Resolution Adopted by the CCAR

Statute of Limitations for Nazi War Crimes

Adopted by the CCAR at the 90th Annual Convention of
the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Phoenix, Arizona, March 26-29, 1979

The West German Statute of Limitations on Nazi War Crimes is due to expire on December 31,1979. The expiration of the statute would make many Nazi war criminals immune from prosecution for their horrendous crimes against humanity. 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. 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. 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 heretofore eluded detection or prosecution. West Germany has previously recognized its on-going responsibility to bring Nazi war criminals to justice by twice extending the Statute of Limitations on murder.

Be it therefore resolved, that the Central Conference of American Rabbis 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.