A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Germany court orders release of secret Nazi files

A German federal court [official website, in German] on Friday ruled that the government has no legal basis [press release, in German] for keeping files on top Nazi [JURIST news archive] official Adolf Eichmann secret, ordering their release. Argentinian journalist Gabriele Weber filed suit in order to get the documents released, arguing [AP report] that the documents could fill gaps about Eichmann's postwar life. The government argued that the release of documents could potentially harm relations with foreign intelligence agencies [DW report] that provided some of the information. The court rejected the government's arguments, also noting that it would give the office of Chancellor Angela Merkel a chance to present further arguments against the release of the files.

The Holocaust continues to effect today's legal world. Last month, the Regensburg District Court in southern Germany convicted British Bishop Richard Williamson [JURIST report] of incitement for denying the Holocaust and ordered him to pay a 10,000 euro fine. In March, a German court sentenced [JURIST report] former Nazi SS member Heinrich Boere to life in prison for the 1944 murders of three Dutch civilians. In November, a German court began the trial [JURIST report] of accused Nazi war criminal John Demjanjuk [NNDB profile, JURIST news archive], marking the first time a Nazi war crimes trial will focus on a low-ranking foreigner rather than a commander. In August, a German district court sentenced [JURIST report] former Nazi army officer Josef Scheungraber to life in prison for the 1944 reprisal killing of 10 Italian civilians. Scheungraber was convicted on 10 counts of murder and one count of attempted murder for ordering soldiers to blow up a barn in Falzano di Cortona, Tuscany, after forcing 11 civilians inside.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.