WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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Requiring the allegedly guilty party to produce proof of his innocence was going a bit too far. That was up to the prosecution. So we had to show that the deportation order Achenbach said he had suggested to Berlin as a bluff was not only planned but carried out.

For three days we researched this point, poring over hundreds of file cards and documents, harassed by the time factor and by necessity. The selection of the hostages to be shot in reprisal for the murders would be made by Abetz and his political counselor Achenbach according to embassy policy established on December 7, 1941. They thought that, in the interest of the German people, they should avoid any mention of the general French repugnance to collaboration. Abetz, therefore, advised taking hostages from among Jews and communists, or at least from among those he called such.
...Even then, when it could not be clearly shown that they were French, it was considered wise not to produce such evidence but, considering political interests, to defend the argument that only Jews and agents in the pay of the British and the Russians were involved. In accordance with the above, it would also be helpful not to mention publicly any executions of Frenchmen or hostages, but only reprisals against Jews and agents of the Anglo Saxon and Soviet secret services.

Any procedures against the material well being of the French people as a whole do not seem advisable. But heavy fines levied on Jews will have an excellent effect on the opinions of the upper levels of the plutocracy, especially if part of the money so derived is given to French charities.

When the military command informed him that Der Führer had approved the suggested measures, Abetz telephoned that he was very happy his recommendations had been accepted, and said: "These measures coincide with the principles I enunciated in Chapter IV of my report of December 7." Among those measures was the execution of fifty eight Jewish and communist hostages.

Thereafter the embassy was to edit the text of all communiqués dealing with bloody reprisals, and to wire Berlin about all shootings. I came across a twelve page report from Achenbach, dated March 17, 1943, in which were listed dozens of names of people who had been shot, some of which I copied:
Housepainter Jean Lecoq, railway worker Felix Bouffay, metal worker Raymond Pottier, undertaker Pierre Vastel, coppersmith Raymond Losserand, interior decorator René Appère, electrician
     
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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