SS general 'was given war crimes immunity'

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The Independent Online
Hitler's last surviving SS general, who was wanted at the end of the Second World War for ordering massacres of Allied prisoners, was granted immunity from prosecution by US intelligence services, according to sources who have seen the CIA's files on him, writes Stephen Ward.

Wilhelm Mohnke, now aged 83, was in the final bunker in Berlin with Hitler, and was captured by the invading Russians. He was kept in the Lubyanka until 1955, then returned to Hamburg where he had a successful career as a businessman. He now lives on a pension of more than pounds 20,000 a year.

According to sources quoted by an ABC television programme broadcast in the United States, Mohnke was debriefed by the CIA on his release. His CIA files show that he provided information on fellow Nazis and SS veterans, in return for money and a guarantee of immunity from prosecution by the Germans or the British.

War crimes trials had ended, and with the advent of the Cold War, saw the Soviet Union as the main threat. A former US military intelligence officer said that by 1955 the Americans were anxious to interview any former senior Nazis leaving Russia, to find which of their colleagues might have become Soviet agents, and to find how much the Russians had learnt about senior ex-Nazis in the West.

Mohnke did not reply to ABC's requests for an interview.

In January this year the German government ruled there was insufficient evidence for a prosecution of Mohnke over the killing of 90 British prisoners in a barn at Wormhoudt, near Dunkirk, in 1940, or for the massacres in 1944 of 130 Canadian prisoners in Normandy and 72 Americans in the German Ardennes offensive.