Irish Jews Oppose Return of Nazi War Criminal
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) _ Ireland’s Jewish community urged Prime Minister Garret FitzGerald on Thursday to bar former Nazi officer Pieter Menten from returning to Ireland when he is released from a Dutch prison next month.
″He’s a former SS officer, a killer and a man who made millions on the blood of innocent men, women and children,″ said Ben Briscoe, a prominent Jew and member of the Dail, or Parliament.
The Netherlands High Court sentenced Menten to 10 year in prison in 1980 for complicity in the massacre of 400 Polish Jews during World War II.Now 85, Menten is to be released March 28 after serving two-thirds of his term, including two years while awaiting trial.
His Dutch attorneys have said Menton, an art dealer, plans to return to Comeragh House, his sprawling mansion near Leamybrien in southern Waterford county.
Briscoe said Ireland’s 2,000 Jews were ″incensed″ that Menten plans return to Waterford.
″It’s important that Ireland should not be seen as a haven for war criminals,″ he said. ″There can be no room for compassion. He showed none.″ Gerald Goldberg, a lawyer in Cork and a leader of the Jewish community, urged the government to deport Menten if he returns to Ireland.
A Foreign Ministery spokesman declined comment on what the government might do if he attempts to return.
Menten’s art collection, housed in his mansion, has rarely been seen. Dublin art sources, who asked not to be identified, said it has been valued at $11 million.
There were allegations during Menten’s trial in Rotterdam that his collection included art treasures looted by the Nazis in Poland during the war. Menten’s former wife, Meta, who divorced him after his arrest in Switzerland in 1976, denied these charges.
″Every little piece was bought in Ireland by my husband with his own money,″ she said. ″These allegations are just part of a Jewish conspiracy against him.″