Nazi-era `traitors' pardoned

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The Independent Online
BONN (AP) - Germany's major parties have agreed to grant a blanket pardon to hundreds of thousands of Germans deemed wrongfully convicted of treason and other crimes by the Nazis.

A law, which was expected to pass the lower house yesterday, rehabilitates people, such as resistance fighters and Jews, who were jailed or ordered executed by Nazi courts for political or racist reasons. It also clears the names of some 350,000 men and women forcibly sterilised under the Nazis.

A political compromise over how to treat soldiers who deserted Hitler's army paved the way for the legislation, more than 50 years after the Nazi era ended. Conservatives in Chancellor Helmut Kohl's ruling coalition refused explicit exoneration for about 20,000 deserters who were sentenced to death by Nazi courts. Instead, the bill lifts Nazi convictions imposed for "military reasons".