By Norbert Frei
Of all of the features of restoration in postwar Germany maybe none used to be as serious or as complex because the subject of facing Nazi criminals, and, extra commonly, with the Nazi prior. whereas at the overseas level German officers spoke with contrition in their nation's burden of guilt, at domestic questions of accountability and retribution weren't so transparent. during this masterful exam of Germany below Adenauer, Norbert Frei exhibits that, starting in 1949, the West German govt dramatically reversed the denazification guidelines of the fast postwar interval and initiated a brand new "Vergangenheitspolitik," or "policy for the past," which has had huge, immense outcomes achieving into the current.
Adenauer's Germany and the Nazi previous chronicles how amnesty legislation for Nazi officers have been handed unanimously and civil servants who were disregarded in 1945 have been reinstated liberally―and how a tremendous renowned outcry resulted in the discharge of battle criminals who were condemned via the Allies. those measures and routine represented greater than simply the rehabilitation of specific contributors. Frei argues that the amnesty method delegitimized the former political expurgation administered through the Allies and, on a deeper point, served to meet the collective psychic wishes of a society eager for a fresh holiday with the unprecedented political and ethical disaster it had passed through within the Nineteen Forties. therefore the period of Adenauer devolved right into a scandal-ridden interval of reintegration at any rate. Frei's paintings brilliantly and chillingly explores how the collective will of the German humans, expressed via mass allegiance to new consensus-oriented democratic events, dispose of accountability for the horrors of the battle and Holocaust, successfully silencing engagement with the enormities of the Nazi past.