West Germany’s Jewish Community Angered by Court Decision to Free Two Persons Accused of Devising an

The Jewish community in West Germany is sharply critical of the decision by a court in Zweibruecken, Saarland, that freed a man and a woman accused of devising and circulating a macabre parlor game in which pawns representing Jews were sent to death camps by throw of dice.

The woman, Ingeborg Schulte, 30, received a nine-month suspended sentence for spreading anti-Semitic propaganda and inciting racial hatred. Handwriting experts had testified during the trial that it was she who addressed the envelopes in which copies of the game were mailed to Jewish communities in West Germany and to local prosecutors.

But it was the acquittal of Schulte’s 36 year-old former policeman friend, Hans-Guenther Froehlich, an avowed Nazi sympathizer, that aroused the Jewish community here. Froehlich was regarded as the principal defendant in the case. The prosecution demanded a mininum 22-month prison term. But the court found insufficient evidence, despite Froehlich’s admission during the trial that he admired Hitler and the principles of Nazism.

Judge Horst-Werner Krueger said there were no doubts about Froehlich’s political views but given lack of evidence that he had a hand in devising the game, he could not be sentenced for his ideas. The judge’s remarks drew cheers from the neo-Nazi spectators who packed the courtroom. The official publication of the Jewish community, Allgemeine Juedische Wochenzeitung, said the verdict was beyond understanding. It deplored the lack of reaction from political parties, the church and most of the media, observing that the dangers of neo-Nazism must not be played down and it is alarming when the victims must remind the persons and institutions concerned.

The game consisted of a hand-drawn board with six pawns, each representing one million Jews. The ployers cast dice to move the pawns to squares labeled Auschwitz, Treblinka and the names of other notorious death camps of the Nazi era. The game, which was circulated widely in 1982-83 was jocularly known by neo-Nazis throughout the country as “Jude Aergre Dich Nicht” (Jew, do not get angry).

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