Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Befehl Nr. 201

Object | Accession Number: 1990.333.42

Poster announcing Military Order Number 201, issued by the Sowjetisch Militärverwaltung in Deutschland (Soviet Military Administration in Germany, SMAD) in August 1947. Order 201 announced the implementation of new guidelines for denazification policy in the Soviet occupied zone (SBZ). After the German surrender on May 8, 1945, Germany was divided into zones of occupation by the Allies. The Soviet zone encompassed the eastern part of Germany. On June 6, SMAD was established to administer and carry out military, political, and economic tasks in the SBZ. One of the principal tasks undertaken in every occupation zone was denazification. After the conclusion of the war, the Allies worked to cleanse Germany of all traces of Nazi ideology, institutions, and laws. Additionally, they removed Nazi party members from office or positions of responsibility in an effort to wipe out the Nazi party and its influence. In the SBZ, this process was carried out by several commissions and committees, and was also used as a means to consolidate Communist rule, nationalize industry and confiscate property for land reforms. Denazification was used to purge public officials and fill the positions with members of Communist Party of Germany (KPD), which later became the Socialist Unity Party (SED), the ruling party of East Germany. However, many former Nazis were allowed to keep their positions so long as they conformed to Communism. By the 1950s, denazification efforts ended and many former Nazis were able to return to their former roles in industries and government in both East and West Germany.

Alternate Title
Command No. 201
publication/distribution:  1947 August 16
distribution: Germany
Political posters.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection
Record last modified: 2021-02-10 09:46:10
This page: