was the emotional response to Pompidou's recent
remark about the Resistance. If he were forcefully to demand a swift
extradition, the President could put an end to that reaction. The unfavorable
factor had to do with the relations between France and Peru, which he felt did
constitute an obstacle to the extradition of Barbie. The adviser told him: "One
has nothing to do with the other." |
Serge was not so sure. "If something
isn't done soon," he said, "we'll have to proceed in a different fashion."
Serge repeated that in the circumstances secrecy was not called for. I
telephoned Herbert John in Lima. He told me: "Fritz Schwend, Barbie's friend,
works for the CIA in Peru. He came here in 1949 under the name of a
Yugoslavian, Wenceslas Turi, a Nazi criminal who was sentenced in absentia in
Bolzano, Italy, to twenty-one years in prison. He belonged to Department IV of
the RSHA in Berlin, and was in charge of the Nazis' celebrated counterfeiting
of pounds sterling. He became a chicken farmer, but he actually continued
practicing his specialty. He set up postal censorship here, and he has feelers
everywhere. If France were to make a request for extradition, Schwend would
know about it in five minutes, and so would Barbie."
Therefore it was
important that France firmly state that she would prosecute crimes committed by
Nazis. In any event, even if everything were done to prevent it, a criminal
could manage to flee from Peru.
Later we would be asked: "Why didn't
you kill him? You could have taken him unawares."
None of the people
who said that would have done it himself. My job was to try to build a fire
under legal means for bringing criminals to trial so that public opinion would
be aroused, and to prevent the rehabilitation of Nazis who had committed crimes
in France. To do that I had to concentrate all my energies on the top criminals
Lischka, Hagen, and Barbie. Only through arguments and the emotion their
names aroused would the problem of the insufferable ease those butchers were
enjoying be settled one way or another. For if the most egregious of them
managed to escape punishment, the cause of justice would suffer a heavy blow
from the mass excitement their fate aroused. But if Barbie were to be
identified and brought to trial, then people would be truly convinced that the
crimes of the Nazis should not be subject to a time limit and were not being
minimized and forgotten.
Killing Barbie would not have proved a thing.
The papers would