BERLIN (JTA) – The German government has rehabilitated people who were condemned for disloyalty to the Nazis.
Germany’s Bundestag, the lower parliamentary house, voted Wednesday — more than half a century after the end of World War II — to void the wartime convictions of deserters and other traitors to the Nazi regime, including those who were convicted for helping rescue Jews.
In the renovated Reichstag building, legislator Wolfgang Wieland of the Greens Party apologized to Ludwig Baumann, 87, who was tortured and convicted for having deserted the Wehrmacht in 1942, and through him to tens of thousands of Germans also convicted and until this week legally regarded as traitors. Some 20,000 people were executed for their transgressions.
According to reports, some of the condemned who survived nevertheless suffered job discrimination for decades. Some even received death threats.
With the pardons, the "traitors" join conscientious objectors, who were pardoned officially in 2002. Baumann, president of the Federal Association of Victims of Nazi Military Justice, was among those rehabilitated that year.