What is the colloquial meaning in post-World War II Allied-occupied Germany of the phrase “... eine weiße Weste ...”? In a 1966 German book I’m translating a paragraph refers to the ‘denazification’ interrogations of German civilians during the period 1945-1951. Those who were found to not having been a member of the National Socialist (“Nazi”) political party were issued a Persilschein, a denazification clearance certificate. The author of the book states that anyone who received a Persilschein was noted as one being able to wear “... a white vest...”. The sentence I'm referring to along with my English translation reads:
Die verzweifelt um ihren Persilschein (Entnazifizierungsbescheid) kämpften, um wieder eine weiße Weste zu kriegen.”
[They were struggling desperately for their ‘Persilschein’ (denazification certificate) to get a ‘white vest’ again.]
For example, I believe that a white vest is somewhat similar to the English expression "a clean bill of health", but that in colloquial German the expression may have a bit of difference, and if so that's what I'd use for my English translation.