Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive

Timothy W Ryback at Literary Review:

The Ratline traces the life of Otto von Wächter, an Austrian aristocrat who served as governor of the district of Kraków in Nazi-occupied Poland, then later, handpicked by Hitler, as governor of the district of Galicia, in present-day Ukraine. Wächter was complicit in myriad atrocities, including the virtual eradication of Galicia’s Jewish population; less than 3 per cent survived. Wächter also collected art, attended concerts and held elegant soirées with his wife, Charlotte. He played chess with Hans Frank, who was later hanged at Nuremberg for his central role in the Holocaust. He socialised with the Himmler family. The SS Reichsführer inscribed a book he gave to Wächter, ‘With my best wishes on your birthday – H Himmler, 8 July 1944’. Hitler welcomed Wächter’s initiative to form the Waffen-SS Galicia Division, and in 1944 the Führer granted his forty-something governor life tenure as a civil servant with full pension rights.

more here.