scumbag motherfuckers got away with everything and lived the good life in the U.S.
4. I refuse to capitalize nazi.

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