West German Officials Defend Use of Ex-nazis in Security Posts

A spokesman for the West German Interior Ministry defended yesterday the employment of former Nazi SS officers in a government intelligence unit with the comment that they had proved themselves valuable.

The agency involved is the Cologne office for the Protection of the Constitution, a unit of the Ministry with responsibility for guarding internal security. Indicating that no action would be taken, the Ministry spokesman said that the former Nazis had played “a large part in uncovering some of the worst security cases.”

The spokesman also said that the Western allies had also employed former Nazi “trustees” in their intelligence networks.

The Interior Ministry issued a statement saying that membership in “certain” Nazi organizations did not imply the guilt of individual members. The statement quoted findings of the Allied Nuremberg war crimes trials in 1946 that some members of the SD (Security Police) had only been “nominal members” of the SS “for administrative purposes” and said that the general accusation against the SS as a criminal organization did not apply to them.

The spokesman said that fewer than two per cent of the agency’s 858 members were former Nazi security men.

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