Foreign News: Token from Der Fuhrer

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He had been a lieutenant colonel in Hitler's Elite Guard. He was intelligent, cunning, courageous. His face—ice-blue eyes, sabre-scarred chin, thin, contemptuous smile—was a symbol of Nazi fanaticism. He denied most of the legends that had grown around his name (one: that he had been assigned to assassinate General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Said he: "Only a rumor. You can be sure that if any attempt had been made it would have succeeded.") But the truth about Otto Skorzeny was impressive enough.

In the summer of 1943, after Mussolini had become the prisoner of Italy's Badoglio Government, it was Skorzeny whom Hitler personally assigned to rescue the Duce. After weeks of dime-thriller spy work he located Mussolini in an inaccessible hotel on the 9,560-ft. peak of the Gran Sasso in the Abruzzo Mountains northeast of Rome. He led an assault which reached the hotel by crash-landing gliders against the mountainside. Skorzeny reported: "Duce, the Führer has sent me as a token of his loyal friendship." They flew out together in a tiny plane which had to take off by dropping 1,000 feet over a precipice.

Skorzeny surrendered to U.S. troops at Salzburg, in 1945. Since then, he had been in prison, first at Dachau, then at Darmstadt. His war-crimes trial, on charges of torturing U.S. prisoners, resulted in acquittal; but he was held in custody because a denazification court had not yet gotten around to his case. Last week he escaped. Somewhere in Germany, Otto Skorzeny had gone underground.