Former German President Walter Scheel (1974-1979) had joined the Nazi Party in the early ’40s under Adolf Hitler’s rule.(Michael
Twenty-five cabinet members, one president and one chancellor of postwar Germany were former members of the Nazi Party, according to government papers
released last year and recently analyzed by Spiegel Online.
The list includes politicians from all of Germany’s major parties. Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger (1966-1969) from the Christian Democratic Union
joined the Nazi Party when Adolf Hitler seized power. German President Walter Scheel (1974-1979) from the Free Democratic Party joined the Nazi Party
in 1941 or 1942.
Minister of Justice Richard Jaeger and Finance Minister Karl Schiller were even part of Hitler’s storm troopers.
“None of this information is new,” notes Spiegel Online. “For years, the notion that partisans of the Nazi regimes were able to manipulate their
way into the top levels of government in the young federal republic, and that former Nazi Party members set the tone in a country governed by the
postwar constitution in the 1950s and ’60s has been a subject for historians.”
This search for ex-Nazis, it notes, is deeper than any carried out before, and it is not over. “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,” it writes.
It notes that historian Michael Wildt believes “it will become clear that all government institutions, provided they existed at the time, were
involved ‘in the mass crimes of the Nazis.’”
“And the institutions that were newly formed under the postwar constitution, namely the police and the intelligence services, were largely staffed
with civil servants from the old, criminal organizations,” it writes. “Ministries and government agencies have ‘covered up, denied and
repressed’ their dark history, says Wildt.”
It warns that “hardly anyone in law enforcement was not tainted with a Nazi past.”