Germany’s intelligence service acknowledged on Friday that it had employed the daughter of top Nazi Heinrich Himmler in the 1960s, although she never renounced her father or Nazism, and remained active in far-right extremism.
The revelation that Himmler’s daughter Gudrun Burwitz had worked for the BND spy agency - confirmed by the BND after it was reported by Bild newspaper - could add to public soul-searching over the tolerance of some Nazis after World War Two.
Himmler, who as commander of the SS was one of the most powerful Nazis and a principal architect of the murder of six million Jews in the Holocaust, killed himself in British custody in 1945. His daughter Burwitz died last month in Munich at 88.
“The BND confirms that Ms. Burwitz was a member of the BND for a few years until 1963 under an assumed name,” Bodo Hechelhammer, the head of the BND’s history department said.
“The timing of her departure coincided with the onset of a change in the understanding and the handling of employees who were involved with the Nazis,” Hechelhammer said.
Germany’s intelligence services have come under criticism in recent years for failing to root out right-wing extremists in the post-war era. Critical historians say ex-Nazis and far right sympathizers working inside the security agencies of then-West Germany may have protected others.