WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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A resolution calling upon Kiesinger to resign was passed by three-fourths of the meeting. Both the East and the West German newspapers reported it. I took the risk of publicly announcing my intention to slap Kiesinger because I had to make sure that people knew the symbolic gesture I was planning had been premeditated. I had a feeling that such a gesture would deeply stir the Germans.

The following evening I took a train to Bonn. We planned to descend on the capital the next day to protest the coming vote on the "law of exception" that would give the Chancellor dictatorial power in the event of disorders, and the East German government 1ad put at the disposal of the "Committee for Preserving Democracy" an eight-hundred-seat train. However, the young people showed they were as critical of East Germany's government as of West Germany's. When the train stopped at or passed through East German railway stations, they shouted at the top of their lungs such slogans as "Bureaucracy leads to Fascism and Stalinism," and "Turn communists into good socialists."

The West Germans were stupefied as they watched the train go by. It was the first time since the cold war began that a train bristling with red flags had crossed the Federal Republic to the shouts of "Capitalism means Fascism," and "Citizens, don't watch us, Join us," and "SPD and CDU, hands off the Constitution." Also, quite often, "Kiesinger is a Nazi."

There was some concern that our train would wind up on a siding, but the police avoided any clash. About 8 A.M. we pulled into the Bonn station. Forty thousand demonstrators had been expected, but sixty thousand showed up.


The next day barricades sprang up like thorny hedgerows all over Paris. The great conflagration of the "days of May" had begun.

I undertook to organize a Franco-German Action Committee at the Sorbonne and mounted a display of photographs of the demonstrations in Germany and the police repression of them. My purpose was to make the young French understand the battle a minority of young Germans were waging against the resurgence of Nazism and for the rehabilitation of an entire people. I quickly realized, however, that the French students were interested only in their own problems. Nevertheless, it seemed to me that the contest in Germany, not the one in France, was of paramount importance because the Federal Republic had external problems, such as its relations with East Germany and other Eastern Euro […pean]
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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