WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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always observed that these civil servants were silently hostile to me, just like the men of their generation in the Federal Republic.

I had not received honors and congratulations from the East in order to submit to being a narrow-minded anti-fascist who could see injustice only in the Western camp. It was not a question of being anti-Soviet or pointing an accusing finger at the Poles, but of not remaining silent or inactive in the face of disgrace and oppression. I had led my crusade with independence and I intended to maintain that independence.

I was careful to calculate the risks, for I had no desire to be a martyr. As in the incident of the slap, I did everything possible to stay out of jail. The Poles would never believe that I was acting alone. Because of the moral support East Berlin had given me, they would probably think the Democratic Republic had something to do with my raid on Warsaw. The easiest thing for them to do, therefore, would be to kick me out of Poland. That was fine with me – provided the Western press promptly circulated the news of my arrest.

I looked up the names and addresses of the Warsaw correspondents of the Western press to get in touch with them as soon as I got there. Then I wrote a leaflet in German and French, got it translated into Polish, and had two hundred copies printed. Next I had to get a visa. That was hard. The many obstacles I encountered did not augur well for my trip. At the Polish military mission in West Berlin, a clerk made me fill out various forms, and I exchanged my marks for vouchers with which to pay for my hotel in Warsaw. Then, all papers in hand, I went back to the visa window, where the same clerk studied my French passport for a long time.

"You're a journalist?" he asked rather casually. "Come back for your visa in two weeks."

Some young Americans ahead of me had got their entry permit on the spot.

"I don't see why others can get a visa so quickly while I can't. I don't know whether it will be convenient for me to go to Poland two weeks from now."

My persistence got me nowhere. Why not appeal to the Polish Embassy in East Berlin?

I went there the same day. This time I was more subservient, and took the precaution of engaging the clerk, who knew about my
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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