WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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act and disapproved of the sentence; others condemned both what I had done and the sentence I had gotten. There were plenty of heated arguments among the newspaper editors as well as on street corners. Even children were talking about it, for the slap had called into question the sacrosanct nature of authority: whether one should respect a man because he is Chancellor or because he is a man of integrity.

On the Eastern side of the Wall, there were shouts of joy. My statement was broadcast over both radio and television in the German Democratic Republic. On the day after the slap, a camera crew came to film me in West Berlin.

All of the East German headlines were approximately the same: "In the name of millions of victims, B.K. has symbolically slapped that old Nazi Kiesinger" or "For killing a Jew, one day in jail; for slapping a Chancellor, one year."

On the day of my return to Paris, thirty six hours after the slap, Interflora delivered a bunch of red roses. The card read: "Thanks Heinrich Böll." I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. Böll, the Catholic novelist so sensitive to human passions and so full of genuine and powerful feelings, approved of me.


I did not have to pay for the publication of my sentence in six newspapers, as judge Drygalla had decreed. It appeared that the Chancellor had no wish whatever to see his career under Hitler spread all over the front pages, and Der Spiegel satirically remarked: "Chancellor Kiesinger has saved B.K. 50,000 marks."

I still had a long way to go. Serge called that to my attention:

"You're just like one of those actors who get famous for the character they play in a television serial. You've got to get away from being typed like that by playing other parts just as well, if not better. Not everyone can do that."

It was a question not only of my future, but of our battle. I resolved to go on.
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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