identity while Brun translated for me into Spanish,
telling the same story over and over until after 2 A.M., when I could finally
get to bed. I found out that Barbie could not possibly have crossed the
Bolivian border, and would not be able to do so before the following afternoon.
About 9 A.M. Herbert John met me on the hotel steps. He was not yet
forty years old, was very tall, stooped, blond, and had lively blue eyes, but
he did not seem at ease, as if he were constantly afraid of something. The way
he kept looking over his shoulder made me feel as if we were spies. He promised
to put me in touch with the Peruvian police so that I could give them the
Reporters streamed into the AFP offices to examine my data.
The press was convinced. That afternoon the Peruvian papers La Nueva
Crónica, Tercera, La Prensa, Expreso,
Ojo, Correo, El Comercio ran six-column headlines
on their front page: "German Nazi-hunter Proves Altmann is Barbie." "Why Did
Peru Let Barbie Escape?"
From various conversations I learned that Peru
did not want to be shielding a criminal from either France or Bolivia, and
preferred to have Barbie back in Bolivia again. Thanks to "Don Federico," alias
Fritz Schwend, Barbie got a lot of help from the Peruvian secret service.
About noon Herbert John sent an emissary to take me to the military
police headquarters, where a general received me. I explained the Barbie case
to him in English, and asked him to stop Barbie before the criminal could cross
the border. He had my data photocopied, and told me he would get it to the
proper government minister.
Then I went to the government palace to see
the press attaché. I noticed that every one of the civil servants I
encountered knew that Barbie intended to cross the frontier. They all studied
my data with apparent interest and agreed that Altmann was Barbie, but they did
not do the one important thing, namely, close the frontier to him. The press
attaché telephoned the Intelligence Bureau, which was across the street
from the palace. A colonel there talked to me, photocopied the data, and
telephoned the border patrol to ask whether Barbie's car, a Volkswagen with the
license plate HH CD 360, registered in Hamburg in his son's name, had crossed
the border. The answer was no.
Then I rushed to the French Embassy,