WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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[dis…] cussions. I had summoned from Bonn some French-speaking Opposition students who described the difficulty of their struggle against fascism. A new dialogue began between the young Jews and the young Germans, but it remained within the framework of joint action.

A motion I made was carried with the help of the Society of Former Deported Jews. An important item in it was "the need for the Jewish people not to let German democrats fight alone against the same forces that had destroyed over six million Jews and that were trying to reconcile Germany with its Nazi past."

One of the directors of the Jewish Students' Movement decided to accompany me back to Berlin with a flag bearing the Star of David, to protest the recent acquittal of the Nazi judge, Hans-Joachim Rehse, who had been sentenced to five years in prison for "aiding criminal acts." The Supreme Court of Appeals had upset that verdict in April 1968, despite the fact that a judge assumes full responsibility for his actions.

Judge Oske, who presided over the trial, adduced that "every state, even a totalitarian state, is obliged to assert its authority." Therefore it was impossible to "blame a government for having recourse in a critical period to extraordinary methods of intimidation." Proof of that was "the recent adoption of emergency laws in the Federal Republic."

As might be expected, that opinion caused a considerable stir in the courtroom. The audience interrupted the reading of the opinion several times, and a former prisoner of the Gestapo succeeded in striking Rehse as he was leaving the courtroom a free man.

I had paid for the militant Jew's trip, for he would have been unable to raise the fare in forty-eight hours. I thought it essential to show the Germans that Jews would come even from another country to protest the rehabilitation of Rehse.

December 14. Ten thousand persons gathered before the Berlin-Schöneberg Town Hall shouting, "Rehse is a murderer" and "Get the Nazis out of the courts."

I spoke emphatically: "The leaders in Bonn have acted as if Germany had merely taken a wrong turn during the twelve years of the Nazi regime. They stand for work, family, prosperity, and above all, no political conscience. And thanks to apolitical citizens, they have quickly re-established and reinforced a prosperous capitalist system. Germany is going along fine, but in what direction?
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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