Posts Tagged ‘Otto Skorzeny’

Since being removed from power, Benito Mussolini had been spending quite a bit of time reading Ricciotti’s Life of Jesus.  Well, reading and being transferred from prison cell to prison cell.  There was little doubt in the mind of Pietro Badoglio, the new Italian leader, that the Germans would be searching long and hard for the old Italian leader.  So Mussolini was shuttled around from one secret place to another, ending up in late August at the Hotel Albergo-Rifugio, a mostly inaccessible (and closed down) ski resort in the Gran Sasso peaks of the Apennines.

And Badoglio was right…the Germans were frantically searching for Mussolini.  And they were using more than just the normal channels (spies and message interception).  They were using channelers as well.  Rick Atkinson briefly mentions it to his readers in his book The Day of Battle.  He writes, “Hitler’s search for his erstwhile ally included consultation with various occultists and astrologers, among them a certain ‘Master of the Sidereal Pendulum,” as well as more conventional intelligence clairvoyants.”

At some point (I’m guessing from conventional channels), the Germans discovered Mussolini’s latest residence, and Hitler turned immediately to Captain Otto Skorzeny, quite possibly his most trusted commando operative, with orders to effect a rescue.

And Skorzeny did just that on September 12, 1943.  He loaded 108 commandos into gliders and headed for the Gran Sasso.  Mussolini was looking out the window when he saw his rescuers come sliding across the grounds.  Within minutes (and without a shot being fired), Otto Skorzeny had flung open the door to Mussolini’s room and the deposed dictator was a free man.  He and Skorzeny shoehorned themselves into a tiny Storch airplane, and flew off to safety.

Benito Mussolini was warmly greeted by Adolf Hitler, who would soon install him as the head of the Italian Social Republic.  It was nothing more than a figurehead position over a piece of real estate that would eventually fall to the Allies, but I suppose a good number of things, even working for Hitler in 1943, were better than prison.

Recommended Reading:  The Day of Battle

Read Full Post »

April 28, 1945 marks the death of Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini.  Il Duce had taken the reigns of Italy in 1922 and had served as its leader until his removal from office and subsequent arrest in July of 1943, when the Allied invasion of Italy began.

For two months he had been constantly moved around, as his captors sought to keep him from the Germans.  But just two months later, a German special ops team, led by Otto Skorzeny, rescued Mussolini and promptly took him to northern Italy, which was still under German control.  There Mussolini set up yet another Facist state that he headed until 1945 when the Allied forces closed in from the south.

And then began Benito’s flight to freedom.  Dressed as a German soldier, he retreated further north with the troops and was heading for Switzerland to escape to Spain when, on April 27, 1945, he and his mistress were captured by communist partisans.  They were moved to Mezzegra, a small town on the Italian-Swiss border, where they were both shot the next day.

Read Full Post »