WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
Previous Page Back  Contents  Contents Page 251 Home Page Home Page  Forward Next Page 
     
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 documents.

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, where Ambassador
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
Previous Page  Back Page 251 Forward  Next Page