BONN (Dec. 1)
“Not more” than 400 or 500 former members of Gestapo Chief Heinrich Himmler’s elite SS troops are serving in the West German army, a commission of the Resistance Fighters for a United Europe has been told by the Speaker of the Federal Parliament.
Hans Fritzsche, in giving the figure, said there were no generals or colonels among the former SS troops in the Bundeswehr. He added that most of the former SS men are serving as specialists in the Air Force or the Navy. None of them held a rank above that of a non-commissioned officer during the Hitler era.
He said the West German army had screened all applications and on principle will not accept any applicant who was a member of the special execution and concentration camp units of the SS.
A turbulent debate took place in the North-Rhine Westphalia Parliament over a petition entered by the Free Democratic Party to ease some of the laws placing restrictions on former Nazis in public office.
A. Dufhues, Minister of the Interior, said: “The public will not understand it if we give the same chance for promotion to Nazi opportunists as we do to civil servants with a clean record.” He expressed specific objection to a clause in the petition that “promotions and appointments should not be opposed because of former affiliation with National Socialism.”