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German Minister Announces Arrest of Former Head of Restitution Office in Bavaria

Dr. Joseph Mueller, Bavarian Minister of Justice, today revealed that Dr. Philip Auerbach, former head of the Bavarian State Restitution Office, had been arrested on charges of fraud and falsification of documents. He told an audience at Ansbach that Auerbach’s arrest should not be exploited for anti-Semitic purposes.

Auerbach, whose tenure as restitution chief had been a stormy one, had made repeated charges that documents submitted to the restitution office by German refugees from Eastern Germany and others had been falsified by local Bavarian authorities. His administration of the office had been under heavy fire and he had filed a libel action against one member of the Bavarian Parliament who had accused him of embezzlement.

An investigation of the office by the public prosecutor failed, according to the Minister of Justice, to produce evidence of embezzlement or criminal acts by Auerbach and his subsequent removal from office was ascribed to his lack of technical qualifications for the job.

The newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung said today that the Central Council of Jews of Germany had urged an “objective and thorough” investigation of the Auerbach case, contrary to the desires of Auerbach himself who was, according to the paper, “regrettably inclined to brand any criticism of himself as anti-Semitism, thus gravely damaging the cause he wanted to serve.”

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