BONN (Oct. 19)
A lawyer for Aviva Nachmann strongly denied Monday that her departure from West Germany has anything to do with the embezzlement of some $20 million in reparations funds by her late husband, Werner Nachmann.
The Israeli-born widow of the former chairman of the Central Council of Jews in West Germany moved to the United States several weeks ago with her 18-year-old son.
The lawyer, Peter Paepcke, said she has no idea where the missing funds could be and did not flee the country to escape prosecution, as some sections of the news media have suggested.
Werner Nachmann, a wealthy businessman, died unexpectedly of a heart attack last January. His successor as community chairman, Heinz Galinski, announced a few months later that reparations funds the Bonn Finance Ministry entrusted to the Central Council for payment to claimants was missing.
Investigations seemed to established Nachmann’s malfeasance, but the search for the money continues.
Eberhard Braun of Karlsruhe, who is leading the search, flew to Italy and France last week. Nachmann is said to have transferred the stolen funds to companies in those countries.
According to Galinski, Nachmann’s crime “could not have occurred without the knowledge of persons who were close to him.”
But his widow claims she was left heavily in debt by his death and was forced to take an office job.
Paepcke said she has given up her Israeli citizenship, obtained a West German passport and found a job with a West German firm in New York, Her son has begun studies in Boston.