Airline denies helping Nazis flee; agrees to independent investigation.
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Dutch national air carrier KLM is suspected of helping Nazis flee Europe for South America following World War II, The Times of London reported Tuesday.
While KLM has in the past denied such allegations, documents discovered recently appear to indicate that the airline was, in fact, "intensely involved in transporting Nazis," said aviation historian Marc Kierikx of the Institute for Netherlands History in The Hague.
The papers, uncovered by Dutch filmmakers in a Swiss archive, include a memo by a figure known as "Herr Frick." Said to be a KLM representative, Frick reportedly contacted Swiss authorities in October 1948 about allowing German passengers to enter Switzerland without passports - or permission from the Allied forces - in order to continue on to Argentina.
Switzerland refused to comply with the memo's request, but allowed undocumented Germans into the country on other occasions, journalist Sander Rietveld said.
"The point is, [the papers] show KLM actively approached the Swiss police," he said.
KLM has said that some of its passengers may have been Nazis, but that the airline's job was to transport passengers who had passed the requisite security checks, not to police the travelers. Furthermore, the airline stated that it had no knowledge of any former employee named Herr Frick.
Opposition MPs in the Netherlands have demanded an independent inquiry. KLM spokesman Bart Koster said in response that the airline would commission an inquiry.
"If we really want to be sure what happened, we have to have a thorough investigation," he told Radio Netherlands.
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