© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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Laval was waiting for us on the steps with a pedigreed dog on either side of him. He had got himself up like a gentleman-farmer, in heavy shoes and athletic socks. He shook Abetz's and Achenbach's hands cordially, and was introduced to Sonnenhol and Gontard, the two Germans on the staff. I discreetly withdrew, but I heard the beginning of their conversation: "You are true friends to have come all this way to see a friend in trouble. I shall never forget it. It was really first rate of you to pay me this visit." He shook hands with them again.
That very evening Laval's "true friends" took him back to Paris with them.

One of Laval's friends, Julien Clerrnont, also shows Achenbach in an extraordinary situation in a meeting with Laval:
It was on June 21, 1942. Laval was to speak on the following day, and was putting the finishing touches on his address. The contents had been weighed, he said, on a pharmacist's scale.

While all this was going on Cornet, the attendant, announced the arrival of Achenbach, the head counselor of the German embassy in Paris.

"Have him come in," said Laval.

Then, as was his custom, he asked his visitor to take a seat with him and his associates.

"I'm just finishing dictating my speech for tomorrow," he said quite casually. "Wait a minute and I'll be through."

He turned to his secretaries and proceeded to dictate a few insignificant remarks. Then, as if he had suddenly had a glorious inspiration, he exclaimed loudly: "After all, I want everyone to know how I feel, and this shall be my concluding thought: I want Germany to be victorious because otherwise Bolshevism will overrun Europe. Okay?" he finished easily, turning toward Achenbach.

Achenbach's pale cheeks flushed with pleasure.

Through Abetz, Achenbach, and Theo Zeitschel, the embassy was behind the earliest measures for racial discrimination. It put continuous pressure on Vichy for Laval or Darlan to enact legislation more and more in accordance with the Nuremberg laws. It was distinctly in favor of total liquidation through deportation to the East, was wholly behind the S.D. [the S.S. Security Service] in the conception and execution of anti-Jewish measures in France, was particularly influential in raising diplomatic obstacles in Berlin to prevent the Gestapo's Bureau for Jewish Affairs from interning or deporting various categories of Jews of
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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