WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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[Ex-] change. The Youth Minister, who had planned to distribute the handbook to girls about to go to France, changed his mind at the last minute.

I was severely scolded: "Don't you realize that you have listed an association connected with East Germany? You must be out of your mind!"

We couldn't understand each other, the OFA directors and I. To them, Germany was simply the Federal Republic. To me, Germany was all the German people.


In the spring of 1966 I would wheel Arno, my baby, from the Porte de Saint-Cloud to the poets' garden at the Porte d'Auteuil. We had decided that our son was to be a Jew and bear the name of Serge's father. The OFA had granted me a year's leave of absence without pay. We had taken a three room apartment on boulevard Murat, a few doors away from my mother-in-law's. I changed Arno's diapers, played with him like a doll, and found every smile a precious moment.

When I could, I would go to the Town Hall of the Fifth Arrondissement, where there was Marguerite Dunand's collection of books on feminism. I was doing research on a subject dear to my heart – The German Woman as the French See Her – which I hoped to turn into a book.

On weekends the three of us would stroll along the quais of Paris, and in the bookstalls I would pick up colorful observations by French writers – travelers, prisoners of war, reporters – of the love life of German women. I learned a great deal about my fellow citizens and about their observers. A periodical, Women in the Twentieth Century, asked me for an article. I wrote:

I have come to wonder what made me and plenty of other German women leave our homeland. There are many good reasons for doing something specific in another country, such as studying the language or the culture, but I think the efforts we made reveal a more powerful and often unconscious motivation – the desire to be free. Under Wilhelm II our grandmothers' whole existence could be summed up by the three K's (Kinder, Kirche, Küche – children, church, kitchen). For a few years during the Weimar Republic they could breathe more freely, and they took hope. Then Hitler sent them back to the children again, and later to the factories when the need for munitions became pressing. . .

Since the war, women have made a real contribution to the creation of a new Germany, which has turned out to be not so new after all
     
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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