WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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with a deafening bang. We all burst out laughing – and not for the last time during that expedition.

We needed a more impressive weapon. Eli had an old pistol from some army or other. We rendered it useless by removing the hammer. It was a way of proving, if anything went wrong, that we meant no harm.

Serge bought a pair of handcuffs that we expected to use on Lischka. Then we all met at the Avis Rent-a-Car office. Thus, the night before we were to leave for Cologne, Serge became an involuntary spectator to a scene straight out of a Grade B movie. He had hardly entered the office when two policemen burst in and without any warning leaped on a young customer, who fought back wildly, all the while trying to pull a revolver out of his belt. The staff ducked, but Serge stayed as close to the action as he could, trying to learn how policemen get handcuffs on an adversary.

Later the clerk explained that the man was part of a gang that rented cars and then sold them – in Belgium or in Germany. It occurred to Serge that he was there for no other reason than to rent a car for an expedition to Germany via Belgium that was, to say the least, scarcely legal.

We left Paris the evening of Saturday, March 20, with me at the wheel. On the way we stopped at a little bistro in a small Belgian mining town. It was there that I realized we had left France. It was a kind of dance hall, so unusual that Eli, the photographer, was furious that we had forbidden him to bring his camera along. We had trouble getting him out of the place; he danced with every one of the girls. We drove all night, and reached Cologne about 3 A.M.

Cologne was very dark, and with its one-way streets and no-passing signs, we had a hard time getting to the apartment that Beate had borrowed. We staked out our bivouac, and tried desperately to convince ourselves that we were really ready for anything. We kept saying over and over: "We've got to get some sleep. We've got to be calm." But we couldn't stop laughing because all we had to do was look at one another to realize that we looked about as much like a commando unit as a council of bishops.

About 9 o'clock on Sunday morning we were up and around. Beate fixed us a fine breakfast to keep up our morale. Hence we were late in calling for the car we had reserved to take us out of Cologne – a four door Mercedes 220, the most common type of
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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