Otto Skorzeny was a good article, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these are addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Delisted version: February 20, 2006
|This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:|
- 1 Public Domain documents
- 2 Fascist Spain
- 3 Delisted GA
- 4 Cancer or car accident?
- 5 roughneck
- 6 Citation Regarding Skorzeny's Death
- 7 Operation "Rösselsprung"
- 8 Polish?
- 9 Chronology Problems
- 10 Skorzeny aquitted because of another reason
- 11 Truth vs. Fiction
- 12 Bizarre External Link
- 13 Operation Long Jump
- 14 Operation Francois
- 15 Accompanying Mussolini to Berlin
- 16 Reinhard Gehlen
- 17 CIA backed general Mohammed Naguib
- 18 Name origin
- 19 Paladin Group: date founded?
- 20 Operation "Eiche"
- 21 Proof of Skorzeny's Death?
- 22 Speaks French
Public Domain documents
President Clinton ordered thousands of documents to be declassified in 1998. A lot more about Skorzeny is now known:
In August 1944, top Nazi officials made in a secret reunion in Strasbourg, France. Skorzeny, Martin Bormann, Himmler, Kaltenbrunner, among others, were present. During this gathering, they created The ODESSA, organization of ex-members of the SS. ODESSA became a new brotherhood with guidelines and missions: To take out of Germany whatever they could of Nazi Loot, to use special routes called "The Rat Lines" safehaven houses, such as barns and monasteries where these officers could spend the night, while heading to Southern Italy or Greece and boarding a cargo ship. The ship would take them to a new home, most likely in South America.
Public Domain archives in NARA.
I'm sorry, but that sounds like nonsense to me, for these reasons:
1. Germany and the SS were still very much fighting WW2 in August 1944, therefore there could not be any organization of "ex-members" of the SS formed at that time. Himmler at that time was trying to find a way to get Germany out of the war and save his neck.
2. Skorzeny was a Waffen-SS soldier, who probably never met Ernst Kaltenbrunner in his life, or would have had any desire to. If they did meet, it was only in passing.
Skorzeny writes in his autobiography "Geheimkommando Skorzeny" (first published in 1950) several occasions where he met Kaltenbrunner (not the least spending 5 days in the same prison cell in American captivity). He also mentions a meeting with these men but does not elaborate on the topic. Skorzeny and Kaltenbrunner where both Austrians, which S. makes a point of and which at the time was probably more important than we think today. 18.104.22.168 (talk) 15:40, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
3. When Skorzeny learned that Germany had surrendered, he immediately started looking for an Allied force to surrender to. He made no effort to flee, apparently not realizing what his reputation was among the Allies. In fact, the first two Allied patrols he met refused to take his surrender because they didn't believe Otto Skorzeny would just give himself up!
There is evidence that he was part of a network that helped Nazis escape justice after the war, but I wouldn't accept an American intelligence report from WW2 as gospel on Skorzeny's activities. After all, these are the ones who kept getting duped by him all through the war, and then put him on trial afterwards basically for making fools out of them. John
There's much more nonsense in this article. Skorzeny was never judged, but acquitted from any allegations for his wartime actions. Besides, he was not even a regular member of the Waffen SS, he was just a reservist. It is true that he helped members of the Waffen SS after the war, but the quotation marks are wrong. He helped them to escape justice.
Wasn't Otto also involved in the capture of the Belgium fortress?
No, Otto wasn't there.
Skorzeny became a soldier only after the Belgium fortresses were taken.
A common error is to refer to Franco's Spain as "Fascist" Spain. The correct way to refer to diverse 30's ultra-right wing movements in Europe is as follows:
Italy: Fascism Germany: National-Socialism Spain: National-Catholicism
Of course, there were strong influences among them. For example, one of Franco's Ministers, Serrano Suñer -who recently passed away-, was a strong Hitler supporter. Also, one of the groups that supported Franco, "Falange" (Phalanx) was of clear Fascist inspiration.
This article has been delisted as a good article as its image is inappropriately copyright tagged. As far as I can see, this is the only objection to it receiving this status. However, an appropriate copyright tag needs to be found, and if used under fair use, a rationale needs to be written. Compare to the images at Our Friends in the North, which are correctly tagged and include rationales. Thanks for a really interesting article! TheGrappler 04:55, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
Cancer or car accident?
Just wondering - Why does it say Otto Skorzeny died of cancer, while in another Wikipedia article it is stated that Otto Skorzeny died in a car accident. Here's the link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_famous_people_who_died_in_road_accidents
Any opinions as to which is true?
- He died of cancer. But if you read how evaded death and trial throughout his murderous lifetime you realize that it was an accident. An Otto accident. פשוט pashute ♫ (talk) 15:57, 11 July 2012 (UTC)
If you actually read about Skorzeny, most of his missions were noted for their lack of casualties on either side. Where do you get your information about him being a murderer? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 08:21, 7 May 2015 (UTC)
Citation Regarding Skorzeny's Death
I agree with the above poster (Cancer or car accident?), we really need a citation from a reliable, verifiable source as to the cause and exact date of Skorzeny's death --Tascio 20:22, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
according to SS-Brigadeführer Otto Kumm in "Vorwärts Prinz Eugen!", Skrozeny refused take part himself on that mission since he knew that the planning details were leaked to the partisans. Dead-cat 08:27, 28 August 2006 (UTC)
I would think that Skorzeny is a Magyar name not a Polish one. Is there a reference for his Polish family origins?
- Agreed. A Google language search for "Skorzeny -otto" gives 28.000 hungarian and 1.100 polish matches. I would really like to see a reference for these claims about his polish origins. 126.96.36.199 16:43, 11 November 2006 (UTC)
- According to Charles Foley's "Commando Extraordinary", Skorzeny's "family course can be traced [over three centuries] from the East Pomeranian Village of Scorzencin (from which its name was taken)... (16)." A Wikipedia search tells me that East Pomeranian is a language formerly spoken in northern Poland.--188.8.131.52 04:44, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
- It cannot be implied that all place names in East Pomerania are derived from the the East Pomeranian Language.Xerex 16:16, 26 December 2006 (UTC)
- As a Hungarian, I can say that Skorzeny doesn't sound at all a Hungarian name to my ears. On the contrary, its expressly a foreign sounding name, and it doesn't have any meaning, or has any recognizable connection with a Hungarian word, name or place. Hungarian language usually avoids adjacent consonants in the first letters of words. Hungarian telephone register doesn't contain a single Skorzeny, Skorzény or Skorzényi. Pannonius 08:27, 3 April 2007 (UTC)
The article seems to say that Skorzeny's work with Peron and Nasser came after 1970. Nasser died in 1970. Skorzeny had a great deal to do with Nasser (and the Egyptian army) and Peron in the 1950s, and that should be part of this article. If my books weren't in storage, I'd write it up. Help, anyone? 184.108.40.206 08:08, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
Skorzeny aquitted because of another reason
In the text it is mentioned that:
"However, he was acquitted when Wing Commander Yeo-Thomas G.C. of the SOE testified in his defence that Allied forces had also fought in enemy uniform."
This statement is confusing. see http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/WCC/skorzeny.htm If the link is down: (Source:Law Reports of Trials of War Criminals. United Nations War Crimes Commission. Vol. IX, 1949 pages 90-94)
"They were charged with participating in the improper use of American uniforms by entering into combat disguised therewith and treacherously firing upon and killing members of the armed forces of the United States. They were also charged with participation in wrongfully obtaining from a prisoner-of-war camp United States uniforms and Red Cross parcels consigned to American prisoners of war."
The reason why Skorzeny was aquitted was not that other countries used the same tactics as in the above statement is implied. The reason is that the prosecution could not prove that Skorzeny made an improper use of uniforms and insignia as defined in article 23 of the Hague Convention of 1907. And he was acquitted of the lesser charges because the major could not be proven.
"The Defence, quoting Lauterpacht, pleaded that the 150th Brigade had instructions to reach their obectives under cover of darkness and in enemy uniforms, but as soon as they were detected, they were to discard their American uniforms and fight under their true colours."
"On the use of enemy uniforms other than in actual fighting, the law is uncertain. Some writers hold the view that until the actual fighting starts the combatants may use enemy uniforms as a legitimate ruse of war, others think that the use of enemy uniforms is illegal even before the actual attack."
Since Skorzeny gave specific instructions to discard the American uniforms before the fight, the prosecution could not prove that he ordere "To make improper useof the military insignia and uniform of the enemy; "(Hague Convention 1907, article 23)."
Skorzeny was aquitted because it could not be proven that he ordered the improper use of military insignia and unforms as stated in article 23 of the Hague Convention of 1907.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk • contribs) 13:01, 21 July 2007
- One has to read between the line (or should that be behind the lines?) The Americans wanted blood and if Yeo-Thomas had not stood up in his defence they would probably of got it.
- I added the name Yeo-Thomas on 21 May 2004 given the standing of this man and what he said, his contribution made it impossible for the court to find Skorzeny guilty without finding him guilty by implication, which was politically impossible.
- Given that I am supprised by this edit Revision as of 13:23, 28 July 2007 by a user:Owen36 who seems to have made very few edits with this being the last one. If it had been an honest edit Owen36 could have added the additional information discussed here without removing the Yeo-Thomas contribution to the trial.
- I am glad to see that user:Paul1776 re-added the Yeo-Thomas' contribution on 2 September 2008
- -- PBS (talk) 10:24, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Truth vs. Fiction
One hopes this article is meant to be about Skorzeny the man, rather than Skorzeny the myth. The two seem to be very different, but so thoroughly blended together in popular opinion that most people are unaware that there is any difference. "The most dangerous man in Europe" must be capable of anything, obviously, and if there is no evidence that such a thing ever existed or occurred, that can only be because he was able to hide every trace, which further "proves" the legend. He was also ten feet tall, shot laser beams from his eyes, and if he jumped in the water, he didn't get wet; the water got Otto. Yeah, right.
Just to address one point, because I have neither the time nor the inclination right now to chase down references to go over the whole thing: In the article, it is stated that Protected by Franco, Otto Skorzeny was a key figure in the organisation of the secret ex-Nazi escape network ODESSA. Yet even the Wikipedia article for ODESSA admits that such an organization very probably never existed at all, certainly not in such a monolithic form. And in whatever form (if at all) it did exist, it is highly unlikely that Skorzeny had much, if anything, to do with it. Prior to the German surrender, he was a field commander; afterwards, until the end of July 1948, he was a prisoner of the Allies, and certainly not setting up any escape networks. Moreover, he was not a man with the contacts or experience to do so anyway. He was an innovative commando leader, superb at planning operations that involved things being blown up, or flying in to rescue the occasional stray Duce. That is not a skill that translates well to arranging for false papers, transport, etc., for ex-SS members. That was a job for a politician or a bureaucrat, not an army officer. Making any such arrangements before the fall of Germany (even if he had the time, knowledge, and contacts) would have been difficult at best; making them afterward would have been impossible for Skorzeny because he was a prisoner for over three years -- by the end of which time, there would be no longer a need for anyone to set up any such escape route; its job would already have been done.
Skorzeny had been employed since August 1944 by high-ranking Nazis and German industrialists to hide money and to loot property, documents, etc., some of which were buried in the mountains of Bavaria, and others shipped overseas. When? How? He was fighting a war. And until quite a bit later than the Normandy landings, it was a war that Germany still believed that it could win, or at least negotiate a separate peace with the western powers and turn its sole attention to the east.
The short version of all of this is that Otto Skorzeny was a commando leader. A highly skilled one, yes, but not some sort of mythical being, capable of superhuman feats. His mythical reputation undoubtedly served him well during the war, intimidating and sowing confusion among his enemies. However, that legend is not suitable material for an accurate biography.
I have not seen any reference to a Skorzeny-Werwolf connection anywhere else. I suspect someone is confusing the Werwolf resistance organization (which was a failure) with Operation Werewolf, reportedly the code name for the mission to rescue Mussolini.
In short, much of the content of this article is legend, myth, supposition, fantasy, rumor, fiction, or just plain wrong.
Perhaps it could be put into a section called "The Skorzeny Legend" or something, but as far as the body of the article goes, it doesn't belong there. A Wikipedia article should be confined to verifiable facts, and should not be putting the stamp of truth on every wild tale of how its subject's exploits that happens to come down the pike.
This is the most sensible, reasonable and historically accurate part of this entire article. Should Wikipedia ever adopt such simple sense to each and every article rather than it's usual melodramatic nonsense, as displayed in in article, it might find more serious contributors becoming involved. Until then it remains a source of information for folk too lazy to read books. Tally Ho!
- I agree in addition the description of his military exploits in WWII somewhat falls prey to the myth as well. The assessment of him by fellow commanders is rather negative. His role in Mussolini's capture is mostly hyped (essentially he was just along for the ride rather than leading/executing the operation. The assessment of him by intelligent agencies such as CIA and BND essentially describes him as a baffon and conman. Much of that (the real man behind the myth) is described in a recent documentary by the German ZDF (public TV, see youtube copy). In connection wit that it should also be clear that Skorzenys own words, his memoirs or edited writings can hardly be considered a reliable source.--Kmhkmh (talk) 12:00, 13 June 2012 (UTC)
In his autobiography "Geheimkommando Skorzeny" he actually plays his role down in the operations described. He does not claim to have an exclusive role on the planning and execution of the Gran Sasso raid and states quite clearly that he insisted on flying in the overloaded Fiesler Storch with Mussolini because he wanted to deliver him in person to Hitler. He got the mission personally and felt he could not fail, so he wanted the full credit. Vain or typical for the time, that is up to anyone to judge. He also writes that his role as Europe´s most dangerous man was a surprise and something that he realised in the interrogations after the war (even if it was actually Goebbels who coined that title and had an interest in spreading it). The Allies found him more dangerous and successful that he himself felt. 18.104.22.168 (talk) 16:00, 2 January 2014 (UTC)
Bizarre External Link
The article linked to under "Operation Paperclip Involvement" is total conspiracy wackness about Skorzeny's supposed "deathbed confessions": President George H.W. Bush is actually a German agent named "George H. Scherff, Jr." and was involved with the "murder" of Nikola Tesla, Hitler was alive and well in the U.S. and posing for photos in 1997 at age 107, etc. It's very entertaining but obviously not a reliable resource. PapayaSF (talk) 04:33, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Operation Long Jump
There is a contradiction. At first it is written that Kaltenbrunner was heading the mission, later it says that Skorzeny was chosen by Kaltenbrunner to head the mission. So who is heading? perhaps can change the words will do. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Levtchenkov (talk • contribs) 16:02, 21 June 2009 (UTC)
According to the article:
Sonderverband z.b.V. Friedenthal's first mission was in summer 1943. Operation Francois saw Skorzeny send a group by parachute into Iran to make contact with the dissident mountain tribes and used to sabotage Allied supplies of materiel being sent to the Soviet Union. However, commitment among the rebel tribes was suspect and Operation Francois was deemed as a failure.
None of this makes much sense, as:
- 1. It's not referenced.
- 2. If this was the summer of 1943, the the Battle of Kursk was raging in the Eastern Front. So German forces in Russia were involved in one of the largest land battles ever undertaken.
- 3. How did they parachute in to Iran? The Luftwaffe would have had to flown more 3,000 miles round trip (from the closest point across the Black Sea - right next to the Soviet Front line, across Turkey, into the Northern parts of Iran and the adjoining border regions with Afghanistan). That is way to far for non-stop flights of planes of this era.
- 4. How did the SS make contact with so many groups in such a short time (three months at most)?
- 5. Likewise how did the team leave? A group of SS men trekking across British Mesopotamia is straight out of a Len Deighton novel!!
- 6. Because by September Skorzeny was back in Europe, and had planned and executed the rescue of Mussolini?
Overall, this sounds like a theoretical plan that never left the 'ground', probably for the reasons I have just mentioned. It should be given references that make it credible (and fill in the leaps of logic) or it should be deleted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 16:32, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Taking your very valid points raised in turn ; References to the original publication now added. As for the feasibility of parchuting into Iran, the Junkers JU 290 transport had a range of over 3,800 miles; so even Tehran was within reach of (say) Rhodes in nazi occupied Greece, some 1,299 miles away. Careful inspection of the referenced text contains no confirmation that the 'group' involved were specifically SS men; presumably the group included some German military presence, but with several Iranian dissidents with knowledge of other useful cells, etc. Finally, Skorzeny devised the plan , but did not appear to actively take part in the incursion into Iran. Hope that clarifies things a little. Thanks. Harryurz (talk) 17:07, 1 July 2009 (UTC)
Accompanying Mussolini to Berlin
It should be noted that Skorzeny insisted on accompanying Mussolini to Berlin after his rescue. The Storch is a two person plane. They barely made it off the mountain. In the famous picture taken in the plane, you can see a look of what can be described as extreme nervousness on Mussolini. He jeopardized all three of their lives and the whole mission for no other reason I can think of outside of ego. I think it shows a lot into his personality. 126.96.36.199 (talk) 16:38, 2 August 2009 (UTC)
- Well, he pulled it off, didn't he? You'd have an ego too, if you'd done some of the things Skorzeny did and lived to tell about it. 188.8.131.52 (talk) 16:43, 21 December 2009 (UTC)
Some facts about the Storch, not hyperbole: It was a two passenger plane. that means 1 pilot and up to two passengers. Empty weight was 1950-2045 pounds. Allowable gross weight was 2920 pounds. the Wiki article on the Storch is wrong as is not surprising. Usable load about 900 pounds including fuel. The Storch held 40 gallons max, at 6.2 lbs. per gallon that's 248 pounds of fuel if the plane had full tanks, we don't know. If you calculate that each passenger plus pilot weighed 250 pounds, which is probably way too much,(except for 6'4" Skorzeny, Mussolini was 5'6" and about 170 lbs. Gerlach was thin and average build) the onboard load including fuel at full capacity of the Storch was 998 pounds. the published useful load was about 870-900 pounds. so even at these hypothetically heavy numbers the Storch was only slightly over loaded and in reality most likely within limits. This is not to say it was not loaded to capacity or that it was a normal take off, it was not. The thin air at 6,800' and short field made it risky. but let us not over state the case.--RHB2 (talk) 03:26, 18 August 2014 (UTC)   
The article refers to Reinhard Gehlen as a former Nazi General however I can find no information showing that Reinhard Gehlen was a member of the Nazi party or affiliated in any way other than a member of the armed services. I don't believe that qualifies him as a Nazi. I think this reference should be changed. KMcD (talk) 15:32, 16 September 2009 (UTC)
CIA backed general Mohammed Naguib
Does anyone know about ethnic roots of the surname? A Romanian toponym Scorţeni is pronounced exactly as German "Skorzeny". The word is quite rare, and coincidence is hardly occasional. - Altenmann >t 01:24, 5 November 2009 (UTC)
- The most logical explanation I have read thus-far is that it is of Polish origin, or at-least derived from the Polish language. Despite that though, it would be a bit preposterous to call Otto himself a Pole, as he was born and raised in Austria and spoke best in German and French. --Luftschiffritter5 1 (talk) 14:20, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
There are a variety of interrelated Slavic groups with origins in what are now Poland and Eastern Germany that have either largely willingly or forcibly been germanized in the past millennium. What's ironic is that so many of these fought in the Third Reich when it was more than obvious that their German ethnicity was far from "pure" by virtue of their obviously foreign-sounding surnames. The hypocrisy is even more obvious when you consider many with partial Jewish background were also given dispensations, such as Emil Maurice. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 08:31, 10 August 2014 (UTC)
Paladin Group: date founded?
When was the Paladin Group founded? This page says "the 1960s". The Paladin Group page says 1970.
"..he was chosen as the field commander to carry out the rescue mission that freed the deposed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini from captivity.."
Gran_Sasso_raid and the correspondig German page and discussion say that Skorzeny had no part in planning and commanding the mission. He managed to partecipate with his small SS-Kommando but he had no autority whatsoever on the executing forces, the Paratroopers.
"Skorzeny joined the team—led by Major Harald Mors—to rescue Mussolini in a high-risk glider mission. The operation on the ground at Campo Imperatore was led by Lieutenant Count Otto von Berlepsch, planned by Major Harald Mors and under orders from General Kurt Student, all Fallschirmjäger (German Air Force Paratroopers) officers."
This is all together a very hagiographic article.
220.127.116.11 (talk) 14:36, 3 March 2012 (UTC) Marco Pagliero Berlin
Proof of Skorzeny's Death?
I see below that there are at least two different causes of death claimed -- cancer and car accident. Has anyone been able to come up with a solid citation for either of these? The reason I ask is because there's an author's website claiming that he interviewed Skorzeny extensively for his recent book and claims to have a photo taken in Florida in 2003. The book is pretty far out in conspiracy land, so I wouldn't be willing to cite it as legitimate, but I do think it's important to be able to cite SOMETHING solid before we assume that he died in the seventies. See: http://thebushconnection.com/skorzeny.html --Snowrail (talk) 15:30, 11 April 2012 (UTC)
Athanatophobos June 14th, 2013.