WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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[succeed…] ing. Above all, it is necessary to be brave, follow your conscience, keep your eyes open, and act. Afterwards – well, in my case, my actions would pursue me and drive me onward, and others would draw inspiration from them.

I decided that the first thing I would do would be to take a stand publicly. I wrote an article and took it to two morning dailies. They listened to me politely and advised me to go to Combat. I had some trouble finding the old building on rue du Croissant in Montmartre that housed the newspaper that is keeping the spirit of the French Resistance very much alive.

The young editor I talked to, Michel Voirol, seemed surprised to find a German determined to protest Kiesinger's election. The first open discussion appeared on January 14, 1967, the day of Kiesinger's official visit to Paris. I wrote for the opposition:
Official Germany has several faces. Willy Brandt is the only one of whom the French need not be suspicious. At the moment, when Germany seems to want to be identified with the person of Kiesinger, fate has offset that desire with Willy Brandt's installation in high government office.
It was not hatred of Kiesinger, nor a morbid fascination with the past, nor despair that motivated me. A future for Germany was within our grasp. "Why You Should Bet on Willy Brandt" was the title of my second article, which appeared in Combat in March 1967.
As a German I deplore Kiesinger's accession to the Chancellorship. The election of this former member of the Nazi Party – even if that was merely opportunism – is practically an exoneration of an era and an attitude. Sociologist Hannah Arendt used the phrase "the banality of evil" in speaking of Eichmann. To me Kiesinger represents the respectability of evil . . . . There is certainly nothing to prevent Kiesinger from feeling at peace with himself and, now that he is in a position of power, from easing the consciences of those few Germans who did have pangs.

Willy Brandt's attitude was the opposite of Kiesinger's. As a young man he was sincerely democratic, and he has never ceased being so. How many others can say as much when it was so easy to swim with the current? . . The true German democrats who fought Nazism with actual weapons were very few. Paradoxically, they almost became the bad conscience of Germany by furnishing proof that it was possible to become involved on the side of right and morality. . . .


Willy Brandt and his team are the only ones who can set Germany's

     
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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