Nazi courts sentenced some 30,000 German citizens to life imprisonment for treachery because they evaded army service or helped Jews. Chancellor Angela Merkel seeks to correct historical wrongdoing, clear their names
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition plans to pass a law to rehabilitate all the people branded as traitors by the Nazis in World War II, a leading conservative said on Tuesday. Merkel's conservatives, who had previously backed only a non-binding motion, would work with their Social Democrat (SPD) coalition partners and draw up a law, said Volker Kauder, parliamentary floor leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU).
The law, long discussed in Germany, would ensure a blanket rehabilitation of those viewed as traitors in the Nazi era and would go through parliament before September's election, he added.
Nazi military courts condemned about 30,000 people to death for desertion and treason during the war, and about two thirds of those were executed, according to German media.
Historians say the Nazis used the treason charge to condemn soldiers and civilians to death for political resistance and for helping Jews.
The draft law could be drawn up in the next few days and parliament could pass it on August 26, said Kauder.
"This is a big chance to undo this injustice," opposition Left party lawmaker Jan Korte was quoted as saying in the Financial Times Deutschland.
"64 years after the war, it is time to give a signal to families that the German parliament does not see their fathers and grandfathers as traitors."