• U.S.

SPAIN: Accounts Overdue

2 minute read

Outside Germany, perhaps the largest group of Germans in Europe today lives in Spain. Aircraft Designers Willy Messerschmitt and Claude Dornier are consultants for Spanish aircraft plants. German engineers hold key jobs in Spanish hydroelectric plants, food-freezing and road-construction companies. Famed Berlin Restaurant Proprietor Otto Horcher, who once served Göring and Goebbels, now has his own restaurant in Madrid; his food ranks with the best in Europe. SS Colonel Eugen Dollmann, Himmler’s onetime personal representative, is opening an import-export business in San Sebastian. Former Gestapo Officer Ernst Hammes has a de luxe gift shop in Madrid’s fashionable Serrano district. Scarfaced SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny, daredevil paratrooper who snatched Mussolini from his mountain prison in 1943, and dressed his killers in U.S. uniforms during the Bulge breakthrough, has leeched on to the Spanish military set.

Spain has been urging the Bonn government to appoint a German ambassador to Spain to act as the official representative of these men, as well as some 10,000 other Germans in Spain. For two years, Spain has had a diplomatic representative at Bonn. Postwar Germany has not forgiven Franco for his sale, at knockdown prices, of Germany’s prewar assets in Spain (Madrid’s German hospital went for I peseta), and the expropriation of German commercial firms (Siemens, Zeiss. Bayer, etc.) that were once the backbone of Spain’s electrical, chemical and optical industries. For two years Chancellor Konrad Adenauer has resisted discreet British and American pressure to go along with Franco. Last week he yielded.

Adenauer’s choice for ambassador was Prince Adalbert Alfons Maria Ascension Antonius Hubertus Joseph. A scholarly, 66-year-old German Catholic whose mother was the Spanish Infanta. Maria de la Paz, and whose grandmother was Queen Isabella II of Spain, Prince Adalbert is a little too intimately connected with royalist circles for Franco’s taste. The German colony (particularly the ex-Nazis) was not overjoyed either. The Spanish Foreign Office wanted Franz von Papen—but a hint to this effect got nowhere. Along with his credentials, the Prince was comniissioned to present Franco with a couple of long-outstanding bills: one for arms delivered by the Nazis to the Francoists during the Spanish civil war; the other for the upkeep of the Spanish Blue Division, which Franco sent to Germany to help Hitler fight the Russians.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com