Study on dealing with the Nazi era: “A lot is still in the dark”

Status: 13.09.2021 2:35 p.m.

The role of many government agencies during and after the Nazi era is still unclear – this also applies to the Office of the Federal President. That is why incumbent Steinmeier commissioned a study. The first results are now available.

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier sees a considerable need for clarification regarding the involvement of government agencies in National Socialism and how it was dealt with after 1945. “Behind the facade of the state, a lot is still in the dark. Much is not yet sufficiently illuminated and not told,” said Steinmeier.

There are still no studies on the highest constitutional organs of the federal government. “And I mean: The office of head of state should not be missing here,” said Steinmeier in an interim assessment of a research project that he had commissioned through the office of the Federal President.

“Not all victims are thought appropriately by a long way”

For his part, as Federal President, he feels “a special responsibility not to evade the story of my own office, but to face it openly and self-critically,” said Steinmeier.

The Federal President emphasized that the stories of the victims of Nazi crimes could literally be found behind almost every facade. “But despite decades of scientific research and historical appraisal, not all of these stories have been told, all crimes are known, and not all victims are adequately thought about.”

The results are to be published in book form in 2022

The research project “The Office of the Federal President and the Confrontation with National Socialism 1949–1994” started in May 2020. The study is conducted by the historian Norbert Frei from the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. Today he gave an insight into the work of his team so far, which should be completed next year.

Frei balanced that the Federal Presidents between 1949 and 1994 were “moderators rather than avant-garde” in the debate about how society dealt with the Nazi past – albeit “in different ways”.

The results of the investigation are to be published in book form in the coming year.

NS study on the office of the Federal President

Gudula Geuther, DLF, September 13, 2021 7:56 p.m.

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