WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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children. We had a long discussion, in the course of which I told Brunner everything that was on my mind, paying no attention to the fact that here was I, a Jew, upbraiding a German officer. In any event, I could not see why little children had to be arrested under the guise of reprisals.

I tried in every conceivable way to change Brunner's mind. I appealed to the emotional aspects of the case (the arrest of little children), to the aspect of public opinion (children are especially sacred in France), to the UGIF aspect (this would mean the end of that organization), and finally to my personal point of view. I insisted that this abuse of small children showed lack of courage. I told him that I was a one hundred percent Jew and that I would gladly be deported if only he would leave those children in peace. His only answer was that those children were "future terrorists."

Anyone knows that the most dangerous thing I could do was to try to bring Röthke and Brunner into conflict. Nevertheless, I thought it was my duty to leave no stone unturned in trying to save those children. I was sure before I began that Röthke knew about the situation, but I wanted to try everything even if I risked enraging Brunner. So I telephoned Röthke for an emergency appointment, and got one for the next day, a Sunday, at 11:45 A.M. I also told Röthke everything that was on my mind, and several times he had to request that I get control of myself and not use such offensive expressions. Then the door opened, and in stepped Brunner. Röthke told him we had been talking about the children.

Brunner yelled at me: "You are a liar! You have lied to me!" When I asked him what he meant, he continued shouting that he had questioned all the children and found they were orphans, whereas I had told him a large number of them had parents in Paris. I tried to discuss the matter, but he roared that "he would throw me down the stairs if I said another word." When Brunner left, Röthke told me that he would like me to leave.

In another document at the CDJC, written by a man who had escaped from Drancy, I read what happened to those children, none of whom returned from Auschwitz. Those who survived the trip were immediately thrown into the crematory ovens without having gone through the gas chamber.

Before coming to France Brunner had disposed of Austrian and Greek Jews, and had also directed the liquidation of Jews who had taken refuge in the Italian zone, which cost Serge's father his freedom and his life. After Brunner left France, Eichmann assigned him to deporting Slavic Jews, and he did a good job of that too. In March 1945, he fled from Bratislava. He was sentenced to death in
     
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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