Fugitives : Cold War Nazis in the Middle East
Danny Orbach

Fugitives : Cold War Nazis in the Middle East


Using original documents from hitherto closed archives, this book will uncover the story of the Nazi diehards who settled in Egypt and Syria, and the role they played in Cold War espionage, arms trafficking and conflicts around the region. In the streets of Cairo and Damascus, former spies of the SS Arab Department brushed shoulders with mass murderers, Holocaust perpetrators, ambitious scientists and embittered war veterans. They soon found protectors, allies and enemies in the top-brass of the emerging Arab world.   

As small but influential pieces in the jigsaw of the Cold War, these Nazi adventurers detested the Soviet Union, the United States, France and Israel, yet occasionally spied for them. While serving as double and triple agents, many of them also sympathized with the Arab World’s struggle against Western colonialism. Their clandestine activity linked the Second World War and the Algerian liberation struggle with the Israeli-Arab conflict. By the time this group broke apart in the mid-1960s, it had left an indelible yet hidden mark in the history of the region.

Fugitives is a comprehensive account of Nazi fugitives and adventurers in the postwar Middle East, unlike other books which have focused on their presence in the Western world and South America. Some key features of the book follow.

  • It will shine new light on several secret stories, including several Mossad assassination operations.
  • It is based on primary sources in English, German, French, Russian, Hebrew and Arabic, including interviews and declassified intelligence documents from the archives of Mossad, the CIA, and the French and German secret services.
  • It will introduce the reader to a set of fascinating characters: fanatical Alois Brunner, who took pride in his Holocaust role and trained the Syrian secret police in torture techniques, Wilhelm Beisner, an SS Arabist and arms smuggler who became a linchpin in Arab wars against the Israelis and the French, as well as other spymasters, adventurers, undercover agents and arms traffickers.
  • It will explore the attempts of diehard Nazis to adjust to the postwar world, while continuing to shape it toward their anti-Semitic and anti-Western vision. What did they think about the “new Jews”, Israelis who could use weapons and marshal armies? And did the Israelis ever see them as anything other than irreconcilable enemies? Who was using whom, and to what ends?
  • Finally, this book will uncover the cooperation between Nazi fugitives and Western and Eastern spy agencies, shedding new light on the intelligence struggles of the early Cold War. It will explore the intricate and often inadvertent influence of clandestine activity on world history and politics.



Book Details:

  • Author: Danny Orbach
  • On Submission
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Hurst
Danny Orbach

Danny Orbach

A veteran of Israeli intelligence, Danny Orbach is a senior lecturer for history and Asian studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He  studied for more than ten years in Tel Aviv, Tokyo and Harvard Universities. As a historian, commentator and political blogger, he  has published extensively on German, Japanese, Chinese, Israeli and Middle Eastern history, with a special focus on military resistance, disobedience, rebellions and political assassinations. He is also studying the history of espionage, intelligence and military adventurers.   
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