BONN (Aug. 22)
The Association for Christian Jewish Cooperation circulated widely today a memorandum expressing grave concern over the “mildness” of sentences imposed on Nazi war criminals by West German courts. Dr. Theodor Heuss, former President of West Germany, is patron of the association.
The memorandum asserted that the cases of wartime mass murders and crimes of violence committed by the Nazis were being handled differently from ordinary murder cases. The memorandum warned that a threat was developing that “general concepts of Justice will be increasingly influenced by the notion that crimes committed on orders of the state are not real crimes, and that murder by decree or with official approval is less than ordinary murder.”
The memorandum was circulated among 60 law professors of West German universities and was sent to members of Parliament, State officials, and trade union leaders.
The memorandum asserted that the Judgments in a number of cases “have had repercussions on public opinion, and Justify the attention being drawn to certain erroneous developments in criminal Jurisprudence” in West German courts. The statement declared that, in view of the large number of Nazi war crimes cases still pending, it was necessary to draw attention as soon as possible to the “dangers” to which such jurisprudence could lead.