WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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"'Your article, therefore, seriously violates the loyalty requirements set forth in Article 3 of Paragraph 2 in the Office Regulations, according to which every employee is obliged to refrain in his statements, pursuits, and publications, from any behavior likely to reflect unfavorably on OFA . . .'"

"Come to my office right away," Serge said, "and we'll talk it over."

The letter upset me completely. To be dismissed without notice or compensation made me feel that I had committed some crime that had disgraced the OFA.

I removed my personal possessions from my desk. No one, not even the girl at the switchboard, dared say good-by to me or shake my hand.

When I reached the Continental Grains building, Serge's jaw was clenched, and he shuddered as if he had a high fever every time he felt his emotions rise. My own feelings didn't show as much, but each of us had the same lump in his throat.

One of Serge's friends tried to calm us down. "Stop this," he said. "You can take it all back, since you've been given an opportunity to reply to the charges against you within two weeks."

Another said: "Don't get into a complicated and fruitless lawsuit. Remember, you need the money. Get a better job."

A third said: "Now you can see what it costs to lead a crusade."

That was too much. I didn't want to listen to them any longer. Serge took me to a bistro on rue des Saussaies, where we sat looking across a table at each other and saying nothing.

"How can I take your being fired without making some protest?" said Serge. "You're the first woman in France since the war ended to tell the truth about a Nazi. That would be the worst kind of submission."

He reached for my hand across the table and kissed it. There flashed into my mind a photograph of a young couple lined up on the rubble of the Warsaw ghetto with other Jews about to be massacred. Standing in ranks before them, helmeted and booted and with machine guns in hand, were their S.S. masters. The man and the woman were leaning against each other, and he was holding her hand. No, he was not protecting her. It was too late for that. But their love would survive. They were already at death's gate, yet their eyes and lips showed something that could not be destroyed – the look of two people who love each other.

The picture faded, but it was the turning point of our life. We
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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