• Germany's news in English
 

Expellee Federation admits Nazi past

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
Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia
File photo: DPA

Wolf spotted in North Rhine-Westphalia

Camera traps have spotted a wolf for the second time in a month in North Rhine-Westphalia, the state environment ministry reported on Friday. READ  

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay
Paraguayan police on patrol in an area known to contain EPP rebels. File photo: DPA

German ranchers murdered in Paraguay

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin confirmed that two Germans living in Paraguay were kidnapped and killed earlier this week. READ  

AfD braces for busy conference weekend
"Vote AfD!" reads the flyover message. Photo: DPA

AfD braces for busy conference weekend

As leaders of the Germany's anti-Euro upstart party Alternative for Germany (AfD) prepare for its party conference this weekend, the potential for chaos is rising. READ  

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos
Snow in Oberharz. Photo: DPA

Sudden dose of winter causes traffic chaos

UPDATE: Two people were rescued from avalanches as a blast of winter has taken Germany by surprise, while snow and ice accounted for several traffic accidents across the country on Friday. READ  

BND collects 220 million phone records a day
Photo: DPA

BND collects 220 million phone records a day

Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) collects 220 million pieces of information about foreign phone calls and SMS every day, Zeit Online reported on Friday. READ  

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers
Photo: DPA

U-turn on minimum wage for foreign drivers

Germany temporarily hit the brakes Friday on applying its new minimum wage to foreign truck drivers transiting the country in a move welcomed by Poland, which vigorously opposed the system. READ  

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA

Crises make Germany EU foreign policy leader

Foreign policy think-tank the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) gave Germany top marks in its annual check-up of EU member states released on Thursday. READ  

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years
Photo: DPA

Prost! Beer sales hop up for first gain in 8 years

New figures released Friday by federal statistics office Destatis are numbers breweries can drink to, as German beer consumption saw its first year-on-year rise since 2006. READ  

Germany has thousands of uni spots open
Photo: DPA

Germany has thousands of uni spots open

New research published by Spiegel on Friday shows that there are thousands of university placesa unoccupied across the country, while certain hot spots cope with too much demand. READ  

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'
Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp at a press conference. Photo: DPA

Borussia coach admits to 'downward spiral'

Borussia Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp admits feeling the pressure as his side resume their fight to stay in Germany's top flight on Saturday at fellow Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Business & Money
FATCA: 'The age of financial privacy is over'
Gallery
The best regional foods TTIP opponents want to protect
Photo: DPA
Features
The rise and spread of Pegida
Photo: Shutterstock
Culture
This cosplayer did not think his plan through
National
Europe in statistics - from Spain to Sweden
Photo: DPA
Politics
The Local's report from Pegida's largest ever demonstration.
Sponsored Article
Top-notch tech boosts bilingual schools
National
Six stories that will rock Germany this year
Photo: DPA
National
Terror alert at a new high. Should you be worried?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Photo: DPA
National
What were your favourite news stories of 2014?
Gallery
Top 12 German idioms
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
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

3,971
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd