WASHINGTON (Jan. 31)
A demonstration in front of the White House to focus attention on Nazi war criminals residing in this country ended 20 minutes after it began when park police arrested seven of the 20 demonstrators who had handcuffed themselves to a White House fence. Among those arrested was Dr. Charles H. Kremer, the 81-year-old dentist from New York City who for the past 38 years has been seeking to bring to justice the former Romanian Iran Guard leader, Bishop Valerian Trifa who is living in Grass Lake, Mich. Kremer is president of the Committee to Bring Nazi War Criminals to Justice in the U.S.
At the demonstration Jan. 21, an incident that went unreported in most major print and television media, the protestors carried placards reading, “No Amnesty in Romania for Iran Guardist Trifa”, INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) End Mishandling of Nazi War Criminals and Deport the Butcher of Bucharest, Trifa.” Shifra Hoffman, executive director of the Jewish Identity Center in New York City, led the group in a chant, “We do not forgive. And we do not forget.”
According to a spokesman for the demonstrators, Kremer has during the years located a number of witnesses who have attested that Trifa was indeed the leader of an Iran Guardist uprising in Romania in January, 1941 that culminated in the murder of some 6500 people, including some 200 Jews. Trifa, now Archbishop of the Romanian Orthodox Episcopate in America, was indicted May 16, 1975 for misrepresenting the facts about his past when he entered the U.S. in 1950. Kremer, and others who have been seeking to bring to justice war criminals living in the U.S., has charged that INS Special Litigation Unit has dragged its feet in bringing these criminals to justice.
In addition to focusing on the war criminals in the U.S., the demonstration also sought to highlight opposition to the West German statute of limitations for prosecuting Nazi war criminals which is stated to take effect at the end of the year. The seven who were arrested were booked for disorderly conduct, fingerprinted, photographed and fined $10 each, according to a spokesman for the group. He said Jan. 21 was chosen for the demonstration because it marked the 38th anniversary of the massacre in Bucharest.