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Germany Plans to Remove Statute of Limitation on Major Nazi War Criminals

August 25, 1967
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

West Germany’s Cabinet will be asked to tighten the law setting a December 31, 1969 deadline on the prosecution of Nazi war criminals, so that major criminals accused of “murders and genocide” would still be subject to prosecution after the cut-off date. Announcement of the planned move was made here at a news conference by Dr. Gustav Heinemann, Minister of Justice.

According to Dr. Heinemann, he was informed recently by the Central Office for the Discovery of Nazi Crimes, at Ludwigsburg, that there were “blank spots” in the group’s investigative work that would require more time for probing murders committed during the Hitler regime. Among the “blank spots,” he said, are investigations into the activities of Hitler’s SS, as well as suspected war crimes by Germans in East European areas occupied by Germany during World War II.

The Minister expressed the hope that other East European regimes would follow the lead of the Soviet Union which had just informed him that West German war crimes investigators would be allowed to study archives regarding such crimes now on file in Moscow. The USSR’s permission is the first in the war crimes field ever granted to West Germany by any of the Communist countries.

(Morris B. Abram, president of the American Jewish Committee, hailed the move on the part of the West German Justice Minister to remove the statute of limitations on major Nazi war criminals as a clear indication of West Germany’s awareness of its responsibility “to remove the vestiges of the Hitler period.” He expressed the hope “that West Germany will continue to be vigilant against all intimations of Nazi, anti-Semitic, and authoritarian ideologies.”)

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