Nazi Judge’s Acquittal Stirs Public Disapproval
Bonn — Public disapproval of the Berlin court acquittal of Hans Joachim Rehse, a Nazi judge who signed 231 death sentences in World War Ⅱ, is still spreading in Germany .
The letters to the editor columns of German newspapers and magazines have been filled with expressions of shame and outrage — an average of 40 to each of three major newspapers.
One of the most moving responses was by Jonas Rosenzweig, a 61-year-old Jew who suffered whipping, starvation down to a weight of 70 pounds, his jaw smashed in by an SS (elite guard) sentry wielding a pick-axe and the loss of 52 of his closest relatives in concentration camps.
Stern, the weekly magazine, disclosed today that Rosenzweig has written a letter to chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger , the day of the Rehse acquittal, and declared that he could no longer pay taxes to a state capable of such an act, and similar instances of Nazi-coddling.
After Rosenzweig received 9,000 marks ($2,250) in reparations from the West German government, which worked out to the equivalent of $1.25 a day for his five years in the concentration camps at Sachsenhausen, Oranienburg, Auschwitz, Flossenburg and Platten. He used the money to build up two taverns in the Bavarian city of Hof.
His taxes for last year amount to 70,000 marks ($17,500).
In a telephone interview, Rosenzweig said his letter to Kiesinger also took note of a decision by the constitutional court according public money for campaign costs to virtually all political parties con[t]esting elections in the Federal Republic — including the right-wing radical National Democratic Party (NPD).
“That was enough for me,” he said. “Together with the Rehse acquittal I just decided not [to] pay any more taxes, come what may. I await all the consequences with composure. I have nothing more to lose. I have already lost everything that was dear and valuable to me in this world.”
Rosenzweig, a native of Poland, bears other scars from his concentration camp days — the number 124211 branded into his arm and a head left bald when a camp physician tore out all his hair while ripping off an adhesive bandage.
Rosenzweig said he had also addressed a tax-refusal declaration to a deputy of the Federal Parliament, but that neither Kiesinger nor [t]he deputy had replied. He said he would give the tax money to a charity if it was not confiscated.