WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
Previous Page Back  Contents  Contents Page 110 Home Page Home Page  Forward Next Page 
     
Our research was entirely conclusive. Achenbach had lied. He had tried to pass off as an act of resistance his share in the decision made by Kurt Lischka on the day after the murder of February 13, 1943, that led to the arrest of two thousand Jews, their shipment to Drancy, their deportation to Auschwitz, and the extermination of every single one of them on March 8, 1943. It had taken less than one month to do away with more than two thousand men.

Achenbach admitted his personal participation in that episode, and he tried to disguise it as a bluff that amounted to nothing drastic. It was actually a bloody tragedy in which his role coincided perfectly with his theories about the policy of collaboration. Not only did he send Jews to their death, but he used them as a means of avoiding friction with the French people as a whole.

We rushed the results of our research to Brussels. On April 11, German Commissioner Wilhelm Haferkamp issued a statement in his own name in which he announced that he would resign if Achenbach were appointed.

Arno Scholz, publisher of the Telegraf, Berlin's social democratic daily, helped me get an appointment with Conrad Ahlers, the government spokesman, to deliver the results of our research. Achenbach had to take a stand. "Attacked though I may be," he said, "I cannot withdraw. Scheel has given me his word."

But the coalition was very tactful with Achenbach, and the wheels were well oiled for the fateful day of April 16 so that no irreparable mistake would be made. Ahlers would not get the report of the inquiry, many excerpts from which were to be published in Der Spiegel on April 20, until 6 P.M. Brandt had already made a public statement designed to soothe Achenbach and keep him from going over to the Christian Democrats.

That was the end of Achenbach's candidacy. In May, parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ralf Dahrendorf was appointed to the EEC. On May 29, when Dahrendorf's appointment was confirmed, the government had to decide who was to succeed him as foreign secretary. Eager for revenge, Achenbach surfaced again, and once more unofficially declared his candidacy.

Fortunately we had kept a spare weapon handy – a document dated February 11, 1943, marked "Secret." The signature on this memorandum to S.S. Obersturmführer Röthke matched Achenbach's. The document gave the Gestapo the green light for "proceeding against Jews in the newly occupied zone."
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Previous Page  Back Page 110 Forward  Next Page