BONN (Jul. 11)
The West German Bundestag unanimously approved yesterday the second and third readings of a bill calling for German adherence to the international Convention Against Genocide.
The bill still has to be approved by the Federal Council, but this is expected to be a mere formality. West German formal ratification of the genocide measure is expected by the end of Summer or Fall, at the latest.
The bill was approved after a sponsoring address by Jacob Altmaier, Jewish member of the Social Democratic Party. He recalled that a “trail of blood” marked Germany’s recent history and insisted that this “trail of horror” made it imperative that Germany pledge its support to an international law which provided the heaviest penalties for crimes of a like nature.
He noted, however, that the convention would be able to fulfill its “true intent only if it became a matter of the heart rather than a mere legislative measure; if it awakened the conscience of each individual to the moral obligation of preventing the new flowering of poisonous seeds.” When no other speakers rose to make any comment on the measure, the Speaker of the House declared the bill adopted unanimously.
It was learned that lengthy discussions had taken place among several of the leading parties on how the formalities of passing the measure was to be handled. It is understood that Chancellor Konrad Adenauer’s Christian Democratic Union preferred making a public endorsement of the bill, for its effect on world public opinion. However, the BHE Refugee Party, with a neo-Nazi leadership, was expected to raise a fuss, as it had at the first reading of the bill, and repudiate any suggestion of German responsibility for the crimes against the Jews, in the event any government party spoke for the measure. To forestall this expected opposition, or any other public show of disunity, it was decided to let Altmaier be the only speaker on the bill.