Barmat Scandal

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The Barmat Scandal was a 1924 political scandal in the German Weimar Republic involving bribery and financial profiteering. It was also used in propaganda by the Nazi Party to demonize Jews and Social Democrats due to the role of both groups in the scandal.

Scandal

In 1924, Gustav Bauer, Chancellor of Germany and head of the Social Democrat Party, met with Julius and Henri Barmat, a pair of Jewish business owners who also had connections to several others in the Weimar Government. The Barmats developed business relationships with several government offices, and were granted permanent visas by President Fredrich Ebert for business reasons. With their positions secure, the Barmats began paying bribes to Chancellor Bauer and Anton Hofle, head of the National Postal Department, in return for government investments in their company. However, the Barmat's company failed after their investments turned sour, and the Weimar Republic suffered financially as a result. A Reichstag Commission and a Landtag Committee were both established to investigate why the Barmats had been entrusted with government money, and both concluded that Bauer, Hofle and several other prominent Social Democrats had received bribes from the Barmats in return for investments. Several Social Democrats were arrested on 30 December 1924; the Barmats were arrested the following morning.

Accused

  • Gustav Bauer was forced to resign his seat in the Reichstag on 6 February 1925. He was not arrested, and rejoined the Reichstag on 14 May 1926. He was later charged with misappropriating public funds in 1933, but was acquitted. He died in 1944.
  • Julius Barmat was sentenced to 11 months imprisonment for bribery. After serving his sentence, he left Germany, and committed suicide in 1937.
  • Henri Barmat was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment for bribery.
  • Anton Hofle was arrested on 10 February 1925, the day after resigning from the Reichstag. He died of a drug overdose while awaiting trial, although whether it was suicide or Murder is unknown.