Communist secret police collaborated with war criminals

The Office for the Investigation of Communist Crimes has just released details about the case of a World War II Nazi general, whose services were used by the Communist secret police - the STB during the communist regime. Rudolf Toussaint was sentenced for life for war crimes committed on occupied Czech territory during the Second World War, but was released in 1961, and allowed to move to Germany, having agreed to cooperate with the Czech secret police. Olga Szantova reports.

The spokesman for the Office for the Investigation of Communist Crimes, Jan Srb says this is not the only case where the communists used the services of former Nazis.

"We ran across a similar case last year. Werner Tutter had been sentenced for crimes committed in 1944 - 45. At that time there was extensive resistance against the Germans, and Tutter was the deputy commander of the units that fought the partisans. He was directly responsible for harsh reprisals against local inhabitants. After the war, he was sentenced to just three or four years, because the extent of his role in these events was unknown. But when his crimes were proved in full, all proposals for a re-trial were turned down, because in the meantime he had agreed to collaborate with the Czechoslovak secret police, the STB, and was sent to West Germany as a spy."

Other, similar cases have been discovered. A couple of months ago reports surfaced about the case of four Nazi war criminals pardoned by President Zapotocky in the 1950s. One of them was Max Rostock, one of the Nazis responsible for the destruction of the village of Lidice and the massacring of many of its inhabitants. All four had originally received the death penalty, but their sentences were reduced again and again, until they were freed completely. Mr. Srb says that his office has investigated the matter.

"We studied the archives and found that the Communist secret police kept files on at least two of the four. And one of them, Max Roztock, who had agreed to cooperate, received training and was sent as a spy to West Germany."

The Office for the Investigation of Communist Crimes is convinced that there were other, similar cases and is continuing its research. But Jan Srb stresses that using former Nazi war criminals as spies was not the only way in which the STB police used Nazi resources.

"The STB made full use of the Nazi archives they found at the end of the war. For instance, they used the files of all Jews living on Czechoslovak territory. The communists used it to create lists of Jews who had survived - they monitored their activities and had a complete record of all Jews. Generally speaking, the activities of the Communist secret police were very similar to those of the Gestapo."

Author: Olga Szantová
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