An interim report presented by the historians in Berlin on Wednesday stated that during that period, an average of 54 percent of the ministry's employees were former Nazis, though between 1956 and 1961 the percentage swelled to as high as 66 percent, according to Deutsche Welle.
According to the report, about 5-8 percent of the ministry's staff consisted of former SS members.
Dr. Frank Bosch, the lead researcher on the project, claimed that in 1949 being a former Nazi party (NSDAP) member wasn’t considered a "bad thing".
"There was a belief that they were people who had done their duty in a difficult time," Bosch told Local, claiming that during the postwar period West Germany needed people with a legal education to manage its bureaucracy and there was often little choice but to employ ex-Nazis.
Furthermore, many applicants also "simply lied" about their past during the recruitment process. However, even when their past was discovered, usually there were no consequences, according to DW.
The report also mentions the existence of a network of former Nazis who helped other former NSDAP members secure employment in postwar West Germany. For example, Hans Globke, co-author of the official legal commentary of the Nuremberg Laws which revoked the citizenship of German Jews, held the office of the Director of the West Germany Chancellor’s Office from 1953 till 1963 and was a close confidant of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer himself, and was thus able to exert great influence over the hiring of high-ranking officials.
According to AP, the study is expected to be finished in 2018.