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House Committee Urges West Germany to Abolish Statute of Limitations

The House Foreign Affairs Committee yesterday unanimously urged the West German government to extend or abolish the statute of limitations on the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. The action was taken on a bipartisan resolution drafted by Reps. Elizabeth Holtzman (D.NY) and Hamilton Fish (R.NY) which had 120 co-sponsors from both parties.

Holtzman said of the House committee’s action, “This is the reaffirmation of our commitment at Nuremberg that none of those who participated in the Nazi atrocities should escape being called to account for their deeds. No arbitrary time limit should prevent the trial of those who are responsible for the Holocaust.”

Fish observed that what the committee approved is a “continuation of the world community’s obligation recognized by the Allies after World War 11 to bring those who committed these heinous crimes, not only against the Jewish community in Europe but against mankind, to justice.”

The West German government has twice in the past extended the statute of limitations on war crimes and has been asked to extend it again by the governments of Poland and Israel. The issue is now being debated in the Bundestag (Parliament). The House committee added its voice at a time when the U.S. government, at the instance of the House Judiciary Committee, is engaged in a more intensive hunt for Nazi war criminals living in the U.S. and is bringing them to trial for deportation proceedings.

In an unrelated development, the Senate. Foreign Relations Committee voted without dissent yesterday to extend $25 million to Israel and the same amount to Egypt for the construction of housing in those countries. The Senate action, based on a resolution by Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R.NY), was an amendment to an authorization bill for the coming fiscal year for the Agency for International Development (AID) which has extended its housing guarantees by $50 million. The guarantees are without cost to U.S. taxpayers. They assure contractors of payment for construction contracted for by Israel and Egypt.

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