Franz Josef Huber, front row center, holding gloves, and his Vienna Gestapo team in an undated photograph
TEL AVIV — A top commander in Hitler’s secret police, responsible for deporting tens of thousands of Jews, was shielded by the U.S. and German authorities after World War II and later joined West Germany’s foreign intelligence service, which knew about his wartime role, newly disclosed records reveal.
By the war’s end the official, Franz Josef Huber — who also held a general-level rank in the SS, the Nazi paramilitary organization — led one of the Gestapo’s largest sections, stretching across Austria and with roles out to the east. In Vienna after the Nazi takeover, his forces worked closely with Adolf Eichmann on deportations to concentration and extermination camps.
Eichmann would eventually be executed for his role in coordinating the murder of millions of Jews. Next Sunday is the 60th anniversary of the opening of his trial in Jerusalem. But Huber never had to hide or to escape abroad, as many other top Third Reich commanders did.
He spent the final decades of his life based in his hometown, Munich, with his family, under his own name. And the explanation for this strange immunity appears to lie in his usefulness in the spying conflicts of the Cold War.
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