every afternoon this week and next (monday 8th to friday 19th), 1.45-2.00pm, on bbc radio 4
the ratline (10 episodes, written and narrated by philippe sands) (in the intrigue series)
“Philippe Sands investigates the mysterious disappearance of senior Nazi Otto Wachter, who was indicted for mass murder. The Ratline is a story of a curious death, political intrigue, spies, Nazi hunters, shadowy forces in the Vatican, and a son grappling with the sins of his father.
1. The Secrets in the Castle: Philippe begins by travelling to a castle outside Vienna to meet Horst Wachter, an old man who believes his father was murdered, while a voice from the past offers up clues to how it might have happened.
2. Meet the Wachters: Otto and Charlotte Wachter climb to power, after Hitler annexes Austria, with Otto at his side. Otto’s job takes the family to a palace in Krakow and on to Galicia, where his story collides with those of the family of presenter Philippe Sands.
3. A lot going on in Lemberg: The criminal charge sheet against senior Nazi Otto Wachter. Whilst Charlotte Wachter and her children were spending the summer in Zell am See, Otto was in Lemberg overseeing the ‘Grosse Aktion’ – the mass deportation of Jews to concentration camps. Philippe Sands interviews two Nazi hunters from the US Department of Justice to go through the evidence against Otto. Meanwhile Otto’s son Horst continues to maintain his father’s innocence.
4. Where’s Otto?: The war is over and Otto Wachter has disappeared. Whilst his friends are committing suicide or being tried for mass murder, Otto has escaped high into the mountains with the help of a young SS soldier. Meanwhile his wife Charlotte is working on getting him out of Austria.
5. La Forza del Destino: Midnight. 1949. Otto Wachter, a Nazi on the run, arrives in Rome, penniless, homeless, searching for a way out to Argentina. He’s also unwittingly found himself in the middle of a battle between East and West.He is taken in by monks, makes a friend high up in the Vatican, and takes on some unusual employment.
6. The men who murdered Nazis: Otto contracts a strange illness and Charlotte rushes to Rome to be by his side. Philippe talks to an old friend who was working for British intelligence in 1949 and explores who might have been hunting Otto in Rome and why.
7. The Nazi Bishop: Philippe accesses the Vatican archives to find out about Otto’s protector in Rome, the man who was by his side as he lay dying, Alois Hudal. Hudal’s archivist reveals to the team something extraordinary.
8. Nest of Spies: Philippe and the team work out the identity of Karl Hass, the mysterious man Otto lunched with on Lake Albano, and discover he too is connected with the Nazi Bishop. They take a trip to the lake to meet the Priest who buried the man and he reveals some unbelievable family secrets.
9. The Lucids: Philippe travels to Albuquerque to meet Tom Lucid Jnr, the son of the CIA agent who recruited Karl Hass, chief source on Project Los Angeles and the man Otto had lunch with on Lake Albano. How much does he know about his father’s role in recruiting Nazis and a close relative in Geneva?
10. Persilschein: The Persilschein and denial continue. Charlotte Wachter finally brings Otto home. Philippe takes a forensic look at how Otto died and returns to Hagenberg to confront Horst with some new evidence.”
(if you miss them, available at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0000nfh/episodes/guide)