A German bestseller
Post-War Lies is a superb portrait of a torn generation: the Nazi Party’s youngest members, those born between 1919 and 1927, who were raised on an ideological diet of racism and militarism. A number of them — from prominent politician Hans-Dietrich Genscher to writer Martin Walser — were later to become leading public figures in federal Germany.
In this meticulously researched book, Malte Herwig reveals how Germany handled these former party members. For nearly half a century, it was a case of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’. While the US government held captured Nazi records — such as the party’s central membership file — the German government used every available means to delay the return of the Nazi archive for half a century until the last top politician with a Nazi file had retired. Herwig also found a list of high-ranking German politicians whose Nazi membership files had been secreted between the 1960s and early 1990s.
Many of this generation kept quiet about their connection to the Nazi Party, or denied it, or pushed it to the backs of their minds and forgot all about it. Post-War Lies tells their hitherto unknown story, from the Third Reich to the post-war de-Nazification process and into the present. It is also a young historian’s contribution to an important contemporary debate about historical truth and human honesty.