“Ratlines” were a system of escape routes for Nazis and other fascists fleeing Europe in the aftermath of World War II. These escape routes mainly led toward havens in Latin America, particularly Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, and Bolivia, as well as the United States and Switzerland.
There were two primary routes: the first went from Germany to Spain, then Argentina; the second from Germany to Rome to Genoa, then South America. The two routes developed independently but eventually came together. The ratlines were supported by clergy of the Catholic Church, and historian Michael Phayer claims this was supported by the Vatican.
While unanimously considered by reputable scholars to have committed suicide in Berlin near the end of the war, various conspiracy theories claim that Nazi leader Adolf Hitler survived the war and fled to Argentina.