Germany’s justice minister says the country’s failure to properly prosecute former Nazis during the post-war period should serve as a warning to the legal profession in Germany and elsewhere. An independent study published Monday details how thousands of Germans who committed crimes during the Third Reich were protected by former Nazi party members holding key positions in Germany’s legal system after the war.
The study found that more than half of all senior officials in the Justice Ministry in the 1950s and 1960s were former members of Adolf Hitler’s National Socialist party.
Through inaction or intentional sabotage they systematically protected Nazi criminals from prosecution and shaped Germany’s legal code for decades. Justice Minister Heiko Maas said the study illustrates the important of teaching even jurists to resist injustice.