Leader of German Parliament Meets in New York with Jewish Groups
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Leader of German Parliament Meets in New York with Jewish Groups

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Dr. Reiner Barzel, majority leader of the German Bundestag, today met separately with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and with leaders of the American Jewish Committee, and discussed with them various problems concerning German-Jewish relations.

Speaking before a meeting of the Conference of Presidents, the West German political leader, said that the problem of Israel-German relations “should not only be used from a political vantage but from a moral point of view. He stressed that he sees a special role for Germany in the peaceful industrial development of the State of Israel.”

Dr. Barzel, who is also deputy chairman of the Christian Democratic Union, asked that recognition be given to the achievements of the new German democracy. He underscored in his remarks that half of the present population of Germany was born after Hitler came to power. In introducing the key West German political leader, Dr. Joachim Prinz, chairman of the Presidents Conference, stated “it is important that West Germany recognizes its moral obligation to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.” He pointed out that “it is the State of Israel, as the heir to a European Jewry that is lost forever, with which Germany must now relate.”

With the American Jewish Committee leaders, who were headed by president Morris B. Abram, the West German leading parliamentarian discussed the following three specific topics; 1) The elimination of a statute of limitations for war crimes, such as genocide; 2) The expansion of the American Jewish Committee initiated German Educator Program, which is designed to promote civic education for democracy in Germany; 3) The launching of a seven-year research program into group hatred by the Center for Research in Collective Psychopathology, which will focus on the mass murders during the Nazi era.

Mr. Abram, who is U.S. representative to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, reminded Dr. Barzel that proposals for eliminating all statutes of limitations on prosecuting Nazi war criminals is scheduled for debate at the U.N. in the near future. Dr. Barzel agreed that further consideration and study of the question in the Bundestag was in order.

Mr. Abram submitted a memorandum on the expansion of the German Educator Program, which is now in its seventh year. He pointed out that “the problem of political education of the young in Germany is two-fold: to immunize them against extreme nationalism and renascent right radicalism, and to promote an appreciation of cultural minorities in a pluralist society so that they understand that diversity is enriching to a nation.”

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