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Nazi and SS Roots of Modern German Police Establishment

Heinrich Mueller: Gestapo Chief and postwar security director for NSDAP forces in exile

Reinhard Heydrich: Hitler's Top Cop

COMMENT: An insightful post graces the Deutsche Welle website. We’ve highlighted the unfolding scandal surrounding the German judicial establishment’s collusion with neo-Nazi elements and the government’s ongoing cover-up and destruction of evidence in the case. That collusion appears to be proactive, to an extent.

 A recent book by a former official of the BKA, the German federal police (equivalent of the FBI) focuses on the Nazi and SS origins of that agency. (33 of 48 top BKA officials at the agency’s inception had backgrounds as SS leaders.)

Supplemented by an internal colloquium, the inquiry notes the postwar Nazi networking within the BKA and the effect this appears to have had on postwar German law enforcement, particularly with regard to policy toward right-wing extremists, anti-immigrant xenophobia and anti-Semitism.

Worth remembering in this regard is the concept of bureaucratic inertia. Government bureaucracies manifest that inertia, and the contemporary German collusion with Nazi elements must be viewed against the background of the Nazi/SS genesis of the BKA.  

We should not fail to note that the SS/Nazi officials heading the BKA would undoubtedly have answered to former Gestapo chief Heinrich Mueller, security director for the Bormann Capital Network and the Underground Reich.

German Police Begins Banishing Long Shadow of Nazi Past; Deutsche Welle; 2012.

EXCERPT: A Federal Crime Office investigation into how former SS officers remained at its helm well into the 1960s is well underway, providing new insights into how Nazis were reintegrated into mainstream society.

The ties between some BKA founders and Nazis are no longer disputed. . . .

. . . A total of three colloquia focusing on the role of ex-Nazi police officers who founded the BKA in 1951 and made up the core of its leadership into the 1970s, was launched by the BKA in the summer. The agency has opened its archives to an inter-disciplinary team of renowned researchers.

The founding core of the BKA included some 48 members of the Nazi security forces known as the Reichskriminalpolizei, or Kripo. They became part of a new Criminal Police Force in the postwar British Occupied Zone, which later evolved into the BKA. According to Ziercke, of the 48, 33 had been SS leaders. . . .

. . . .At the end of the 1950s, nearly all of the BKA leadership positions were still filled with ex-Nazis or SS leaders. According to Ziercke, the police organization was rife with cliques and internal connections leading back to the Nazi era that helped with re-commissioning.

The BKA’s investigation aims to examine the question of whether the Nazis’ notions on crime fighting were carried on after the war. . . .

. . . . But then came the publication of a book by a former BKA employee Dieter Schenk. Titled “The Brown Roots of the BKA,” the book argues that the organization had been founded by active Nazis.

Whether the BKA founders were Nazis or merely careerists is something discussed in the Schenk book as well as the current colloquia. More important, according to Schenk, is his belief that the political leanings of the BKA founders can still be felt in its policy, “in the half-heartedness with which it has fought against the radical right, anti-Semitism and anti-immigrant” elements in the country. . . .

 

Discussion

3 comments for “Nazi and SS Roots of Modern German Police Establishment”

  1. How many members of the post-war German gov and civil service were known Nazis?

    Bearing in mind these figure only include ‘known’, rather than the ones that managed to keep it quiet….

    “204 top officials in the Federal Economics Ministry who served under Ludwig Erhard between 1949 and 1962, more than half had a Nazi past. Four of them joined the Nazi Party before Adolf Hitler came to power 1933, 29 percent after March 1933, and 20 percent after 1937. In the Third Reich, they were Nazi section leaders (Rottenführer) or squad leaders (Scharführer), senior assault leaders (Obersturmführer) and assault leaders (Sturmbannführer) in the SA. Four belonged to the SS Cavalry Corps, and seven to the General SS, of whom one was an SS senior assault leader and six were block leaders.

    Of the candidates applying for a post under the de-Nazification proceedings, 19 (11 percent) were classified as “fellow travellers,” while 70 were regarded as “tainted.” Among them were a minister and 25 state secretaries.

    The basis for the recruitment of former Nazi party members into the ministries was a supplementary Act of 1951 to Article 131 of the Constitution, according to which previously released “lesser offenders” could be reintroduced into the civil service. Between 1951 and 1953, the total number of those re-employed in the federal and state administrations (excluding the post office and railways) under Article 131 was 39,000.

    In 1952, approximately 38 percent of senior civil servants in the Foreign Ministry were former Nazi Party members. By March 31, 1955, some 77.4 percent of all civil servants at the Ministry of Defence had come in under Article 131.
    At the Ministry of Economics, the figure was 68.3 percent, and at the Press and Information Office, 58.1 percent. At the Ministry of Defence, there were 190,280 soldiers, Army officials and survivors who fell under Article 131.

    The response lists 27 government members who were in the Nazi Party. The list includes members of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), Christian Democratic Union (CDU), Christian Social Union (CSU) and Free Democratic Party (FDP).

    Interestingly, the findings regarding the “Gehlen Organisation,” the forerunner of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), established in 1946 by the Allies, note:

    “According to public documents from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), by early 1954, some 50 or 51 employees of the Gehlen Organization had previously been in the Waffen SS, General SS or the SS Security Service.” (a MASSIVE understatement)

    There were 203 officials with a Nazi past in the Office of the Attorney General.

    The figures in the government response are incomplete in many respects, because the reporting of Nazi Party membership on taking up a post varied widely from one institution to another. As one report from 2005 shows, many personnel records made no note of Nazi Party membership.

    Numerous personnel files have been destroyed, making impossible a scientific investigation of those with a possible Nazi past.

    Of the nearly one million public servants in 1955, the personnel files of only 210,000 remain. (ie the huge figures above are based on only 1/5th of the total)

    The long delay in appraising Nazi crimes and the long history of concealment of the Nazi links of officeholders in Germany have led to a situation where much can simply no longer be investigated.”

    Bundestag document – http://dip21.bundestag.de/ dip21/btd/17/081/1708134.pdf

    Posted by GW | January 15, 2013, 5:10 pm
  2. Take a look at the Wikipedia listing for ‘Braunbuch.’ This book, published by the East Germans, was characterized as propaganda and its sale banned in West Germany. It identified the Nazi backgrounds of many West German officials, including many police officials. The book is in German.

    Posted by Mr. Orange | January 26, 2013, 1:41 pm
  3. http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/german-intel-paid-neo-nazi-informer-240000-18589845

    German Intel Paid Neo-Nazi Informer $240,000
    BERLIN February 25, 2013 (AP)

    Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has come under fire for paying almost a quarter of a million dollars to a neo-Nazi informer linked to a far-right terror group.

    Opposition lawmakers and anti-Nazi campaigners criticized the payments made over 18 years after they were first reported Sunday by conservative weekly Bild am Sonntag.

    Officials at the intelligence agency declined to comment on the report. But the head of a parliamentary committee tasked with investigating a string of murders allegedly carried out by the group says the information appears accurate.

    Lawmaker Sebastian Edathy told The Associated Press on Monday that the newspaper’s report matched information submitted to his committee.

    Edathy said the payments totaling €180,000 ($240,000) to a man identified by the newspaper as Thomas R. were “off the scale” for an informant.

    Posted by Vanfield | March 1, 2013, 12:40 pm

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