went farther and came to a puddle of
congealed blood in front of a cell door. The door was opened by one of the
non-coms and we witnessed a frightful spectacle: corpses were piled up in a
corner of the cell and literally swimming in a sea of blood. They were all
young men who had been killed by machine guns as they faced the door. They were
stuck together or half stretched out, and I remember that the postman, still in
uniform, had half-hoisted himself on a seat before being killed. His face bore
a frightful rictus grin.
We then realized that the officer's
explanation, that these people had been killed while in an act of revolt, was
impossible, given the position of the corpses.
pretended never to have been involved in anti-Jewish measures. He certainly
knew that that accusation would weigh most heavily against him if he were
eventually to be extradited, since it concerns genocide and children by the
hundreds among the thousands of Jews arrested in Lyon for deportation. Until
now the only known document to weaken Barbie's assertions is a telegram, dated
April 6, 1944, in which he reported the arrest of forty-one Jewish children in
Izieu. It should be noted in this connection that the decision to free Barbie
from that charge was made by Prosecutor Rabl in 1971, whereas, on October 4,
1969, Dr. Artzt, the prosecutor of the Central Bureau for Research on War
Criminals, had written the Munich prosecutor's office:
If Barbie did clear out a camp for Jewish
children and had them shipped to Drancy, there is no doubt that he, as an S.S.
chief, knew the children would be shipped to Auschwitz to be exterminated
there. So, in this one case at least, Barbie was an accessory to murder.
Barbie's telegram about the Jewish camp in Izieu was the only
item in his file when he was sentenced to death in absentia in France, and it
was not enough to support the charge of genocide. Serge and I found in the CDJC
archives a number of documents signed by Barbie that dealt directly with the
Jewish problem and demonstrated that, contrary to his statements, he knew about
the Gestapo's anti-Jewish activities.
On February 10 and 11, 1943,
Barbie sent a telegram and a letter to Röthke, in the Gestapo's Bureau for
Jewish Affairs in Paris, concerning the arrest through his efforts of
eighty-six UGIF workers on February 9 in their premises at 12 rue Sainte
Catherine, Lyon. He had those Jews shipped to Drancy.
A list dated
August 11, 1944, contains the names of the forty-two Jewish prisoners the
Gestapo shot between May 28 and