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Germany leaders agree to set aside Nazi-era treason verdicts

[JURIST] The political parties that make up Germany's coalition government agreed Wednesday on a proposal to set aside all Nazi-era treason verdicts. The Socialist Democrats (SPD) and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) [party websites, in German] of Chancellor Angela Merkel [official profile] agreed to draft a law bypassing the current system, in which treason convictions must be considered on an individual basis, and exonerate all persons convicted of the broadly classified Nazi offense. SPD parliamentary leader Volker Kauder [personal website, in German] said that the measure is likely to succeed in parliament [Israel News report] before September elections.

CDU members had originally opposed [AP report] the proposal, on the grounds that the alleged acts of treason may have been committed third parties, rather than the Nazi government. Germany has taken other legislative measures to combat Nazi-era offenses. In November, German lawmakers passed [JURIST report] a law intended to counter anti-Semitism [JURIST news archive] just before the 70th anniversary of Kristalnacht [PBS backgrounder], when Nazi troops destroyed thousands of Jewish businesses and synagogues.

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