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Nazis We Love to Hate

Posted July 20, 2011 to photo album "Nazis We Love to Hate"

In John Madden’s The Debt, a trio of Mossad agents go after a Nazi war criminal, dubbed the Surgeon of Birkenau, who’s hiding out in East Berlin in the 1960s. Played by Jesper Christensen, this character joins a list of Nazi villains going all the way back to 1939.

The Surgeon of Birkenau in The Debt
Franz Schlager in Confessions of a Nazi Spy
Fritz Marberg in The Mortal Storm
Franz Kindler in The Stranger
Madame Anna Sebastian in Notorious
Ilsa in Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS
Eduard Roschmann in The Odessa File
Dr. Szell in Marathon Man
Arnold Toht and Elsa Schneider in the Indiana Jones movies
Kurt Dussander in Apt Pupil
Amon Goeth in Schindler’s List
Karl Ruprecht Kroenen in Hellboy
Col. Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds
Standartenführer Herzog in Dead Snow
Dr. Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class
Eduard Roschmann in The Odessa File

Eduard Roschmann in The Odessa File

Ronald Neame’s 1974 The Odessa File (adapted from a novel by Frederick Forsyth) was part of wave of post-Nazi paranoid thrillers – like The Marathon Man, The Boys from Brazil, The Formula, The Holcroft Covenant, etc. – that started popping up in the 70s. The plot for The Odessa File begins in Hamburg in 1963 when the diary of a Holocaust survivor who has killed himself sets reporter Peter Miller (Jon Voight) on the hunt for Nazi war criminal Eduard Roschmann (Maximilian Schell). The villain of The Odessa File, however, was not a fictional construction, but rather an actual Nazi war criminal. Roschmann, who created and policed the Riga ghetto, was ultimately responsible for the murder of thousands of Jews during World War II, and earned himself the vicious title “The Butcher of Riga.” In the film, Miller’s hunt is soon blocked by mysterious forces that may represent big business, government officials or something worse. The film also includes as a character the real-life Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal (played by Shmuel Rodensky).