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Carter Urged to Persuade West Germany to Abolish Statute of Limitations for Nazi War Criminals

A joint Senate-Assembly resolution exhorting President Carter to persuade West Germany to abolish the statute of limitations for Nazi war criminals, and messages from Gov. Hugh I. Carey, Senate Minority Leader Man fried Ohrenstein and Nathan M. Goldberg, Jewish War Veterans national commander, were highlights of a rally here yesterday, part of an international campaign to alert world opinion to the issue. An estimated 500 people participated in the rally.

Passed by the New York Legislature on Monday and read at the noon rally yesterday by Albany Assemblyman Richard J. Conners (D.), the resolution not only urges the President to exert his powers of office, but also calls directly on the government of West Germany to “abolish the statute of limitations for crimes of murder committed by war criminals.”

Stanley Fink, Speaker of the Assembly, and legislators from throughout the state were present at the rally which was sponsored by the Capitol District Ad Hoc Committee on Justice for Nazi War Criminals. Carey, who postponed his annual budget message to the legislature from noon until 12:30 p.m. so that the legislators could attend the rally, sent a message which called the Holocaust “one of the most dastardly acts in the annals of human history.

NO TIME LIMIT ON JUSTICE

“I can testify personally to the fact,” the governor’s message, read by Menachem Shayovich, special assistant to the governor, said, “because I fought in Europe during World War II. I was in command of the unit that liberated the Nordhausen concentration camp, a place of horror which I will never forget. Every peace loving individual has the moral obligation to bring to justice those individuals who share in the responsibility for the genocide which occurred in our generation.”

“Unless the West German government acts to change the present law, no Nazi war criminal can be prosecuted after Dec. 31, 1979,” Carey said. “Moral obligations cannot be limited by time.”

Ohrenstein told the rally that he and his family were refugees from Nazi Germany, leaving the place of his birth, Mannheim, two months before Kristallnacht in 1938. “We know what happened to my friends and those of my family who stayed behind,” he said. “The need to remove the statute of limitations is necessary not because of vindictiveness but because of reverence for the memory of the millions of innocent victims of the Holocaust.” It was on his initiative that the State Senate resolution was introduced and approved.

Goldberg reminded the rally participants that “in the United States, Latin America, even in Germany itself, unprosecuted Nazi perpetrator of these heinous crimes remain hidden, in obscurity, waiting for their reprieve from facing the bar of justice, waiting patiently for the statute” to end, “so they can once again assume their roles of fostering the Nazi ideology.”

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