and the German authorities. The demonstration made
about one-tenth the stir it could have caused. |
Upstairs in the chambers
of Public Prosecutor Manfred Ludolph, the delegates submitted to him a "for
your immediate attention" memorandum, which "solemnly requested" him to reopen
the investigation. Ludolph listened politely, for he was under no real
pressure, and he had been given no document capable of causing the original
decision to be re-examined. So he promised nothing.
Benguigui and I had got inside the building, but since I could not get in to
see Ludolph, I left him the file of documents Barbie had signed and that we had
found at the CDJC, as well as Schendel's affidavit.
The delegation then
headed for Dachau, as planned. I had arranged with the Association of German
Victims of Nazism to hold a press conference. There was not enough time before
the 5:30 P.M. plane to do both. Those who wanted to go to Dachau argued with
those, including me, who wanted action to take priority regardless of what
happened. The purpose of the delegation still had to be explained to the German
One of the Resistance veterans almost came to blows with one of
the young people. "What do you mean accusing me of just being a tourist?" he
demanded. "I was fighting in the Resistance before you were even born." It was
the same old argument, and it showed that the speaker did not believe in the
future of the Resistance spirit.
In the end, there was a press
conference, and the delegation went back to Lyon, where they were met at the
airport as if they were returning Argonauts by the mayor, the local elected
officials, a television crew, and many townspeople.
Mme. Benguigui and
I were the only ones who stayed behind, ready to act, for the situation
demanded it. Two women one French and one German. Our ammunition: the
only picture of her three children Mme. Benguigui had, which I had had
enlarged, and two signs I had made in our hotel room. Our plan was simple: on
the following day we would stand on the street before the courthouse steps,
where Mme. Benguigui would hold up her children's picture and declare that she
was beginning a hunger strike. The people of Munich would doubtless respond,
and so would the papers and television. Mme. Benguigui and I were going to
stage a trial of strength with the prosecutor's court, however laughable our
means of doing so.