The Roman Catholic Church and Vatican

Der Kölner Dom 1945
The Roman Catholic Church and Vatican is credited with helping, networking and organising the escape of thousands of Waffen-SS men in post-war Europe. The Vatican, through its Refugee Commission, provided members of both the Waffen-SS and infamous war criminals of the Allgemeine-SS with false identity papers, according to many various sources. These escape routes mainly led toward havens in Franco's Spain, South America or United States. Other so-called ratlines were running through Scandinavia and West-Europe. Research shows that Britain and Canada alone inadvertently took in around 8,000 former Waffen-SS members in 1947, according to Assistant Professor of History Gerald Steinacher.
The United States also recruited many Waffen-SS veterans, often with an assist from high Vatican officials. The Vatican's help was based on a hoped-for revival of European Christianity and dread of the Soviet Union. The Vatican has consistently refused to comment and has kept its archive closed to the public. Image: A German Mark V Panther in front of the ancient Cologne Cathedral on March 6 1945. Public domain.

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