Last year, the German Ministry of Justice established an independent commission to research its past during the Third Reich. In February 2013, the commission presented its first findings during a symposium which was held at the highly symbolic venue of the Nuremberg trials.
In 2005, then Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer established an independent commission of historians to investigate the history of the Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt) during the Nazi era and the early postwar period – the first minister to do so. The commission’s findings were published in 2010, and “Das Amt und die Vergangenheit. Deutsche Diplomaten im Dritten Reich und in der Bundesrepublik” (The Foreign Office and the Past: German Diplomats in the Third Reich and the Federal Republic) was widely discussed and became something like a bestseller. Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, the Federal Minster of Justice, has now taken a similar step and established a commission to research her ministry’s Third Reich past. Continue reading