WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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impatient and stopped me with a remark that delighted the commentators: "That will do. You have already shown that Kiesinger was one of the activists of the Nazi regime."

Very quickly the arguments got on to the political level. I explained the meaning of my act. Serge, who had been admitted as an assistant to my lawyers, testified that inasmuch as he was a Jew he was completely behind me. When Billig was called as a witness, the court concentrated entirely on Kiesinger's record.

President Taegener asked whether the witness could verify his statement that Kiesinger knew what was going on in the concentration camps. In due time, therefore, the Chancellor himself became the defendant.

Billig, who was born in St. Petersburg, had become a French citizen and had received his doctorate from the University of Berlin. He was an embarrassing witness. Not only did he speak perfect German, but he also had a formidable accuracy that delighted the audience. He gave Taegener a real education on the organization of the Foreign Ministry under Hitler.

It became clear that the court wanted to get the business over with in a hurry. Early in the afternoon the hearing was adjourned to the following day.

Then, surprise of surprises! The next morning my lawyers had not even gotten their papers out when the president of the tribunal announced that the trial was postponed to a distant date on the grounds that the court had little time at the moment and that Kiesinger could not appear to testify in person.

Before we could react, the judge and his associates vanished through a little door. The hearing ended like a farce, with a great burst of laughter, but it had achieved its purpose. The press now had plenty of material for long stories: "Beate's Slap Shakes Chancellor," and "Kiesinger Retreats Before Beate Klarsfeld," and "The Slap that Caused a Political Crisis." They would have an effect, I hoped, on some voters' consciences.

April 29. I faced my Württemberg-Baden constituency for the first time in the little town of Rheinfelden. Gunnar Matthiessen, an ADF official from Bonn headquarters, was with me. He was a very good speaker and very cautious in his political selections. There were only a few people in the back room of the restaurant, which was generally used for wedding banquets and political rallies.
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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