The war is lost, the Fuhrer is dead, the Third Reich has gone to hell, and the capital city has been conquered. You have to somehow arrange yourself in the new reality! It quickly turned out that the Nazis fit in perfectly with the post-Nazi conditions ...
The German Nazis did not dissolve into thin air at the end of the war. They lived on, sometimes on a lower level, sometimes even more comfortably and more lavishly than before. Those who were a little lucky or more agile received warm jobs as government officials. Others were looking for new jobs, and still others simply holed up somewhere beyond the borders of the homeland oppressed by the victors.
Meanwhile, another generation grew up in post-Nazi Germany, whose representatives often did not realize that their dad or favorite uncle served in the Gestapo or committed crimes against civilians. Most chose not to seek the truth. Some, however, posed uncomfortable questions - such as how these relatives managed to escape responsibility. They quickly found out what the denazification procedure looked like in practice after the war.
We will look at it from the inside out through the eyes of Jens-Jürgen Ventzki, son of the Nazi mayor of Łódź. Wanting to deal with his father Werner's Nazi past, he collected quite interesting material. Theoretically, this is a single case. In practice, it reflects the adventures of many Nazis. It all started in 1946…
The proud Nazi was humiliated by being placed in the inferior category. A nasty slander!
After several months of internment, the former mayor of Łódź (Nazi Litzmannstadt) left the camp. Despite being jointly responsible, inter alia, for the deportation of Poles from his subordinate city and the liquidation of the ghetto there and the deportation of its inhabitants to the camp in Kulmhof, where they were exterminated, the criminal quickly got a chance to deride any punishment.
What exactly did this denazification look like?
In the British occupation zone, where the Ventzki family lived, the process of denazification of Hitler's henchmen was very smooth and… superficial. The Nazis were divided into five categories:
- main culprits (Hauptschuldige)
- loaded (Belastete)
- less loaded (Minderbelastete)
- follower (Mitläufer)
- exonerated (Entlastete)
The first two categories included only war criminals and members of criminal organizations identified by the Nuremberg Tribunal. The rest of the Nazis qualified for the other three groups. Overall, the denazification was not that impressive.
According to Jens-Jürgen Ventzki in the book "Father's Shadow", for example in Schleswig-Holstein in 1948 only 0.5 percent of her subjects were classified as "guilty "And the remaining 99.5 were thrown into the bag with the two lowest categories. Moreover, many former officials of the Third Reich had to ask for their submission to the procedure, and the British were not eager to check the facts and inquire about the actual state of affairs!
A faithful Nazi only a "henchman"? Shame and disgrace!
In love with the ideology of National Socialism, the heart of the SS man, the office of the mayor, Werner Ventzki was also subjected to the denazification procedure. He, a faithful Nazi who visited Hitler, kidnapped the crowd with his speeches, patronized the youth of the Hitler Youth, and baptized his son according to the SS rite, was only considered a poor supporter!
What a slander! According to his son, Ventzki was indignant about it two years before his death (he said goodbye to this world in 2004). Werner's wife recalled that her husband was saved by the testimony of a Jew from Hamburg, who appeared in his defense before the German denazification commission.
Frau Ventzki also loved Hitler, and apart from the forced evacuation from Łódź, she did not encounter any major problems after the war. She lived her days with her husband, with a swastika engraved in her heart.
Processed and practically exonerated, Ventzki was able to engage in "useful" activities. Together with his wife, they became involved in the All-German Block, i.e. the Block of Expelled from the Homeland and the Deprived of Rights. Well, those who took houses from Jews and Poles, earned money from the harm of another person, had the ghetto under their breaths and helped in the persecution of its inhabitants, now began to demand the return of the lost privileges !
As soon as in 1958, denazified Ventzki was appointed, at the request of the Minister of Labor, Social Affairs and Expellees, to the position of deputy head of the Expellees Department of the Schleswig-Holstein government in Kiel. According to his son, he met many Nazi officials from the former Wartheland and Poznań. He renewed his friendships with Litzmannstadt, from the time when he belonged to the Nazi Party and the SS.
Digging up the past ...
The peaceful life of the former Łódź kacy was only disturbed by the Berlin newspapers. In 1960, information began to reach Ventzki that someone was rummaging through his Nazi past and was bringing it to light. Belonging to the NSDAP and supporting Hitlerism was connected with his public position, for example, the West Berlin daily "Telegraf" associated with the SPD.
Journalists wrote directly about Ventzki's Nazism and his connections with the Łódź ghetto. It seemed disgusting for him to occupy a high stool in the Federal Ministry for Expellees. The overlords quickly covered up the matter, moving the former mayor to a different position in another city. But no one thought of just firing him!
In the 1960s, Ventzki was “disturbed” several times over his past and career in the Third Reich. Always as a witness, although his name appeared in the book of Nazi crimes. In 1969, unflattering articles about him again appeared. The controversy was aroused by his statement that as the mayor of Litzmannstadt, he had no idea about the murdering of Jews from the local ghetto and thought that the sick and the weak were transported from the city to a sanatorium . A writer from Upper Silesia commented on the interviewee's position as follows:
Such cynical insolence can be proclaimed under oath by a killer of Jews! He is safe for it. After the audition, he returns to his office and works best as director .
Indeed, there was no question of any punishment. Ventzki calmly lived to his retirement age, received a substantial salary every month from the democratic authorities of Germany, and in his old age he drank tea with his colleagues from the SS and the NSDAP, remembering the good old times.
There were hundreds or even thousands of delinquents like him…
- Jens-Jürgen Ventzki, Father's Shadow , Literatura Fakt PWN, Warsaw 2012.