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Germany

German court ruling paves way for release of Eichmann files

A German court has found no legal basis for keeping the files on infamous Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann secret. Chancellor Angela Merkel's office had argued the files could hinder Germany's foreign policy.

Adolf Eichmann's Argentinian passport

Adolf Eichmann was caught in Buenos Aires in 1960, where he had fled with this false passport

A German court said Friday the government had no legal basis to keep under wraps secret files on Adolf Eichmann, the Nazi architect of the Holocaust, potentially paving the way for their release.

"After examining the files, the Federal Administrative Court has decided that the decision of the chancellor's office to block them is unlawful," the court said in a statement.

Following a lawsuit by a freelance Argentinian journalist, the court ruled as "invalid" the government's argument that releasing archives on Eichmann would jeopardize Berlin's foreign policy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's office had also argued that publishing the 3,400-page files could endanger relations with foreign intelligence agencies.

Adolf Eichmann listens to the guilty verdict read by the presiding judge as he stands in a special bullet-proof glass enclosure in a Jerusalem court

Eichmann was behind bullet-proof glass during his trial

However, the court also said it would give Merkel's office a chance to present further arguments against the publishing of the files, which were compiled during the 1950s and 1960s.

Israeli agents kidnapped Eichmann, one of the main executors of Adolf Hitler's "final solution" - the plan to exterminate the Jews - in Buenos Aires in 1960.

He was taken to Jerusalem for proceedings in an Israeli court, where he was caged in a special bullet-proof glass enclosure.

Eichmann was convicted of crimes against humanity and hanged in 1962.

glb/AFP/dpa

Editor: Susan Houlton

DW.DE