WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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West German Foreign Minister Scheel had declared: "The Austrians have already completely forgotten the Anschluss." For once he was right. I tried in vain to persuade the Austrian press to question Chancellor Kreisky at his May 14, 1970, press conference. Nothing came of it. Kreisky glibly told me that to refuse to receive an ambassador is a serious gesture of hostility toward the country he represents, and that it is up to the country of which a diplomat is a citizen to check on his acceptability. So far as Austria was concerned, accepting Schirmer was an act of courtesy. I renewed my attack on June 17 at a Congress of the Austrian Socialist Party.

Arno and I were waiting outside the main door for the Congress to open when it began to rain, and we got soaked. To keep Arno quiet, I gave him several pamphlets and told him: "Hand these out and be of some help to your mother." 'Whereupon he proceeded to frisk about in the rain like a lunatic. Then he began dipping the pamphlets in puddles and molding them into wet balls to throw at the people attending the Congress.

I had hoped the Austrian socialists would take a stand against Schirmer, but just the opposite happened. During the Congress they protested strongly against Simon Wiesenthal, who was reproaching them for protecting former active Nazis in the government. The security force asked me to leave. I was furious.

On August 22, I met Serge at my mother's in Berlin. While I was in Oberhof I had done a lot of thinking. Anti-Semitism had had a noticeable revival in Poland with the blessing of the Polish authorities themselves. More than a year had gone by since I had promised myself to bring the problem of anti-Semitism to the attention of young people in Poland. I had to do that in Poland itself, for thus I would greatly increase the impact of my protest, especially with the young people of East Germany. They had to be aroused against anti-Semitism and told what direction it was taking, and this had to be accomplished not through speeches but by a show of force with the authorities.

In this country it was not the top leadership of the party that was susceptible to anti-Semitism, but the high-level civil servants who were then between forty-five and fifty-five years old and had grown up under Nazism. They had not been in the Red Army like Walter Ulbricht, or in a Nazi prison like Erich Honnecker, or gone into exile in America like Albert Norden, or been interned as a Jew in a French concentration camp like Hermann Axen. I had
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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