WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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and I had not been sued for slander. Nothing in our book could be refuted. I have never stated anything I could not prove.

April 15. My hearing began. Once again I appeared before judges for having slapped the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of West Germany.

The criminal court was a big, gloomy, massive, prewar building. It was surrounded by thirty police cars so that no one could park there. Over a thousand policemen were there, ready for war. Even the reporters had to pass four checkpoints. But anyone hoping for an incident was disappointed. A demonstration by anti-fascists that the police – but not the young people – were expecting did not materialize. Under the circumstances, as I had decided to be Kiesinger's prosecutor during the hearing, I had to fight my battle with documentation that proved Kiesinger's Nazi activities, not with incidents that would be ineffectual anyway. Arno, Serge, and Joseph Billig (the historian who had helped me with my report) were there, along with thirty photographers and dozens of reporters.

The following morning, the press gave detailed descriptions of my hairdo, my knitted dress, and my spike-heeled shoes. I had taken particular care to present my best Paris image as proof of my comfortable financial situation and my middle-class lifestyle.

The arguments opened with a request that the president of the tribunal, Taegener, disqualify himself. My lawyer made the most of the fact that Taegener had publicly stated to a reporter with whom he was having coffee in the court canteen that my trial would be "over in three hours." After a short deliberation the court denied the request.

I was questioned exhaustively. The president of the tribunal, in his icily polite way, tried to trip me up in my story. I gave him direct answers and, I think, managed to stay out of his traps. One of my replies was repeated in the papers and on the radio. It had come to me spontaneously, but as if a strange voice had uttered it, the voice of all who, in my person, were standing before German justice.

"Frau Klarsfeld, how did you happen to decide to use violence against the Chancellor of our country?"

"Violence, your honor, is the imposition of a Nazi Chancellor on German youth."

I talked so much about Kiesinger's Nazi past that Taegener grew
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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