Jewish friends to come and comfort Mme.
Halaunbrenner, who was terribly worried. I also alerted Brun so that he could
explain to the reporters what had happened if I did not return by eleven.
Major Dito Vargas, whom I already knew from my first visit to La Paz,
solemnly warned me against holding a press conference and said that if I did, I
would be thrown out of the country once and for all.
I went back in a
police jeep at 10:50 A.M., and we held our press conference in a large room in
the hotel. About thirty reporters attended. I showed the film and handed out
photographs and press releases that Serge had prepared. Then Mme. Halaunbrenner
took over, and her story of her martyrdom as a woman and a Jewish mother deeply
moved the reporters. When she finished speaking at 12:15, the policemen who had
been there in the morning came back and took me off to police headquarters
again. They shut me up in a filthy little office, and gave me some very salty
soup and a plate of something or other. I sweated there until 5 P.M. Then the
chief of the "Policia Internacional," Hernán Arteaga, let me go with
instructions to keep my mouth shut thereafter. "This is the last warning," he
said. "Otherwise you will be arrested."
On Tuesday there was only one
topic in the papers our conference, which had passed censorship. Whole
pages were devoted to it, and also to the concentration camps, thus showing
readers what the vacuous face of Altmann-Barbie had concealed from them.
When we went out, Bolivians swarmed around us and offered their
sympathy to Mme. Halaunbrenner, telling us that they were on our side and that
Barbie ought to be extradited.
After breakfast on Tuesday, February 29,
two familiar faces suddenly reappeared. I got up to do my turn at police
headquarters, telling Mme. Halaunbrenner to go to our Jewish friends.
dispatch alarmed my family and friends in France: "Two men not identified as
policemen have taken B.K. away." Their concern must have made itself felt with
the Bolivian government, for during the afternoon the Reuter's correspondent
was let into the office where I was being confined to determine that I had not
I spent the day in that office with the same food as
before, which I did not touch, trying in vain to find out why I was being kept
there. A police superintendent who spoke a little French got so annoyed at my
constant questions that he finally replied in the