BONN (Jan. 5)
A Bonn court today fined Dr. Theodor Sonneman, Secretary of State in the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the equivalent of $350 and costs as it upheld an earlier conviction of “slander” against Joachim Hertslet, a principal German figure in last year’s campaign to block German Parliamentary approval of the reparations agreement with Israel. The fine is very high by German standards.
The plaintiff, Herr Hertslet, is a Bonn lobbyist and former Nazi specialist in international trade and propaganda, who reportedly took over direction of the Arab campaign in West Germany against ratification of the reparations pact. In 1952 he traveled through the Arab Middle East.
His complaint was based on an alleged statement by Dr. Sonneman to a food importer warning him not to deal with Hertslet because the government considered his activities “traitorous” and “harmful.” Herr Hertslet also filed a slander suit against Dr. Walter Hallstein, State Secretary in the Foreign Office, and is suing the Bonn Government for alleged damages of $200,000 in loss of business,