Gerhard Klopfer, 81, a West German lawyer and former SS general who was thought to be the last surviving member of the 1942 Berlin conference that plotted the extermination of Jews in Europe, died Jan. 28 outside the Baden-Wuerttemberg city of Heilbronn. The cause of death was not reported.

He was one of about 15 top-ranking Nazis who in January 1942 gathered along a lake in Berlin's Wannsee Villa to plot what the Nazis called the "final solution" of the remaining Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Nazi intelligence chief Reinhard Heydrich.

Despite his participation, Gen. Klopfer was never convicted of war crimes. Charged at the Nuremberg trials, the Allied court decided in 1951 to drop the case against him on the grounds that he had not had enough power to have influenced Nazi policy in "the final solution." He eventually moved to Neu Ulm in Bavaria, where he resumed practicing law in 1956.

Gen. Klopfer joined the Nazi party in 1933 and became a member of the party's secret police in Prussia a year later. He worked his way up through the ranks of Hitler's elite SS troops and was promoted to general in 1944. He was a top assistant to the elusive and powerful Martin Bormann, Hitler's deputy Fuehrer.