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Robert Barth — the Austrian Canary
SS-Hauptscharführer Robert Barth was the first Holocaust perpetrator to land in Allied hands when he deserted in Italy at the end of October 1943. He was subjected to regular interrogation by British intelligence agencies and provided a detailed description of the Einsatzgruppen death squads in the Soviet Union. Although he mainly avoided discussing his own involvement, Barth gave fulsome details of his wartime comrades. However, the British did not subsequently share this information with later war crimes investigators and researchers. In comparison with what his comrades said when they were questioned by the West German police in the 1960s, there can be little doubt that Barth was a perpetrator. Barth remained in Britain until 1947 when he was returned to his Austrian homeland. He died in 1987, having escaped justice and throughout his remaining life denying what he had previously revealed.
Editors: David Bankier and Dan Michman
Christopher R. Browning