News Brief

Prior to his departure for Israel yesterday, Mr. Benda who had just returned from the United States, reported at a press conference that Americans were deeply concerned over the imminent application of the statute of limitations to Nazi war crimes and the rising political power of the National Democratic Party. He said that Americans grossly over-estimate the NPD’s influence in West Germany and that their attitude could be harmful to the Federal Republic especially if the NPD, as is generally expected, wins seats in the Bundestag, West Germany’s lower house, in next year’s elections.

Mr. Benda, who met with representatives of major American Jewish organizations during his visit to the U.S. said he tried to assure them that the NPD posed no real danger to democracy in West Germany. As to the statute of limitations, which will bar further prosecution of Nazis accused of murder after it goes into effect, Mr. Benda said the issue seemed of greater import to Americans than to most West Germans. He said Americans made it clear to him that in their opinion, the statute must not only be postponed but abolished altogether. In New York, Mr. Benda met with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and a delegation of the American Jewish Committee.

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