Civil Servants

Question:

I hope you will be able to answer the following question, which is of personal interest to me: did German civil servants play an active role in the realization of the Holocaust ?

Gordon McFee answers:

Hi, I am one of the volunteers who answers these questions.

The short answer is "yes", but by no means all German civil servants. The agency responsible for the Final Solution was the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (part of the SS) under the direction of Reinhard Heydrich. Adolf Eichmann was head (Referent) of Amt IV B 4 (Jewish affairs). This was a huge civil service department.

The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were drafted by senior civil servants in the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of the Interior. And there are many other examples. It has to be said that the involvement of the civil service in the Holocaust was significant. For an excellent treatment of this, I recommend Raul Hilberg's Destruction of the European Jews, available in German under the title Die Vernichtung der europäischen Juden.

At the same time, it should be remembered that the vast majority of the German civil service had nothing to do with the Holocaust.

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