Jews to Picket German Consulates in U.S. over Statute of Limitations

German consulates throughout the country will be picketed on Thursday, January 14, by the Jewish groups to protest the West German Government’s refusal to extend the country’s statute of limitations so that Nazi war criminals can be placed on trial whenever they are uncovered. Announcement of the program of picketing and protests was made by Lewis H. Weinstein, chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

The picketing and protests, which will also voice condemnation of the West German Government’s “disregard” of appeals to recall West German scientists now working in Egypt on the development of missiles for the United Arab Republic, which it plans to use ultimately in a war of destruction against Israel, follows correspondence between the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and the West German Foreign Minister, Dr. Gerhard Schroeder.

The Presidents Conference had deplored the Bonn Government’s “evasion of its moral responsibilities” on both grounds in a letter to Dr. Schroeder on December 18. The letter, affirmed by 18 national Jewish organizations, answered a cable from Dr. Schroeder in which he defended the Bonn position, saying that “it was unlikely that a substantial number of hither to unknown Nazi criminals will be discovered” after May 18, 1965, the 20th anniversary of V-E Day, when the West German Statute of Limitations would otherwise expire.

In a statement issued here today, Mr. Weinstein said: “The question of the prosecution of Nazi war criminals in the future, whenever and wherever they are uncovered, is a moral issue that must be faced by the Bonn Government, There is no statute of limitations on the guilt of any Nazi war criminal, no matter how long he is able to hide his guilt. While there are good legal reasons for statutes of limitations, in this situation the enormity of the crime of genocide calls for an exception to the general rule which most people will accept.

“We are, of course, conscious of the many sincere and affirmative steps that have been taken in the past by the Bonn Government through indemnification and restitution to victims of Nazism. For this reason, we are hopeful that the Bonn Government will see the moral necessity for amending the time limit on the statute of limitations as it applies to Nazi war criminals.

“By picketing the German consulates, we want to show the Bonn Government that the American people have not forgotten those who suffered and died as a result of Nazi brutality. No statute of limitations should be allowed to give a new lease on life to guilty war criminals.”

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