AMSTERDAM (Mar. 2)
The Netherlands Parliament voted today against a government-proposed blanket pardon for the last three Nazi war criminals serving time in Breda prison. A government spokesman said afterwards that it would take into “serious account” the views of Parliament but would not necessarily be bound by them.
The 85-61 vote which cut across party lines followed 13 hours of debate which began yesterday. The motion adopted urged the government to seriously consider not to release, as a group, Franz Fischer, 70, Joseph Kotaella, 65 and Ferdinand Aus Den Fuenten, 73 who have served 25 years of their life sentences. There were indications prior to the Parliamentary debate that the government might release the prisoners separately at short intervals despite a negative vote by Parliament.
The issue sharply divided opinion in Holland and brought bitter protests from the Jewish community, survivors of Nazi concentration camps and former anti-Nazi resistance fighters who opposed a pardon. The Parliamentary vote in effect agreed with them that the release of the ex-Nazis would contribute to the suffering of Nazi victims.
DECISION MAY BE KEPT SECRET
The Dutch government will meet tomorrow to decide the issue and observers here said the government may find it difficult to come to a decision because there are divisions within the government on which of three courses of action to take: continue the imprisonment of the three Nazis, release them all at one time, or release them in sequence separately.
Premier Barend Bieshuevel was believed to favor the unanimous view of the Dutch Supreme Court for prompt release of all three of the Nazis. The known internal divisions within the Cabinet and the public furor over the issue may lead to a government decision to keep secret for a time whatever decision it reaches, the observers said.