Parallax Views w/ J.G. Michael

Otto Skorzeny: The Devil’s Disciple w/ Stuart Smith

June 15, 2022


On this edition of Parallax Views, Stuart Smith, author of Otto Skorzeny: The Devil's Disciple, joins the program to discuss the life, myths, and controversies of Nazi SS commando Otto Skorzeny. Skorzeny is perhaps best known for his involvement in a 1943 rescue mission operation to save Benito Mussolini in what has become known as the Gran Sasso raid. In this conversation we discuss:

- The Luftwaffe and the controversies around the credit Skorzeny gets for the Gran Sasso raid

- The connection between Otto Skorzeny and Ian Fleming's James Bond 007 novel Moonraker

- Skorzeny, Operation Greif, and the Battle of the Bulge; efforts of the Axis forces to deceptively dress as Allied soldiers to cause havoc during the Battle of the Bulge

- The myth-making of Otto Skorzeny and the media; discussing how Skorzeny's superficial qualities, such as the distinctive scar that got him nicknamed "Scarface", and his self-aggrandizing memoirs (My Commando Operations: The Memoirs of Hitler's Most Dangerous Commando) made him appealing to media

- The trial of Otto Skorzeny in 1948 and how he skirted justice

- The Operation Long Jump assassinations plot; Operation Knight's Move (the airborne raid against Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito); War crimes and the death squad-style Operation Peter aimed at taking out the resistance in Denmark

- Otto Skorzeny and post-war intelligence; the CIA; Reinhard Gehlen and the Gehlen Organization; the Mossad; Skorzeny's brother Alfred and the Soviet Union; French intelligence; was Skorzeny a post-war spy?; surveillance of Skorzeny after WWII

- Skorzeny's lack of organizational skill and his penchant for having big ideas that weren't focused on the fine details

- The question of the post-war fascist international, Nazi ratlines in South America, and Skorzeny's involvement in those matters; Die Spinne (The Spider) and Skorzeny in Latin America

- Otto Skorzeny's wealth in his final years and his involvement in private mercenary contracting (the Paladin Group) and arms dealing

- Skorzeny and antisemitism

- Skorzeny's attempts to paint himself as merely patriotic German  rather than a killer

- Otto Skorzeny in Egypt; Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App