Most Post-WWII German Justice Officials Were Former Nazis: Study

The entry of the colours, or Swastikas at the German National Socialist Party Day at Nuremberg. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Hulton Archive/Getty

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany’s post-World War II justice ministry was infested with ex-Nazis hell-bent on protecting their former comrades, according to a new official study released Monday.

Fully 77 percent of senior ministry officials in 1957 were former members of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi 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 Sueddeutsche 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 Heiko Maas, Germany’s justice minister, who presented the report Monday.

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