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Wjc Accuses West Germany of Refusing to Take Deported Nazis

June 6, 1985
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The West German government was today charged with engaging in what the World Jewish Congress said is a deliberate campaign aimed at restricting entry into the Federal Republic of alleged Nazi war criminals deported from the United States.

The WJC revealed that a letter written in 1984 by the West German Consul General in Washington, Elfriede Kruger, to the Justice Department, confirms West Germany’s refusal to accept any deportees that are not of German nationality. The letter is included in court documents filed in connection with the case of accused Nazi war criminal Karl Linnas.

The WJC also charged that German authorities are seeking to force the United States to accept the return of Arthur Rudolph, the former NASA official who surrendered his American citizenship and returned to his native Germany last year after the Justice Department revealed that he had participated in persecuting slave laborers at the Nazi V-2 rocket factory during World War II.


The West German Embassy spokesman in Washington told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today in a formal statement that “we are in contact with the U.S. government in this matter. We examine every individual case which is presented to us by the U.S. government. We have informed the U.S. government in which case and under what conditions we are or are not in a position to allow such persons into Germany. We are not aware of any requests made by the U.S. government at the present time.” He would comment no further on the WJCongress’ charges.

The majority of alleged war criminals currently under investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations are East Europeans who collaborated with the Nazis, and a West German policy of restricting acceptance of deportees from the United States would presumably prevent these war criminals from being sent there and tried for their war crimes under West German law.


Kalman Sultanik, WJC vice president, called the West German policy of limiting its acceptance of Nazi deportees as an “unpardonable violation of its moral and legal obligations to assist in efforts to bring Nazi war criminals to justice.” The decision, he asserted, “makes a mockery of Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s insistence that his nation ‘cannot and does not wish to evade responsibility for the past’.”

According to the WJC, the 1984 Kruger letter contradicts a letter written in 1954 from the German foreign office to the American Embassy in Bonn. The 1954 letter stated that West Germany is “prepared to readmit” to that country “any person who has received a visa from the United States under the refugee act of 1953” or if it is determined that the person received the visa through fraud or misrepresentation.

The Justice Department, in pursuing the deportation of alleged war criminals from the United States, seeks to establish that the individual lied about his war time activities when he gained admission into the United States and when the individual applied for U.S. citizenship. The Kruger letter is part of public court records from the trial of Linnas, who was ordered deported from the U.S. in 1983 for his participation in the murder of inmates of the Nazi concentration camp at Tartu, Estonia, and for lying about his past war time activities in order to gain entry into the U.S. Linnas has been stripped of his U.S. citizenship.

Kruger, in his letter, advised the U.S. government that West Germany “is not in a position to receive Karl Linnas” because West Germany, according to the letter, “is only willing to receive deportees of German nationality,” Linnas, born in Estonia and who immigrated to the U.S. from West Germany in 1951, never obtained German citizenship.


Another similar case involves Archbishop Valerian Trifa who has been stripped of his U.S. citizenship and deported from the U.S. for his activities as a leader of the anti-Semitic Iron Guard to Rumania in 1941 which incited anti-Jewish riots in Bucharest. Hundreds of Jews were killed there.

The West German authorities, according to the WJCongress, balked when the U.S. requested that they accept Trifa in 1982. Trifa has since left the U.S. and is reportedly living “at liberty” in Portugal.

“These individuals were full participants in Nazi Germany’s brutal plans for conquest and annihilation, were protected by the German Nazi regime and were openly aided by it. Yet the present day West Germany government seeks to find legal loopholes so as to avoid the responsibility of accepting these deportees,” Sultanik said.


Meanwhile, Sultanik said the WJCongress has learned that West German officials here issued a formal protest to the State Department for allowing Rudolph to go to West Germany. Sultanik asserted that the West German protest, filed by an unidentified West German official in Washington, included a demand that Rudolph be admitted to the U.S.

Rudolph has strongly denied that he persecuted slave laborers when he directed production of the V-2 rockets at an underground factory attached to the Dora-Nordhausen camp in 1943-1945. It is estimated that a third to one half of Dora’s 60,000 prisoners died. Rudolph, at NASA, was responsible for developing the rocket that carried Americans to the moon and received high awards from NASA for his work.

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