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The Schüssel Era in Austria

 | 
Günter Bischof
, 
Fritz Plasser

Book Reviews

Gerald Steinacher, Nazis auf der Flucht: Wie Kriegsverbrecher über Italien nach Übersee entkamen (Innsbruck: Studien Verlag, 2008)

Michael Phayer

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This book fills an important gap in ratline literature. We knew that the war criminals fled to Italy after the war and subsequently to oversees destinations. What we did not know is how they got to Italy. Gerald Steinacher ably supplies abundant data tracing the steps of major and minor fugitives from justice from Germany and Austria through the Tyrol and on to Rome, a route Nazis knew as “the Roman Way.”

War criminals, the very worst among them, beat a well trodden path to South Tyrol where they gathered at three major locations: Meran, Bolzano, and Bressanone. Jews, survivors of the Holocaust, often took the identical route, for they, too, were headed for Rome. Steinacher tells of one Tyrolean inn (Gasthof) that gave overnight lodging to Jews on the second floor and to Nazi criminals on the third.

That brings us to the key question of who exactly it was on the scene in Tyrol that abetted the escape of the fugitives. Steinacher identifies three types: smugglers who had been at it for...

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