Fugitives : A History of Nazi Mercenaries During the Cold War
Danny Orbach

Fugitives : A History of Nazi Mercenaries During the Cold War


In the aftermath of WWII, the victorious Allies vowed to hunt Nazi war criminals “to the ends of the earth”. Yet many slipped away to the four corners of the world or were shielded by the Western Allies in exchange for cooperation. Other Nazi fugitives became freelance arms traffickers, spies and covert operators, playing a crucial role in the clandestine struggle between the superpowers.  From posh German restaurants, smuggler-infested Yugoslav ports, Sauerkraut-reeking Damascene safehouses, Egyptian country clubs and fascist holdouts in Franco's Spain, Nazi spies created a chaotic network of influence and information. This network was tapped by both superpowers, as well as by the West German, French and Israeli secret services. States, governments and spy agencies attached excessive importance to Nazi agents, adding a combustible ingredient to the Cold War covert struggle.

Shrouded in government secrecy, clouded by myths and propaganda, the tangled and often paradoxical tale of these Nazi fugitives and adventurers has never been properly told - until now.



Book Details:

  • Author: Danny Orbach
  • On Submission
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Hurst
    • US: Pegasus
    • Israel: Kinneret Zmora Publishing House
    • Hungary: Europa Kiado,
    • France: Editions Nouveau Monde.
    • Spain: Debate
    • Denmark: Mellemgaard
    • Portugal: Almedina
    • Japan: Asahi Shimbun
    • Poland: Znak
    • Italy: Bollati Boringhieri
Danny Orbach

Danny Orbach

A veteran of Israeli intelligence, Danny Orbach is an associate professor 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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Book Reviews

  • "  Uncovering incredible details from Mossad’s previously unseen archives, Orbach’s excellent book reveals the truth of what was, until now, a murky legend: the astounding collaboration between fugitives of the Third Reich and the secret services of both Soviet and West-allied powers, including Israel itself."
    Roger Faligot, author of Chinese Spies
  • "a richly detailed story of the extensive role of German intelligence and military advisers in the Cold War decades. The book is full of shady characters and preposterous plots, making it an entertaining read for fans of real-life espionage history. "
  • "Exceptional. A work of prodigious research and original storytelling that sheds remarkable and troubling light on one of the darkest corners of recent history."
    Philippe Sands, author of The Ratline and East West Street
  • "impressively researched...a murky saga of espionage, paranoia, and betrayal, of double agents, charlatans, covert arms deals, killings, fugitive war criminals, Nazis in high places, all manner of sleaze, and endlessly shifting allegiances..."
    American Spectator
  • "a horrifying and entertaining account of the role played by former (or so they claimed) Nazis in Cold War espionage… one salutes him for his assiduous delving into so many archives, including previously unopened Mossad files, and truffling out so many riveting stories."
    Daily Telegraph
  • "This shocking study unearths the shadowy postwar lives of Hitler’s henchmen.... with echoes of Eric Ambler’s thrillers, of freelance gunrunners and intelligence peddlers taking shelter after the war in “smuggler-infested Yugoslav ports, Damascene safe houses and fascist holdouts in Franco’s Spain...consistently absorbing and judiciously written study."
  • "new, compelling and eye-opening book about a grubby time…   an important and ground-breaking book ."
  • "   Orbach writes in a fluent and readable style… Fugitives is genuinely revelatory and Orbach’s research is impressive and scholarly. More to the point, the  many fascinating narratives he relates here could easily provide the raw material for a dozen espionage novels. "
    William Boyd, New Statesman
  • "Orbach’s deep-dive research into US, German, and Israeli archives throws welcome light on the activities of lesser-known Nazi fugitives seeking new identities after Germany’s collapse at the end of World War II. More importantly, it illustrates how the fever dreams of the spies arrayed against them were ultimately more influential than the less sensational, often painfully prosaic truth.... A quick, consequential read useful for even experienced intelligence professionals. Orbach skips across various persons, organizations, and events but still maintains a unifying narrative theme... 'Fugitives' is a timely reminder for an evergreen lesson: even experienced professionals do well to keep a clear head and discerning eye despite the heavy undertow of emotional and cognitive biases"
  • "  Orbach has written a detailed, sobering, and absorbing account of the many ways in which ex-Nazis managed to lead comfortable and active lives after World War II… Orbach includes some jaw-dropping stories of double dealing, espionage, and outright criminality. The book inevitably raises questions about those in the West who were happy to make use of these ex-Nazis without worrying about their checkered pasts."
    Foreign Affairs
  • "Orbach has delved deeply into notoriously inaccessible sources to uncover the murky stories of ex-Nazis. Few rogues' galleries can compare with the cast of turncoats, double agents and merchants of death in Fugitives. I found it as gripping as a le Carré novel."
    Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and author of Kissinger, 1923-1968
  • "A highly original, compulsively readable book, painting an often-shocking picture of post-war Germany and its global connections, from black-market cigarettes to Algerian revolutionaries. Orbach tells an amazing story of former Nazi spies and soldiers plying their trade across Europe and the Middle East."
    Benjamin Hett, Professor of History, Hunter College CUNY, and author of The Nazi Menace
  • "Based on a wealth of hitherto unexplored sources, Orbach's compelling new book about Nazis' "Great Game" during the Cold War is a must-read for anyone interested in the history of the Middle East, or the aftermath of the Second World War."
    Shlomo Shpiro, Chairman of the International Intelligence History Association, and Paterson Chair in Security and Intelligence, Bar-Ilan University
  • "Fugitives: A History of Nazi Mercenaries During the Cold War, a new book by Danny Orbach, is a trove of astounding stories of how exigency and realpolitik converged with the ruses and wangles of ex-Nazis keen on saving their skins. The book pieces together a disquieting yet compelling picture of how the C.I.A., the K.G.B., and Mossad recruited Nazi mercenaries without any qualms, helping them evade war-crime trials if it served a purpose. It’s based on declassified documents, including details from Mossad’s archives, and interviews with retired intelligence officers."
    American Thinker
  • "This book, authored by a historian who has extensively utilized recently declassified archives from German, American, and Israeli intelligence agencies and conducted numerous interviews with involved parties, stands as a first-class historical document on the modern history of intelligence. "