Top Nazi Commando Lived As Irish Farmer In 1959 — The Shocking Story Of Otto ‘Scarface’ Skorzeny

Otto Skorzeny, the notorious Nazi known as “Hitler’s favorite commando” and “the most dangerous man in Europe” during the World War II era, was able to settle, albeit briefly, into an idyllic existence on a 160-acre farm complete with its own luxurious mansion in County Kildare, Ireland — just 14 years after the end of the war, a BBC story recounted on Monday.

The story of how one of the world’s most feared and infamous Nazis lived out his postwar years in peace — despite continuing to engage in military and Nazi-related activities — makes for one of the most unbelievable stories of the 20th century or any century.

The story is made even more shocking by the fact that Skorzeny never apologized or expressed any remorse for his activities as an elite Nazi SS stormtrooper during the war. Instead, he continued to be an active, outspoken Nazi after the war ended — even after standing trial for war crimes in 1947. But he was acquitted in that trial.

A pioneer of what today is known as unconventional or special operations warfare, in the early 1950s Skorzeny served as an adviser to Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser, training the Egyptian army in guerrilla tactics.

During that time, Skorzeny also trained numerous Palestinian refugees in commando techniques and was the mastermind behind their early terrorist raids into the newly reestablished state of Israel. Among his trainees was a young Yasser Arafat, who later became leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization, and for much of the 1960s and 1970s, the world’s most prominent terrorist.

But unlike most Nazis, Skorzeny was treated reverently in the media, which marveled at his derring-do exploits during the war.

Riding his wave of friendly publicity, Skorzeny settled in Madrid, Spain, where he ran an import-export business generally believed to be a front operation for shuttling escaped Nazi war criminals to Argentina.

Skorzeny himself, known as “Scarface” for the prominent dueling scar on his left cheek, lived in Argentina for several years where he served as bodyguard to Eva Peron, wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron, and he is rumored to have entered into a romantic affair with her.

But in 1957, the strangely popular Skorzeny traveled to Dublin, Ireland, where he was greeted warmly at a gala reception by members of Parliament and numerous celebrities. As a result, Skorzeny purchased Martinstown House, the 160-acre farm estate in County Kildare.

“He could be seen driving across the Curragh in a white Mercedes and would visit the local post office for groceries,” said Kim Bielenberg, whose grandfather was arrested and possibly tortured by Skorzeny, and later executed for taking part in a plot to assassinate Hitler. “I am not sure that the full horror of Nazi atrocities had sunk in in Ireland,” Bielenberg said in the BBC story.

But according to the BBC account, British authorities drew the line at allowing Skorzeny to enter the United Kingdom, and Irish leaders grew concerned that Skorzeny was engaging in “anti-Semitic activities” in Ireland, and possibly attempting to start a revival of the Nazi party there.

Discouraged that he could not obtain a permanent Irish visa, Skorzeny moved back to Madrid, when Spain was still ruled by the fascist regime of Nazi ally Francisco Franco, living there until his death in 1975 at age 67.

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