Research reveals secrets of Gestapo



Surviving records held in Dusseldorf about the Gestapo have formed the basis of Professor Frank McDonough’s latest research, which reveals long-kept secrets about Hitler’s secret police.
 
Assumed to have been thick-headed bully-boys, Professor McDonough’s research shows the vast majority of senior members of the Nazi police were well-educated, middle class men who had graduated from university with doctorates and law degrees.
 
The Gestapo were known for their cut-throat attitude to dissidents of the Nazi regime and regularly tortured men and women to death. With the revelation that many of the former high-ranking Gestapo officials were graduates comes the awareness that these men were not simply stupidly and blindly following orders, but were devoted believers of the Nazi ideology.
 
What is more, Professor McDonough’s research reveals that following the war, many of the Gestapo simply resumed their careers as private practice lawyers and were never brought to task for their crimes against humanity.
 
Another myth uncovered by his research is the idea that Hitler’s secret police were everywhere, with no refuge from their prying ears. Professor McDonough has revealed that, in reality, the Gestapo had fewer than 16,000 active officers, compared to a nation of 70 million. The Nazi police therefore were largely reactive, with their investigations mostly fuelled by informants, but as they knew that people often reported friends and neighbours following feuds, not every Gestapo visit resulted in torture. In fact, many ‘ordinary’ citizens were left unharmed, with true brutality reserved for perceived enemies of the state.
 
Professor McDonough’s research has been published as the book THE Gestapo: The Myth And Reality Of Hitler’s Secret Police and the research has generated much media coverage including in the Daily Mail, the Irish Times and on RTE Radio. 
 
The book has also received much acclaim in reviews in The Times, The Independent, The Telegraph, Daily Mail and on Newsnight, BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio 4.




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