BONN (Nov. 7)
West German Defense Minister Georg Leber has ordered “dismissal proceedings” against 11 Munich officer trainees who participated in a symbolic “Jew burning” at an army academy last February. The State Prosecutor has also been asked to consider charges against them for breach of laws forbidding incitement against particular population groups, use of banned symbols and insignia, and defamation of deceased persons.
Disciplinary inquiries are also being instituted against three of their superior officers who are charged with failure to report the incident to the Defense Ministry as required under army regulations.
Condemning the acts, Leber said in an interview that he had no wish to be in charge of soldiers who “even symbolically burn people, and I do not wish to lead people who observe such things without taking action.” But the Minister said there was less extremism percentage-wise in the army than among the central population.
He also reported that inquiries into the February incident showed no evidence that those involved were prompted by a “Nazi-Fascist outlook.” Instead, he blamed their parents and schools for making them “inadequately conscious of the past and the conclusions to be drawn from it.”