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The Nazi Criminals Who Became German Spooks

Discussion in 'Post War 1945-1955' started by kerrd5, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. kerrd5

    kerrd5 Ace

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    "Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the BND, is having historians look into its shadowy early years, when the organization hired former Nazi criminals. The coming revelations could prove embarrassing for Chancellor Merkel's Christian Democrats and may even tarnish the legacy of former Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.

    "They called Johannes Clemens the 'Tiger of Como.' When an SS captain bore a nickname like that, it rarely meant anything good. Clemens belonged to a squad that shot 335 civilians in the Ardeatine Caves near Rome in 1944, one of the worst massacres on Italian soil during World War II.

    "Former chief inspector Georg Wilimzig also had blood on his hands. His 300-member squad, known as IV/2, murdered thousands of men, women and children following the German invasion of Poland in 1939."

    Intelligence Agency's Murky Past: The Nazi Criminals Who Became German Spooks - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International
     
  2. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    One must remember when this was formed, as the "hot war" against the Nazis wound down, the "cold war" was winding up and both the west Germans and the western allies wanted "expertise" in dealing with the Soviets. I'm sure too many "criminals" were ignored (or embraced)from the "just over war" to aid ourselves in the "developing war" against the Soviets.

    Was that "wrong"? Probably at some level, just like giving too many of the Unit 731 scientists and administrators a "pass" in the Far East War Crimes Trials. But there was a reason at the time, and is understandable if not entirely ethically, morally defensible. The USSR and the Red Army had over-run the facility of 731, and captured a great number of the Unit's workers, we (western allies) didn't know what the Soviets had gained (documents/scientists/technicians), and even with our temporary atomic advantage we didn't want to loose it to bio or chemical warfare devices.

    Not another "proud" moment in American history, but rather easily understood in the tenor of the moment rather than through the lens of hindsight. Just a thought.
     
    Kai-Petri and kerrd5 like this.
  3. kerrd5

    kerrd5 Ace

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    I agree, Clint. It is necessary to put this into historical context, as you have done so admirably.


    Dave
     
  4. The_Historian

    The_Historian Pillboxologist

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    When the Germany Army was reconstituted in 1955, the Soviets made great play of the fact all the leading figures were ww2 veterans- or 'Nazi war criminals' as they called them.
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    East Germany was not very different, I suppose. Besides I recall there were more people working for the police in DDR than in nazi Germany...so which was more of a police state?

    Ex-Nazis Held Top Jobs in Communist East Germany, Welt Says - Bloomberg

    The study surveyed 441 top communist functionaries in the territory of the current eastern state of Thuringia between 1946 and 1989. Of these, 263 were old enough to have been Nazi party members during the Third Reich. Researchers found 36 of these joined the Nazi party. That rate -- 13.6 percent -- was a higher proportion than for the overall population of the region, the report said.

    Die Welt said the study shows that the common belief that West Germany tolerated former Nazis in leadership posts, while East Germany’s “anti-fascist” stance barred them, is a “myth.”
     
  6. Metal/WW2-enthusiest

    Metal/WW2-enthusiest recruit

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    this isn't really all that surprising i think. because as we all know, the Nazi's did have some of the most brilliant and sucessful commanders in the entire war. if anything, it was probably a smart move on the West's part for enstilling such men in key positions in the Bundeswehr because if the Solviets did decide to attack, the west would have a major upper hand strategically because not only did they have the wealth of tactical knowledge from their own generals, but they then had the tactical knowledge of the same German commanders that probably could have won the war in the east had Hitler not neglected to heed their advice.
     
  7. Kingkat

    Kingkat Member

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    We never really understood either Communist Russia, (or China for that matter), and thought communism was a "world wide" conspiracy. We subscribed to the idea of............"the enemy of my enemy is my friend". As Europe began to crumble, we saw ourselves AND Russia as the 2 great powers of the New World.

    The Germans had a good deal of intelligence on Russia, and knew how they operated. Others have said, it was because the Germans were Anglo-Saxons, in other words "white". As stated above, not one of our brightest moments.
     
  8. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    Really? It was a racial thing? :rolleyes:

    Meanwhile, back at the topic...

    It's very easy for us to sit at our computers 60+ years later and pass judgment on decisions that were made during a very tense and volatile time. They had just come out of a long war and were facing an expansionist regime in the Soviet Union. Sometimes governments have to make difficult decisions and make unpleasant choices by weighing their options as they saw them at that time. They didn't have the luxury of hindsight. In a perfect world, they could entertain Utopian ideals of only dealing with nice people, but this is not a perfect world. There are a lot of bad people who want to do and are doing bad things. If any one thinks that governments today (and not just the USA) aren't using "criminals" to further their security and political interests, well, good luck with that.
     
  9. Kingkat

    Kingkat Member

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    Took a college class about the time period. HIS theory was because we had "interred" the Japanese here,, it might be racially motivated. I always wondered about it.

    However, I feel after all these years it is easy to re-invent history to our own ends. WE won, so WE get to write the history, as Churchill said.
    Also, I remember that it was Lindbergh, who during his time of extreme-isolationism, called a German dominated Europe a "white rampart against the yellow hordes of the East". Pure fear mongering. And unfortunately, our track record on "race" is a little spotty.
     
  10. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    The argument about that "racial motivation" isn't totally without merit, however it ignores the thousands of German and Italian Americans who were either "Interred" or "restricted" in their personal ability to move in America. Joe DiMaggio's father couldn't cross the bay to watch his son play in San Fran. Now that is "minor" compared to being "shipped off" to relocation camps, but many Italian and German Americans were treated poorly as well. And many (60,000?) were "relocated" as well as the Japanese-Americans. And they were American citizens from the naturalization classes, and their children were also born on American soil.

    Japanese were not allowed to be naturalized, and only their children were semi-recognized as American citizens. That status was in question clear into the late thirties. Our (American) immigration/emigration policies were works in progress since the early part of the twentieth century, and hadn't been resolved when WW2 changed everything.
     
  11. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Member

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    I'm suprised that Germany is starting to make a fuss about who the BND employed....the BND's own origins are somewhat questionable! It was just Reinhard Gehlen's nationalised "Geheimes Organization" after all! Gehlen even remained at its helm until 1968.

    At the end of the war, Gehlen literally buried a huge cache of Fremde Heere Ost's files on Soviet and Communist sympathisers and activists which later formed the core of his organisation's Registry; all of FHO's files were microfilmed and buried in various locations in the Alps, and fifty cases of the original files were buried in Upper Bavaria for selling/bartering after the war...in what he foresaw would be a period when the Western Powers would be facing the Soviets with zero intelligence penetration of the countries occupied by the Soviets.

    Gehlen Organization - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  12. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    A rather intersting statment. Any data or logic to back it up?
    With good reason ... it was.
     
  13. TD-Tommy776

    TD-Tommy776 Man of Constant Sorrow

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    College prof, eh? Well, that explains a lot. Good on you for questioning "his theory". College professors don't necessarily know it all. Some don't really know much of anything and still others may have an agenda. It's up to the student to think for and educate themselves.

    I would respectfully disagree with Churchill. It's not just the winners who write (or re-invent) history.


    Being the first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic does not make someone the spokesman for the entire nation. It might make him a famous racist and Nazi sympathizer, but not America's spokesman. As for "our track record on race", if you are talking about the human race's track record on "race", I would say that it is, at best, spotty. America didn't invent racism and it hasn't cornered the market on it either.

    Now, I will shut up and allow this thread to get back on topic. :)
     

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