German Court Grants Retrial to Rabbi Convicted in Auerbach Case

The German Supreme Court in Karlsruhe has referred back to a court here for retrial the case of Dr. Aron Ohrenstein, former Chief Rabbi of Bavaria, who was sentenced to a year in jail and a $2,400 fine in 1952 on charges of fraudulent certification of signatures.

The case, which reached the Supreme Court on an appeal by Dr. Ohrenstein, was sent back to the court of original jurisdiction because of two legal technicalities that may affect the length of the jail sentence and the amount of the fine, The Supreme Court expressly noted, however, that it entertained no substantial doubts about the verdict of “guilty” as such.

Dr. Ohrenstein was one of the three co-defendants in the trial directed primarily against the late Dr. Philip Auerbach. According to the findings of the Munich court two years ago, he was one of the key figures in a scheme to obtain compensation payments in the name of Jewish displaced persons who either did not exist or had already left Germany, but whose forged signatures he authenticated by claiming to have administered the “rabbinical oath” to them in person.

Since his conviction Dr. Ohrenstein, who is on leave from his rabbinical post, has lived in a home he owns on the shores of Lake Starnberg.

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