West Germany: The Pursuit, Prosecution, and Punishment of “the Chief” Himself
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In this chapter, the West German response is addressed. It was in that country that Viktors Arājs himself was captured and tried in the 1970s. His pursuit, prosecution, and punishment are laid out in detail. His arrest came as a result of a near-total fluke involving rumors of Cold War espionage and assassination. After an investigation and trial at which his rights were assiduously respected and he and his legal defense team were given every possible opportunity to stall the proceedings, invoke technicalities, and make appeals, he received the harshest legal punishment available in West Germany: life imprisonment. The case proved to be the capstone of the West German legal investigation of Nazi crimes in Latvia and produced an outstanding account of them.