WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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[Ger…] many again: this time I went along too. Our purpose: to occupy Ernst Achenbach's offices in Essen.

I had looked over the place a few days earlier, and I had also alerted reporters and cameramen. We wanted to prove that Achenbach, the spokesman for the war criminals in the Bundestag and also Hagen's lawyer, could not sue anyone who accused him of involvement in the deportation of Jews from France. That way we would prevent him from defending the Nazi criminals again at the time of the debate on the ratification of the Franco-German treaty.

It was their first trip to Germany for most of the seven young people: Marc Vitkin, eighteen; Abraham Serfaty, seventeen; Monique Hajdenberg, eighteen; Didier Kamioner, nineteen; Raphy Marciano, twenty-two; Francis Lenchener, twenty-two; Serge Hajdenberg, thirty. They were nervous, and I felt rather like a mother hen looking after her chicks.

Achenbach's offices were on Goethestrasse, quite near the Essen police headquarters. When we got there, reporters were waiting. What a relief! Our performance would not be in vain, for there would be television coverage. A few minutes later two big Nazi flags hung from the windows. Passers-by stopped to investigate. It is a misdemeanor to show a swastika in public. Who could be doing such a thing? Reactionaries or liberals?

Then they read the big streamer pasted across a window: "French Occupation of Nazi Achenbach's Offices."

Many grabbed a pamphlet as they went by and carried it off with them to read carefully somewhere else.

After I had led the young people to Achenbach's offices, I left before the police arrived. This time I did not need to be arrested. I had been out on bail for two months. If I were arrested again, I would not get out of jail so quickly. I had already taken a calculated risk in coming at all.

A warrant was issued for me, for I had not gone unnoticed, but I left on the first train that was going toward Belgium. I changed trains at Aix-la-Chapelle and got across the border on my French passport.

After they had held the offices for half an hour, the seven protesters were taken to the Essen Central Police Station. They were detained for twenty-four hours and questioned at length twice, and then the four minors were expelled from Germany. The three adults were thrown into jail until their trial took place six days later.
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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