WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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want to believe, I sincerely want to believe that you will not shirk this responsibility and that from this Court, the "Erste Grosse Strafkammer of Cologne," will come the "Erste Grosser Juristischer Protest" against this state of affairs.

... For this, Mr. Chairman, Honorable Judges, is not a purely Jewish or a French problem, it is primarily a German problem, and my appeal is an appeal to the conscience of the new Germany and its judges to solve it in an honorable way. We all know, Mr. Chairman, Honorable Judges, that the legislature is but an instrument of public opinion. The man in the street elects the Bundestag. Public opinion, the legislature, the judiciary and the Government are, in a way, interdependent in coping with the issue. But you, the judges of the new Germany, more than any other individual group or factor, represent the face and image of Justice and Law. Your word and opinion, your moral philosophy, your protest, carry or should carry tremendous weight and influence.

Mr. Chairman, Honorable Judges, I have already noted that two Arab terrorists armed with a bomb have shattered your entire legal framework into thousands of pieces. I, Mr. Chairman, Honorable Judges, come to you from Israel unarmed and alone. My only weapon is a deeply rooted moral conviction and the support of a country and a people whose claim to justice in this case cannot be refuted or denied.

I pray and plead not only for the sake of Israel or France, not only for the sake of Beate Klarsfeld, but also in the hope that a new Germany has indeed taken root, and that this plea for justice will be heeded.

When my turn comes, I say in conclusion:
If you limit this trial to acts of civil disobedience I have committed, without going into the grave problem that triggered them, you will surely find me guilty and sentence me with or without time off. But you will not be doing your duty. You have an opportunity to show the Bundestag it is its duty to ratify the accord and strengthen the sense of justice in this country.

For my friends and myself it has not been easy to break laws in order to obtain justice. For you also it would not be easy to acquit me when you know I have done an illegal act. But if you do, you will bring something valuable into German justice, by not adhering to the letter of the law as so many other German judges have unfortunately done before you. What I am asking of you is a courageous decision.

As for me, I have been struggling for a long time in the name of the brave men and women who faced torture, the ax, or the firing squad. You may be sure I do not fear your verdict. No, it is not fear that moves me at this moment, but hope – less for myself than for you and the FRG, the hope that you will decide to acquit me. If you do so, you
     
   
 
WHEREVER THEY MAY BE
© 1972, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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