WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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of whom Lammerding was the worst, quietly went back home under their real names, were unobtrusively reinstalled in their stratum of German society, and very frequently got excellent jobs.

France was aroused and demanded that the German government extradite those criminals. The Federal Republic replied: "As an occupation power you approved the basic code that serves as our Constitution. Article 16 states that the Federal Republic will not extradite its citizens, a principle that is common to most states."

So it was impossible to bring the criminals back to France except through extradition under international law, but the German government stood firm on that point.

Then France, which had sinned through negligence, demanded that the Germans try the war criminals, an apparent violation of the aforesaid Article 3 of the October 29, 194, Agreement. Hence there was no prosecution in Germany, and no extradition to France. The 1,026 war criminals who had been tried in absentia were safe.

The French government then tried to extricate itself from this legal tangle. It was motivated first by its own desires, and then by constant pressure from the National Assembly, whose communist members and former Resistance fighters regularly demanded progress reports on the negotiations. In spite of French appeals, the Germans refused to interpret the Agreement as giving them jurisdiction over the criminals.

The French finally discovered a loophole in a decision of the German Supreme Court on February 14, 1966, that provided for a possible special accord between the French government and the German government for the abolition of all impediments to the exercise of justice. Grudgingly the Bonn government finally agreed that the German courts did have jurisdiction over the criminals. All sorts of obstacles greatly delayed the signing of this supplementary agreement. Neither Adenauer nor Erhard nor Kiesinger really wanted to settle the matter until the passage of time had placed the criminals beyond human judgment, as the majority of Germans wished.

The end of the story is that Willy Brandt made the unpopular decision to acknowledge the legitimate claims of the French. During his official visit to Paris in January 1971, I met him at the German Embassy on avenue Franklin Roosevelt, when he held the customary press conference after the conclusion of the Franco-German talks. I raised my hand:
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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