A former Chancellor of West Germany, Berlin senators, bureaucrats, and members of the educational establishment have all been implicated in a network “in which paedophile positions were accepted, supported, and defended”, according to a report into the placement of homeless children with known paedophile foster parents by the German government.
For over a year, researchers at the University of Hildesheim have undertaken the examination of thousands of files in the Senate Education Administration in Berlin. The 57-page report, which was published this week, found that a “network of actors in the Senate administration and institutions of educational reforms during the home reform of the 1970s tolerated the establishment of shared apartments and foster homes for paedophile men”.
A man with a criminal record for child abuse, referred in the report as Fritz H., was able to rape and abuse at least nine children that were given to him as foster children under the government-backed scheme. Despite the extreme warning signs, Berlin youth welfare officers consistently chose him as a foster father to children, who were often six or seven years old.
The abuse committed by Fritz H. was carried out from the 1970s until 2003, according to the local newspaper Berliner Zeitung.
The report specifically pointed to the Pedagogical Centre in Berlin as the main coordinating institution of the scheme, though added that the policy was likely to have extended throughout the whole country.
The centre was established in 1965 by then Governing Mayor of Berlin Willy Brandt of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). Brandt later served as the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) from 1969 to 1974.
In 1971, he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to create closer ties with East Germany and improve relations between Poland and the Soviet Union.
According to the researchers, Willy Brandt strongly supported the project, while noting that the centre was “clearly” a subordinate of the Senate, which was presided over by governing Mayor Brandt.