Menu JTA Search

Germans Split on Extension of Term for Prosecution of Nazi Criminals

A key investigator of Nazi war crimes insisted today that only lesser Nazi criminals were likely to escape prosecution as a result of the West German Government’s decision to adhere to the statute of limitations for prosecution of such crimes but a Hamburg Senator disputed that contention.

Edwin Schuele, director of the West German Center for the Investigation of Nazi Crimes at Ludwigsburg, emphasized, in a statement at Stutigart, that the mass of Nazi war crimes indictments which legal authorities have been working on for several years was still to come before West German courts. He added that by March, the Center hoped to have transmitted to public prosecutors about 100 additional cases so that prosecution could begin before the coming into effect of the statute of limitations next May.

Sen. A. Kramer asserted in Hamburg, however, that federal officials were obviously expecting “a large and unknown figure of undiscovered Nazi criminals.” He said this was evident from the federal government’s appeal to governments and organizations in other countries for documentary evidence So that prosecutions could be started in West Germany before the deadline.

Gen. Kramer, said that East European Communist regimes which possessed most of the material relating to Nazi crimes made use of it only when it served their political purposes. He said that the response of such governments to the West German appeal was therefore highly doubtful. He reiterated the request of the Hamburg Senate that the deadline for prosecution of all murder charges, political and otherwise, be extended for another ten years after next May.

NEXT STORY