WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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often remarked on the almost exaggerated respect conservative Germans – policemen included – have for a woman who can take a stand.

The ADF got only .7 percent of the national vote, but that made no difference. It meant the NPD did not get the fateful 5 percent, and so there would be no neo Nazis in the Bundestag. The numerical requirements for the coalition of socialists and liberals were met. Brandt would be Chancellor. Kiesinger was held responsible for the CDU-CSU defeat and surrendered his leadership of the CDU to Rainer Barzel, his younger rival.

Willy Brandt's success made me serenely happy and gave me a satisfaction that nothing could ever erase. It was confirmation that I had not fought in vain, that my cause had not been backward-looking, and that I had not been motivated by spite. My battle had looked toward the future. Once defeated, Kiesinger was immediately forgotten. A new leaf had been turned.

I am convinced that I played a modest but tangible role in this victory of the forces of progress. I have not stopped rejoicing over Kiesinger's fall. Would I have had the strength to go on if hundreds of thousands of votes had kept Kiesinger in office? I doubt it. I would soon have tired of fighting the same battle over and over again, and my ability to spring back would have crumbled.

Once again I was deliciously anonymous. I could become a real mother and a real wife again. Two or three times a week Serge and I would devour a double feature at the neighborhood movie. I felt young again every time I thought of the important job I had done so well, of the fight I had led, of the blows I had so recklessly delivered on my sizable adversary.

How I relished that memorable handshake between Kiesinger and Brandt after power had passed to the new Chancellor! That grim smile on the face of the defeated Nazi as he tried to be gracious to that other German who had been his opponent.

Throughout my campaign I had felt myself gradually becoming what I now call myself – "a reunified German." My activities showed me as a German woman of neither East nor West, trying to preserve values that both German states, regardless of ideology, should share. The struggle for the moral rehabilitation of the German people will put an end to the divisiveness that has long separated Germans from Germany. I extracted from it a keener sense of my duty. Even though I was called a model for the
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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