Statute of Limitations Issue
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Statute of Limitations Issue

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West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt was reported here yesterday as critical of his country’s judiciary and Christian churchmen for not taking a stand on whether the statute of limitations on Nazi war criminals should be extended or abolished to permit trials to continue.

Leaders of on American group, including two Congressmen, said on their return from West Germany that Schmidt told them he was disappointed that the judges and clergy had not advised him and the Bundestag on the “difficult question” before them. “I am sorry to report it has not been forthcoming,” the Chancellor was quoted as saying about the advice he had asked “I hope we would not save them from the necessity of making up their minds.”

Speaking with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Rap. Robert Dornan (R. Calif.) and Rabbi Marvin Hier, Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies at Yeshiva University of Los Angeles who headed the 25-member group which had been invited by the Bonn government, said that Schmidt had asked for the advice during a speech in the synagogue in Cologne on Nov. 9, the 40th anniversary of Kristallnacht.


In their two-hour meeting with Schmidt in Bonn, Dornan and Hier said, the German leader {SPAN}###pressed “cautious optimism” that the majority in the Bundestag would by a “few votes” abolish the statute of limitations. Dornan also emphasized that without the NBC-TV series “Holocaust” that had been shown in Germany in January “the effort to get the statute abolished would have failed.” He said the series “awakened the conscience of the younger generation in Germany.”{/SPAN}In addition to Dornan and Hier, the Jews and non-Jews in the group included Rabbi Abraham Cooper of Los Angeles; civil rights leader Bayard Rustin; Rev Carl Benecke of Loyola University in Los Angeles, who was born in Hamburg; and Martin Rosen, Mayor of Lawrence, Long Island, N.Y., the legal counsel in the United States for Wiesenthal.”

Three victims of the Nazi terror who now live in Los Angeles also were members of the group. They are Mrs. Ruth Bromberg, who lost 72 family members in the Holocaust; Alexander Vari, who fought in the underground while his parents and grandparents vanished in Auschwitz; and Hans Lederer, who was a month away from becoming a medical doctor in Austria when Nazis seized and later killed all the members of his family.

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