Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Germany / Jewish Holocaust

Were German Diplomats Complicit in the Holocaust?
By Tristana Moore, October 26, 2010
Photo: "A document from German diplomat Franz Rademacher says the purpose of his visit to Belgrade in October 1941 was the 'liquidation of Jews.'"
"One of the pillars of Germany's political establishment, the Foreign Ministry, was a 'criminal organization' during the Nazi era, and the country's diplomats played a far more active role in the Holocaust than was previously acknowledged. Those are some of the troubling findings of a new 880-page government-sponsored report, called 'The Ministry and the Past: German Diplomats in the Third Reich and the Federal Republic,' which has shaken the nation. Drawn from thousands of historical documents, the report, due to be officially released on Thursday, makes for uncomfortable reading as it debunks a long cherished belief that Germany's Foreign Ministry was a hive of resistance to the Nazi regime and that German diplomats were not involved in the mass extermination of millions of Jews in Nazi death camps. 'The sheer scale of the participation of Germany's Foreign Ministry in the Holocaust is bewildering. It wasn't just one department; it was the whole institution,' Eckart Conze, a professor of modern history at the Philipps University of Marburg and one of the authors of the report, tells TIME. 'The ministry collaborated with the Nazis' violent policies and took part in all aspects of the discrimination, deportation, persecution and genocide of the Jews.'
Conze points to one file that he says is 'typical' of what he and the other three co-authors of the report unearthed. The document, dated April 1943, alludes to a trip that Franz Rademacher, head of the Foreign Ministry's so-called Jewish desk, made to Belgrade in October 1941 to help organize the extermination of Jews in Eastern Europe. Conze says the document includes details of Rademacher's travel expenses and that the purpose of his journey is described in a hand-scribbled note as the 'liquidation of Jews in Belgrade.' 'This document makes it clear that all officials in the Foreign Ministry --including low-level office clerks --knew about the mass persecution of Jews and were actively involved in the Holocaust,' says Conze. 't was an open secret.' The report found that by 1943, 573 of the ministry's 700 top officials were Nazi Party members. [...]"

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