East Germany after WW2 how did they convert followers of previous regime?

Jun 2015
255
London UK
Not withstanding the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact the
sworn enemies of the nazi regime were the communists. So after the war did the newly installed communists under Stalin have difficulty converting the population to a system of government they viewed as anathema to them? Communists in Germany would be in the minority operating secretly and in fear of the gestapo.
 
Apr 2018
753
India
Hardcore Nazis were either dead or Peron's guests. The rest were either executed or had changed their color. As for the defeated, dumbfounded, impoverished population of East Germany post WW2; no one gave a damn about their opinion.
 
Sep 2019
383
Slovenia
Communist regime in east Germany blackmailed and used many former Nazis as spies for their political police Stasi. It was seen as their second chance, to work for another totalitarian regime.

"The Stasi deliberately and systematically recruited Nazi criminals, sometimes those who orchestrated massacres, as informers and agents both in the east and the west," historian Henry Leide wrote.

Officially, the 'German Democratic Republic' adopted a strong anti-fascist stance and in the years following World War II its courts condemned more than 8,000 former Nazis. But instead of serving sentences they were blackmailed into working for the Stasi, which had more operatives per member of the population than any other spy network in the communist bloc. The former Nazis were told that they would be given a second chance in return for cooperating with the communist regime, which had quickly realized that in some areas they had skills that were hard to find elsewhere.

 

Tulun

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
3,895
Western Eurasia
The East German ruling party (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) was formally the merger of the Communist Party of Germany and the Social Democratic Party in the Soviet occupation zone. These two parties before the Nazi take over had more voters combined than the NSDAP so i think they had no lack to find genuine followers. The Nazis had not gone after every commie or social democrat party member/sympathiser during their rule (I don't mean leading party officials, but the "smaller fishes", esp. if they kept their mouth shut during the Nazi reign), so many of them survived the war.

Also there was a smaller party (National Democratic Party) in East Germany for the purpose to rally repenting former Nazi party members (again mostly the "smaller fishes") and that party also supported the socialist regime.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,726
Dispargum
To the average German on the street, one totalitarian party was little different from the other. It would have been more difficult transitioning from a democracy to Communism, but the Germans didn't have that problem.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,496
The head of the East German intelligence service was a Jew whose Communist parents had fled to Russia in the 1930s. Probably Stalin put him in charge partly to send a message to the former SS in it that it was no longer the SS. The US and West Germans also used former SS and other Nazis. The border between East and West Germany was crossable in the 1950s, so many had a choice of which side.

Pretty much no German officers or Waffen SS returned from Soviet POW camps, but most of those were not hard core Nazis. I don't know if there were large scale executions, but presumably many could flee to West Germany or Latin America.
 
Apr 2018
753
India
Communist regime in east Germany blackmailed and used many former Nazis as spies for their political police Stasi. It was seen as their second chance, to work for another totalitarian regime.

"The Stasi deliberately and systematically recruited Nazi criminals, sometimes those who orchestrated massacres, as informers and agents both in the east and the west," historian Henry Leide wrote.

Officially, the 'German Democratic Republic' adopted a strong anti-fascist stance and in the years following World War II its courts condemned more than 8,000 former Nazis. But instead of serving sentences they were blackmailed into working for the Stasi, which had more operatives per member of the population than any other spy network in the communist bloc. The former Nazis were told that they would be given a second chance in return for cooperating with the communist regime, which had quickly realized that in some areas they had skills that were hard to find elsewhere.

So is also the opinion of Topography of Terror. However it should be added that the East was far more sincere in delivering justice (whatever that was) to ex Nazis than Bonn.

Pickpockets do more time than that by the average accused of the follow on trials.
 
Apr 2010
1,048
evergreen state, USA
Getting ba bit off the subject about East Germany, my ex mother-in-law maintained a nazi-like attitude long after WWII. Although she didn't speak english, I accumulated enough spoken German over the years in Germany to understand enough. Although where nazi-ism leaves off and stiff-necked Prussianism begins I'm not quite sure, ha ha. Her husband died not long after I married a daughter of hers. He spent WWII in a POW camp in Egypt. And his attitude was also suspicious.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,752
Republika Srpska
The East German ruling party (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) was formally the merger of the Communist Party of Germany and the Social Democratic Party in the Soviet occupation zone. These two parties before the Nazi take over had more voters combined than the NSDAP so i think they had no lack to find genuine followers. The Nazis had not gone after every commie or social democrat party member/sympathiser during their rule (I don't mean leading party officials, but the "smaller fishes", esp. if they kept their mouth shut during the Nazi reign), so many of them survived the war.
This is a very interesting point. It does make a lot of sense.