Mentally disabled Marinus van der Lubbe was cleared under a law introduced in 1998 to lift unjust verdicts dating from the Nazi era.
Agence France-Press | Jan 11, 2008
BERLIN — Seventy-five years since the Reichstag building in Berlin was gutted by fire, the Dutchman executed by the Nazis for starting the blaze has been posthumously pardoned by the German state, federal justice officials said yesterday.
Marinus van der Lubbe, a member of the Communist party, was cleared under a law introduced in 1998 to lift unjust verdicts dating from the Nazi era.
The Reichstag, the imposing stone building that housed the Nazi-controlled parliament, was gutted by fire on Feb. 27, 1933 — one month after Adolf Hitler rose to power.
A Nazi court found Van der Lubbe guilty of arson and high treason and he was beheaded in 1934.
The verdict remains a source of controversy.
Some historians say the Dutchman admitted burning down the Reichstag alone in an attempt to rouse Germans to rise up against the Nazis.
Others believe he was made a scapegoat for a fire that the Nazis started themselves.