BONN, DEC. 22 -- Werner Hoefer, one of West Germany's best-known television journalists, resigned today after more than 35 years in broadcasting following a revival of allegations that he had been an active Nazi propagandist during World War II.
The left-of-center Social Democratic Party and several leading West German newspapers suggested that Hoefer, 74, may have been the victim of a murky political or bureaucratic intrigue.
Hoefer resigned a day after the managing council of his network, West German Broadcasting, voted 38 to 0, with three abstentions, to recommend that he step down.
Network director Friedrich Nowottny said that the network had dealt severely in the past with journalists with Nazi backgrounds, and that it had to treat Hoefer the same way to be consistent.
Hoefer had been the host since 1952 of a popular news program that brought together West German and foreign journalists on Sundays to discuss the week's events.
Hoefer has long acknowledged that he belonged to the Nazi party, but has maintained that the most offensive passages in articles published under his byline during the war were inserted by his editors at the behest of the Nazi government.
The recent flareup of the controversy came after the left-of-center magazine Der Spiegel published excerpts from little-known articles under Hoefer's byline that had a pro-Nazi tone. The conservative tabloid Bild Zeitung immediately picked up the story in a series of front-page articles.
Social Democratic official Peter Glotz and the respected dailies Frankfurter Allgemeine and Sueddeutsche Zeitung hinted that Hoefer was forced out because of hidden political or professional pressures.