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Nazis Shaping Postwar German Government? No Kidding!

COMMENT: Sub­stan­ti­at­ing much of what I’ve been say­ing about the post­war role of Third Reich alum­ni in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many, Der Spiegel has set forth infor­ma­tion about many of the Nazis shap­ing the insti­tu­tions of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic.

I would note that, as refresh­ing as it is to see the Ger­man gov­ern­ment and main­stream press final­ly con­fronting this issue, the sto­ry is “mod­i­fied lim­it­ed hang­out.”

Sev­er­al con­sid­er­a­tions in this regard:

  • Dis­cussing the 1953 coup attempt by for­mer Goebbels aid Wern­er Nau­mann, the arti­cle is oblique­ly dis­mis­sive of its sig­nif­i­cance.
  • Nowhere does the sto­ry men­tion the “fuehringsring”–the Nazi under­ground con­trol infra­struc­ture that admin­is­tered the post­war Ger­man gov­ern­ment from its seat in Madrid.
  • In ref­er­ence to the Nau­mann coup attempt, the arti­cle men­tions noth­ing about the roles of Kon­rad Ade­nauer, Hans Globke and oth­er ele­ments of the Ger­man gov­ern­ment in pre­vent­ing any pros­e­cu­tion of the coup plot­ters.
  • Of course, there is no men­tion of the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work or its influ­ence in post­war Ger­many.
  • There is no men­tion of Ade­nauer eco­nom­ics min­is­ter and suc­ces­sor Lud­wig Erhard, or his work with the SS-con­trolled Kleine Arbeit­skreis in plan­ning the post­war Ger­man econ­o­my.
  • And there most assured­ly is no men­tion of how the con­tem­po­rary Ger­man “democ­ra­cy” is ful­fill­ing the Reich’s agen­da by real­iz­ing the goals of a Ger­man-con­trolled Euro­pean eco­nom­ic union, by real­iz­ing the fuehringsring’s strat­a­gem of employ­ing the ver­triebene groups as vehi­cles for the “drang nach osten,” by insti­tut­ing the Greek neo-Nazi par­ty as a gov­ern­men­tal enti­ty to admin­is­ter aus­ter­i­ty, or the house his­to­ri­an of Ger­man media giant Ber­tels­mann (pub­lish­er for the SS dur­ing the war) Dirk Baven­damm’s assess­ment that World War II was start­ed by U.S. impe­ri­al­ism, Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt and Jew­ish con­trol of the Unit­ed States and its media!

“From Dic­ta­tor­ship to Democ­ra­cy: the Role Ex-Nazis Played in Ear­ly West Ger­many” by Ralf Beste, Georg Bonisch, Thomas Darn­staedt, Jan Fried­mann, Michael Frohlings­dorf and Klaus Wiegrefe; Der Spiegel; 3/6/2012.

After World War II, West Ger­many rapid­ly made the tran­si­tion from mur­der­ous dic­ta­tor­ship to mod­el democ­ra­cy. Or did it? New doc­u­ments reveal just how many offi­cials from the Nazi regime found new jobs in Bonn. A sur­pris­ing num­ber were cho­sen for senior gov­ern­ment posi­tions. . . .

. . . The doc­u­ment revealed that Chan­cel­lor Kurt Georg Kiesinger, a mem­ber of the con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­t­ic Union (CDU) who gov­erned Ger­many from 1966 to 1969, had been a mem­ber of the Nazi Par­ty ever since Adolf Hitler seized pow­er. Accord­ing to the Inte­ri­or Min­istry list, Ger­man Pres­i­dent Wal­ter Scheel, a mem­ber of the busi­ness-friend­ly Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (FDP) who was in office from 1974 to 1979, had been a Nazi Par­ty mem­ber “from 1941 or 1942.”

The list names min­is­ters of all polit­i­cal stripes and from a wide range of social back­grounds. Some, like left­ist Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (SPD) mas­ter­mind Erhard Eppler (Min­is­ter of Eco­nom­ic Coop­er­a­tion), did not become Nazi Par­ty mem­bers until the end (at 17, in Eppler’s case). Oth­ers, like con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU) agi­ta­tor Richard Jaeger (Min­is­ter of Jus­tice), had been part of Hitler’s para­mil­i­tary orga­ni­za­tion, the SA (since 1933, in Jaeger’s case). Even FDP lumi­nary Hans-Diet­rich Gen­sch­er (first inte­ri­or min­is­ter and lat­er for­eign min­is­ter), who denies to this day that he know­ing­ly joined the Nazi Par­ty, is list­ed as a Nazi Par­ty mem­ber.

Accord­ing to the gov­ern­ment list, for­mer SPD Finance Min­is­ter Karl Schiller was in the SA, while his fel­low cab­i­net min­is­ter Horst Ehmke was a Nazi Par­ty mem­ber, as were (“pre­sum­ably,” the list notes) for­mer SPD Labor Min­is­ter Her­bert Ehren­berg and Hans Leussink, a for­mer edu­ca­tion min­is­ter with no par­ty affil­i­a­tion. On the con­ser­v­a­tive side, the report names sev­er­al for­mer Nazi Par­ty mem­bers, includ­ing for­mer CDU For­eign Min­is­ter Ger­hard Schröder and for­mer CDU Min­is­ter for Dis­placed Per­sons Theodor Ober­län­der, as well as for­mer CSU Post and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Min­is­ter Richard Stücklen and for­mer CSU Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Friedrich Zim­mer­mann. . . .

. . . . How many Nazis took part in the rebuild­ing of the gov­ern­ment after World War II? How much influ­ence did the sur­viv­ing sup­port­ers of the Nazi dic­ta­tor­ship have on the estab­lish­ment and oper­a­tion of Ger­many’s first func­tion­ing democ­ra­cy?

Offi­cials at the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, the source of the most recent gov­ern­ment doc­u­ment, have issued an EU-wide call for assis­tance in address­ing Ger­many’s Nazi past. His­to­ri­ans from the west­ern city of Bochum are now por­ing over old files from the Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (BfV) which stretch for about 500 meters (1,640 feet) to deter­mine how many of the Nazi dic­ta­tor­ship’s helpers hid under the coat­tails of the domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice in the ear­ly years of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic — and how this could have hap­pened. . . .

. . . In truth, it was­n’t just a few implant­ed Nazis who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Holo­caust through the so-called Juden­refer­at (Jew­ish Depart­ment). In fact, the entire min­istry imple­ment­ed the polit­i­cal dic­tates of the rogue regime with the prac­ticed effec­tive­ness of a func­tion­ing gov­ern­ment agency. The For­eign Min­istry was “part of this mon­strous dic­ta­tor­ship, and it per­formed its duties,” says Nor­bert Frei, a his­to­ri­an from the east­ern Ger­man city of Jena and one of the authors of the study. . . .

. . . The restora­tion of the old elites also had con­se­quences for for­eign pol­i­cy, which vet­er­an diplo­mats still deny to this day. Old Nazis were usu­al­ly sent to posts in South Amer­i­ca and Arab coun­tries, where they shaped the image of the sup­pos­ed­ly new repub­lic. The diplo­mats repeat­ed­ly took steps to pro­tect Nazis hid­ing abroad and accused war crim­i­nals from per­se­cu­tion.

In the 1950s, the Ger­man embassy in Buenos Aires unques­tion­ing­ly issued trav­el doc­u­ments to the fam­i­ly of Adolf Eich­mann, one of the key orga­niz­ers of the Holo­caust, for a trip to Ger­many. No one both­ered to draw any con­clu­sions about Eich­man­n’s where­abouts.

As SPIEGEL revealed in 1968, the main legal pro­tec­tion office at the For­eign Min­istry even devel­oped into a “warn­ing ser­vice” for old Nazis. With the help of the Red Cross, the diplo­mats informed about 800 Ger­mans and Aus­tri­ans that they should avoid trav­el­ing to France, because they had been con­vict­ed of war crimes there and could run into “dif­fi­cul­ties.” . . . .

. . . The chan­cel­lor, for his part, entrust­ed him­self and his chan­cellery to Hans Globke, a for­mer offi­cial in Hitler’s inte­ri­or min­istry and one of the authors of the Nurem­berg race laws. The man Ade­nauer once called “my dear Herr Globke” was the most pow­er­ful gov­ern­ment offi­cial in Ger­many for a time, even though any­one who want­ed to know could eas­i­ly con­sult the abom­inable lawyer’s anti-Semit­ic con­coc­tions. He was respon­si­ble for the manda­to­ry assign­ment of the first names Israel and Sara to Jews in Nazi Ger­many. The abil­i­ty to quick­ly iden­ti­fy some­one as a Jew was one of the pre­con­di­tions of the Holo­caust.

Globke was the most capa­ble civ­il ser­vant that the new coun­try believed it had at its dis­pos­al. Part of his com­pe­tence had to do with the pre­ci­sion with which he once dis­tin­guished among dif­fer­ent clas­si­fi­ca­tions of Jews: “The three-eighths Jew, who has one ful­ly Jew­ish and one half-Jew­ish grand­par­ent, is con­sid­ered a cross­breed with one ful­ly Jew­ish grand­par­ent, while the five-eighths Jews with two ful­ly Jew­ish grand­par­ents and one half-Jew­ish grand­par­ent is con­sid­ered a cross­breed with two ful­ly Jew­ish grand­par­ents.” With the same Pruss­ian bureau­crat’s sense of per­fec­tion, Globke also devel­oped Ade­nauer’s cen­ter of pow­er, the Fed­er­al Chan­cellery at Schaum­burg Palace. . . .

. . . Saevecke embarked on a career in law enforce­ment at the BKA. He had joined the Nazi Par­ty in 1929, when it was still very small, and even­tu­al­ly reached the rank of Haupt­sturm­führer in the SS. While with the SS, Saevecke orga­nized forced labor oper­a­tions involv­ing Tunisian Jews and ran the Milan office of the secu­ri­ty police, where he was respon­si­ble for hun­dreds of exe­cu­tions.

After the war, the senior offi­cial open­ly described him­self as a “for­mer old Nation­al Social­ist.” He remained staunch­ly true to his world­view. As a CIA con­tact not­ed, Saevecke would “lit­er­al­ly stop at noth­ing to sup­press the com­mu­nist move­ment, against which he has felt an ele­men­tary hatred since the 1920s.” While with the BKA, Saevecke was in charge of the police effort sur­round­ing the 1962 SPIEGEL scan­dal, before going into retire­ment. . . .

. . . . Rough­ly 80 per­cent of the judges and pros­e­cu­tors who had served Hitler’s regime of ter­ror until May 8 were soon dis­pens­ing jus­tice once again — but this time in the young Fed­er­al Repub­lic. “Per­haps there is tru­ly evi­dence,” wrote Nazi expert Jörg Friedrich, “that a con­sti­tu­tion­al state can stand on a judi­cial mass grave.” . . .

. . . Now the halls of jus­tice were even staffed with judges who had once served on the Nazis’ Peo­ple’s Court (Volks­gericht­shof), which was set up in 1934 to han­dle “polit­i­cal offens­es” and became noto­ri­ous for the fre­quen­cy, arbi­trari­ness and sever­i­ty of its pun­ish­ments. Nev­er­the­less, the civil­ian courts han­dling the de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion process mere­ly clas­si­fied them as “hang­ers-on.” In 1953, at least 72 per­cent of judges on the Fed­er­al Supreme Court, Ger­many’s high­est court for crim­i­nal and civ­il law, had for­mer Nazi con­nec­tions. The num­ber increased to 79 per­cent by 1956 and, in the crim­i­nal divi­sion, it was at 80 per­cent by 1962. . . .

When the British wire­tapped a group of for­mer Nazis sur­round­ing Wern­er Nau­mann, the for­mer deputy of Nazi Pro­pa­gan­da Min­is­ter Joseph Goebbels, they gained the impres­sion that the ex-Nazis were infil­trat­ing the FDP in North Rhine-West­phalia. On the night of Jan. 14, 1953, British mil­i­tary police offi­cers sur­round­ed the hous­es in the west­ern and north­ern cities of Solin­gen, Düs­sel­dorf and Ham­burg where the Nazi con­spir­a­tors were stay­ing and arrest­ed them. The next morn­ing, the occu­py­ing pow­er informed an aston­ished pub­lic that the Nazis had been pur­su­ing “plans to regain pow­er in West Ger­many.”

In ret­ro­spect, the threat was prob­a­bly not as great as the British por­trayed it, and the case against Nau­mann and his asso­ciates was dropped. But the episode illus­trates how seri­ous­ly the occu­piers took the sit­u­a­tion. . . .


4 comments for “Nazis Shaping Postwar German Government? No Kidding!”

  1. all detailed in my books “Ger­many’s Four Reichs” 2002/3 and sequel “Ger­many’s FOURTH Reich” 2007/8 with accu­rate fore­casts now com­ing true

    Posted by Harry Beckhough | May 23, 2012, 2:06 am
  2. @Harry Beck­hough–

    Once again, it is deeply grat­i­fy­ing to see one of the heroes of Bletch­ley Park using this web­site and con­tin­u­ing the strug­gle against fas­cism.

    In a sup­ple­men­tal com­ment, per­haps you could pro­vide inter­est­ed readers/listeners with infor­ma­tion about order­ing your books.

    In addi­tion, I, too, have been warn­ing about this and pre­dict­ing that the seeds sown in the lat­ter stages of the war and dur­ing the post­war peri­od would blos­som anew.

    Those seeds are now sprout­ing. We must all be “con­stant gar­den­ers,” pulling the weeds wher­ev­er we find them.


    Dave Emory

    Posted by Dave Emory | May 23, 2012, 7:22 pm
  3. @Dave: Amen to that. I myself may end up buy­ing some of Mr. Beck­hough’s books. I’m sure they’ll be a fas­ci­nat­ing read.

    Posted by Steven L. | May 24, 2012, 10:41 pm
  4. Well look at that, it turns out were way more Nazis in the post-war West Ger­man Jus­tice Min­istry that pre­vi­ous­ly rec­og­nized accord­ing to a new study. Sur­prise:

    AFP/DPA/The Local

    Most of post-war jus­tice min­istry were Nazis: report

    A new study pre­sent­ed on Mon­day revealed that more than half of the lead­er­ship of the West Ger­man Jus­tice Min­istry were for­mer mem­bers of the Nazi par­ty, includ­ing dozens of for­mer para­mil­i­tary SA mem­bers.

    Pub­lished: 10 Oct 2016 14:19 GMT+02:00
    Updat­ed: 10 Oct 2016 14:19 GMT+02:00

    Between 1949 and 1973, 90 of the West Ger­man Jus­tice Ministry’s 170 lead­ing judges and lawyers were for­mer mem­bers of the Nazi par­ty, accord­ing to the gov­ern­ment report.

    “There was very large con­ti­nu­ity,” for­mer Jus­tice Min­is­ter Sabine Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er — who had com­mis­sioned the study while in office — told broad­cast­er Deutsch­land­funk on Mon­day.

    Of those 90, 34 had been mem­bers of the Nazi party’s orig­i­nal para­mil­i­tary SA group, which helped Adolf Hitler rise to pow­er and par­tic­i­pat­ed in the bloody Night of the Bro­ken Glass (also known as Kristall­nacht) that killed an esti­mat­ed 91 Jew­ish peo­ple.

    In 1957 alone, 77 per­cent of senior min­istry offi­cials were for­mer mem­bers of Hitler’s par­ty, a high­er pro­por­tion even than dur­ing the 1933–45 Third Reich, the study found.

    “We did­n’t expect the fig­ure to be this high,” said study co-author Christoph Saf­fer­ling, who eval­u­at­ed for­mer min­istry per­son­nel files, speak­ing to the dai­ly Süd­deutsche Zeitung.

    The fas­cist old-boys net­work closed ranks, enabling its mem­bers to shield each oth­er from jus­tice, the study found — help­ing explain why so few Nazi war crim­i­nals ever went to prison.

    “The Nazi-era lawyers went on to cov­er up old injus­tice rather than to uncov­er it and there­by cre­at­ed new injus­tice,” said cur­rent Ger­man Jus­tice Min­is­ter Heiko Maas, who pre­sent­ed the report on Mon­day.

    Last­ing impact on mod­ern era

    The report not­ed how the for­mer Nazis’ actions while in the jus­tice min­istry still have an impact on the present day. Cer­tain ideas from the Nazi era were car­ried over into post-war times, such as con­tin­ued dis­crim­i­na­tion against groups that the Nazis had tar­get­ed, like gay and les­bian indi­vid­u­als.

    One jus­tice min­istry lawyer, for exam­ple, had con­tributed to craft­ing the Nazis’ racial laws, which for­bade mar­riages and affairs between Jews and non-Jew­ish Ger­mans. The same lawyer lat­er held a lead­ing posi­tion in fam­i­ly law under the post-war jus­tice min­istry.

    Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er said that part of the rea­son so many for­mer Nazis had been giv­en high-rank­ing posi­tions in the jus­tice min­istry was that the very first post-war lead­ers need­ed expe­ri­enced lawyers to set up the min­istry.

    But at the same time this was sur­pris­ing because both the first jus­tice min­is­ter, Thomas Dehler, and his state sec­re­tary Wal­ter Strauß had been per­se­cut­ed by the Nazis: Dehler’s wife was Jew­ish and Strauß came from a Jew­ish fam­i­ly.

    Leutheuss­er-Schnar­ren­berg­er said that the process of com­ing to terms with the country’s Nazi past was “the respon­si­bil­i­ty of the entire min­istry”, though above all of the min­is­ter and state sec­re­tary.

    The for­mer jus­tice min­is­ter also not­ed that the sit­u­a­tion of the past could be relat­ed to cur­rent events.

    “When you look today at how the use of the con­cept of ‘nation­al’ is devel­op­ing among the pub­lic, I believe it clear­ly shows how urgent­ly impor­tant it is to show the facts of what hap­pens when peo­ple refer to race or blood­lines as spe­cial, dis­tin­guish­ing fea­tures, mar­gin­al­iz­ing oth­er peo­ple.”

    A study last year by the Cen­tre for Con­tem­po­rary His­tor­i­cal Stud­ies with the bless­ing of the Inte­ri­or Min­istry found that the post-war Inte­ri­or Min­istry was filled with most­ly for­mer Nazis.

    It was­n’t until the 1960s that peo­ple start­ed los­ing their jobs due to their Nazi pasts, a researcher of the inte­ri­or min­istry report told The Local at the time of its release.

    Col­lec­tive amne­sia

    Mon­day’s report casts new light on the ear­ly post-war era’s col­lec­tive amne­sia about Nazi crimes in then West Ger­many.

    Ger­mans were then focused on rebuild­ing a coun­try in ruins, and many remained in denial about past crimes, dis­miss­ing the 1945–49 Nurem­berg tri­als as “vic­tor’s jus­tice”.

    The west­ern allies occu­py­ing the coun­try — the Unit­ed States, Britain and France — were focused on what they saw as the new Cold War threat of Sovi­et Rus­sia, which con­trolled com­mu­nist East Ger­many.

    As a result of these and oth­er fac­tors, allied and lat­er West Ger­man courts only con­vict­ed around 6,650 ex-Nazis, a tiny frac­tion of the par­ty mem­ber­ship.

    Few of these served long jail terms because judges required a high bur­den of proof, includ­ing evi­dence a defen­dant had act­ed on their own ini­tia­tive or with unusu­al cru­el­ty. Most sus­pects were regard­ed as accom­plices and thus received lighter sen­tences.

    A fun­da­men­tal change only came after most war crim­i­nals were dead, with the case of Ukrain­ian-Amer­i­can John Dem­jan­juk, a for­mer death camp guard who had become an auto plant work­er in Ohio.

    In 2011 a Ger­man court con­vict­ed him not for crimes he could be linked to per­son­al­ly, but on the basis that he had served as a cog in the vast Nazi killing machine, at the Sobi­bor camp in occu­pied Poland.


    “The report not­ed how the for­mer Nazis’ actions while in the jus­tice min­istry still have an impact on the present day. Cer­tain ideas from the Nazi era were car­ried over into post-war times, such as con­tin­ued dis­crim­i­na­tion against groups that the Nazis had tar­get­ed, like gay and les­bian indi­vid­u­als.”

    Yep, leav­ing Nazis in posi­tions of pow­er in the Jus­tice Min­istry did­n’t just lead to the pro­tec­tion of pow­er­ful Nazis. It also meant Nazis were going to be inter­pret­ing and imple­ment laws and gov­ern­ment poli­cies. It’s a reminder that while a full “de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion” of West Ger­many would­n’t have real­ly been fea­si­ble giv­en how huge a per­cent­age of the Ger­man pop­u­lace that were part of the par­ty (like the de-Ba’athi­fi­ca­tion of Iraq that end­ed up com­plete­ly alien­ation a huge swathe of the pop­u­lace), there’s still a big dif­fer­ence between allow­ing some low-lev­el ex-Nazis into the post-war gov­ern­ment, those not found to be guilty of heinous crimes, vs stack­ing the Jus­tice Min­istry with them dur­ing the post-war inves­ti­ga­tion peri­od in part so you can stack the oth­er min­istries with key Nazi fig­ures. It’s a pret­ty big dif­fer­ence.

    So that’s some­thing new we learned about the post-war West Ger­man Jus­tice Depart­ment: there were even more Nazis than the cyn­ics sus­pect­ed. And giv­en the role the Jus­tice Min­istry would have in deter­min­ing who would be allowed to work in oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies, it’s going to be inter­est­ing to see how many Nazis end­ed up in oth­er agen­cies upon fur­ther review. And we might find out soon, since those reviews of oth­er min­istries are sched­uled to hap­pen:

    The Finan­cial Times

    Post­war West Ger­man min­istry ‘bur­dened’ by ex-Nazis, study says

    Up to 76% in jus­tice depart­ment from 1949–73 had been in par­ty


    by: Ste­fan Wagstyl in Berlin

    Up to 76 per cent of offi­cials in the post-1945 West Ger­man jus­tice min­istry were for­mer Nazis, accord­ing to an offi­cial his­to­ry pub­lished on Mon­day that high­lights how par­ty mem­bers pro­tect­ed each oth­er long after the sec­ond world war.

    The sur­pris­ing­ly high fig­ure, much big­ger than the researchers had expect­ed, could shed new light on demo­c­ra­t­ic post­war West Germany’s evo­lu­tion after Adolf Hitler’s demise.

    The authors said that the jus­tice min­istry, which plays a key role in the gov­ern­ment in admin­is­ter­ing the law, was prob­a­bly more “bur­dened” by ex-Nazis than any oth­er min­istry.

    The his­to­ry, enti­tled The Rosen­burg Files, after Rosen­burg cas­tle in Bonn where the min­istry was locat­ed, was writ­ten by Pro­fes­sor Christoph Saf­fer­ling and Pro­fes­sor Man­fred Görtemak­er on behalf of an inde­pen­dent com­mis­sion cre­at­ed by the jus­tice min­istry.


    The study exam­ined the files of 170 senior and mid-lev­el offi­cials employed at the min­istry from 1949–73 who were at least 18 years old in 1945. Of these, ful­ly 53 per cent were Nazi par­ty mem­bers. At the peak, in 1957, 76 per cent were ex-Nazis.

    Promi­nent among them was Franz Mass­feller, a Nazi-era offi­cial who par­tic­i­pat­ed in fol­low-up meet­ings to the Wannsee Con­fer­ence, where the exter­mi­na­tion of Jews was planned. He worked at the min­istry until 1960. Anoth­er top offi­cial, who served until 1969, was Eduard Dreher, a Nazi-era pros­e­cu­tor who sought numer­ous death penal­ties for pet­ty offences.

    The jus­tice min­istry his­to­ry fol­lows a ground­break­ing 2010 study of the for­eign min­istry, which argued that Ger­man diplo­mats had been far more close­ly impli­cat­ed in Nazi poli­cies than they had admit­ted in the imme­di­ate post-1945 years.

    Reports into ex-Nazis in the min­istries of the inte­ri­or, finance, and social affairs are in train.

    But the work remains sen­si­tive. Research into the chan­cellery, while long moot­ed, has yet to begin, although it is well-known in Ger­many that Hans Globke, the long-serv­ing chief of staff to Kon­rad Ade­nauer, post­war West Germany’s first chan­cel­lor, had in the 1930s helped devise the anti-Semit­ic Nurem­berg Laws.

    Prof Saf­fer­ling, a co-author of the inte­ri­or min­istry study, said that such research had been long delayed by the ex-Nazi gen­er­a­tion, and lat­er by some of their imme­di­ate suc­ces­sors, act­ing out of per­son­al loy­al­ty: “They didn’t want the past to come out. They knew the fin­ger would be point­ed at them.”

    Mean­while, after 1990 the gov­ern­ment was busy for years with Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion.

    Prof Saf­fer­ling con­cedes that in the imme­di­ate post­war years, it was hard to find expe­ri­enced bureau­crats who were not taint­ed by the Nazi past. Ade­nauer him­self said of Globke: “You don’t throw out the dirty water if you don’t have any that’s clean.”

    How­ev­er, Prof Saf­fer­ling says that the jus­tice min­istry, which start­ed with only 67 per­ma­nent employ­ees in 1949, could have tried hard­er. “They could not find more [non-Nazi] lawyers in the whole of West Ger­many? I don’t believe it. The for­mer Nazis, they helped each oth­er.”

    “The authors said that the jus­tice min­istry, which plays a key role in the gov­ern­ment in admin­is­ter­ing the law, was prob­a­bly more “bur­dened” by ex-Nazis than any oth­er min­istry.”

    Well, let’s hope it was the case the jus­tice min­istry was the most “bur­dened” by Nazis. But it’s hard to say at this point since sim­i­lar reviews of oth­er min­istries are yet to come:

    “Reports into ex-Nazis in the min­istries of the inte­ri­or, finance, and social affairs are in train.”

    But the work remains sen­si­tive. Research into the chan­cellery, while long moot­ed, has yet to begin, although it is well-known in Ger­many that Hans Globke, the long-serv­ing chief of staff to Kon­rad Ade­nauer, post­war West Germany’s first chan­cel­lor, had in the 1930s helped devise the anti-Semit­ic Nurem­berg Laws.

    Prof Saf­fer­ling, a co-author of the inte­ri­or min­istry study, said that such research had been long delayed by the ex-Nazi gen­er­a­tion, and lat­er by some of their imme­di­ate suc­ces­sors, act­ing out of per­son­al loy­al­ty: “They didn’t want the past to come out. They knew the fin­ger would be point­ed at them.”


    Well, bet­ter late than nev­er. And hope­ful­ly not too late.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 11, 2016, 2:23 pm

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