only say: "A man suspected of being Klaus Barbie has
been found murdered." It would be merely a settling of scores. |
January 12 I received a letter from Rabl telling me that the expert opinion of
the Anthropological and Ethnographical Institute had concluded that businessman
Klaus Altmann of La Paz, Bolivia, was very likely Klaus Barbie. "Since we
possess other evidence to support that opinion," the letter continued, "there
can be no doubt of the identity of Barbie and Altmann. I should like very much
for you to come to Munich in the near future. The date is up to you."
On January 15 Serge called General Bourdis again. The file was with the
Army Ministry, but had not yet reached the court martial, and so nothing had
happened. We decided to pressure for a request for extradition. On January 17
we sent L'Aurore the new pictures of Barbie that I had received from
Munich and our information. L'Aurore ran them on January 19, with the headline:
"Former Nazi Klaus Barbie Has Just Taken Refuge in Peru After a Long Stay in
Bolivia Is France Going to Demand Him?"
editorial produced the reaction we expected. Resistance veterans and deportees
in France demanded that the French government request extradition. In Lima,
Altmann fiercely denied that he was Barbie. Many dispatches and stories
followed, all containing the question: "Is Altmann Barbie?"
for extradition was not forthcoming. It would have to be prodded along by doing
away with the question mark both in France and in South America, for there was
still no case against Barbie in South America. The whole case could be buried
in a few lines "France claims that Altmann and Barbie are the same"
for want of information, and this had to be prevented.
morning of January 21 Ludolph telephoned me to say that he had found proofs in
the Registry Office. That afternoon Pierre-Bloch and I held a press conference
in Lyon on the current state of the investigation.
Meanwhile I tried to
raise enough money for a trip to Lima. Geissmann and some of his friends
thought that since they had had the good fortune to survive Barbie's
persecutions, they should do something to bring him to account. They offered me
a plane ticket. The young LICA members took up a collection and raised 2,500
francs, which was just enough for my other expenses.