Bonn Parliament Debates Anti-semitism in Germany; Adenauer Condemns It
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Bonn Parliament Debates Anti-semitism in Germany; Adenauer Condemns It

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The West German Government will “not tolerate the slander of our fellow citizens,” Chancellor Konrad Adenauer told the German Bundestag today in a debate occasioned by the recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents throughout Germany.

“The recent anti-Semitic excesses are a serious affront to our Jewish fellow citizens,” he told the deputies. He insisted that the German people were unanimous in their condemnation of anti-Semitism and that these events had both disgraced the German people and hurt Germany’s reputation abroad.

Dr. Adenauer’s statements were occasioned by questions posed by Social Democratic leader Adolf Arndt who, seizing the opportunity during a discussion of judicial reform, asked what the government was doing to bring Nazi criminals to justice and prevent the escape abroad of wanted criminals like Dr. Hans Eisele, former concentration camp doctor who fled to Egypt to avoid prosecution for crimes against camp inmates.

Dr. Arndt charged that recent court decisions had underscored the fact that Germany still had not overcome its Nazi past. The government, he continued, was guilty of “serious neglect” in failing to collect documentary evidence of Nazi crimes. He also hit a statement last year by Minister of Justice Fritz Schaeffer that reparations and indemnification to the Jews would eventually cost Germany $6,000,000,000.


Herr Schaeffer, in defense of his Ministry, said that justice in the case of Nazi war criminals was slow because the judiciary was hampered by an excessive case load. Both judges and prosecutors are overworked, he added, proposing that a central judicial administrative group be formed to speed the trying of Nazi criminals.

Herr Schaeffer’s suggestions brought a hoot of derision from Socialist deputy Dr. H. John, who insisted that the Minister was evading the basic problem of bringing the Nazis to justice.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Justice of North Rhine-Westphalia told a meeting of legal experts in Dusseldorf today that there will be no general amnesty on the crimes committed by the Nazis. Herr W. Flehinghaus, the Minister, declared that if an amnesty were declared and criminals of the calibre of those now being tried in various German courts for the murder of hundreds and thousands of human beings were allowed to freely walk the streets of Germany, “the basic principles” of a state based on law would be jeopardized.

At any rate, he stressed, the statute of limitations would come into effect in a few more years to end the prosecution of Nazis. Under West German law charges of murder in such cases must be tried before the close of 1965, while homicides are limited to prosecution by 1960.

The Ministry of Interior of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia reported today that it has asked the Center for Jewish Documentation in Paris–postwar outgrowth of an underground movement in France to collect documents pertaining to the fate of Jews in Nazi Europe–for assistance in substantiating claims for indemnification filed by Jews. The Center is one of the largest archives of documents pertaining to the history of Jewish suffering under the Hitler regime.

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