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Human Rights Sub-commission Receives Report on Extent of Nazism in Various Countries

The Commission on Human Rights’ Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, which began its 23rd session today and is expected to continue its work until August 28, has been given a background report by its rapporteur Hernan Santa Cruz of Chile that there is a danger of a revival of Nazism. The report observes that “allegations” that Nazi movements exist in various countries including Argentina. Australia. Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany. Italy. South Africa. Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States “have been made from time to time.” According to the report, however, “the facts are often difficult. if not impossible, to verify, and in most instances these movements have proved to be of minor importance, functioning outside the law or even contrary to the law, and involving a small number of persons.” The report, nevertheless, warned that any movements promoting or inciting racial discrimination or Nazism, “should be condemned, declared illegal, and prohibited by law…” The study, which focused on reports that a large number of former Nazis are active in high echelon positions and in responsible public offices in the Federal Republic of Germany, cited statistics provided by the Polish government to that effect and statistics provided by Simon Wiesenthal, the head of the Documentation Center of Jewish Victims in Vienna, of former Nazis active in the East German government. The study carries a lengthy reply by the West German government repudiating charges by the Polish government.

The Polish government included charges that the National Democratic Party (NPD) “leaves its imprint of neo-Nazism and pan-German chauvinism on West German politics and public opinion”;that there are “20 ex-Nazis among the Cabinet members and Secretaries of State. 189 among the generals, admirals and senior Bundeswehr officers, 1,100 in the judiciary, 300 in the police, nearly 250 in the foreign ministry, and 120 in the top echelons of business.” The West German government’s reply refers to Mr. Wiesenthal’s recent disclosures that about 100 professors are teaching in the universities of East Germany who already held professorships during the Nazi period and that on other occasions he pointed out that former Nazis occupy important positions in the East German government, the civil service and the press. Responding to the Polish government charges, the West German reply is that “it is common knowledge that the NPD did not win a single seat in the last elections and that its membership has been in steady decline. Referring to the number of ex-Nazis in high places, the government noted that one public official helped Jews to escape Nazi persecution, one left Germany in 1933 at the age of 19, two were in concentration camps, one was jailed for anti-Nazi activity, and one lost members of his family because they participated in the plot against Hitler in 1944.

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