Remember Indiana Jones – the hunky, intrepid American professor of archaeology who battled it out on the cinema screen with ruthless, leather-coated German academics in the deserts of Egypt and the plains of Tibet? The films in which he featured were old-fashioned Boy’s Own yarns, the Nazi treasure-seekers a parody of the bad German, the stories pure fantasy. Or so it seemed.
The Nazi archaeologists did in fact exist. They pitched camp in Tibet and the Middle East; they were paid out of SS funds; they flew little swastika pennants from their tents; they did not hunt for the Ark of the Covenant, but they were looking with single-minded zeal for evidence