WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
Previous Page Back  Contents  Contents Page 38 Home Page Home Page  Forward Next Page 
     
On February 19 the court found that it had no jurisdiction, and I took the case to the Paris Court of Appeals. Four months later, on June 18, 1968, that court sustained the lower court's opinion and sent my case back to OFA's arbitration committee. I was in a somewhat Kafkaesque situation, now that appearing before OFA's arbitration committee was the only course open to me.

In order for the committee to challenge Walter Hailer, the German judge, I would have to ask him to disqualify himself. I did so. I also wrote the French judge, the other member of the committee, asking him to declare his German colleague unqualified for this hearing. That desperately wily move ended with Walter Hailer being challenged in September 1968. Consequently the OFA became involved in a slow reorganization of its administrative procedure that resulted in a change in its constitution, for since there was no provision for a substitute judge, one had to be made in my case.

I had involved myself in a very complicated legal battle that set some precedents. La Gazette du Palais dealt at length with the case from the point of view of international conventions and jurisdictional immunity. The French Yearbook of International Law twice, in 1969 and 1970, reviewed my case and its numerous implications, especially in respect to a civil servant's right to continue in his employment. It turned out that I had to fight on familiar ground. Any evasion or giving up would have meant repudiating my first contentions, and I could not bring myself to do that.

In September 1967, soon after my dismissal, I had written to the German Minister of Justice Gustav Heinemann, who was later to become President of the Federal Republic. Heinemann promised to look into my case. I was to follow his good advice more literally than he thought, for on December 8, 1967, his Secretary of Justice, Horst Ehmke, wrote me:
I have been too busy with other matters to be able to study your case earlier. I do not know the outcome of the suit you brought before the French court on November 27, but I imagine the court will send the case back to the OFA committee in accordance with Article 23 of the OFA constitution. On the other hand, you should not expect much from a plea before an arbitration board in Germany. If, however, you wish to pursue such a course, be very cautious and choose your lawyers with the greatest of care.
My personal opinion is that an attempt to demonstrate the political
     
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Previous Page  Back Page 38 Forward  Next Page