Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
All Germans are responsible for and guilty of the perpetrated massacre. But who gives them the moral lessons? Strangely it’s not the representatives of the nations who suffered the most from German Nazism. Moral lessons are given by the main culprit who engendered the monster of fascism: the Anglo-Saxon world. The sad irony of history, isn’t it?
How ordinary Germans buried the victims of Nazism
In the Western side of occupied Germany in the years 1945-48, the allies counted 3.5 million Germans involved in Nazism, real punishment was received by only tens of thousands. But overall, all of the German nation was recognized as ill, and passed through denazification, the most severe form of which was the forcible reburial of the victims of Nazism bare handed (photos 18+).
In the Western occupation zone, the Americans, British, and French divided all Germans into several groups. Attributing to a particular category attracted different punishments. For example, for the perpetrators, including the purpose of taking advantage: a) work camp for 5 years, or community service, b) an additional full or partial confiscation of property, especially of a valuable nature, with the exception of items of everyday use; c) in some cases, the deprivation of voting rights or a ban on holding certain positions for a period of not less than 5 years.
For fellow companions: a) single contribution or regular payment of a sum of money to the fund for reparation of caused damage (minimum 50, maximum of 2,000 Reichsmarks); b) in case of refusal of payment, a monetary penalty was replaced by forced labour for not more than 30 working days; c) additional punishment for state servants was proposed: the trial chamber may propose a demotion or sending into retirement. It is characteristic that regarding item “c” the legislator says: “to apply “in rare cases”.
The basis for obtaining a certificate of denazification, as well as possible presentation of accusations and the launching of procedural paperwork, an extensive questionnaire (out of 131) served as the basis for this, which required the respondent to fill in very detailed information on personal, professional, and political life. In order to stop the attempted evasion of questioning, the most effective means in the postwar period were used: ration cards were issued only on presentation of a receipt confirming delivery of the questionnaires to the town hall. Also accommodation in the village and employment in an institution or a private company (and following the reception continuing of work until dismissal) required the aforementioned receipts.
In the event of illegal accommodation the landlord of the apartment was subject to serious sanctions. Specific punishment was provided in the form of imprisonment or monetary penalty for false information in the questionnaire and the avoidance of registration.
In the American zone, where the approach to cleansing were the most severe, 3.5 million cases were reviewed and recognised: as the main perpetrators – 1654; guilty – 22,122; slightly guilty – 106,422; fellow companions – 485,057; not guilty – 18,454; falling under amnesty – 2,789,196. Investigation ended for various reasons – 200,207.
In July 1946, on the initiative of General Clay, the Amnesty of youth took place: those who were born after the first January 1919 and were not on the lists of active Nazis and war criminals were released from denazification.
At the end of may 1948, the three Western allied zones stopped controlling denazification and handed it completely over to the Germans.
But overall the allies identified the Germans as an ill nation and began to “heal” them. Even the great psychologist Carl Jung developed the psychological framework of denazification. In particular, he identified the main problem of war-transitional European Nations was a lack of conscience. And what happened to the Germans is a disease, and all Germans are ill at once, in equal measure, regardless of political affiliation, relation to Hitler, and membership in the Nazi party.
New German elite under the supervision of the allies had no intended to limit itself with such protective measures, such as the conviction of the major war criminals and punishment of the major and minor Nazis, but was aimed at complete eradication of the fatal spirit of Nazism and the democratization of society.
The re-education began in some towns and villages with shock therapy: the population was forced to inspect a concentration camp in their area, the documentary about the extermination camps “Millstones of Death” was demonstrated to “voluntary-compulsory” spectators.
But the most stringent method of denazification was the forced reburial of Nazi victims by the hands of ordinary Germans. Below are photos, how this process was conducted:
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