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AP reveals Nazi ID in Germany, rocks Chile’s presidential race

An image of an ID card issued by Germany's Federal Archive shows that an 18-year-old named Michael Kast joined the National Socialist German Workers' Party, or NSDAP, on Sept. 1, 1942. The date and place of birth listed on the card matches that of José Antonio Kast's father, who died in 2014. A copy of the ID card, identified with the membership number 9271831, was previously posted on social media by Chilean journalist Mauricio Weibel. (German Federal Archive via AP)

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AP Latin America correspondent Joshua Goodman and his Berlin counterpart, Frank Jordans, joined forces across two continents to unearth a document that provided undeniable proof that the father of Chile’s presidential frontrunner was a card-carrying Nazi, contradicting the candidate’s vehement denials that his German-born father ever belonged to Adolf Hitler’s movement.

A Chilean journalist had previously posted a copy of the elder Kast’s Nazi ID card on social media, but the reporting by Goodman and Jordans amplified the story, confirming details, adding context and settling the issue once and for all.

The 1941 Nazi party membership card revealed by AP shattered Kast’s insistence that his father, Michael Kast, was not a Nazi but was forcibly recruited by the German army. Their finding was complemented by German historians who explained that Nazi party membership was always a choice, one reserved for the vanguard in society. Additional research revealed that Michael Kast, once in Chile, actively collaborated with the Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the country’s longtime dictator.

The story dominated social media in Chile, and Kast’s political opponents, who have tried to frame the election as a fight between freedom and fascism, seized on the news. A photo of the Nazi ID card that Jordans obtained was used widely and major global news outlets did their own stories, crediting AP extensively.

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Republican Party presidential candidate Jose Antonio Kast speaks with the press as he campaigns in Calera de Tango on the outskirts of Santiago, Chile, Nov. 22, 2021. Kast faces a runoff presidential election. – AP Photo / Esteban Felix
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