Suspected Nazi Victims Reburied Despite Controversy | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 16.12.2005
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Suspected Nazi Victims Reburied Despite Controversy

The remains of 34 suspected Nazi camp victims were laid to rest at a US airbase near Stuttgart, despite the German authorities' request to investigate the bodies and determine the victims' identities.


The recently discovered Holocaust victims were given a proper Jewish burial

The remains of 34 suspected Jewish slave laborers from the Nazi era were reburied on Thursday after being found in a mass grave at an airport in the southern German city of Stuttgart, the German press said.

The bodies were buried in the cemetery at the US airbase in Filderstadt in a ceremony marked by anger at the recent revisionist outbursts by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"The Holocaust is not a fairytale, it is tragic reality," said Barbara Traub, spokeswoman for the Jewish community in the southern region of Württemberg.

The mass grave was found in September by construction workers digging in a section of the Stuttgart airport now used by the US army.

No DNA tests

According to German law, the bodies of Holocaust victims need to be investigated and identified in order to make possible the prosecution of those responsible for their death. The Jewish community, however, had urged that the remains be reburied as soon as possible in order to protect the victim's right to rest in peace.

Beerdigung von Opfer der KZ Natzweiler-Struthof

The ceremony was attended by German officials and Jewish representatives

"Because of this extraordinary legal, ethnic, and historic background, I think it is appropriate to move away from the opinion of the prosecution and take more into consideration all the relevant points of religious concern raised by Jewish organizations," said Ulrich Goll, justice minister for the state of Baden-Württemberg.

The Conference of European Rabbis conveyed its "deep gratitude to German federal and state authorities, as well as to the United States Air Force, for their sensitivity and respect in following strict guidelines of Jewish law by according a full respectful Jewish burial to these victims of Nazi barbarism."

Investigators have said that, judging by the remains, the bodies were those of Jewish slave laborers sent to the Leinfeld-Echterdingen site from the Nazi Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp in eastern France between November 1944 and February 1945.

Survivors of the workers forced to work at the site said at least 100 Jews died there of starvation and typhus. The bodies of 66 Jews who worked at Leinfelden-Echterdingen were found in a nearby forest in October 1945, shortly after the end of the war.

Priso n se n te n ce for a Nazi salute

Bildgalerie Holocaust Gedenkstätte Schüler besucht Konzentrationslager Sachsenhausen

A place of horror: Sachsenhausen concentration camp

In a separate development, a German girl of 19 was given a 10-month prison term by a court in Berlin Thursday for giving a Nazi salute to a group of foreign tourists visiting the site of a concentration camp.

The incident happened Wednesday at the station at Oranienburg near the Sachsenhausen camp on the outskirts of Berlin.

The girl, who was drunk, gave the stiff arm Hitler salute to a group of 36 foreigners from Canada, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States on a special trip to visit former concentration camps.

She was rapidly arrested and tried under a fast-track procedure and given the stiff sentence because she already had a criminal record after distributing Nazi propaganda.

Another girl, of 18, was also arrested for giving the salute and given a symbolic punishment, of several hours in prison spread over the coming weeks.

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