Nazi revelations stir Germany's post-war ghosts

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What do you do with a nasty old Nazi? Let him stew in exile in South America or use him for the value he might still have?

The latter is what the secret services of post-war West Germany chose to do, according to Spiegel magazine.

The normally reliable news magazine reports that Klaus Barbie became an agent of the West German foreign intelligence agency when he was apparently in hiding in South America.

It has seen documents of the Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND, and these papers reveal that the "Butcher of Lyon" was helping German intelligence with information about his South American country of hiding even as he was on the run.

Barbie risked life in prison or even the death penalty had he been caught because he had been in charge of the deportation of Jews and others to death camps, including the ordering of the deportation of children from an orphanage.

He was eventually captured and put on trial in France, but Spiegel reports that long before that he was sending reports to the BND about the politics of Bolivia where he had become something of a figure in society under the false name, Klaus Altmann....

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