© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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the prime minister of Württemberg-Baden, began his campaign for the chancellorship of the Federal Republic. A few French newspapers, Le Figaro and Combat among them, brought up his past work as a propagandist for Nazism. I could not believe my eyes, and dashed out to get some German newspapers. The only protests came from a famous writer and a leading philosopher.

Günter Grass wrote an open letter to Kiesinger:

How can the youth of this country oppose this party of the past, which is now rising from the dead in the form of the National Democratic Party (NPD) [a neo Nazi party], if you crush the Chancellorship of the Federal Republic under the weight of your past?
And philosopher Karl Jaspers was stunned:

Many Germans, a small minority, perhaps a million, are astonished. The possibility that their nation might be governed by a former Nazi is terrifying to them . . . . What seemed impossible ten years ago is now happening almost without opposition. It was inevitable that former Nazis would succeed in rising to high posts, even in politics. For there were too few non-Nazis to keep the government, the educational system, and the economy running. But if a former Nazi should become chief of state, it would mean that from now on the fact that a man has been a Nazi would be of no importance.
Into my mind flashed Hans and Sophie Scholl's final appeal to each and every one of us:

Once the war is over, those who have been to blame must be severely punished to rid anyone of the idea of repeating a similar adventure . . . . Don't forget the little lieutenants of that regime either. Remember their names so that none of them will get away with what they have done. Don't let them change their tune at the last minute and act as if nothing had happened.
I kept hoping that Kiesinger would not be elected, that the Bonn deputies would realize that they were responsible to Germany. But he did get elected, and became head of the West German government. Immediately there was a conspiracy of silence in the press, especially as a great coalition of Christian Democrats and Social Democrats had been formed. Brandt became foreign minister.

So it was necessary to react – but how? The example of the Scholls told me how. The important thing in the fight against Nazism is to strike right away, even if you are not sure of succeed- […ing]
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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