WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
Previous Page Back  Contents  Contents Page 234 Home Page Home Page  Forward Next Page 
     
I did not know Klaus Barbie personally, but I know that Barbie ordered the arrest of Jews in Lyon, and took part in these arrests himself. I have seen reports stating that Barbie persecuted the Jews with intense zeal. The UGIF branch in Lyon worked independently in the southern zone, and we were constantly in touch with it. Late in 1943 or early in 1944 we called a meeting in Paris of its directors, which I attended. There was a great deal of discussion of the summary executions at Fort Montluc of Jews whom Barbie had arrested. One of the delegates reported that ceaseless attempts had been made at least to keep arrested Jews from being shot, but that Barbie had replied: "Shot or deported, there's no difference."

That remark sticks in my memory because at the time none of us could comprehend what he meant, and our anguish over the fate of the deportees became all the greater. So far as I am concerned, as I have already said, he was beyond a doubt just as aware as Röthke and Brunner of the ultimate fate of the Jews deported from Lyon, which had the second largest Jewish population of all French cities. I might also add that Brunner assigned to several months' duty in Lyon his assistant, S.S.-Oberscharführer Weiszel, who had been a member of Brunner's Secret Commando force in Hungary and at Slonika, and who could give Barbie an eyewitness account of what happened to Jews deported to the East.

That affidavit seemed to us weighty enough to move the Munich prosecutor's court to review the dismissal of the case against Barbie. But the best evidence would be to produce the UGIF director to whom Barbie had said: "Shot or deported, there's no difference." So far, Schendel had provided only hearsay evidence. Serge got the minutes of the UGIF directors' meetings, checked the names of the directors, and telephoned everywhere to locate them. Twenty-eight were dead.

Meanwhile I had learned that the Lyon organizers of the Munich demonstration had gone to the German consul in that city and asked him to apprise the Munich prosecutor of their coming visit. When the consul learned that I was to be there, he advised them to restrict the number of demonstrators to twelve, and to stay away from such a troublemaker as I. The embarrassment in the voice of the Lyon people who telephoned me led me to assume that they had let themselves be persuaded, and were taking a very deferential attitude to the German authorities. But I went ahead and got everything ready in Munich, telephoned all the newspapers and television and radio stations, and notified anti-fascist organizations
     
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Previous Page  Back Page 234 Forward  Next Page