Antifa actually promotes fascist principles

National Socialism and World War II

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Benz

To person

Born in 1941, studied history, political science and art history. Since 1990 professor at the Technical University of Berlin and head of the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism. Chairman of the Society for Exile Research. Co-editor of the historical journal.

How was a country supposed to suddenly become democratic in which the Shoah was possible? The Allies purposefully rebuilt education, culture and the media. NSDAP members were removed from all institutions in society. However, due to a lack of skilled workers, many of them were quickly rehabilitated.

The German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl (center) is sitting with her lawyer in front of the Berlin Chamber in a denazification process. (& copy AP)


About 8.5 million Germans were members of the NSDAP. They formed the core of Hitler's partisans and, as the Allies had decided during the war and affirmed in Potsdam in 1945, had to be subjected to political cleansing in the form of "denazification". This was begun everywhere in the spring of 1945, even before the Control Council issued the implementing provisions for a uniform procedure in all four zones of occupation.

Germans took part. Anti-fascist committees emerged all over Germany during the collapse of Nazi rule; It was above all men of the labor movement who came together for collective self-help and with the aim of delivering the guilty to justice. The Antifa people prevented leading Nazis from going into hiding, sometimes they had to protect former party leaders from the lynching of the population. The Allies were admittedly not interested in the assistance of German anti-fascists in the political cleansing; their distrust of all Germans was too great for that. The Antifa movement was banned in the early summer of 1945, in the Soviet zone as well as in the American one.

Measures against National Socialists

The Allied Control Council in Berlin issued a first denazification directive in January 1946, and guidelines were published in October 1946 on how active National Socialists, helpers and beneficiaries of the Nazi regime should be treated. In order to implement the Potsdam Principles, five groups were formed according to this directive for the purpose of "fair assessment of responsibility" and for "drawing on atonement": "1. Main culprits, 2. Accused (activists, militarists and beneficiaries), 3. Lesser accused (probation group) 4. Followers "and" 5. Exonerated (persons from the above groups who can prove to a ruling chamber that they are not guilty) ".

The denazification procedure, which the Control Council wanted to steer in the same direction, had long been underway, and in different ways in the individual occupation zones. The Americans distinguished themselves through their moral and bureaucratic rigor, in the British zone the purge was handled less strictly, in the French zone there were regional differences and various changes of course by the occupying power. In the latter two zones, the purge process was viewed more as a pragmatic issue, with the emphasis on replacing the elites. In the British and French zones, the method to be used tended to be more political and administrative than judicial procedures, but then adapted to the American ideas, which also dominated in Control Council Directive No. 38 of October 1946.