Nazis Spied For East Germany, Protected From War Crimes

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Nazi veterans were protected from prosecution for war crimes by the former East German secret police, the Stasi, a historian claims in a new book.

The Stasi put former high-and middle-ranking Nazis to work as spies, Henry Leide said, quoting secret Stasi files as yet unseen by the public.

Leide, who is on the committee responsible for the Stasi archives, traced the careers of 35 of Hitler's close followers and discovered that they had found unlikely refuge in the ranks of the Communist secret police.

His book, Nazi Criminals and The Secret Service: The German Democratic Republic's Secret Way of Dealing with The Past, details the individual careers of men such as Hans Sommer, an SS officer given a "second chance" by the Stasi. Sommer was behind the bombings of seven synagogues in Paris in 1941.

After the Second World War, Sommer spent years spying on Right-wing politicians in Germany and later went to Italy to do the same.

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