• 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
Chancellor's office 'knew' of US economic spying
An 18-meter-across satellite dish at the BND's Bad Aibling listening post. Photo: DPA

Chancellor's office 'knew' of US economic spying

Chancellor Angela Merkel's office has known since 2008 of US economic espionage targeting European companies such as Airbus but did not react, Bild said Monday, citing intelligence agency documents. READ  

Munich toddler safe after late-night adventure
Munich streets in the dead of night. Photo: DPA

Munich toddler safe after late-night adventure

A two and a half year-old toddler was found wandering through the streets of Munich by police in the early hours of Monday morning. Luckily he was return unharmed to his relieved parents. READ  

Public pitch in to find refugee home arsonists
A set of keys found at the scene of the crime. Photo:DPA

Public pitch in to find refugee home arsonists

After police made a public appeal for information in the arson attack on a refugee home on a television programme on Sunday evening, more than 30 members of the public got in touch. READ  

Greece crisis
Merkel and Tsipras have 'positive' phone chat
Merkel and Tsipras meet in Brussels on 23 April. Photo: DPA

Merkel and Tsipras have 'positive' phone chat

Athens will resume talks with its creditors Monday, a Greek government source said, after Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke on the phone with Chancellor Angela Merkel. READ  

Bayern stroll to 25th Bundesliga title
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola on the sidelines against Hertha on Saturday. Photo: DPA

Bayern stroll to 25th Bundesliga title

FC Bayern Munich found out they had won the Bundesliga title with four games to spare when their only rivals Vfl Wolfsburg lost 1-0 to Borussia Mönchengladbach on Sunday. READ  

Government knew of threat to Ukraine flights
Investigators at the scene of the MH17 crash in eastern Ukraine in mid-April 2015. Photo: DPA

Government knew of threat to Ukraine flights

Berlin knew the risks of flying over war-torn east Ukraine before Flight MH17 was shot out of the sky last year but did not inform German airlines, media reported on Sunday. READ  

Pro-Kremlin bikers defy bans on Berlin ride
Photo: DPA

Pro-Kremlin bikers defy bans on Berlin ride

Dozens of bikers from pro-Kremlin gang the Night Wolves on Saturday set off on a ride to Berlin ahead of the anniversary of Soviet victory in World War II, despite Poland and Germany barring the riders. READ  

VW patriarch Piëch resigns
Photo: DPA

VW patriarch Piëch resigns

Volkswagen patriarch Ferdinand Piëch, has resigned as head of the German auto giant's supervisory board with immediate effect, the company announced Saturday. READ  

Schumacher Jr lives up to his name
Schumacher Jr is too young to drink any of that champagne. Photo: DPA

Schumacher Jr lives up to his name

Mick Schumacher Jr did his famous father proud on his Formula Four debut on Saturday by claiming a trophy as the best rookie and finishing ninth, despite starting 19th. READ  

Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank
Deutsche Bank acquired Postbank in 2008. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank

Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank announced late Friday it was seeking to sell its Postbank subsidiary as part of a revamp to improve profitability. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
German beer day: take the tour
Features
Off to Norway at 18 km/hour
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Gallery
The smileys Germans love to text
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
National
Expats face Monday deadline to register to vote for UK election
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
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

7,135
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd
?>