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Germany Pledges Care for Memorials of French Victims of Nazism

West Germany has undertaken to preserve the memorials, monuments and cemeteries hallowed to the memory of French victims of Nazism. Jews and non-Jews, who died in Germany during the war.

A Franco-German agreement now entering into force lists by name 54 such cemeteries, eleven monuments – including the one at Belsen – and two memorials, the crematoria in the former concentration camps of Flossenbuerg and of Dachau. It provides for the return to France of the bodies of Frenchmen who were deported to Germany during the war and died there. To finance search work by a special French commission, the exhumation of the bodies and their transfer to France, one million marks a year will be made available for the next three years.

An important section of the agreement grants former French deportees, or family members of a French deportation victim, free second-class railroad travel once a year to visit camps and cemeteries. The number of such pilgrims, who will be selected by the French authorities, has been limited to two thousand annually.

The number of Jews directly affected by the agreement is not large, since most Jews deported from France were shipped to the death camps of Poland rather than to Germany proper. There is some hope, however, that the agreement may set a pattern Observers here particularly welcome the West German Government’s assurance that memorials such as the Dachau crematorium will not be interfered with. Only a few weeks ago, it is recalled. Bavaria’s Deputy Minister-President and Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Josef Baumgartner, exclaimed in a public meeting at Dachau that “the crematorium must go.”

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