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German Authorities Propose Ban on Import of Nazi-related Insignia

Proposed legislation in West Germany would ban the importation of material containing swastikas or other Nazi-related insignias it was reported here by the Institute of Jewish Affairs (IJA), the research arm of the World Jewish Congress.

The legislation, proposed by the Federal Ministry of Justice, is to take the form of an amendment to the present wording of the criminal code dealing with material containing insignia of Nazi organizations. Current legislation merely prohibits the use of publicity “at meetings or in publications” of such Nazi paraphernalia.

According to the IJA, the highly restrictive wording of existing legislation gave rise to a loophole which made the sending of Nazi insignias to Germany from abroad possible. To close the loophole, the proposed amendment would pro- scribe the “production, keeping in stock or importing” of such insignia.

ELEMENTS OF THE NEW LAW

The new wording would bring the legislation into line with the present law outlawing Nazi “propaganda material.” Insignia, as defined by law, “are, in particular, flags, badges, uniforms, items of uniforms, slogans, and forms of salute.”

The IJA also reported a related legislative proposal designed to overcome a serious limitation dealing with current law on the confiscation of banned Nazi propaganda material. In this case German authorities have had difficulties in applying the law because of the restrictive nature of existing statutes of limitation. The proposed amendment would change the articles of the criminal code to allow confiscation of material even where offending publications have escaped prosecution because of expired statutes of limitation.

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