WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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with thousands of Jews from the place de la Victoire synagogue to La Trinité, and had been at the demonstration in the place de l'Hotel de Ville. The left was making an appeal, and I had been asked to speak. Beside me on the platform were Jean-Paul Sartre; Professor Laurent Schwartz; Daniel Meyer, the president of the League for Human Rights; the writer Vercors; the historian Jacques Madaule, who was also president of Judeo-Christian Relations; and Eli Ben Cal, who represented Israel's Mapam Party in Europe. The many young people present gave me a long round of applause. That truly touched me, for they were cheering me both for what I had accomplished and for the fact that I am German. The means I had taken to bring our two peoples together had won their approval.

In a little while Eli Ben Gal came over to me, shook my hand, and said: "This is the first time in my life that I have taken the hand of a German. Knowing what you have done, I not only can do it, but I know I ought to do it."

Then he wrote on my program: "To Beate, who has brought something unique into my life – hope for an eventual reconciliation between our peoples and, in the meantime, true friendship."

I had traveled a long, rough road since that summer day in 1966 when a young woman in a Galilee kibbutz told me they didn't take in Germans.

A German reporter sent his Hamburg paper a report on the meeting in which he expressed his feelings at seeing a German woman so warmly welcomed by so many Jews. That part of his dispatch, however, was cut; Germans should not be told that my appalling behavior had culminated in what other Germans found hard to attain – respect from the Jews.

That evening I talked with greater fervor than usual, and I could feel my words hitting home. Perhaps it was because my battle was Soon to extend to another country of the East: Czechoslovakia.

The expulsion from Poland of many socialist Jews, the insidious persecution of some thousands who would not resign themselves to leaving their country, the second-class citizenship enforced on the majority of Soviet Jews, the obstacles that have prevented them from becoming assimilated and even from emigrating, the Leningrad trials and their horrifying outcome – all this was anti-Semitism. So were the venomous attacks on the Jewish origin of former Czech leaders.
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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