World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Mitläufer

Article Id: WHEBN0036112055
Reproduction Date:

Title: Mitläufer  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Kurt Schmitt, Margarete Himmler, Martin Heidegger, Denazification
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Mitläufer

The German term Mitläufer (plural: Mitläufer) was used after World War II by the denazification hearings in West Germany to refer to people who were not charged with Nazi crimes but whose involvement with the Nazis was considered significant to an extent that they could not be exonerated for the crimes of the Nazi regime.

Etymology

The German word Mitläufer means literally "with-runner", akin to "lemming-like", a person who gives into peer pressure (this word is for instance used in German to describe a teenager smoking cigarettes to imitate friends). A Mitläufer is one who is not convinced by the ideology of the group they follow—they merely offer no resistance, because of a lack of courage, for instance, or opportunism.

The term is usually translated in English as "fellow traveler" or "hanger-on", but it is not equivalent to either.

Legal definitions

In the American Sector of Allied-occupied Germany, Mitläufer was the fourth lowest category in the denazification proceedings, between the "lesser incriminated" and the "exonerated". The denazification hearings classified German citizens according to five categories:

  • I. Major Offenders (German: Hauptschuldige)
  • II. Activists, Militants, and Profiteers, or Incriminated Persons (German: Belastete)
  • III. Less incriminated (German: Minderbelastete)
  • IV. Followers, or Fellow Travelers (German: Mitläufer)
  • V. Exonerated, or non-incriminated persons (German: Entlastete)

In Allied-occupied Austria, however, Mitläufer were considered identical to "lesser incriminated".

Assessment

Of the five categories Mitläufer is the most controversial as it does not relate to any formal Nazi criminal activity, as defined largely ex post facto by the Nuremberg trials, only to a loosely defined indirect support of Nazi crimes.[1] Therefore, former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt could say about Herbert von Karajan's Nazi Party membership card: "Karajan was obviously not a Nazi. He was a Mitläufer."[2]

In essence Mitläufer were found de facto guilty of contributing to Nazi crimes, even though they were not ideologically committed to some essential Nazi doctrines, especially biological racism and the policy of Jewish extermination.[3]

The Nazi Mitläufer often were of a slightly different sort: they sympathised with the Nazis but only indirectly participated in Nazi atrocities such as genocide. This is why this category was often used as an easy way to excuse most Germans legally from Nazi crimes.

Examples

Well-known Mitläufer included the philosopher Martin Heidegger and the film director Leni Riefenstahl.

Wilhelm Stuckart was convicted as a Mitläufer.

See also

References

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^

External links

  • in Two German Postwar FilmsMitläuferThe
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Hawaii eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.