The Fascists planted seeds—figuratively as well as literally—of phenomena intended to have bright futures in the New Order, only for them to lose their original purposes now that the Axis was defeated, looking incongruous after the Allied victory. One such phenomenon was a generation of antisemites.

This seems like a pretty obvious concern to have, but strangely I had never seen anybody address this topic. (The closest that I’ve seen was a few people discussing how Oskar Schindler’s compatriots treated him in West Germany.) A casual observer might assume that ‘denazification’ did away with the white supremacist mindset, but that’s doubtful:

In combination, these results suggest that [Fascist] indoctrination—in school, through propaganda, and in youth organizations—successfully instilled strongly anti‐Semitic attitudes in the cohorts that grew up under [Fascism], and that the differential effect is still visible today, more than half a century after the fall of the Third Reich.

The strength of effects for the 1930s cohort may be surprising; children born in 1939 were only 6 y[ears] old in 1945. However, results in social psychology show high levels of ethnocentric bias at early ages. Studies from several countries demonstrate that preschool children already exhibit in‐group favoritism and out‐group dislike (18–21). In addition, memoirs of Germans who grew up under [Fascism] speak eloquently of how as early as age 5 and 6, they were being indoctrinated in nationalist ideology and racial hatred (22, 23).


In addition, we show that in towns and cities where indoctrination was most effective—and the share of extremists in the 1930s cohort is particularly high—there is markedly higher anti‐Semitism also among those born after 1945, 1955, 1965, and even after 1975. [This is true even after controlling for historical anti‐Semitism. This implies that effective indoctrination in the 1930s created an “echo effect,” with the share of committed anti‐Semites higher than one would expect based on historical anti‐Semitism alone.]

These findings suggest that by reinforcing preexisting racial hatred, [Fascist] indoctrination contributed importantly to the long‐term persistence of antisemitism in Germany. And conversely, the strong interaction with preexisting attitudes suggests that confirmation bias played an important rôle in shaping antisemitic beliefs.

(Emphasis added.)

For a lengthier dissertation, see (Re-) Shaping Hatred: Anti-Semitic Attitudes in Germany, 1890–2006.