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Germans Acquit Nazi Who Killed Jews; Was Sentenced to Life Term

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A Nazi official, sentenced to penal servitude for life a few years ago for slaughtering Jews in the Polish town of Izbica, near Lublin, and now acquitted on the basis of a sworn statement by a Nazi colleague, has announced he will seek compensation and reinstatement into his former post in the German judicial administration.

The official, Oberjustizsekretar Rieger, was given a life term in September 1949, after Jewish witnesses had testified under oath about his participation in the massacre of the Izbica Jewish community. In 1951 a friend of Rieger’s, who had been stationed with him in Krasnystaw County as a Nazi occupation official, swore that Rieger had been 40 miles away at the time of the massacre. The verdict was thereupon set aside by a court in Kassel, and the German Supreme Court has now upheld Rieger’s acquittal.

Shortly after his release in 1951, Rieger swore out a warrant for the arrest on perjury charges of Jakob Altmann, a Jewish tanner and leather dealer in Heidelberg who had been the principal witness against him. Altmann was promptly arrested, and his release on bail was obtained only with great difficulty. He preferred to leave Germany rather than stand trial before a German court and put his oath against that of two Nazi officials.

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