"Will you put that in writing?" |
has gone for the day."
"That doesn't matter. I was once a
I sat down at a typewriter, and Ludolph dictated an
official letter in which he confirmed his promise. I gave it to the German
reporters who were waiting below.
Dear Mme. Benguigui:
As a result of our
talk today I assure you that the material sent me on September 13 by the French
delegation, Mme. Klarsfeld, and yourself will be carefully studied. As to Dr.
Schendel's affidavit of September 8, it seems to me necessary to locate the
witness who told Dr. Schendel that the defendant said: "Shot or deported,
there's no difference." If he can be found and will swear to that statement, I
will be ready to reopen the prosecution, for that will be proof that the
defendant must have at least expected that his Jewish victims would be put to
Thank you for your visit. I send you my regards.
almost dare to say that Mme. Benguigui was happy. For the first time since the
death of her children she felt that she had done something for them. She had
shown that she could act better than so many others, who are glib of
tongue, but less resolute when it comes to doing battle with law and custom.
Our luck held. Serge found the witness in the telephone directory. His
name was Raymond Geissmann, and he was listed as a lawyer in the Court of
Appeals, avenue Victor-Hugo. He proved indeed to be the same Raymond Geissmann
who had been a director of the Lyon UGIF in 1943-44. When we met him, he told
us that he had not been following the Barbie case because he had been on
vacation until only a few days ago.
But did he remember Barbie?
He certainly did. It was to him, and him alone, that Barbie made that
dreadful remark. Geissmann immediately dictated to his secretary the affidavit
that would cause the prosecution to be reopened:
Our branches, whose personnel were known to
the officials, had to keep in touch with the Security Police and particularly
with the section headed by Barbie.
Some of my colleagues and I were,
consequently, summoned to the Gestapo, or went there ourselves, in our efforts
to rescue from its clutches a person or family who had been arrested
Whenever I recall those anxious days thirty years ago I remember that
all of us were entirely convinced that the butchers on whom the