WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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We hardly dared believe it when we heard that Gustav Heinemann had been elected President of the Federal Republic – a smashing defeat for the Christian Democrats whose candidate, Gerhard Schröder, a former stormtrooper, had been backed by the neo-Nazis. I ran into Heinemann in the lobby of his hotel. A reporter dashed up to get a picture of him, and suggested that Heinemann shake my hand. A picture of the President-elect shaking the hand of the woman who had slapped the Chancellor would have been a gross insult to the head of the government. Heinemann was annoyed at having to refuse, for he knew how much I respected him and what a moral lesson the Germans could derive from seeing him grasp my hand. He got out of the situation gracefully: "If I were still only the Minister of Justice," he told the reporters around him, "I would have shaken Mrs. Klarsfeld's hand, but now the responsibilities I am about to assume do not permit me to."

February 4. I took an early morning plane from Berlin to Nuremberg. In the afternoon I spoke at the Normal School. In the evening I led a demonstration through the streets to police headquarters. Young people carrying banners decrying fascism formed a hedge around me and booed Kiesinger. I felt almost drunk as I heard my voice in the night air of the very city in which Hitler, thirty years earlier, had prepared to mobilize the German people for his satanic projects. I had the impression my voice was that of another Germany; I was not alone, there were many with me.

February 14. Last night Arno, who had come with me to Oldenburg, stayed up late listening to his mother. Today I was speaking in Bonn for the first time, addressing the fighting wing of the Party for Democratic Action and Progress (ADF), which had nominated me in Kiesinger's electoral district – No. 188, of Waldheim in the Black Forest – one of the most solidly Christian Democratic in Germany. I was also No. 2 on the Württemberg Baden list of candidates. That was a giant step forward for me. I had taken precedence over many hard-core communists, and I could sense their cautiously concealed hostility toward me. I had been imposed on them for my newsworthiness and for having the backing of East German leaders.

The press kept me in the limelight. As a matter of fact, I had become the ADF's chief vote-getter, even though I was not receiving the concrete support I had a right to expect from the party
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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