Sees 15% Vote for Extremists of Left, Right, Within West German Safety Limits

The German Information Center said in a statement here today that a possible vote of up to 15 percent polled by extremists of the Right or Left in West Germany “is considered within bounds” of safety by the Federal Republic. The statement, titled “Neo-Nazism And The Federal Republic of Germany,” pointed out that the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party polled an average of less than seven percent in the recent elections held in six federal states.

(Owing to a transmission error between Bonn and London, JTA on Wednesday incorrectly quoted as 120,000 the number of investigations pending in West Germany of alleged Nazi war crimes. The correct number, as given by the North Rhine-West-phalian Minister of Justice, should be 20,000.)

The statement was issued to allay fears on a Nazi revival in West Germany expressed in “sincere concern” in parts of the free world and to answer Communist attacks on the Federal Republic for allegedly condoning the NPD. It asserted that “the Government devotes inordinate attention and concern to ultra-rightist eruptions on the body politic” but has not taken steps to secure a constitutional ban on the NPD because the party’s program “does not disclose enough overt evidence to enable the court to declare the NPD unconstitutional.” The statement went on to say that “it is far better at this time for the radical fringe group to work in the open, even in Parliament, rather than drive it underground or encourage its supporters to make an effort at disrupting the two big parties.”

(The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported from Bonn this week that Dr. Eugen Gerstenmaier, president of the Bundestag, West Germany’s lower house, predicted that the NPD would win seats in the Bundestag in the 1969 elections.)

The German Information Center’s statement noted that “some observers have made an analogy between the insignificant number of NPD votes today and 1930 when a similar Nazi percentage suddenly escalated to alarming proportions under the impact of the depression.” “But Bonn is not Weirmar,” the statement said. “The Nazi victory was possible only in the context of historical factors that have changed fundamentally. The Weimar Republic was never accepted by more than a slim majority of the German people, while the Federal Republic has consistently been hailed by over 90 percent of the voters for almost 20 years.”

Analyzing the attraction that extremist movements may have for some Germans, the statement observed that “it is naive to assume that all Nazis vanished with the end of the war.” It went on to note that “the new generation of Germans who have neither witnessed Hitler’s crimes nor experienced the aftermath of the Third Reich may find it hard to automatically condemn their fathers or assume their guilt…But the vast majority of young Germans have adequately demonstrated their commitment to democratic ideals and government.”

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