WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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where the BOAC is being held for us. At 8:15 the BEA plane circles over England as a raging storm beats over the North Sea. At last we land. I am agonizing that in a few hours my whereabouts will become known through the wire services. My message will be broadcast and if the BOAC has left, I'll be stranded in London. In that case, my journey to Damascus will have been short indeed and in the wrong direction. But luck is with us. Our plane is waiting on the runway; we are transferred from one plane to the other without going through the airport. I have time only to ascertain that my suitcase is not among the five passengers' baggage. I have no other clothing than what is on my back. For a moment I am tempted to escape from my responsibilities by taking advantage of this convenient pretext. But no. I'll go to Damascus empty-handed except for my attaché case and my carry-on bag.

"Were you searched on arrival?"
Not at all. The formalities were very brief. They did not examine the papers I was carrying. An hour later I was lying down in the Hotel Omeyade wrapped in a blanket, as I had no nightgown, recovering from my emotions. About 9 A.M. I looked out of my window over a gray muddy city under cold rain. Two hours later I got through to Pans by phone. Serge was anxiously worrying whether the Syrians had allowed me to land, or if between midnight and 3 A.M. they had learned of my mission through the wire services and had ruled to deny me access to Syria. Then I set out to face the Syrian authorities, who were now aware of my arrival and the aim of my visit.

"How did you transmit your message to the Syrian government?"
I had the hotel get me a taxi, as I had a message to deliver to President Assad. Five minutes later I found myself outside the gate of a modest modern office building surrounded by a fence. I spoke to the guards on duty. They did not seem to understand me; fortunately, a man in civilian clothes came and spoke to me in English. I gave him the message, asking him to take it to the president's office and to arrange for me to speak with a member of the president's staff. He disappeared for a few minutes and then told me to return in a few days. All this time I was still standing outside the gate. It began to snow. An old woman who stood waiting near me said in German: "Have patience. I've been coming all week; my husband is in prison." I went next door, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and repeated my action.
    
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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