Claim Ownership

Author:

Subscribed: 0Played: 0
Share

Description

 Episodes
Reverse
A spy story. A detective case. The mission was simple: to arrange the death of one man. The goal was to send a message to all Nazi fugitives around the world: "we can find you and we can kill you." This is the true story of an undercover mission to hunt down a savage Nazi murderer who helped Hitler’s forces kill 30,000 men, women, and children. The survivors gave him a name after the Holocaust: The Butcher of Latvia. The spies would travel halfway around the world to carry out the sentence. The mission wasn’t for one life. It was for 6 million. Listen to “Good Assassins: Season 1” for free. Join the hunt.   Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
A spy named Mio is called to a secret meeting in Paris. The Israeli government — and its spy agency, Mossad — has decided that Herbert Cukurs, "The Butcher of Latvia", one of the most savage and prolific Nazi killers, must be tracked down and assassinated in South America, where's he's now living. Mio must assume a secret identity, fly to Brazil, hunt down The Butcher and gain his trust, maybe even befriend him. The German government is considering an amnesty law for all the murderers of the Holocaust and Mio must complete his mission and send a message to the world before it's too late.This is a story about a spy and a murderer. In the history of espionage, this case of the undercover agent and the man known as The Butcher of Latvia is unique. It has many of the things that can fascinate us about spies: the tradecraft, letters in invisible ink, intrigue in places around the world - in this case, Paris, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Montevideo, Uruguay, and Rio de Janeiro. There are recon missions, disguises, fake passports, shooting contests, a kill team trained in a special martial arts called Krav Maga. There's a body in a trunk. And a drug called Librium that one agent takes so he doesn’t sweat and appear nervous. There’s a psychiatrist who tries to psychoanalyze Nazis. Hitler even makes an appearance.When we think of assassinations, we tend to think of some awful moments in history. We think about Lee Harvey Oswald and Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Sirhan Sirhan and Robert Kennedy lying in a pool of blood. We think about James Earl Ray and Martin Luther King, Jr. on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. And the start of World War One, when an assassin killed the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. But this is something different. This is the story of a spy tries to kill someone for a good reason: to prevent crimes against humanity and to close a chapter on something that happened in the spy’s own life. This mission was personal, at least to the agent who was the lead operative. His name was Mio. This is unique. Spy missions are never personal. They’re supposed to be clinical, unemotional. This operation was like that for some of its architects, but it wasn’t like that at all for Mio. It also had a target who, at first read, seems completely evil. A Nazi killer. His name was Herbert Cukurs and he’d betrayed people who’d once been his friends and neighbors. He’d led them to their deaths — at gunpoint — and sometimes killed them, point blank. He had on his hands the blood of literally thousands of innocent victims. Some of these people had really admired Herbert Cukurs and even thought of him as a hero. Which, oddly enough, he’d once been.All of this is wrapped up in World War II and the Holocaust and genocide law. The effects of the mission are still with us today. It’s had this secret effect on our lives that nobody really knows about.“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher" came out of Stephan Talty's work on a related book, The Good Assassin. Explore other parts of this story in the book: Buy The Good Assassin• Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY• Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN• Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS• Story Editor: JACOB BRONSTEIN• Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR• Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS• With the voices of: NICK AFKA THOMAS, OMRI ANGHEL, ANDREW POLK, MINDY ESCOBAR-LEANSE, STEVE ROUTMAN, STEFAN RUDNICKI• Theme Music by TYLER CASH• Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO• Thanks to OREN ROSENBAUMLearn more at DiversionPodcasts.com Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Who was the Butcher of Latvia? Before World War II Herbert Cukurs was a a national hero. He put Latvia on the map. If you’re looking for an American equivalent, think Amelia Earhart or Charles Lindbergh. Cukurs was a big deal. But after the Nazis occupied Latvia, Cukurs became a monster, participating in the murder of 30,000 men, women, and even children. How did this decorated and ingenious aviator betray friends and neighbors and became a savage criminal with the blood of thousands on his hands?“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher" came out of Stephan Talty's work on a related book, The Good Assassin. Explore other parts of this story in the book: Buy The Good AssassinIn July 1941, the Germans invaded Latvia. The Nazis fought their way into the capital, Riga, and soon sent the Soviet soldiers, who had occupied Lativa for the previous year, running to the east. Another kind of horror emerged, one now directed at Jews. The Nazis began passing anti-Semitic laws. They encouraged Latvians to direct their hatred at their Jewish neighbors. They declared that Jews had helped the Soviets to occupy Latvia and carry out atrocities. They said Jews had betrayed their country, and they needed to pay for it. It was a lie of course, but it worked. Round-ups began almost immediately. What added to the terror was that it was often their fellow Latvians who took the lead in the violenceBut why did the Butcher kill some of his neighbors and spare others? Maybe he did it for the money? But there’s no record of him asking for any. Maybe he only saved young women? No, he actually spared at least one Jewish man, a doctor he’d known before the war. So what was it?The testimonies of witnesses answer one question clearly: Cukurs was guilty. So why did he still have defenders? I found half a dozen eyewitnesses to his actions, and later I came across statements from fellow Latvians in his commando unit. They confirmed he’d been part of the massacres.So why did he transform from hero to mass murderer? I went through other possibilities. Maybe he’d always been an anti-Semite and just hid it until the Nazis came. Maybe the Germans had forced him to kill. That was the explanation of many non-Germans who murdered Jews during the war. Maybe that was part of the answer. But then, I’d read a testimony talking about how the Butcher seemed to enjoy killing. There was more than one testiony. It just didn’t fit the idea that he was forced to do anything. So I had no answers. Even the survivors in their testimonies couldn’t give a reason. Most of them were as baffled as I was. Maybe there were others who fit this pattern. Friendly towards Jews before the war and then joined in the massacres, but saved the occasional victim. Maybe there were historians who’d found killers like this, and that would help give some insight into Cukurs. I started making some calls. It was a start, a way to try to get inside Herbert Cukurs' mind.• Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY• Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN• Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS• Story Editor: JACOB BRONSTEIN• Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR• Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS• With the voices of: NICK AFKA THOMAS, OMRI ANGHEL, ANDREW POLK, MINDY ESCOBAR-LEANSE, STEVE ROUTMAN, STEFAN RUDNICKI• Theme Music by TYLER CASH• Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO• Thanks to OREN ROSENBAUMLearn more at DiversionPodcasts.com  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The spy transforms into his cover identity. He will travel to Brazil, where his assassination target is living, and attempt to lure him into a trap. If his cover fails, Herbert Cukurs — The Butcher of Latvia — may kill him. But before Cukurs could be placed on a kill list, and before Mossad could begin to track him down, Cukurs’ pursuers had to be sure he was the right guy. Was this really the Butcher of Latvia? “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher" came out of Stephan Talty's work on a related book, The Good Assassin. Explore other parts of this story in the book: Buy The Good AssassinAn organization called the World Jewish Congress announced that the Butcher of Latvia had been found and was living in Brazil. And, despite the growing international indifference toward the hunt for Nazis, it had an effect. There were headlines in Brazilian newspapers. Cukurs’ business was ruined. He had to move several times to avoid angry protestors. Eventually Cukurs moves to São Paolo, running another small boat rental business. This was not what Cukurs had imagined for himself. His dreams of building a glorious new life in Brazil had been shattered. The Jews had seen to that. He was bitter, paranoid and lonely. Cukurs hoped for a grand third act to his life. He believed in himself. He just had to convince the world that he’d been misunderstood in order to get his fame and the money back. The Israeli government kept a list of important Nazi criminals who’d escaped justice. We don’t know how many people were on it, but we do know a few of the more famous names: Adolf Eichmann, one of the main architects of the Holocaust. Mossad captured him in 1960, put him on trial, and executed him. Dr. Josef Mengele, known as “The Angel of Death,” who’d murdered Jewish children at Auschwitz and had conducted ghastly experiments on Jewish prisoners, was high on the list. Herbert Cukurs had made the list too. In the early 1960s, the Israelis became concerned about a possible amnesty for Nazis. The German government was considering giving a free pass to Nazi murderers who hadn’t been indicted yet. The Israelis wanted to stop this from happening and they had decided to go after a Nazi. A few months later, our Mossad agent, Mio, was getting ready to assume the role of a lifetime. He had his target. Now he had to prepare to meet him.He faced a confident, tough-minded man. One who wouldn’t go quietly. Mio had to plan the mission without explicit directions from headquarters. For that, Mio had to get inside the Butcher’s head, find out what he wanted, discover his weak points. Mio booked a flight to Brazil for September 11th, 1964. He was ready to meet the Butcher.This episode contains interviews with Dr. Sarah Valente, visiting assisstant professor at The Ackerman Center at The University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Valente studies the legacy of World War II and the Holocaust in Brazil.This episode contains excerpts from tapes contained in the papers of Jack Anderson, the legendary investigative reporter. Anderson’s papers reside at George Washington University's GW Libraries.“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” is written and hosted by Stephan Talty. Produced and directed by Scott Waxman and Jacob Bronstein. Executive Producers: Scott Waxman and Mark Francis. Story editing by Jacob Bronstein with editorial direction from Scott Waxman and Mangesh Hattikudur. Editing, mixing, and sound design by Mark Francis. With the voices of: Nick Afka Thomas, Omri Anghel, Andrew Polk, Mindy Escobar-Leanse, Steve Routman, and Stefan Rudnicki. Theme music by Tyler Cash. Archival research by Adam Shapiro. Thanks to Kevin Anderson & the Anderson family for permission to use the Jack Anderson recordings, Leah Richardson and the Special Collections Research Center at George Washington University Library, and Ron Saah. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The spy surveils his target and finally meets Herbert Cukurs — The Butcher of Latvia — in person. Mio had known people like the Butcher earlier in his life. He’d grown up in Germany during the rise of Hitler. Now he was getting to know a Nazi again, being friendly, even drinking with him. Mio kept his parents in his mind constantly. He actually dreamt about them during the mission — bad dreams. So for Mio it was something he could not forget and he could not forgive. Mio said when he was given the mission in September 1964 to assassinate Herbert Cukurs, it was like reopening a book; the unfinished story of his parents and their fate during the war. He felt there was a final chapter to be written.“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher" came out of Stephan Talty's work on a related book, The Good Assassin. Explore other parts of this story in the book: Buy The Good AssassinAs Mio was making contact with Cukurs in Brazil, on the other side of the Atlantic a man named Tuviah Friedman was headed to the German capital for a meeting with the Justice Minister. He had a presentation to give, and if he succeeded with it, it would make Mio’s mission pointless. Tuviah Friedman was a Nazi hunter. In fact, Friedman was considered one of the two leading Nazi-hunters in the world, second only to the more famous activist Simon Wiesenthal. Friedman had grown up in Poland. He and his family had watched the Nazis arrive. The Germans soon put them in a ghetto. Friedman saw Jews being murdered around him; his father starved himself to death so that his children would have more to eat. Friedman’s younger brother, Herschel, and his sister Itka were taken away to concentration camps, and Friedman himself was transported to a sub-camp of Auschwitz. Tuviah Friedman survived the Holocaust by the sheer ferocity of his will. But his family didn’t survive. In the chaos of the post-war period, Friedman hunted down German killers. His specialty was Gestapo officers and SS men; if he saw one of their black uniforms, he would be filled with a rage that sometimes drove him to extremes. He would beat them and sometimes kill them. He was a Jewish avenger, the real thing. Other Nazi hunters never physically put their hands on their enemies. Friedman did.At the same time, there was another Nazi-hunting mission going on. Mossad had sent another agent to Damascus, Syria. His name was Eli Cohen. Cohen’s main mission was to find out what Syria was up to: war with Israel? building up their forces? But dozens of Nazis had fled to Syria after World War II and Eli Cohen was also hoping to eliminate them.This episode contains interviews with Colonel Chris Costa, former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, Senior Director for Counterterrorism at the National Security Council and currently the Executive Director of the International Spy Museum.“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” is written and hosted by Stephan Talty. Produced and directed by Scott Waxman and Jacob Bronstein. Executive Producers: Scott Waxman and Mark Francis. Story editing by Jacob Bronstein with editorial direction from Scott Waxman and Mangesh Hattikudur. Editing, mixing, and sound design by Mark Francis. With the voices of: Nick Afka Thomas, Omri Anghel, Andrew Polk, Mindy Escobar-Leanse, Steve Routman, and Stefan Rudnicki. Theme music by Tyler Cash. Archival research by Adam Shapiro. Special thanks to Oren Rosenbaum at UTA.Learn more about “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” at DiversionPodcasts.com Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
S1-E05: Baiting the Hook

S1-E05: Baiting the Hook

2021-04-2344:2813

Herbert Cukurs invited "Anton Kuenzle" to visit him at his home, not knowing, of course, "Kuenzle" is the spy Mio, undercover. So the spy prepares for the meeting. He doesn't know what Cukurs wants, which was the real question. Most spies use a handful of motives to get people to do what they want: money, sex, patriotism. But Cukurs was an odd fish. He seemed to want to be a hero again, to be beloved. The spy couldn’t offer him that - so what could he dangle in front of the Butcher?“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher" came out of Stephan Talty's work on a related book, The Good Assassin. Explore other parts of this story in the book: Buy The Good AssassinThe spy decides on his approach. He will dangle a chance at redemption in front of the Butcher: a last shot at riches and fame. That was the bait.Cukurs suggests the two of them take a trip inland — he owned two plantations there. The long trip gives Cukurs a chance to see if they're being tailed. If the spy had people following him, they would be exposed on the deserted roads. The Butcher was hunting the spy as much as the spy was hunting him.“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” is written and hosted by Stephan Talty. Produced and directed by Scott Waxman and Jacob Bronstein. Executive Producers: Scott Waxman and Mark Francis. Story editing by Jacob Bronstein with editorial direction from Scott Waxman and Mangesh Hattikudur. Editing, mixing, and sound design by Mark Francis. With the voices of: Nick Afka Thomas, Omri Anghel, Andrew Polk, Mindy Escobar-Leanse, Steve Routman, and Stefan Rudnicki. Theme music by Tyler Cash. Archival research by Adam Shapiro. Thanks to Oren Rosenbaum at UTA.Special thanks to Kevin Anderson and the Anderson family for permission to use the Jack Anderson recording, Leah Richardson and the Special Collections Research Center at George Washington University Library, and Ron Saah. Learn more about Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
S1-E06: The Kill Team

S1-E06: The Kill Team

2021-04-3057:388

The spy had gotten a step closer to the Butcher. Comparing Israel's mission to assassinate Herbert Cukurs to the US mission to assassinate Osama Bin Laden, the latter was revenge. But when Israel and Mossad decided to kill The Butcher of Latvia, it was to prevent more killing of Jews. Things were starting to heat up with the Statute of Limitations, which was the whole reason for the mission: to stop Germany from giving Nazi killers a free pass for their atrocities. Importantly, a famous Nazi hunter joined the cause: Simon Wiesenthal. Wiesenthal was a master publicist and self-promoter and was obsessed with finding the men and women responsible for the Holocaust and bringing Nazis to justice.“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher" came out of Stephan Talty's work on a related book, The Good Assassin. Explore other parts of this story in the book: Buy The Good AssassinThere was also the question of the assassination method. Mossad had many ways to take someone out, what they called “targeted killings.”Yosef Yariv's job was to recruit the rest of the team that would fly to South America to join Mio and carry out the sentence on the Butcher. The team would need to train in how to bring down a strong, desperate man who has just realized he’s fighting for his life. Yariv found a guy. His name was Imi Lichtenfeld. Lichtenfeld had created a street-­fighting technique called Krav Maga (“close combat” in Hebrew), which allowed practitioners to inflict the most damage in the shortest possible time. In 1948, the Israel Defense Forces had adopted Krav Maga for training its recruits and named Imi Lichtenfeld Chief Instructor for Physical Fitness. In 1964, Lichtenfeld began to lead secret training sessions with the kill team. This episode contains interviews with H. Keith Melton, intelligence historian and expert on espionage tradecraft and Eyal Yanilov, co-founder and Chief Instructor of Krav Maga Global. Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS Story Editor: JACOB BRONSTEIN Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS With the voices of: NICK AFKA THOMAS, OMRI ANGHEL, ANDREW POLK, MINDY ESCOBAR-LEANSE, STEVE ROUTMAN, STEFAN RUDNICKI Theme Music by TYLER CASH Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO Thanks to OREN ROSENBAUM Learn more about “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” at DiversionPodcasts.com Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
By the winter of 1964, the mission was coming into focus. In Brazil, the spy continued to meet with Herbert Cukurs, stoking The Butcher's excitement for his coming wealth and making sure he’d be willing to travel outside of Brazil. Yosef Yariv had chosen his kill team and they were training under the Krav Maga master, Imi Lichtenfeld.“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher" came out of Stephan Talty's work on a related book, The Good Assassin. Explore other parts of this story in the book: Buy The Good AssassinHerbert Cukurs was getting excited. He needed money, but more importantly, after being a pariah for years, he needed the encouragement that this high roller "Anton Kuenzle" gave him. Mio had sensed almost from the minute he met Cukurs that the guy was a narcissist.What the spy didn’t know was that Cukurs was also playing a part. He pretended he was gung-ho, but the truth is he was deeply worried by the idea of leaving the country. Decades on the run had made him a worrier. He knew the Jews wanted him. Who’s to say this wasn’t the nightmare he’d been running away from ever since he left Latvia?Cukurs thought about it. What Anton Kuenzle offered was so tempting. It was maybe his last chance at getting rich and getting his reputation back. It was too good to pass up. He was leaning towards going. But he wasn’t sure.The spy flew to Uruguay and its capital, Montevideo. He wanted to see if it could work for the final act of the mission. He rented a car, studied the map, and started searching for a house. He needed something that looked like it could serve as the home base for a respectable company. It had to fool the Butcher. Cukurs arrived in Montevideo a few days later. He was super excited. He probably hadn’t left Brazil in twenty years and now he was on a vacation with all expenses paid.This was the important thing. Mio was starting to condition Cukurs, getting him to go in and out of strange houses.This episode contains interviews with:• Dr. Sarah Valente: visiting assisstant professor at The Ackerman Center at The University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Valente studies the legacy of World War II and the Holocaust in Brazil.• Fernando Butazzoni: award-winning journalist and author of the 2020 book on Mossad's Cukurs mission, Los Que Nunca Olvidarán (Those Who Will Never Forget)• Avner Avraham: former Mossad agent and renowned expert on Mossad operations• Gad Shimron: former Mossad agent, journalist, author of several books on intelligence and historyGOOD ASSASSINS: HUNTING THE BUTCHER• Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY• Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN• Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS• Story Editor: JACOB BRONSTEIN• Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR• Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS• With the voices of: NICK AFKA THOMAS, OMRI ANGHEL, ANDREW POLK, MINDY ESCOBAR-LEANSE, STEVE ROUTMAN, STEFAN RUDNICKI• Theme Music by TYLER CASH• Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO• Thanks to OREN ROSENBAUMLearn more about “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” at DiversionPodcasts.com Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The spy was happy to be back home, but his mission wasn’t complete. The final act was still to take place in Uruguay. So in the Mossad apartment in the heart of Paris, the kill team started to plan the assassination. They were going ahead with the plan. The debate in the German Parliament was coming up in a few months. They all hoped a successful mission would influence it. “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher" came out of Stephan Talty's work on a related book, The Good Assassin. Explore other parts of this story in the book: Buy The Good AssassinThere was a lot of work to do. The Mossad boss Yosef Yariv had collected all the documents the spy had sent from the field, including maps of Montevideo and São Paolo, information on hotels and renting cars. He’d written down what they'd to get through passport control and what problems the other team members might face. But they still didn’t have a place where the assassination could be carried out. They didn’t even know how it was going to be carried out. Mossad wanted everyone to suspect that Israel had carried out the killing but it didn’t want any of its agents to get caught. What they were doing wasn’t legal. Cukurs wasn’t going to get a trial or have a lawyer, like Adolf Eichmann had got after Mossad kidnapped him. They didn’t want Mossad to be the story. They wanted Cukurs to be the story. So the team members had to carry out the killing, gather their belongings, and head to the airport. They had to get on the plane and get safely back to Europe before Cukurs’ body was discovered. That influenced how the assassination would be carried out. It couldn’t be public. It couldn’t be loud. And the body had to be left out of sight, so that someone didn’t stumble on it and raise the alarm before the agents had left the country.The team members were almost done with their training in Krav Maga, the Israeli fighting system. Imi Lichtenfeld was working them hard.They were losing precious time. The clock was ticking and Germany’s vote on the amnesty statute was approaching fast. If the mission didn’t move forward soon, all would be lost.This episode contains interviews with:• Eyal Yanilov, co-founder and Chief Instructor of Krav Maga Global• Fernando Butazzoni, award-winning journalist and author of the 2020 book on Mossad's Cukurs mission, Los Que Nunca Olvidarán (Those Who Will Never Forget)• Avner Avraham, former Mossad agent and renowned expert on Mossad operations• Gad Shimron, former Mossad agent, journalist, author of several books on intelligence and history• Chris Costa, veteran of the Department of Defense. US Army counterintelligence, human intelligence, and Special Operations Forces, currently Executive Director of the International Spy MuseumGOOD ASSASSINS: HUNTING THE BUTCHER• Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY• Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN• Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS• Story Editor: JACOB BRONSTEIN• Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR• Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS• With the voices of: NICK AFKA THOMAS, OMRI ANGHEL, ANDREW POLK, MINDY ESCOBAR-LEANSE, STEVE ROUTMAN, STEFAN RUDNICKI• Theme Music by TYLER CASH• Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO• Thanks to OREN ROSENBAUMLearn more about “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” at DiversionPodcasts.com Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
S1-E09: Judgment Day

S1-E09: Judgment Day

2021-05-2158:074

Judgment Day had arrived: February 23, 1965. Herbert Cukurs carried his gun in a leather holster as he boarded the plane to Uruguay and headed off into what he must have imagined was his new life. The men of the Mossad kill team were spread out in various hotels across Montevideo. They woke up early on that February morning and began to get ready for the Butcher’s arrival. The spy later wrote, “We planned a very brief court-martial in which we intended to read the charges to [Cukurs], in the name of the 30,000 Jews from Riga and Latvia – children, women, the elderly, and men – who had been murdered by him... We wanted him to know that this entire long affair with Anton Kuenzle had been designed only to set the stage for the moment of revenge in the name of his innocent victims. And then we were going to put a bullet in his head.”Germany's planned amnesty for Nazis was getting more and more international attention. In the US, the NAACP had added its name to Simon Wiesenthal’s letter. Pressure was building, both for the amnesty and against it.The full debate in the German parliament was scheduled for March 10th, two and a half weeks away. The Mossad team was cutting things close. Maybe they thought the fresher Cukurs’ crimes were in the minds of German legislators, the better it was for their cause. Maybe it just took this long to get the Butcher into position. But they knew they didn’t have a lot of time to mount another mission if things went wrong.By now, thousands of people around the world had marched against Germany’s amnesty. In Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington, Tel Aviv, and Paris, there were protests. A journalist interviewed one of the marchers in Toronto. She told him, “I am the only survivor of Bergen-Belsen of my entire family. I am so lonely without my relatives.”At the Casa, the kill team undressed down to their underwear. If the reports had been correct, the encounter would be bloody, and they didn’t want the evidence of a struggle on their clothes. They waited in the hot, humid room, listening to the workers’ banter next door and the noise of their tools. They checked their watches. This episode contains interviews with Fernando Butazzoni, award-winning journalist and author of the 2020 book on Mossad's Cukurs mission, Los Que Nunca Olvidarán (Those Who Will Never Forget)“Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher" came out of Stephan Talty's work on a related book, The Good Assassin. Explore other parts of this story in the book: Buy The Good Assassin• Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY• Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN• Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS• Story Editor: JACOB BRONSTEIN• Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR• Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS• With the voices of: NICK AFKA THOMAS, OMRI ANGHEL, ANDREW POLK, MINDY ESCOBAR-LEANSE, STEVE ROUTMAN, STEFAN RUDNICKI• Theme Music by TYLER CASH• Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO• Thanks to OREN ROSENBAUMLearn more about “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” at DiversionPodcasts.com  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The story of the spy and the murderer isn't over. There is something missing in the story: the answer to the question of *why*. Why did Herbert Cukurs go from being a national hero to a mass murderer? Stephan Talty speaks to some striking characters to try and finally answer that question. It turns out to have more sides than we originally thought.The opinion of most people was that Cukurs had always been a secret anti-Semite. Before the war, he’d hidden this hatred inside himself. But really he hated Jews. And when the war came, the Nazis gave him a chance to use that hatred. And he did terrible things. End of story. But that just didn’t fit the facts. So Talty kept looking. And in that search, he found Zelma Shepshelovich. Zelma was a bright, beautiful Jewish girl. During the war, on the day her family had been murdered, Zelma had been hidden by a Latvian guy who was hopelessly in love with her. And she stayed in hiding and learned things that take us to the heart of Cukurs’ life. Her story also involves psychiatric asylums, an escape to Sweden, suicide attempts and much more.But Zelma's story is mostly about suffering and love and never forgetting. Zelma is the key to knowing the question of *why*. Or at least one side of it.Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher came out of author Stephan Talty's work on a book called The Good Assassin: Buy the bookThis episode contains interviews with:• Zelma Shepshelovich, courtesy of The Institute for Visual History and Education at the USC Shoah Foundation• Naomi Ahimeir, daughter of Zelma Shepshelovich• Ilya Lensky, Director of the Jews in Latvia Museum in Riga, Latvia• Dr. Sarah Valente, visiting assisstant professor at The Ackerman Center at The University of Texas at Dallas• Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY• Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN• Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS• Story Editor: JACOB BRONSTEIN• Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR• Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS• With the voices of: NICK AFKA THOMAS, OMRI ANGHEL, ANDREW POLK, MINDY ESCOBAR-LEANSE, STEVE ROUTMAN, STEFAN RUDNICKI• Theme Music by TYLER CASH• Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO• Thanks to OREN ROSENBAUMLearn more about “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” at DiversionPodcasts.com Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The Cukurs operation barely scratches the surface of what Mossad has done over the years. Mossad has been, “involved in special operations and activity in the service of the State of Israel, such as the pursuit of Nazi criminals.” This episode explores some of the most important operations the agency has carried out. Stephan Talty describes missions you’ve probably never heard of but that shaped the Middle East and the whole world.The episode contains interviews with Robert Baer, accomplished former CIA agent, intelligence expert and security analyst, bestselling author of several books including *See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War Against Terrorism* which was the basis for the film Syriana, in which George Clooney's character is based on Baer and H. Keith Melton, intelligence historian and expert on espionage tradecraft.Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher came out of author Stephan Talty's work on a book called *The Good Assassin.* Click here to Buy the bookTHE JET discusses an operation in which the target wasn’t human. In 1963, the Israelis decided they had to have a MIG. At the time, the MIG was the most advanced Soviet fighter plane, and the latest model, the MIG-21, had been purchased by Israel’s neighbors — and enemies — Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.THE ENGINEER tells the story of Yahya Ayash, the No. 1 bombmaker for Hamas. Ayash was a master of building explosives. Ayash built bombs for Hamas suicide attacks: the Mehola Junction bombing in 1993, the Afula Bus massacre in 1994, the Dizengoff Street bus massacre also in 1994 — at the time, the deadliest suicide bombing in Israeli history with 22 civilians killed and 50 injured — Ayash was also behind the Hadera central station massacre, again in 1994, and many more.THE SCIENTIST is about the Israeli government's operations to find out if Syria, which had been hostile to their Jewish neighbors for decades, had a nuclear program. Was there anything going on? Were they building plants? Were they thinking of building bombs? There was no evidence on the ground that anything was happening. Israel’s spy satellites were picking up nothing. Still, some people at Mossad had an uneasy feeling.THE WRONG MAN explores Operation Wrath of God. In 1972, Mossad was thrust into the spotlight when members of the faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization known as “Black September” took Israeli athletes and coaches hostage at the Munich Olympic Games. A botched German ambush resulted in the murder of nine Israelis, as well as the deaths of the terrorists. It was a catastrophe - for the Olympics, for the Germans, and for the Israelis. Prime Minister Golda Meir quickly approved Operation Wrath of God, a covert Mossad operation to hunt down and kill the planners of the Munich massacre.SPIES NEVER FORGET tells the story of a Lebanese man named Imad Fayez Mughniyah, the mastermind in a series of terror attacks against Israelis. He was believed to be the chief of staff for Hezbollah and was a link between Iran and terrorist groups. Mossad and Mughniyah were involved in a cat and mouse game for decades. Mossad wanted to kill him and Mughniyah knew it.THE GENERAL is about a man named Mohammed Suleiman, a general in the Syrian army and one of the main contacts to Iran and Hamas. Israel wanted him gone. • Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY• Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN• Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS• Story Editor: JACOB BRONSTEIN• Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR• Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS• Theme Music by TYLER CASH• Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO• Thanks to OREN ROSENBAUMLearn more about “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” at DiversionPodcasts.com  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
We asked listeners for your questions: Things you didn’t hear in "Hunting the Butcher" and were curious about, or other stories the podcast got you thinking about. Many of your questions prompted new research. In this episode, Stephan Talty answers listeners' questions and digs deeper into the issues the audience brought up. We received amazing queries from all over the world: Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the UK, the US and elsewhere. Some of them were from families of Holocaust survivors and one was even from a guy who worked with a former SS officer working "undercover." A lot of listeners' questions prompted Stephan Talty to research additional aspects of Mossad’s Herbert Cukurs mission.Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher came out of author Stephan Talty's work on his book, *The Good Assassin.* Click here to: Buy the BookQuestions answered on this episode include:• *I have a question about something mentioned in one of the early episodes, about Cukurs having supporters. I’m just really curious to understand how people would claim that he’s innocent with all the testimonials from victims that you have and have shared. Is there any evidence pointing to innocence?"• “I have a question about Mio and other spies living in Europe. How would they keep their cover in a place like Paris without the French government knowing — or did they know?”• “I was wondering why the German [Statute of Limitations] law would apply to Cukurs even though he was a Latvian citizen. Could he still not have been prosecuted in his home country?”• *Mio and the team seem to have a formalized “judgment” document or speech or something that they intend to read to Cukurs at his execution. It’s portrayed as a sort of all encompassing legal document that functions as the predetermined outcome and opinion of judge, jury, and executioner. Was this sort of process or document used because of legal, judicial, or Mossad internal policy reasons? Who wrote the “judgment” and at what point in the government decision making process is this “judgment” made and written out, i.e., did the high level government officials that named Czukurs for execution write this, did Mossad, or did Mio or Yariv themselves write it? Was this a common occurrence in Mossad operations or in government sponsored assassinations at the time?" • Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY• Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN• Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS• Story Editor: JACOB BRONSTEIN• Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR• Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS• Theme Music by TYLER CASH• Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO• Thanks to OREN ROSENBAUMLearn more about “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” at DiversionPodcasts.com  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
News About Season 2

News About Season 2

2022-03-0701:39

Good Assassins fans, this is Stephan Talty, jumping back into your podcast feed with some exciting news: Good Assassins Season 2 is coming soon! We can’t tell you all the details of the incredible new story we’re exploring for Season 2 — not just yet — but trust me: it’s another good one. There are a few million of you out there that listened to Season 1, so we know the pressure’s on. But we’re pretty excited to say: we’ve uncovered another thrilling, mysterious spy story for you to dig your ears into. I can tell you that Good Assassins Season 2 does revisit the era of World War II, it does feature some frightening Nazi villains, it does travel some interesting trails into secret missions and spycraft — and most importantly, it tells the story of a spy.  Not just any spy, but someone that will amaze and thrill you, that will impress you with their dedication, fascinate you with their ability, and humble you with their courage in the face of evil. We’ll be able to tell you more soon, but for now, stay tuned to this podcast feed, tell your friends to follow Good Assassins on Apple Podcasts, on the iHeartRadio app, and all the places they follow podcasts… because Good Assassins is coming. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwork.comSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Coming Soon: Season 2

Coming Soon: Season 2

2022-09-0102:05

The woman in the jail cell was proving to be a problem. It was November 13, 1942, and she’d arrived in San Juan de las Abadesas the day before. She was discovered at the train station with three strange men. When the Spanish officers demanded to see their passports, none of them could produce one. The woman was separated from the group and thrown into a cold, isolated cell. The notes in her arrest file only deepened the mystery of her identity. Her Spanish was formal and her accent sounded French to their ears. Among other notes in the woman’s arrest report were her dirty clothes, and a general appearance that made it seem like she hadn’t slept or eaten well in days. And notably, she couldn’t move without displaying a bad limp. Whoever this woman was, she certainly didn’t belong in San Juan de las Abadesas, a small mountain town in the far northeast of Spain just over the border with France. With her formal Spanish and slight French accent, the woman was obviously not a Spanish citizen. So she was transferred to Miranda del Ebro prison some 40 miles away, outside the town of Figueres, where her only comfort was a blanket as dingy and tattered as her dress. Though they didn’t know it at the time, the Spanish Guard had managed to achieve what the Nazis had not, despite years of intensive searching: they had captured Virginia Hall, a woman who would go down in the annals of history as the greatest spy of World War II. Learn more at diversionaudio.com/good-assassins See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This season of Good Assassins is the dramatic story of a different kind of spy: the greatest spy of World War II. A mysterious agent is strategically dismantling the Nazis’ violent grasp on France. They send a devious double-agent to hunt down “The Limping Lady” before she threatens their genocidal plans. But Virginia Hall was tougher than they ever expected. With deep archival research, rare primary source tape, expert interviews, powerful recreations, and a heavy dose of thriller, author and journalist Stephan Talty is back with Good Assassins: Season 2. Run for your life. Learn more at diversionaudio.com/good-assassinsSee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
The story of one of the most consequential spies in American history. Her name was Virginia Hall, and she was known to the Nazis as "The Limping Lady." The Nazis called her “the most dangerous of all Allied spies.” From spy to resistance leader, her story is a thrilling tale of a woman whose efforts in the face of fascism, racism, sexism, and ableism saved thousands of lives.There’s maybe no figure of espionage in all of history like Virginia Hall. She embodies a lot of what’s amazing about fictional spies like James Bond or Ethan Hunt or Sydney Bristow (from the TV show Alias). But unlike all those spies, Virginia Hall was very real. And she changed the course of history.Coming up on Good Assassins Season 2: a devious and double-crossing Nazi priest, elaborate dental work and disguises, and a dangerous trek across a mountain range to escape the most terrifying villains in world history.We’ll bring you daring sabotage plots, thrilling espionage, and brutal war stories as we follow Virginia Hall’s ascent from clerk to international spy to guerilla war leader. You’ve never heard a story like this.  Episode 1, "The Greatest Spy of WWII" contains clips from interviews with Lore Oppenheimer and Hermann Ziering from the Claude Lanzmann Shoah Collection. Created by Claude Lanzmann during the filming of "Shoah," used by permission of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem. © United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Yad Vashem, State of Israel. For more information visit USHMM Learn more at diversionaudio.com/good-assassins “Good Assassins” is a production of Diversion Audio, in association with iHeartPodcasts. Featuring the voices of Matthew Amendt, Orlagh Cassidy, Raphael Corkhill, Manoel Felciano, Sean Gormley, Mikaela Izquierdo, Lenne Klingaman, Andrew Polk, John Pirkis, Steve Routman.This season is hosted by Stephan Talty and written by C.D. Carpenter. Produced and directed by Kevin Thomsen for Real Jetpacks Productions. Story Editing by Jacob Bronstein with editorial direction from Scott Waxman. Additional research and reporting by Sophie McNulty. Theme music by Tyler Cash. Sound Design, Mixing, and Mastering by Paul Goodrich. Sound Editing by Justin Kilpatrick. Executive Producers: Jacob Bronstein, Mark Francis and Scott Waxman for Diversion Audio. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Virginia Hall enlists in France's organization that provided medical assistance to soldiers on the battlefield. It would be a grueling endeavor. Virginia is given basic medical training, learning how to apply tourniquets and bandages on some of the worst wartime injuries recorded in human history. They were supposed to work in the echoes of gunfire, long after the battle was over, but she often found herself closer to firefights and exploding shells than she expected. Virginia was given a job as an ambulance driver and stationed near the Maginot Line. She was to witness hell.It only took a few months for the work to become both physically and emotionally overwhelming. Virginia finds her dreams haunted by the dislocated bones and missing limbs of the blood-soaked soldiers. Virginia leaves France for Britain. She attends a cocktail party of one Ms. Vera Atkins, an anti-fascist sympathizer. There, Virginia sets herself on the path that would change her life--and eventually the entire course of World War II.Learn more at diversionaudio.com/good-assassins “Good Assassins” is a production of Diversion Audio, in association with iHeartPodcasts. Featuring the voices of Matthew Amendt, Orlagh Cassidy, Raphael Corkhill, Manoel Felciano, Sean Gormley, Mikaela Izquierdo, Lenne Klingaman, Andrew Polk, John Pirkis, Steve Routman.This season is hosted by Stephan Talty and written by C.D. Carpenter. Produced and directed by Kevin Thomsen for Real Jetpacks Productions. Story Editing by Jacob Bronstein with editorial direction from Scott Waxman. Additional research and reporting by Sophie McNulty. Theme music by Tyler Cash. Sound Design, Mixing, and Mastering by Paul Goodrich. Sound Editing by Justin Kilpatrick. Executive Producers: Jacob Bronstein, Mark Francis and Scott Waxman for Diversion Audio. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
A Nazi spy is tasked with uncovering underground Allied resistance networks. He was favored by the SS as a top hunter. Robert Alesh was a Luxembourger priest better known in France by his alias: "Father Robert Ackuin." The raids, arrests, and executions that Alesh’s treacherous work made possible set British intelligence back months. Alesh’s time as a priest served him well in his search for Jews and the Allied spies. Alesh begins working for one of the most evil men in history: the head of the Nazi Gestapo in Lyon, France: Klaus Barbie. Alesh receives his first hard evidence of the existence of “The Limping Lady,” the Allied spy running prison breaks and sabotage operations. So Robert Alesh and Virginia Hall begin a game of cat and mouse. This episode contains interviews with:• Dr. Ludivine Broch: A scholar of World War II French history and lecturer at the University of Westminster, UK; Editor of Contemporary European History, associate fellow of the Birbeck Institute for the study of Antisemitism; co-founder of the French History Network• Chris Costa: Executive Director of the International Spy Museum, a 34-year veteran of the Department of Defense, and he served 25 years in the United States Army working in counterintelligence, human intelligence and with special operations forces in Central America, Europe, and the Middle East.• Karen Schaefer: worked for the CIA for 26 years on assignments overseas in Latin America, Europe, Afghanistan and Iraq, where she was Chief of Base and holding several different leadership positions including Chief of Operations, Directorate of Science and Technology; Deputy Associate Director of Military Affairs; and Deputy Chief of Counterintelligence, Near East Division. • Thomas Kselman: professor emeritus at Notre Dame University, specialist in French religious historyLearn more at diversionaudio.com/good-assassins “Good Assassins” is a production of Diversion Audio, in association with iHeartPodcasts. Featuring the voices of Matthew Amendt, Orlagh Cassidy, Raphael Corkhill, Manoel Felciano, Sean Gormley, Mikaela Izquierdo, Lenne Klingaman, Andrew Polk, John Pirkis, Steve Routman.This season is hosted by Stephan Talty and written by C.D. Carpenter. Produced and directed by Kevin Thomsen for Real Jetpacks Productions. Story Editing by Jacob Bronstein with editorial direction from Scott Waxman. Additional research and reporting by Sophie McNulty. Theme music by Tyler Cash. Sound Design, Mixing, and Mastering by Paul Goodrich. Sound Editing by Justin Kilpatrick. Executive Producers: Jacob Bronstein, Mark Francis and Scott Waxman for Diversion Audio. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Virginia Hall joins the UK's spy agency, the Special Operations Executive. The SOE was created to "set Europe ablaze" and wreak havoc on the battlefield: sabotage plus a little espionage, paramilitary operations, make things blow up.After spy training, Virginia heads into the field in Lyon, France, a strategic location for the Allies. They're planting the seeds of a Resistance there and it's a hotspot for Nazi activity. Virginia hooks into the Resistance network but the walls around her begin to push in. The USA, which had remained neutral in the War up to this point, makes broader shows of support for the Allies. And it means Virginia Hall will soon lose her open status—and her cover—as an American newspaper reporter working in France.In her first operation to save a downed British pilot, Virginia has a chilling encounter with Gestapo officers that has fateful consequences for her larger mission.This episode contain interviews with:• Chris Costa: Executive Director of the International Spy Museum, a 34-year veteran of the Department of Defense, and he served 25 years in the United States Army working in counterintelligence, human intelligence and with special operations forces in Central America, Europe, and the Middle East • Judith Pearson: author of The Wolves at the Door: The True Story of America’s Greatest Female Spy, the first biography to tell the story of the amazing Virginia Hall • Brad Catling: great nephew of Virginia Hall • Andrew Orr: a professor in the Department of History at Kansas State University, a specialist in modern military history, intelligence operations in the Middle East, imperialism, civil-military relations, and the history of French Communist Party identity; author of Women and the French ArmyLearn more at diversionaudio.com/good-assassins “Good Assassins” is a production of Diversion Audio, in association with iHeartPodcasts. Featuring the voices of Matthew Amendt, Orlagh Cassidy, Raphael Corkhill, Manoel Felciano, Sean Gormley, Mikaela Izquierdo, Lenne Klingaman, Andrew Polk, John Pirkis, Steve Routman.This season is hosted by Stephan Talty and written by C.D. Carpenter. Produced and directed by Kevin Thomsen for Real Jetpacks Productions. Story Editing by Jacob Bronstein with editorial direction from Scott Waxman. Additional research and reporting by Sophie McNulty. Theme music by Tyler Cash. Sound Design, Mixing, and Mastering by Paul Goodrich. Sound Editing by Justin Kilpatrick. Executive Producers: Jacob Bronstein, Mark Francis and Scott Waxman for Diversion Audio. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Comments (11)

ID19799166

So if this journalist is appalled that a Nazi joined the regime and turn in their friends and neighbors, then I challenge him to write about SOROS who along with his uncle turned in Jews in exchange for MONEY!! and continues to make money in wars and overthrown governments. SOROS sit in a throne being adored by the liberals.

Aug 29th
Reply

Jose Avila

Too many commercials

Jun 16th
Reply

😀😁😂🤣😃😄🤬😡🥱🤫🤔

Meo was called a double agent which is false. A double agent gives secrets to both sides of an operation. Undercover agent is what Meo was.

May 7th
Reply

Astrid Stansted

Apparently, my little homeland and hometown have quite a history. didn't see it coming while looking for a new podcast to binge to.

Apr 28th
Reply

Howard Stein

smashing through these episodes with gusto. very informative and well put together.

Apr 27th
Reply

Bruce Wallace

I hung a picture I hanged a person... makes me cringe when history people make that mistake. Great podcast dude!

Apr 22nd
Reply

Joel Hower

Great podcast so far, definitely can not wait for the next one!

Apr 15th
Reply

Chad S

3rd

Apr 13th
Reply

Fleetwood McDuecen25

Second

Apr 10th
Reply

Antonio Jimenez

First!

Apr 3rd
Reply (1)
loading
Download from Google Play
Download from App Store