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.