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The author of the biography, Charles Higham alleges that Flynn was employed to gather information on German socialists who fought against General Franco. This resulted in the death of hundreds of volunteers and their families. In 1938 Flynn even met Hitler, who was an admirer of his films, at his Bavarian retreat.
Higham"s claims are partly based on analysis of declassified CIA files. However these have been challenged by other historians, that the commemorations were inappropriate given the actor"s political activities. Higham asserts that Flynn had Nazi sympathies and worked as a Nazi operative if not an actual agent.
Flynn was first noticed for his violently anti-British and pro-Nazi views as early as 1934 and there is little doubt his work for the Nazis resulted in people being killed. Flynn fell under the influence of a Hermann Erben, an Austrian doctor and Nazi party member, in the 1930s. They both travelled to Spain in 1937 where they fed information to the Gestapo.