NEW YORK (Aug. 9)
Manfred Kurt Roeder, a fugitive German neo-Nazi, has surfaced in Chile, according to Rabbi Morton M. Rosenthal, director of the Latin American affairs department of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith.
Roeder, who fled Germany in April after being ordered to begin serving a six-month jail sentence for “defamation of the state and propaganda for an unconstitutional organization,” indicated in a Santiago newspaper interview that he had no difficulty entering Chile. The 50-year-old disbarred attomey has gained international attention as head of the German People’s Movement (Deutsche Burgerinitiative), a neo-Nazi group.
Following his escape, Roeder was first discovered in Latin America by Brazilian authorities who raided a meeting of Nazis at the Tyll Hotel in Itatiaia. The resulting publicity also led to the identification and subsequent arrest of Gustav Franz Wagner, one-time head of the Sobibor concentration camp.
True to his reputation, according to Rosenthal, Roeder picked up his neo-Nazi efforts in Latin America where he had left off prior to his departure from Germany. He told his Chilean newspaper interviewer that Adolf Hitler was the “savior” who gave Germans “an ideal for which to live.” He urged that the Hitler era be reevaluated.
Roeder claimed he had asked Brazil’s president for the release of Wagner because it is unjust to prosecute Wagner more than 30 years after the war. This coincided with the position of Herbert Dau, Wagner’s lawyer, who has said that he will base his defense on the thesis that neither extradition nor imprisonment of Wagner have any foundation in Brazilian law, because the 20 year time span has been exceeded.
West Germany’s request for Wagner’s extradition was the first to be brought before the Brazilian Supreme Court; Poland and Austria have also formally asked for his extradition. The court, which has 90 days to act, must rule by the end of August.