© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Previous Page Back  Contents  Contents Page 42 Home Page Home Page  Forward Next Page 
in a coma for weeks, lost the power of speech for a long time, and finally had to withdraw completely from the German political scene. His assailant, it was said, was a mentally deranged loner, but in his rooms were found swastikas, S.S. insignia, and a bust of Hitler. His attack on Rudi was the climax of a hate campaign led by Axel Springer through his newspapers, and by politicians like Kiesinger.

My charges against Kiesinger had not yet made the splash I had hoped for in the principal French and German newspapers. With my bulging file under my arm, I roamed the editorial offices, insisting on being received by editors-in-chief or by special-assignment reporters. Invariably I got the same answer: "That's all very interesting, but what can you do about it? He's already Chancellor."

I had to change my plan of attack.

For the first time I recognized that my exposures would have small impact unless I did something so sensational that the papers would want to report it. If I could settle on something appropriate, and get its meaning across to the public, then the cause for which I was fighting would come to light. For a long time I pondered how to proceed. Then I decided I had to do something right in Kiesinger's presence.

From Paris I telephoned the German Parliament in Bonn: "I should like to attend the Bundestag session on April 1. How do I go about getting in?"

"All you need do is reserve a seat in your name and pick up your ticket ten minutes before the session begins."

I made a reservation under my maiden name; I had learned that Kiesinger would be speaking on that day.

As soon as I got to Bonn on March 30, I went in search of a press photographer. Some students eventually put me in touch with one who worked for the German Press Agency, and I took him into my confidence. We arranged for him to spot me discreetly before I entered the Bundestag.

I was almost late in getting there. I checked my coat, climbed up to the public gallery, and took a seat in a row of benches guarded by a sergeant-at-arms. Soon Kiesinger mounted the rostrum and began to speak. It was the first time I had seen him in the flesh.

I would say merely that he was a handsome sixty-five-year-old
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Previous Page  Back Page 42 Forward  Next Page