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Since the end of World War II, historians and psychologists have investigated the factors that motivated Germans to become Nazis before and during the war. While most studies have focused on the high-level figures who were tried at Nuremberg, much less is known about the hundreds of SS members, party functionaries, and intelligence agents who quietly navigated the transition to postwar life and successfully assimilated into a changed society after the war ended.

In A Nazi Past, German and American scholars examine the lives and careers of men like Hans Globke — who not only escaped punishment for his prominent involvement in formulating the Third Reich's anti-Semitic legislation, but also forged a successful new political career. They also consider the story of Gestapo employee Gertrud Slottke, who exhibited high productivity and ambition in sending Dutch Jews to Auschwitz but eluded trial for fifteen years. Additionally, the contributors explore how a network of Nazi spies and diplomats who recast their identities in Franco's Spain, far from the denazification proceedings in Germany.

Previous studies have emphasized how former Nazis hid or downplayed their wartime affiliations and actions as they struggled to invent a new life for themselves after 1945, but this fascinating work shows that many of these individuals actively used their pasts to recast themselves in a democratic, Cold War setting. Based on extensive archival research as well as recently declassified US intelligence, A Nazi Past contributes greatly to our understanding of the postwar politics of memory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813160566
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 04/29/2015
Pages: 326
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

David A. Messenger, author of Hunting Nazis in Franco's Spain, is associate professor of history and director of the Global and Area Studies Program at the University of Wyoming.

Katrin Paehler is associate professor of history at Illinois State University and a contributor to Secret Intelligence and the Holocaust.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations vii

Introduction David A. Messenger Katrin Paehler 1

Part 1 Recast Identities in War Crimes Trials and Interrogations

1 Hans Globke at Nuremberg: Testimony as Rehabilitation, 1948-1949 Daniel E. Rogers 17

2 Auditioning for Postwar: Walter Schellenberg, the Allies, and Attempts to Fashion a Usable Past Katrin Paehler 29

3 "Bad Nazis and Other Germans": The Fate of SS-Einsatzgruppen Commander Martin Sandberger in Postwar Germany Hilary Earl 57

Part 2 Networks of Recasting

4 Petitions to Franco: Arguments and Identities of Ex-Nazis in the Effort to Avoid Repatriation from Spain, 1945-1950 David A. Messenger 85

5 Siegfried Zoglmann, His Circle of Writers, and the Naumann Affair: A Nazi Propaganda Operation in Postwar Germany Susanna Schrafstetter 113

6 German Diplomats and the Myth of the Two Foreign Offices Thomas W. Maulucci 139

7 Hitler's Military Elite in Italy and the Question of "Decent War" Kerstin von Lingen 169

Part 3 Unique Recastings in Postwar Germany

8 "I Am the Man Who Started the War": Alfred Naujocks and His Postwar Stories about His "Adventures" Florian Altenhöner 203

9 "A Man with a Wide Horizon": The Postwar Professional Journey of SS Officer Karl Nicolussi-Leck Gerald Steinacher 225

10 Revision of Life Story/Revision of History: Gertrud Slottke, from National Socialist Coperpetrator to Expellee Official Elisabeth Kohlhaas 249

11 The Gehlen Organization and the Heinz Felfe Case: The SD, the KGB, and West German Counterintelligence Norman J. W. Goda 271

Acknowledgments 295

List of Contributors 297

Index 301

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"By drawing together case studies of heretofore unknown or under-researched individuals, this book provides a host of insights into how former Nazis — most of them with unsavory and even violent pasts — integrated themselves into West German society and politics. This rich and original book offers a number of surprises." — Jonathan Wiesen, author of Creating the Nazi Marketplace: Commerce and Consumption in the Third Reich

"These superb essays move our understanding of the postwar politics of memory forward in important ways. A Nazi Past will alter how we think about the ways former National Socialists, fascists, and collaborators reshaped their identities and how networks of the like-minded provided mutual assistance." — Steven Remy, author of The Heidelberg Myth: The Nazification and Denazification of a German University

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