Franz Rademacher, former Nazi diplomat who prepared the notorious “Madagascar Plan” for European Jewry and organized the annihilation of the Jews of Serbia, has indicated to German authorities that he will return from his Syrian refuge, provided he is granted “safe conduct” until the opening of his second trial on murder charges.
Rademacher, who has taken the name of Rosello and, with support from official Arab quarters, is conducting an export-import business in Damascus, was head of the “Jewish Section” of the German Foreign Office from 1940 to 1943. He drafted the stillborn project to evacuate the Jews of Europe to the island of Madagascar. It was he who visited Belgrade to order and supervise the execution of thousands of Jews. Later, he prepared the deportations from Belgium. Similar crimes in Bulgaria, Croatia, France and Holland have been attributed to him.
United States war crimes authorities handed him over to the German courts at Nuremberg in 1948. The trial, which was first delayed for four years, was notable for the behind-the-scenes efforts by the present Bonn Foreign Office to help and protect him. The prosecutor asked that he be given a life term for responsibility in the killing of 4,900 Serbian Jews and for “incitement to murder in thousands of cases, “but the court was content to impose a brief prison term, ruling that “no base motives” had prompted his actions. Then it released him “on his honor,” pending appeal.
Rademacher promptly fled to the Middle East. More than two years ago the German Supreme Court set aside the Nuremberg verdict as untenably mild, and ruled that murder rather than manslaughter was involved, and referred the case back to a different court for retrial. By that time, Rademacher had already fled Germany.
In the view of observers here, his demand for “safe conduct” has little significance beyond that of an impertinent gesture. Quite apart from the serious legal obstacles, he well knows that the Foreign Office is markedly cool to the prospect of having him testify in court a second time.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.