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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.
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).