Denazification - Kurt Schmitt as a case in point

In September 1945 the denazification process was extended to include top business executives. These included several directors and members of the Board of Management of Allianz, as well as Kurt Schmitt, the former Director General and long-standing member of the Supervisory Board of Allianz.

Kurt Schmitt with his defense attorney facing the Starnberg Denazification Tribunal, 1947 (Ullstein Bilderdienst)

In the summer of 1945 the American military authorities relieved Kurt Schmitt of all his offices and prohibited him from practicing a profession. The denazification process took up the following four years, during which time Schmitt was not allowed to work. During this time he was twice interned in penal camps and only permitted limited access to his assets. In 1946 he was initially classified in the top war-criminal category as a "major offender". The sentence was subsequently reviewed by several courts and in 1949 Schmitt was eventually acquitted as an "exonerated person". Due to formal errors, however, the court of appeal canceled that sentence again and Kurt Schmitt was finally classified in the lowest criminal category as a "follower". He was sentenced to pay a fine as well as the costs of the proceedings.

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