On 26 Jul 1943, Adolf Hitler’s office made a call to Otto Skorzeny’s office to discuss the rescue of Benito Mussolini, who had just been ousted in Italy and placed under arrest. Skorzeny missed the call as he was on the Kurfürstendamm in Berlin, drinking at Hotel Eden with a friend, something he was reputed to be doing fairly frequently (he would note in his memoir that he was “drinking war-time coffee” with the friend rather than alcohol, however). He was brought by a Ju 52 aircraft from Tempelhofer airfield in Berlin to Wolf’s Lair in East Prussia, Germany to help plan the operation. As he met Hitler for the first time, he was surprised by Hitler’s personal involvement, his seemingly personal attachment to Mussolini, and his Austrian accent. Skorzeny recalled Hitler speaking to him at the first meeting.
Otto Skorzeny was one of the most daring figures of the 20th Century. His exploits included the rescue of Mussolini from his mountain prison, a brief affair with Eva Peron, a blackmail attempt on Winston Churchill and the kidnapping of the son of the wartime dictator of Hungary. Eisenhower declared him “The most wanted man in Europe”. Charles Whiting, who actually met Skorzeny, pieces together this truly remarkable story.
What People are Saying about Skorzeny
“Fluently hits the high points: Mussolini’s mountaintop rescue, intrigues with the Gehlen organization and OSS and CIA, postwar affair with Eva Peron.”
World War II Magazine
Otto Skorzeny and Adolf Hitler in the ” Wolfschanze ” 1943