EAST GERMANY: The Most Precarious Post

Above all, Georg Dertinger was a man who survived. He prided himself on stepping out of the ashes, unscarred, adjusting his monocle and going on. He not only got along well while his country almost perished, he profited by its convulsions.

In the '20s, as a bullyboy in the paramilitary nationalist Freikorps, and as a poison-pen rightist journalist, Dertinger helped kill off the democratic Weimar Republic. When Hitler came in, he became an official in Goebbels' Propaganda Ministry, with a big picture of Von Ribbentrop on his desk. Then when the Russians arrived,...

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