I can report that Ludolph completely changed his
opinion within a few weeks. He took charge of frustrating the Munich court's
attempt to legally justify Barbie's impunity and, through him, that of the
other criminals whose cases resembled his. Ludolph was obliged to reopen the
investigation. I tried to guess what he was up to and what his line of thinking
hereafter would be. |
Barbie's case was uncommon in that he was one of
the few criminals to have expatriated himself from the Federal Republic. The
German courts had practically turned the matter of locating him in the country
to which he had fled over to the French authorities, who were the only ones to
have demanded his extradition, for the German courts would not have
jurisdiction over him until the agreement of February 2, 1971, had been
ratified. It was far better for France to get Barbie before the treaty was
ratified, for afterward the Federal Republic, having acquired jurisdiction,
would have to demand the extradition of Barbie from the country in which he had
found asylum. By avoiding such hazards the German courts could also test the
sincerity of the French government's desire to prosecute German war criminals.
If that desire was not sincere, and if France did not want to take the
initiative, then why should the Bundestag be in any hurry to ratify the treaty,
and even if it did do so, then why should the German courts be severe?
Ludolph gave us two photographs, front and profile, that had been taken
of Barbie in 1943, and another of a group of businessmen seated around a table,
one of whom looked enough like Barbie as he might be twenty-five years later
for the Munich court to assume it was he.
"The picture of the group,"
the prosecutor told us, "was taken in La Paz, Bolivia, in 1968. That is all I
can say at this time. Since you have demonstrated how efficient you are, why
don't you help me identify that man?"