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September 18, 2013 3:29 pm

U.S. Tour Operator Glorifies Nazis With Fawning Tours to Hitler’s HQ, Goebbels’s Home, Göring’s Stolen Art Hideout

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Nazi memorabilia for sale online by tour operator Sharkhunters International. Photo: Screenshot.

Nazi memorabilia for sale online by tour operator Sharkhunters International. Photo: Screenshot.

U.S. tour operator Sharkhunters International offers “a 10-day tour of southern Germany that hits all of Adolf Hitler’s favorite spots, like the famous Eagle’s Nest built by the führer’s private secretary, Martin Bormann, for his 50th birthday,” the Southern Poverty Law Center reported in its latest Intelligence Report, in a feature about a 30-year-old Florida-based company that “fetishizes the Nazis and U-boat history, taking its travelers to the hidden gems of the Third Reich.”

Southern Poverty Law Center researches hate groups to help law enforcement track their operations, and claims to have identified more than 1,000 operating in the U.S.

The report into the operations of Sharkhunters International was headlined “Touring the Third Reich.”

In advertising material for its southern Germany tour, Sharkhunters says: “Adolf Hitler really loved the Bavarian Alps and eventually, under the direction of Martin Bormann, an entire sicherheitsdienstzone (security zone) was constructed atop the Obersalzberg,” a mountainside Nazi retreat near Berchtesgaden. If you join the Sharkhunters tour, you get to see where Nazi high officials — Bormann, Hitler, Albert Speer (an architect who designed several prominent Nazi buildings), and others — “had nice homes built.” The tour also takes you to “the very tunnel where Hermann Göring, chief of the Luftwaffe and a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, hid his train filled with art treasures and who knows what else in preparation for his escape to Salzburg.” You’ll even get a look at Hitler’s favorite rock in the Obersee.

If Bavaria doesn’t suit your Hitlerian interests, there’s always the Sharkhunters tours to northern Germany. There, visitors get to take in such sights as the Wolf’s Lair, which was Hitler’s Eastern Front military headquarters, the place where the invasion of Russia was planned. And you get to see Nazi minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels’ former home. Or maybe you would rather take a gander at what Argentina has in store for a Nazi-lover because, as the Sharkhunters website says, South America “had a love affair with the Third Reich.” That Sharkhunters trip will take you to the places where prominent Nazis supposedly hid out after the war.

The Intelligence Report interviewed Sharkhunters founder Harry Cooper, 70, who, in 1983, started the group to feature U-boat and World War II history and today sells Nazi-related memorabilia, including Hitler girlfriend Eva Braun’s home movies, and publishes a newsletter, KTB Magazine, that reports on submarine research. Today, the organization claims 7,700 members in 76 countries.

In the interview Cooper denies that Sharkhunters glorifies the Nazis or is driven by anti-Semitism. “We’re nonpolitical,” he insisted, adding that his best friend is Jewish. When asked why his tours and website are so focused on Nazi history from the Nazi point of view, Cooper said, “It’s a field that I’m interested in, the warfare.” He added, “Now if I was studying the history of the Romans, would you call me a Roman?”

But the evidence appears to contradict his claims. Advertisements for Sharkhunters tours have run regularly in wildly pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic publications. Cooper has counted prominent neo-Nazis, leading anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers, foreign extremist leaders, and even unrepentant members of the Third Reich among his friends, associates and members. His advisory board includes a prominent former member of a leading American neo-Nazi group. He’s enjoyed a friendly dinner with neo-Nazi and former Klan leader David Duke, and spoken at a major Holocaust denial conference. Harry Cooper, the “nonpolitical” tour guide of Nazi Germany, even wears a ring emblazoned with a swastika.

Southern Poverty Law Center said that, under the guise of World War II and U-boat history, Cooper has casually won support from major players, including President Ronald Reagan, for example, listed on the website as having once written, “Regards and admiration to organizations like Sharkhunters who preserve American history,” as well as invitations to speak at the famed Adventurers Club in Chicago, where he gave two sold-out lectures on “How Adolf Hitler Escaped from the Bunker.”

But mainstream groups are finally catching on to the pervasive Nazi glorification that underlies all of his work. The Los Angeles Adventurers Club recently canceled a planned lecture, and the forum, where serious historians and aficionados trade information about submarines, has now banned posts from Cooper and his supporters.

The forum specifically bans posts about Sharkhunters because “these posts generally contain obnoxious remarks and are attempts to recruit new members.” A comment posted on the site offers a conclusion that many others would agree with: “They are a bunch of unsympathetic Nazi lovers.”

Last week, Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League and a Holocaust survivor, told The Algemeiner, “Yes, there are legitimate collectors of war memorabilia, but the last thing we would want is to see Nazi memorabilia wind up in the hands of those who would use it to glorify racism, prejudice or bigotry.”

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  • Wyatt Earp

    Dubious activities aside, Harry Cooper is a kooky old man with a juvenile publication. His website and newsletters look like they were designed and written by a 12 year old. He is unable to carry on even the most basic of conversations without sounding like he is going to cry for his mama. Pathetic.

  • Zephyr

    Wow. It seems most posting here have no idea what Sharkhunters is about, nor of whom its membership consists. It is made up of veterans (and their friends and loved ones) from every involved country–the US, Germany, Russia, and more–who have come together to share history, exchange stories and insight, and heal. My guess is that Cooper’s research into US complicity in Hitler’s escape is still sensitive to a remaining few; hence the smear campaign. You accuse Sharkhunters of being “pro-Nazi” even as its remaining members are former Soviet sub drivers, lol.

  • Those who would like to learn more about Harry Cooper’s dubious activities – including taking part in hardcore Nazi propaganda broadcasts – might like to look at some reviews I’ve posted on Amazon. I’ve reviewed his books “Hitler in Argentina” and the two earlier editions called “Escape from the Bunker”.

    I’ve done more than expose the inaccuracies in these books. I’ve detailed some of the appalling things Cooper has been doing. If you type my name – Roger Clark – into my Amazon profile page you will find the reviews. People who have expressed concern about Cooper’s behavior in this comment column are right to do so.

  • jason slaven

    Actually nazism is is a left wing idealogy. You know complete government control. So more than likely he’s a democrat.

    • No Nazi’s were extreme rightwing, it is you understanding that is lacking. Hitler was empowered by the elites and industrialist and highly militarized. and for your info all governments of all types have complete control of their countries.

      • WJW

        Actually Harold the Nazis were self-stated socialists. So, one might call the Nazis a phenomenon of the left, not the right. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me, I just hate Nazis to begin with.

        The far-right and the far-left tend to happily meet in the middle anyway.

  • William Lyne

    I think it would be a good idea to acquire a copy of Sharkhunters membership list—by subpoena if necessary—to examine for possible Nazi war criminals who might be of interest for purposes of prosecution for crimes against humanity. These criminals must find gratification on finding an organization like Sharkhunters who welcome them in their loneliness. One could also most like find members who have been convicted of other crimes and would make anyone who joined before becoming aware of such Nazi “Kamaradschaft”, the exposure of which might lead them to resign their memberships in disgust and embarrassment.

  • William Lyne

    This Harry Cooper and the Sharkhunters have threatened to defame my character and libel and slander me for what I said about a certain power system for the Electro U-Boat being an oscillator invented by Nikola Tesla. What I discovered about this Harry Cooper and this Sharkhunter outfit is that they are probably working with the Office of Navy Intelligence (O.N.I.) to suppress energy technology that the Navy has highly classified. And I was amazed that a Nazi outfit—which I have called “Naziphiles”—is operating openly in our United States and appears to have some covert (but not too covert)support from our government.

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  • Paul Brewer

    Hey….there’s a new thing going…it’s called freedom under the Constitution…..yeah there’s a fetish component, but when will you start telling me the “proper” way to make my bed ?

  • Aron Bally

    There is a revival of nazi sentiments as well as ideology.People started forgetting the horrors of this regime. In Bulgaria there are people , who glorify King Boris for saving the Jews , forgetting that he was an ally of Nazi Germany , who adopted antisemitic laws and put them in effect as well as sending the Jews from the ” new” annexed territories of Macedonia and Greece – 12000 innocent ,even children to Treblinka. His gendarmes killed american pilots , whose planes were shot down on Bulgarian territory. Estonia, LAtvia , Litva also – there you can see SS lgionaires marching and the government supports such policy. Should this happen again to remember autrocities of this war??

  • kennyg

    Goring’s stolen art hideout..humm.. very interesting.

    • shoshana

      it is true but they have mostly been returned to the legitime possessors of these pieces. some of them belonged to private families. I know that the museum Louvre in Paris did it. The problem was that some of these families were jews and they were killed in the Shoa.
      Believe me I know!

  • Vern Trotter

    If you Google Harry Cooper Sharkhunters you get a ton of info. A lot of he said/ she said stuff and alleged lies and so forth. The free market will take care of this situation and this fellow will disappear back under his rock.

    Whether he votes Democrat or Republican or at all is not relevant. The travel industry has always been “let the buyer beware” and one should always buy travel insurance. Thanks for the information.

  • Sandy Brown

    They just do not stop do they, these people trying to make money off this. Yes, we should perform lobotomies on all these people. Would be quicker in the long-run.

    • John

      “we should perform lobotomies on all these people”

      Hello can YOU hear yourself???
      Sorta like what the Nazis did to various groups of peoples throughout Europe that did not conform!
      Make up your mind; love, hate, can’t have it both ways dear. Or can YOU?

  • Stuart Hersh

    Why enrich Nazi coffers, when you can see Hitler’s Berghoff and his bombed-out (by the British RAF)Berchtesgaden (although the town itself is quaint). Goebbel’s home (family included). Karinhall (Goering’s former estate was also destroyed by Allied bombers.

    All these are available on You Tube, at no cost, most are in HD and can be downloaded for free. You Tube also features interviews by descendants of the Nazi leaders Himmler, Goering, Hans Frank, and Franz Ferdinand Hoess.This, in addition to the story of Hitler’s own family tree, including his nephew who came to the US and served in the US Navy during World War II, against his uncle.

  • M.A. Kinamohn

    No doubt another right wing republicon!

  • Prof Asher J Matathias

    There remains a fascination, and room for profit, for any marketable commodity, however outlandish, so this attraction appeals to a niche clientele of particular taste. My suggestion is to have the tour include visits to ghettos and concentration camps where millions of Jews gave their last breath; a more meaningful, and elevating way to raise sensitivity. Moreover, in this unbelievable period where Holocaust denial is entertained ias a subject of discussion, why not offer literary works, say Wiesel’s Night, free of charge to all who sign up for this journey to human depravity?

    • Lynne T

      Professor — Rather than being repulsed and saddened, the sort of people who would want to go on this tour would likely take ghoulish delight in visiting a place where Jews were rounded up, tortured and murdered in vast quantities.

    • Penny Blitz

      I would like for the participants to, not only visit the ghettos, but also have the opportunity to spend a week or two there and really experience the horrors. Those who felt brave enough could spend extra $$$ to have the privilege of sleeping in the crematory for a couple of nights. Wouldn’t that be fun?

  • Alon

    All these Neo-Nazis should have lobotomy performed on them…that is if the doctors are able to find such tiny, tiny brains