America to buy and sell things of all varieties. When
Serge was working for Continental Grains, one of his associates made two round
trips between Paris and Bogota in one week. In spite of all the comings and
goings I am accused of, I think it hardly equals that of an ambitious young
executive in an international company whose assignments are less imperative
than those of the Resistance. I took along the photographs of Frau Barbie, who
had scarcely changed in thirty years and who had hardly any wrinkles.
As soon as Serge saw the photos at Orly, he dragged me into a taxi. It
was almost midnight when we got to the L'Aurore offices. The layout of
the paper was changed, and the two photographs and a long story, "The Final
Proof," inserted. On Saturday, I got thirty copies made of the two pictures and
of the one of the Halaunbrenner family before it was broken up. I intended them
for the Bolivian authorities and especially for the Bolivian newspapers so that
they could complete their stories as soon as I got there.
We left Paris
on Sunday evening, February 20.
Nothing untoward happened on our flight
to Lima, where I decided to remain for a day. I was afraid Bolivia might turn
us away, and that would be less likely to happen if the Peruvian papers had
already run my latest proofs and Mme. Halaunbrenner's story. There was a change
in the attitude of the diplomats; the French consul was there along with a
group of reporters who almost snatched the pictures of Frau Barbie and the
Halaunbrenner family away from me. Mme. Halaunbrenner answered the deluge of
questions simply and with dignity, though she was a little at sea. She had not
expected such attention from the press nor thought her story would ever create
such excitement. Now she recognized how necessary her trip was.
consul obligingly took us to the Hotel Savoy, and told us that Ambassador
Chambron was in Europe. In spite of Schwend's threats, I was not much afraid of
any reprisals from the Nazis, for these would only boomerang against them. We
talked to reporters all the rest of the evening.
The next day the Lima
papers devoted a large part of their front page to our story and pictures. I
also talked with a correspondent of an American newspaper who was on his way to
La Paz to interview Colonel Banzer.