2 Armed Men Seize West German Embassy; Leave After Several Hours

Two armed men who seized two rooms at the West German Embassy here this afternoon, left the building quietly at nightfall as they had promised to do and surrendered their pistols to waiting police. German Ambassador Per Fischer said he would not press charges.

The men, claiming to be Holocaust survivors, entered the Embassy at gunpoint today wearing yellow Stars of David, the emblem of concentration camp inmates. They said they were using the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day, celebrated all over Israel today, to protest the long duration of the Maidanek war crimes trials which have been going on for several years in West Germany without the conviction of any former Nazi for crimes committed at that concentration camp. They also protested the fact that the German Embassy was kept open on Memorial Day.

Apparently they had no violent intent. The rooms they occupied were empty. Police Inspector General Haim Tavori negotiated with the pair during most of the day. He said they promised to leave peacefully when Holocaust Memorial Day ended officially at dusk. Police sources said a television broadcast here last night critical of the way the Maidanek trials are being conducted may have triggered the men’s action and that all they sought was publicity. They demanded radio coverage.

Afterwards, the West German envoy said that while he could not condone the unlawful occupation of sovereign German territory, he understood the motives behind it.

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