Podcast recommendation: The Ratline from BBC Sounds, a gripping, intriguing tale

October 25, 2019 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism, podcasting.

Hundreds of Nazi criminals escaped justice at the end of World War II through something called the Ratline.

But few were as high on the wanted list as Otto von Wächter, an Austrian SS officer whose administrative positions during the war had him overseeing the deaths of thousands of Jews, Poles, gypsies, and others who the Third Reich deemed unworthy.

Philippe Sands, a British barrister whose grandfather’s family was murdered in one of the towns that Wächter oversaw, takes listeners on a mysterious journey, exploring the strange collection of personalities and relationships — including some at the Vatican — who were involved with the Ratline that allowed Wächter to escape justice.

The Ratline’s website describes it this way:

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. Source: Intrigue – Ep1. The Ratline – Secrets in the Castle – BBC Sounds

I listened to all 10 of the episodes of The Ratline in one weekend (they are 20 to 30 minutes each), and the series is all of the things the BBC says it is. In addition, you have the voices of Stephen Fry and Laura Linney reading some of the letters of Wächter and his wife Charlotte.

This series is part of the BBC’s set titled Intrigue, and the title is apt. They take on stories that are interesting, mysterious, and significant. The BBC’s press release for The Ratline is here in case you want to find out more about it.

If you have never listened to a podcast series before, this would be a good place to start.

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