The press immediately referred this visit to the advertising focus of the election campaign, but it seems that Merkel, the irremovable and unminable, would have won the elections without visiting Dachau. This undoubtedly difficult and selfless deed is the result of denazification.
The recent history of the death of the Nazi criminal of the former SS Hauptsturmführer E. Pribke caused a stir in Europe. Accused of mass executions of civilians in Italy, after the war he managed to escape to Argentina. After 50 years, having decided that you can already openly talk about your "exploits", he gave an interview, which resulted in a new judicial investigation.
The death of the 100-year-old Prybka is not at all an important event, but the fact is that Argentina, Germany, and Italy refused to bury him. And this is also the result of denazification.
What is denazification, lustration (lat. Lustratio - cleansing)? This is a whole set of measures aimed at clearing the post-war German society, culture, press, economics, education, and the judicial system from the influence of the Nazi ideology. Although, probably, the term “cleaning” is more familiar to Russian speakers.
The Potsdam Conference (1945) developed a decision on denazification, which, among other measures, included the removal of the Nazis from all posts, the destruction of the National Socialist Party and all its branches, the prosecution of perpetrators of crimes against peace and humanity, the abolition of the Nazi legislation, etc.
After the collapse of the Third Reich in each of the occupation zones (Soviet, British, American and French) Germany and Austria, local denazification commissions were established. All Germans were divided into 5 categories: “main culprits”, “burdened with guilt”, “less burdened with guilt”, “fellow travelers” and “unaffected”.
The main criminals were condemned by the international military tribunal in Nuremberg, the Gestapo (secret state police), the SS (“security detachments”), the SD (security service) were declared criminal organizations. But this was only the beginning of the great cleansing work. The identification and punishment of those responsible, the rehabilitation of the victims of political terror, the discovery of historical truth continues to this day. Because if a country wants its citizens to be confident in the integrity of their life and dignity, you need to finish the calculation with the past and pay for it. "It is allowed to forget the one who remembers."
By the end of 1948, the authorities of the victorious countries practically turned off the process of denazification, but for the Germans themselves it was practically only then that the long and painful process of thinking about what had happened began. How did the country of “Dichter und Denker” - poets and thinkers - become a country of “Richter und Henker” - judges and executioners?
The works of liberal philosophers and anti-fascist writers played a huge role in this process of reviving and purifying the nation. The works of T. and G. Mannov, A. Zegers, V. Brida, E. Weinert confirmed many facts that said one thing: it was possible not to participate in the criminal meanings of fascism! In the Gestapo and the SS only volunteers served. Wehrmacht officers who avoided reprisals against the civilian population were not subjected to repression, and this did not affect their careers. Judges who expressed a desire to participate in them were involved in unjust shameful cases.
The Germans who survived the catastrophe, it was hard going process of understanding that the crime against humanity was committed by the one who wanted it. It is difficult to admit to oneself that even in a terrible totalitarian state one can remain a decent person. It is much easier to consider myself a victim - I was deceived, seduced, I just carried out the orders of the authorities.
The question of the share of the guilt of the whole people in the crimes is very complicated and painful. But it is precisely such an uncompromising staging - the criminal who executes the criminal order - has led to the fact that the denazification process is going on successfully, and there is a strong democratic country Germany on the world map.
Many of the qualities that the nation lost in Hitler's time had to be re-educated: respect for a different opinion, independence and responsibility for their own actions, the courage to have their own judgment.
We had to unlearn a great deal: to march from the habit of order, to indisputably execute every order of power, from blind fanaticism and loyalty to the dictator. Apparently, weaning is going well, because the expression “Germans are a disciplined people” has long been irrelevant.
In addition to Germany, the problem of denazification had to be solved by other countries: Greece after the fall of the “black colonels” regime, Spain after the death of General Franco, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, as well as all European states in the post-communist space. The German experience of denazification for them is a model of the transition from dictatorship to democracy.
There are reports of new investigations into the crimes of the former Nazis. And again dissatisfied voices are heard: “Enough! How much can you stir up the past? Everything settled down, no need to stir up the precipitate.
Let the answer be another phrase from the speech of A. Merkel: “My country bears eternal responsibility for the crimes of National Socialism. We know our history, do not hide anything, do not hush up anything, and face the truth. ”
Opinion of the British newspaper "The Times": "Only Germany is honest about its recent history."
To be honest, the legal system of Germany is hardly interested in the personal guilt and repentance of the elderly defendants. But of great public importance is the fact that historical truth does not fade. "This is not for the dead, this is for the living."