KLAUS BARBIE, |
BUTCHER OF LYON
My confrontation with Klaus Barbie began on July 25,
1971. I was working at the CDJC to set up an operational chart on the German
secret service in Occupied France. M. Mazor, the director of the library,
leaned across a box of original Gestapo documents and handed me some papers he
had just received, saying: "This will probably interest you."
photocopies of the decision Public Prosecutor Rabl had made in Munich on June
22, 1971, disposing of the Barbie case. By July 25, that decision had still not
been made public.
Thanks to a procedural maneuver, the Association of
German Victims of Nazism had managed, on June 23, 1960, to have an
investigation opened on Klaus Barbie for the crimes he had committed in France.
As I scanned the ten pages that explained why the Bavarian court had ended the
public investigation of the "Butcher of Lyon," that had begun over ten years
before, I became aware of the shocking consequences of closing the case. Those
ten pages, written in a dry, pedantic style, served to rehabilitate
through Barbie all the Nazi criminals who had operated in France. The
Lyon tribunal, in fact, had twice sentenced Barbie to death in absentia, first
on May 16, 1947, and again on November 25, 1954.
The importance of the
Barbie case is its indication of what is likely to lie ahead for other Gestapo
chiefs who were also tried in