Germany's FBI Faces Up to Nazi Roots

Security service's founders were behind thousands of deaths
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2007 4:12 PM CDT
Due to lack of experienced personnel, many founding members of West Germany's federal police organization were formerly prominent members of the Nazi party. Now, the current head of the organization wants...   (
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – The German equivalent of the FBI has acknowledged what everyone already knew: It was founded by Nazis. The agency is inviting historians to explore those dark roots, making it the first German security organization to do so, Der Spiegel reports. Owning up to the past is the only way to “live democracy with conviction each day,” says the organization's head.

After the Third Reich’s fall, West Germany had few experienced security personnel untainted by the Nazi machine, so intelligence agencies recruited heavily from the likes of the SS and Gestapo. Most of those operatives remained in the ranks for decades, and an ongoing series of conferences is allowing an unprecedented look at their legacy. (Read more Germany stories.)