• Germany's news in English
 

Expellee Federation admits Nazi past

The Local · 22 Nov 2012, 12:44

Published: 22 Nov 2012 12:44 GMT+01:00

Head of the Federation of Expellees (BdV) Erika Steinbach said she was "not surprised" at revelations that eight of the 13 members on the federation's first committee were former Nazi party members, and a further three had been close supporters of the regime, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said on Thursday.

Several of the federation's early leaders had even been members of the SS, according to the study by the German Institute for Contemporary History in Munich.

In at least one case, the authors believed it "very probable" that a committee member had been involved in the mass murder of Jews on the eastern front, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper said on Monday.

These admissions stand in stark contrast to a 2010 version of the study which played down the connections between the organisation and the Nazi party, said the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper.

The revelations in themselves are not shocking, said Steinbach in a BdV press release. The Nazi pasts of early BdV founders would only surprise those who believed what she called the West German official state myth that government institutions had undergone a radical cleansing process after 1945, she argued.

It is widely known, for example, that former Nazis such as Hans Globke were employed in the first West German administration under Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.

Even in East Germany, where de-nazification was supposedly pursued with fervour, 25 percent of the ruling Socialist Unity Party (SED) were former members of the Nazi party in 1949, said Steinbach.

In addition, many heroes of the post-war cultural Germany such as Günter Grass or Walter Jens have had to "live with their not-so-flawless CVs since then," wrote Steinbach.

According to study author German historian Michael Schwartz, who helped investigate the backgrounds of the 1958 BdV committee members, 84 percent had openly supported the Nazis.

This proportion, he told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Wednesday, was "far above average" when compared to other West German post-war institutions.

Many of the expellees had been Nazi colonizers who volunteered to settle in regions acquired by the Third Reich in the late 1930s and invaded during the Second World War.

In the chaos of 1945, the settlers were driven out of the then mainly German-speaking Sudetenland - acquired by Nazi Germany in 1938 - on the German-Czechoslovakian border, along with ethnic Germans who had been living there for generations.

Settlers were also forced out of the now Polish regions of Silesia, East Prussia and Pomerania.

Having lost their belongings, homes and territory, in the post-war period the expellees insisted on presenting themselves as victims, a view frowned upon by the Western Allies.

Lobbying for the recognition of the expellees' suffering in the late 1950s and 1960s, the BdV called for compensation, an end to the policy of de-nazification and for the return of German territory lost in 1945, wrote the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Still a powerful lobbying group today, the BdV continues to campaign for a controversial memorial foundation for those expelled after the war.

The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:55 November 22, 2012 by William Thirteen
in other news, bears reputed to sh*t in the woods...
18:30 November 22, 2012 by raandy
Or in the buckwheat.
18:52 November 22, 2012 by Onlythetruth
The Federation of Expellees deserves to be expelled at the very least. Those poor suffering nazis are so pitiful, lets all cry one big alligator tear for those desperately wronged germans who thought they could wring some sympathy from us because the brutal way they treated the eastern europeans didn't bring the permanent results they expected.
00:44 November 23, 2012 by olog-hai
Busted. But this bunch was exposed by german-foreign-policy.com a number of years back. What's worse is the federal government in Berlin actually legitimizing their revanchism, whether it has to do with Prussia, the Sudetenland or South Tyrol. (Then again, there are lots of people in the federal government who have no problem telling Greece to sell their islands, right?)
Today's headlines
Buzz grows over Poland Nazi treasure train
Ksiaz Castle in Poland, around where the treasure is fabled to be. Photo: Drozdp, via Wikimedia Commons

Buzz grows over Poland Nazi treasure train

2 hours ago

Poland's deputy culture minister has claimed to have seen a ground-penetrating radar image of the alleged Nazi train that has set off a gold rush, adding that he is 99 percent sure it exists, while other sources claim the treasure has already been found.

Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden
Photo: Oliver Killig / Picture Alliance / DPA

Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden

4 hours ago

Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Dresden on Saturday to welcome refugees, an AFP journalist at the scene said, following a string of violent anti-migrant protests in the region.

Migrant crisis
Austria refugee tragedy suspects appear in court
Screen shot from video by Andi Schiel

Austria refugee tragedy suspects appear in court

1 day ago

Four defendants were to appear in court in Hungary on Saturday over Austria's migrant truck tragedy, as a "horrified and heartbroken" UN chief called for international action to end Europe's refugee crisis.

German court: Ban on refugee demos must stay
Anti-refugee demonstrators carry a sign accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of being a "traitor to the nation" this week in Heidenau. Photo: DPA

German court: Ban on refugee demos must stay

2 days ago

Update: A German court on Friday night reinstated a ban on rallies in an eastern town hit by violent anti-migrant protests, overturning an earlier decision that found the restriction to be "illegal".

Footballers gone wild
Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village
Tegernsee is a famous beauty sport. Photo: DPA

Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village

1 day ago

Villagers in the picturesque Bavarian region of Tegernsee are bristling at World Cup-winning Germany goalkeeper and Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer's plan to build a huge glass villa on the shores of their beautiful lake.

Interview
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Canadian composer and performer Owen Pallett. Photo: Brian Vu

'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'

1 day ago

The Local speaks with Oscar-nominated Canadian musician Owen Pallett about performing at legendary Berlin club Berghain - and just why the world's artists are so fascinated with the German capital.

Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match
Liverpool's Emre can has been called up to the Germany squad to face Scotland and Poland. Photo: DPA

Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match

1 day ago

Liverpool's uncapped defender Emre Can was on Friday called up to the Germany squad for the world champions' forthcoming key Euro 2016 qualifiers against Poland and Scotland.

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
How will life for Brits in Germany change if the Brexit happens? Photo: DPA

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears

2 days ago

Greece is the talk of the town this year. But in 2016, it will be Britain questioning its EU membership. The referendum outcome could be life altering for many Brits living in Germany.

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000
An 87-year-old pensioner found the cash in the bin. Photo: DPA

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000

1 day ago

After throwing away €12,000 this week, a landlord in North Rhine-Westfalia thought he'd made one of the most expensive blunders of his life. But the money made it home safely, police said on Friday – and all thanks to an honest pensioner.

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs
A Cologne SEK unit on deployment in 2013. Photo: DPA

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs

2 days ago

Officers from Cologne's elite Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) police unit should be punished for hazing practices they inflicted on new members, an official in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said on Thursday.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,027
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd