West Germany: Witness for the Defense

Witness for the Defense

It was the most unusual court appearance in Germany's postwar history. On the witness stand in Bonn's criminal court sat the Chancellor of West Germany, Kurt Georg Kiesinger. He had been subpoenaed to testify in the war crimes trial of a former diplomat who was charged with arranging transportation for 11,343 Bulgarian Jews to German death camps. The defense plea was a familiar one for postwar Germany: the defendant had not known what was happening in those camps. Defense lawyers summoned Kiesinger on the grounds that if...