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German Press Denounces Release of Nazi Sentenced for Killing Jews

The release of Martin Fellenz, who directed the removal of 40,000 Jews from five towns in the Krakow area to Nazi death camps, was denounced here today by two leading West German newspapers. Fellenz was last week sentenced to four years of hard labor but was immediately released on probation because he had been jailed for 30 months while awaiting trial. Both prosecution and defense lodged appeals with the West German federal high court at Karlsruhe against the sentence.

The Sud Deutche Zeitung of Munich asked sarcastically, in a lead editorial, whether “probation” meant that “Fellenz would no more participate in any pogrom.” The paper added with indignation, “perhaps there are no longer any Jew murdered.”

The Hamburg weekly, Die Zeit, denounced the “inconceivably mild” verdict of the Flensburg jury court against the former SS officer. The prosecution had demanded a life sentence. Die Zeit called the probated sentence “a mockery” and added that “the understanding that injustice must be atoned for can obviously no longer be taken for granted” in West German courts.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany previously had expressed “grave concern” over the sentence, asserting that the effect of the verdict would be to minimize in the eyes of the general public the mass murder of Jews by Nazis in occupied Europe.

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