Statute of Limitations for Nazi War Crimes

WHEREAS the West German Statute of Limitations on Nazi War Crimes is due to expire on December 31, 1979; and

WHEREAS the expiration of the statute would make many Nazi war criminals immune from prosecution for their horrendous crimes against humanity; and

WHEREAS it would be unconscionable to close the door on future prosecution while some of the perpetrators of history's greatest crime have still not had to answer for their deeds; and

WHEREAS the prosecution of Nazi criminals serves as a valuable means by which to remind the world of the horrors of the Holocaust and to challenge those who would deny or willingly forget the past; and

WHEREAS recent efforts to educate the general populace of the United States, Germany, and other countries have resulted in intensified efforts to bring Nazi criminals to justice and an outpouring of important information on the whereabouts of Nazi criminals who have eluded detection or prosecution until now; and

WHEREAS West Germany has previously recognized its ongoing responsibility to bring Nazi war criminals to justice by twice extending the Statute of Limitations; and

WHEREAS the United States and many Western European countries have no statute of limitations in murder;

BE IT, THEREFORE, RESOLVED THAT the Union of American Hebrew Congregations strongly urges the West German Parliament to abolish the Statute of Limitations governing the prosecution of war crimes or to amend the present Statute of Limitations to allow a period of time sufficient for the prosecution of those responsible for the horrors of the Holocaust; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT we urge our congregations to communicate directly with West German leaders to express their hope and expectation that the Statute of Limitations will not be allowed to expire on December 31, 1979.