The body of former Nazi Colonel Otto Skorzeny, once called "The most dangerous man in Europe", was cremated in Madrid yesterday (8 July).
The body of former Nazi Colonel Otto Skorzeny, once called "The most dangerous man in Europe", was cremated in Madrid yesterday (8 July). About 50 Germans and Spaniard, many of them wearing Nazi decorations, attended the private funeral ceremony.)
Skorzeny's cloak-and-dagger exploits towards the end of World War Two made him a much-decorated hero to the Nazis. He achieved fame by leading a daring glider raid in 1943, during which he successfully rescued Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who was being held captive by Italian localists at a hotel high in the Abruzzi Mountains.
After Mussolini had been flown to safety, Skorzeny was decorated by hitler with Nazi Germany's highest award, the Knights Iron Cross. The following year, he pulled off a similar feat when leading soldiers who captured Hungarian leader Admiral Horthy in Budapest's citadel.
And later, in the Nazis' final offensive, the Battle of the Bulge, he commanded units who, dressed as allied troops, crossed behind enemy lies and created havoc by cutting communications and blowing up supply dumps.
Yesterday's funeral ceremony had other reminders of Nazism besides the wartime decorations worn by the mourners. After the cremation, a score of youth -- reportedly from an ultra-right wing Spanish movement -- sang a Falangist hymn with their arms raised in the fascist salute.
After being acquitted by an allied War Crimes Tribunal in 1947, Colonel Skorzeny had concentrated in building up a successful engineering business in Spain.