WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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hostile to Barbie, we had to make use of them and help them as soon as possible by giving the Bolivian courts as much data as we could that would serve to discomfit Barbie.

French judicial machinery, which at last was beginning to move, is slow and ponderous, for it has to work with diplomats and because Spanish documents would have to be translated, and the La Paz embassy – as I had learned when I was there – had no experts on its staff who could handle such work. These considerations indicated that I would have to go back to La Paz with two trump cards. First, the documents that I could get from the Munich prosecutor that would complete the proof that Altmann was Barbie. These were official documents that I would transmit unofficially because I could represent only the LICA and myself, but these documents would be taken into consideration by the Bolivian authorities and especially by public opinion. Second, I had seen that so far as the Peruvians and the Bolivians were concerned, former Nazis were only political refugees like any others. Scarcely anyone in South America knew about the Gestapo's work of extermination. They had to be shown in a dramatic way that Barbie was not what he said he was: "only a soldier who had done his duty."

Barbie had told a reporter for Pueblo: "During the war I acted like any other officer of an army in battle, just like the Bolivian army officers fighting Che Guevara's guerrillas." A great deal of emphasis, therefore, had to be put on the massacres of civilians and the liquidation of Jews.

It occurred to me that Mme. Benguigui would be conclusive proof of those atrocities. The Bolivians had to see something more than documents and photographs. They had to come into direct contact with some of the evils of Nazism by encountering someone whom Barbie himself had caused to suffer. All that was needed was enough money for plane tickets and expenses – plus the individual herself, whom I would have to persuade to go with me.

I spent several hours in Strasbourg on Monday, the day on which I was to lecture. At 3 A.M. I got back on the train, and spent an awful night tripping back and forth between my berth – which, as is always the case at such times, was an upper one – and the toilet at the end of the car. The ORTF crew that met me at the Munich railway station saw emerge from the compartment a mere rag of a woman with but one thought in mind: to lie down in a hotel room. I bought some pills, went to the nearest hotel, fell into bed,
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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