All leaders in the world are corrupt

Corrupt to the bone

Corrupt behavior is one of the basic human constants. Corruption has existed at all times. Not only under authoritarian and dictatorial regimes, but also in democratic states, there is enrichment in office, bribery and corruption, patronage and nepotism, embezzlement and the mixing of official and private interests.

To this day, however, the rumor persists that National Socialism of all things "created order" in the state administration, put a stop to corruption and banned nepotism from the offices. Frank Bajohr, historian at the Research Center for Contemporary History in Hamburg, does away with this legend: The Nazi regime was corrupt to the bone.

In five chapters, the author describes the diversity of corruption in the "Third Reich" and analyzes it in the context of the Nazi system. The roots lie in the time before the "seizure of power". Because the NSDAP included wide areas of the life of the individual member, his position before 1933 was based on his control over material resources and the ability to provide material support to his political followers. This camaraderie on the one hand and the self-styling of the party members as "victims" of the "Weimar system" promoted organized nepotism among the National Socialists after the "seizure of power". Corruption was so widespread in the "Third Reich" that the NSDAP Reich Treasurer had to initiate up to five criminal proceedings before ordinary courts every day.

This corruption from below found its counterpart in the party elite, which cultivated a luxurious style of self-presentation with the help of abuse of office and the acquisition of privileges. One has no idea how Göring or Goebbels, Speer, Streicher or Ley gathered up goods and assets and scampered them. Only the "Führer" thought differently. He let scam.

In addition, the Nazi superiors paid almost no taxes. Corruption did not stop at the concentration camps either and made a mockery of the SS code of honor propagated by Himmler: "The perverted 'decency' in the Himmlerian sense," writes Bajohr, "did not remove the structural causes of the camp corruption, which is not only found in the concentration camps, but also in other camps proved to be powerful. " In Bajohr's view, Nazi extermination policy and corruption must be seen in a close connection.

Bajohr works out the individual enrichment in the context of anti-Semitic violence as well as the corruption in the context of the "Aryanization" of Jewish property: . B. greed... The question of the overall assessment of the Holocaust. " How vile many Nazis were becomes particularly, but certainly not only, clear in the person of Himmler, who blamed the victims for the corruption as if they were responsible for their robbery and murder themselves.

According to Bajohr, the Nazi regime was not at all willing to fight the rampant corruption among its representatives. If this happened at all, it was done half-heartedly or only hit the "little fish" when the regime made some "pawn sacrifices" shortly before its end. In principle, however, corruption and enrichment remained intact until 1945 "because corruption turned out to be an intrinsic structural problem of the Nazi dictatorship." Notorious resistance from the population - apart from the notorious "if the Führer knew" - cannot be recognized by Bajohr, whose thoroughly researched study with its hitherto neglected topic makes it clear that even a good half century after the end of the Second World War, the Nazi -Regime is still not fully explored.

Frank Bajohr: Parvenus and profiteers. Corruption during the Nazi era. Fischer, Frankfurt / M. 2001. 256 pp. 44.90 marks.