We were there at nine o'clock the next morning. It
was cold and rainy. We stood on crates I had got from a grocery store, and I
had bought Mme. Benguigui some heavy shoes and warm stockings. Over her head I
held a sign reading: "I am on a hunger strike for as long as the
investigation of Klaus Barbie, who murdered my children, remains closed."
My own sign read: "Prosecutor Rabl is rehabilitating war criminals."
By five P.M. there was a big crowd. Reporters and photographers
turned out en masse. On the next day the German papers ran our pictures and
long stories favorable to our effort. Young Germans were shouting: "It's a
disgrace to our country for that poor woman to go to such lengths for justice."
Women stroked Mme. Benguigui's hair, and people went to buy her blankets.
France Soir had sent an urgent telegram to one of its correspondents to
notify the French Consulate, and the vice-consul came with a blanket. The
police did nothing but warn us that the sign about Rabl might be libelous, but
it stayed in plain sight.
At six P.M. Prosecutor Ludolph was still in
his chambers, doubtless thinking: "How can I go home and leave that mother, who
has been so physically and mentally tortured, behind on the steps? What if she
is still there tomorrow? What if she gets sick during the night? If the
sensation-hungry television news shows her still there at three A.M., there
will be hell to pay over who let her endure such inhuman treatment. A scapegoat
will have to be found, and it may turn out to be me. Should I have her
arrested? After what she has suffered already, that won't go down too well
anywhere." After such a probable analysis of the situation the prosecutor
decided to deal with us. The police politely escorted us to Ludolph's office.
Ludolph was about forty years old, beautifully dressed, and extremely
cordial. "What do you want?" he asked.
"To have the prosecution of
"I have to have conclusive proofs to do that," he
"Did you read the data I sent you yesterday?"
"I have not
yet had time."
"Well, now is the time to do it."
prosecutor reached Schendel's affidavit, he exclaimed: "This is the sort of
thing I was talking about. If Dr. Schendel's informer the man who
actually heard what Barbie said can be produced, and if he confirms what
Barbie is reported to have said, I promise you I will reopen the case."