BONN (Apr. 28)
Pressure is mounting on West Germany’s new Green Party to demand the resignation of Gustine Johannsen, a member of the Nazi party from 1939-45, from its governing committee. Another of the Green leaders, Werner Vogel, resigned from the Bundestag several weeks ago after his exposure as a former member of the Nazi SA (Stormtroopers).
Both cases have been a serious embarrassment to the new political party which won 28 seats in the March 6 Bundestag elections. The Green Party is rooted in pacifist and environmentalist movements. It disapproves of West Germany’s membership in NATO and wants the U.S. to pull its troops out of Germany. Ironically, those positions are shared by extreme right wing organizations in the Federal Republic.
Johannsen admitted that she joined the Nazi party but claimed she knew little about it at the time and that she never harmed anyone. She acknowledged that she once led a group of 250 women assigned to support the German war effort by working in a munitions factory.
The governing committee is expected to decide Johannsen’s fate this weekend. Party sources say she probably will be forced to resign. One of the Green’s founders, August Haussleiter, was forced to resign two years ago — long before the movement became an active political faction — after it was learned that he was involved in neo-Nazi groups.