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October 03, 1975 - Image 40

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1975-10-03

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

-

* II., 11. 7,

40 October 3, 1975

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:; y

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Noted Nazi Hunter Undaunted by Threats

Caricatures

for your party

By

SAM FIELD

Call

399-1320

By HEIDI PRESS

Acclaimed by former Is-
raeli Prime Minister Golda
Meir and other Israeli and
international officials for
her untiring efforts in re-
vealing the protected lives of
former Nazis who hold high
offices in Germany, France
, and South America, Beate
Klarsfeld continues her
work despite innumerable
arrests and threats against
her life.

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Mrs. Klarsfeld, in the
U.S. to promote her book
"Wherever They May Be"
(Vanguard Press), talked
about undertaking such a
mission.
In her book, she states she
was unaware as a child and
young adult of her country's
program of destruction.
Asked how that .could be
possible, she said that many
Germans felt guilty and did
not want to discuss it.
"Parents didn't like to speak
of it. Today, the schoolbooks
hardly say anything about
that period."
Married to a French
Jew, Mrs. Klarsfeld was
born a Christian and finds
conversion to Judaism, in
her case, unnecessary. "It
would not help. My hus-
band has never asked me
to convert and I am work-
ing only as a German."
She said her mission as a
German Christian against
Germans is more meaning-
ful.
Although she has no
plans to convert, she is
trying to raise her children
as Jews. Arno, 10, was cir-
cumcised and goes to He-
brew school. She hopes that
some day both Arno and his
sister Lida, 2, will want to
go to Israel to live — a place
where the Klarsfelds have
been welcomed several
times with open arms.
Her husband, an interna-
tional lawyer, gave up his
former job as a grain mer-
chant to help his wife. Since
that time, Klarsfeld and his
wife and sympathizers have
been labeled the "Klarsfeld
gang."
"There is no real Klars-
feld gang. Serge, Arno,
members of the Interna-
tional League Against Anti-
Semitism (LICA) and re-
cruits usually carry out our
kvork ." Julien Aubert, a
friend, also has helped the
Klarsfelds.
Mrs. Klarsfeld's exploits,
the slap delivered to former
West German Chancellor
Kurt-Georg Kiesinger at a
congress of the Christian
Democratic Union, the day-
light kidnap attempt on
Kurt Lischka and a demon-
stration in La Paz, Bolivia,

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in which she chained herself
to a fence while distributing
pamphlets exposing Klaus
Barbie — who is living pro-
tected in Bolivia as Klaus
Altmann — have gained her
international notoriety.
Gaining inspiration
from the stories of Serge's
family's losses to the Nazis
— his father, a French re-
sistance fighter, was ar-
rested by the Gestapo and
killed in Auschwitz —
Beate embarked on her
mission — to bring untried
Nazi criminals to justice.
Asked if she cooperated or
collaborated with Simon
Wiesenthal who runs the
Jewish Documentation
Center in Vienna which
essentially pursues the
same ends, Mrs. Klarsfeld
said she met Wiesenthal
on several occasions, but
they do not collaborate.
"I work independently.
Wiesenthal runs a very effi-
cient research service and he
does his work by legal
means.
"Wiesenthal doesn't do
anything illegally. I want to
change the mentality of my
people.
"If I had the money I
could take out full-page
newspaper ads to mobilize
public opinion (for bringing
the criminals sentenced in
absentia in France and un-
tried criminals to justice).
Since I don't have that kind
of money I have to use ille-
gal means," she explained.
She explained that travel
expenses have come from
LICA, friends and sympath-
izers. She recently organ-
ized a lecture schedule with
Bnai Brith to raise funds for
her work. (At a reception in
Detroit Sunday, about 40
persons contributed funds
in her cause. In Washing-
ton, a survivors organization
sent her $800.)
Although she is not pur-
suing any one criminal
currently, she still is con-
tinuing her efforts to see
Lischka, Herbert Hagen
and Heinrich Illers put
behind bars. As a result of
a French-German allow-
ing Germany to try ex-
Nazis sentenced in absen-
tia in France, Mrs. Klars-
feld is campaigning to
mobilize public opinion in
Germany to reopen their
trials, especially Lis-
chka's. He was one of sev-
eral sentenced in absentia
in France.
Speaking knowledgeably
about the criminals — she
and her husband have nu-
merous files, documents
and microfilm — she shows
no bitterness. However, she
is appalled by the German
sense of justice. "Those who
break the law by protesting
against the criminals are
jailed, while the real crimi-
nals run free."
With a calm demeanor
and stylishly dressed, one
finds it difficult to believe
this young mother and
housewife has spent much
of the last decade searching
out the most brutal and no-
torious officials of the Nazi
death machine.

The cold neutrality of an
impartial judge.

Beate Klarsfeld, second from right, sits comfortably
in her Paris apartment with her family after a tiring
schedule of research and travel. Shown with Mrs. Klars-
feld are, from left: her husband, Serge, an international
lawyer; their daughter, Lida, 2; and son, Arno, 10 who
has helped his mother distribute literature in Germany
protesting the existence under protection of former Nazi
officers.

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