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Former Wehrmacht Officer Elected New President of West Germany

Baron Richard von Weizsaecker, who as an officer in the Wehrmacht was implicated in the failed attempt to assassinate Hitler in 1944, was overwhelmingly elected yesterday as the sixth President of the West German Federal Republic.

Weizsaecker, 64, a member of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and a former mayor of West Berlin, received 832 votes in the Federal Parliament to 68 for his only rival, author Luise Rinser who was backed by the minority Green Party. He succeeds President Karl Carstens in what is largely a ceremonial office.

Weizsaecker, a captain in 1944, was one of the few named in connection with the attempted military coup against Hitler to survive. Nineteen of his regimental colleagues were among the officers executed. He studied law after the war and helped defend his father, Baron Ernst von Weizsaecker, who was convicted by the Nuremburg war crimes tribunal of involvement in the deportation of Jews, for which he served two years in prison.

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