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RSVP to “The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive”

September 9, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


The CJC invites you to our book discussion with Professor Philippe Sands about his latest book, ‘The Ratline: The Exalted Life and Mysterious Death of a Nazi Fugitive.” RSVP to our event here!

Our virtual lecture event will be accessible to all viewers via Zoom. Zoom invitations will be emailed to all those who RSVP. 

This book discussion will be moderated by the CJC’s Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming.

From Penguin Random House :

From the author of the internationally acclaimed, award-winning East West Street: A tale of Nazi lives, mass murder, love, cold war espionage, a mysterious death in the Vatican–and “the Ratline,” the Nazi escape route to Peron’s Argentina.

Baron Otto von Wächter, Austrian lawyer, husband, father, high Nazi official, senior SS officer, former governor of Galicia during the war, creator and overseer of the Krakow ghetto, indicted after as a war criminal for the mass murder of more than 100,000 Poles, hunted by the Soviets, the Americans, the British, by Simon Wiesenthal, on the run for three years, from 1945 to 1948 . .

Philippe Sands pieces together, in riveting detail, Wächter’s extraordinary, shocking story. Given full access to the Wächter family archives–journals, diaries, tapes, and more–and with the assistance of the Wächters’ son Horst, who believes his father to have been a “good man,” Sands writes of Wächter’s rise through the Nazi high command, his “blissful” marriage and family life as their world was brought to ruin, and his four-year flight to escape justice–to the Tirol, to Rome, and the Vatican; given a new identity, on his way to a new life via “the Ratline” to Perón’s Argentina, the escape route taken by Eichmann, Mengele, and thousands of other Nazis. Wächter’s escape was cut short by his mysterious, shocking death in Rome, in the midst of the burgeoning Cold War (was he being recruited in postwar Italy by the Americans and the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps or by the Soviet NKVD or by both; or was he poisoned by one side or the other, as his son believes–or by both?) . . .

An extraordinary discovery, told up-close through access to a trove of family correspondence between Wächter and his wife–part historical detective story, part love story, part family memoir, part Cold War espionage thriller.

About the Speakers:

Philippe Sands is a Professor of Law, Director of the Centre on International Courts and Tribunals, and a key member of staff in the Centre for Law and the Environment at University College London. His teaching areas include public international law, the settlement of international disputes (including arbitration), and environmental and natural resources law.

Philippe is a regular commentator on the BBC and CNN and writes frequently for leading newspapers. He is frequently invited to lecture around the world, and in recent years has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto (2005), the University of Melbourne (2005) and the Universite de Paris I (Sorbonne) (2006, 2007). He has previously held academic positions at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, Kings College London and , University of Cambridge and was a Global Professor of Law at New York University from 1995-2003. Sands was co-founder of FIELD (Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development), and established the programs on Climate Change and Sustainable Development. He is a member of the Advisory Boards of the European Journal of International Law and Review of European Community and International Environmental Law (Blackwell Press). In 2007 he served as a judge for the Guardian First Book Prize award.

As a practicing barrister, Professor Sands has extensive experience litigating cases before the International Court of Justice, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, and the European Court of Justice. He frequently advises governments, international organizations, NGOs and the private sector on aspects of international law. In 2003 he was appointed a Queen’s Counsel. He has been appointed to lists of arbitrators maintained by ICSID and the PCA.

Dr. Suzanne Brown-Fleming has been featured in the Catholic News Service, Catholic News Agency, and The Catholic Virginian. She has appeared on CNN, EWTN Global Catholic Television Network, and in several documentaries, including Holy Silence (2019), which premiered nationwide on PBS television in 2020. Dr. Brown-Fleming is a 2021 Distinguished Fellow at the Institute for Contemporary History’s Center for Holocaust Studies in Munich and Berlin. She earned her doctorate in modern German history from the University of Maryland (2002). Her publications include ‘May Your Holiness Act in the Interest of Protecting Those Who Remain Morally Thinking People’: Vatican Responses to Antisemitism, 1933 (2017); Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions: The International Tracing Service Archive and Holocaust Research (2016; paperback 2019); and The Holocaust and Catholic Conscience: Cardinal Aloisius Muench and the Guilt Question in Germany (2006), published by the University of Notre Dame in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Her current research project, “Il Papa Tedesco (The German Pope): Eugenio Pacelli and Germany, 1917–1958,” is a study of Pope Pius XII’s relationship to Germany and its bishops, leaders, and people during the Weimar era, the Third Reich, and the Holocaust. Her second project, “Opa War Ein Nazi (Grandpa Was a Nazi): Eduard Geist and the Crimes of the Third Reich,” is Dr. Brown-Fleming’s first attempt to research and write as both a decades-long scholar of the Holocaust and as the biological granddaughter of a devout and locally prominent Nazi.


September 9, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm




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