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The longer the war continued, the more difficult it became for Allianz to maintain its business operations - the damages mounted rapidly. There was a shortage of staff. Bombing had destroyed the business premises and brought work to a standstill. At the end of the war, the majority of Allianz's assets had been destroyed. Its real-estate holdings had been decimated by war damage, confiscation and nationalization. Premium payments had diminished to a trickle.

Until 1945, the insurance industry had been required to invest ever greater proportions of its available funds in government bonds. In 1942, this quota was fixed at 75 %. When the war ended, these bonds became worthless. In May 1945, Allianz was for all intents and purposes technically bankrupt.

Even so, in that very same month individual employees went back to work. They cleared up, secured data, carried out the first inventories and prepared the applications required to receive licenses to transact business from the local authorities.
Reichsanleihen were government bonds issued by the Reich Debt Administration to finance investments – and to wage war.
  • Soviet troups liberate Auschwitz.
  • Jalta conference.
  • Hitler commits suicide in Berlin.
  • Unconditional surrender of the German Army in Reims (France) and Berlin.
  • Allied military commanders take over government power in Germany.
  • Partition of Germany. Four zones of occupation are established.
  • Beginning of the nationalisation of the insurance business in the Soviet zone of occupation.
  • Communist regimes are established in Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Romania.
  • Directive No. 24 of the Allied Control Council (1946) regulates the denazification process.
After the liberation of Germany in May 1945, the Allied Powers initiated a comprehensive denazification program. Its purpose was to eradicate National Socialist thought from political, economic, intellectual, and cultural life. As a first step, the Nazi-party and its subdivisions were prohibited, Nazi laws abolished, and external signs and symbols of National Socialism removed.

The main focus of the program was the systematic screening of all former members oft he Nazi-party (NSDAP) – party membership was defined as the criterion for their dismissal from executive positions in industry and from public office.

Numerous Allianz executives had to undergo denazification. Of the 240 remaining Allianz employees in Berlin, 31 were sacked as a result of denazification screenings.
All Germans subjected to denazification had to fill out a lengthy questionnaire.

A law enacted by the US military government classified these people in five categories:
1. Major offenders 2. Offenders, 3. Lesser offenders, 4. Followers, 5. Exonerated persons.

By 1949, more than 6 million Germans were scrutinized in this way. The denazification authorities passed judgment in some 1.2 million cases - more than a million persons were classified as followers. This is compared to just under 2,000 major offenders and some 25,000 offenders.
Report form to obtain information – here on former Allianz director general Kurt Schmitt – for the denazification procedure
Report form to obtain information – here on former Allianz director general Kurt Schmitt – for the denazification procedure
The "National Socialist German Workers Party" was the party of Adolf Hitler. It was founded in 1920 and was the only political party permitted in Germany after the Nazis seized power in 1933. Among the defining features of its ideology were racism, anti-semitism, opposition to democracy, and aggressive territorial expansion. It grew from a splinter group to a mass-based organization with 8.5 million members.
  • International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg classifies 24 defendants as major war criminals and sentences them to death or imprisonment.
In the American occupation zone, denazification was at first pursued with great effort and commitment. In 1946, the military government transferred the screening of defendants by law to German examining committees or tribunals. These tribunals sentenced the guilty to imprisonment, restriction of professional activities, or fines. However, in the face of the Cold War,  the US military administration discontinued the denazification process in the spring of 1948.

At this point in time, the investigations against a large number of major offenders had not yet been concluded. The longer the trials dragged on, the greater the defendants' chances of a lenient sentence.

Against the background of the Cold War and the primacy of reconstruction, the legal and political investigation of Germans’ individual guilt took on a secondary importance. The political and moral effectiveness of the program is disputed - "a factory for the mass production of followers" is how critics referred to the project, which, despite its shortcomings and omissions, was completely unprecedented up to that point in history.
Cartoon on denazificaiton, 1948 (Haus d. Geschichte d. Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn)
Cartoon on denazificaiton, 1948 (Haus d. Geschichte d. Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn)
In September 1945, the denazification process was extended to include top business executives. These included several directors and members of the Board of Management of Allianz, as well as Kurt Schmitt, the former Director General and long-standing member of the Supervisory Board of Allianz.

In the summer of 1945, American military authorities relieved Kurt Schmitt of all his offices and prohibited him from practicing a profession. The denazification process took four years, during which time Schmitt was not allowed to work, was twice interned in penal camps, and only permitted limited access to his assets. In 1946, he was initially classified in the top war-criminal category as a "major offender." The sentence was subsequently reviewed by several courts and in 1949 Schmitt was eventually acquitted as an "exonerated person." Due to formal errors, however, the court of appeal canceled that judgement and Kurt Schmitt was eventually classified in the lowest criminal category as a "follower." He was sentenced to pay a fine as well as the costs of the proceedings.
Kurt Schmitt with his defense attorney facing the Starnberg Denazification Tribunal, 1947 - Ullstein Bild
Kurt Schmitt with his defense attorney facing the Starnberg Denazification Tribunal, 1947 - Ullstein Bild
  • 1913 Joins Allianz
  • 1917 Member of the Board
  • 1921-33 Chairman of the Board
  • 1933-35 Reich Economics Minister
  • 1935-45 Member of the Allianz Board of Supervisors
  • 1938-45 Chairman of the Board of Münchener Rückversicherung
  • 1945-49 Denazification
  • Directive No. 24 of the Allied Control Council (1946) regulates the denazification process.

Anja Rechenberg
Spokesperson Corporate Responsibility

Phone +49 89 3800 4511
Fax +49 89 3800 84511

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