BONN (Apr. 9)
The bill initiated by the West German Cabinet to make anti-Semitism a criminal offense passed its first reading in the West German lower house, the Bundestag, yesterday, after a brief debate.
All parties, with the exception of the right-wing Deutches Parties, announced their support of the measure, in view of the resurgence of anti-Semitic incidents in West Germany in recent months. The Deutches Partie argued that special legislation might have consequences which later might not be controllable.
The bill, a revision of the West German penal code, sets a minimum punishment of three months’ imprisonment, but no maximum, for persons convicted of stirring up hate against groups because of their national, racial ethnic origin. The bill also provides fines in addition.
The measure was scheduled to go to the legal committee, then it will be returned to the Bundestag for a second reading. The measure was passed by the upper house, the Bundesrat, in February.