History

Fisk on “The Butcher of Buchenwald”

To his credit, Robert Fisk occasionally manages to break out of his reflexively anti-Israel stupor and write something worth reading– like this piece about Dr Hans Eisele, one of many Nazi criminals who found refuge in Egypt after the war.

He began by fighting on the western front and ended up working in Nazi concentration camps at Sachsenhausen, Natzweiler, Dachau and Buchenwald. According to the American who prosecuted Eisele, Colonel William Denson, Eisele started off as the good doctor, called “the Angel” by prisoners, but steadily became cruel and sadistic, until, at Buchenwald, he was called “the Butcher” because he carried out medical experiments on prisoners, allowing them to die slowly after injections of cyanide.

He was twice sentenced to death (in 1945 and 1947), but both sentences were commuted until in 1952 – and this showed the degree to which the then West German government connived in helping its war criminals – he was freed from Landsberg prison. With compensation! So he set himself up as a doctor in Munich and then fled six years later when he was warned he would yet again be arrested.

…And, of course, if the West Germans were grotesque in their attitude to war crimes, so was Nasser’s Egypt, which positively welcomed ex-Nazi scientists and torturers to help to run socialist Egypt. Alois Brunner, the man who sent the Jews of Salonika to Auschwitz, was one of them (until he set off to help Syria’s secret policemen) and he may have been one of the men and women who attended Eisele’s all-German soirées. Eisele’s true identity, of course, meant that he had to close his practice in Cairo and he died a widower in 1967. But he was given a friendly funeral at the German cemetery in Old Cairo.

Nasser is known to readers of Socialist Unity as “The Greatest Arab.”

(Hat tip: Alec)

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