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Charges Dropped Against Ex-nazi

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The State Prosecutor has dismissed charges against Kurt Becher, a Bremen grain merchant and former SS officer accused of complicity in the mass murders of Jews and other atrocities during World War II.

Becher, said to have been a confidant of SS chief Heinrich Himmler, was slated to go on trial after charges against him by a local journalist triggered a public demand for an official investigation. Last summer he resigned as a member of the board of directors of Hapag-Lloyd, the giant West German shipping company.

But the prosecutor found that similar charges against Becher had been investigated twice in Munich between 1965-70 and in each case there was insufficient evidence to bring him to trial.

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