Cuban President Fidel Castro brought in former Nazis to train his team during the height of the Cuban missile crisis 50 years ago.
Newly declassified papers released by German intelligence reveal that, at the height of the crisis in October 1962, the Cuban leader invited four Waffen-SS officers over to Havana to train his army.
He offered them four times the average salary they could have received at home if they stayed on in Cuba.
While the report says all four officers accepted the offer, only two are known to have ended up in Cuba, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) documents disclosed.
The SS was a separate force from the German army and known as the armed wing of the Nazi party - it was originally set up as a bodyguard group to protect Adolf Hitler.
"Clearly, the Cuban revolutionary military had no fear of any personal contact with those associated with Nazism, as long as they served their objectives," said BND's historical investigations director Bodo Hechelhammer.
The former Cuban leader also wanted to buy weapons from Europe, dealing with an arms trafficking network run by two right-wing Germans to try to purchase 4,000 Belgian machine guns through West Germany, the documents published in Die Welt explained.
The newspaper says the "obvious and probable conclusion is that Castro wanted to free itself from total dependence on Soviet arms and trainers. But that has meaning only if he wanted to pursue their own policies".
The Cuban missile crisis began after the US discovered that nuclear missiles were being sent to Cuba.
Following a frightening 12-day standoff when the world hovered on the brink of a nuclear war, Presidents John F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev of the USSR came to a secret agreement.
Subsequently, US nuclear missiles were removed from bases in Italy and Turkey.