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May 15, 1987 - Image 48

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-05-15

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

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last fall.
Barbie himself, arrogant,
unrepentant, paces in his cell.
The few outsiders who have
seen him say he is as defiant
as he was when arrested four
years ago. He is also reported
in poor health.
Meanwhile, the city's
monumental Palais de La
Justice has been renovated
for the trial. A special hall has
been built to accommodate
the hundreds of journalists,
victims' families and a small
army of prosecution lawyers
and court clerks. Barbie sits
in a dock protected by bullet
proof glass. He faces nine
jurors and the three
magistrates who preside at
the trial. The trial is expected
to last 8 to 10 weeks. It will
hear 93 witnesses for the pro-
secution, the most notable
perhaps being Nobel Peace
Laureate Elie Wiesel and
Simone Veil, former President
of the Parliament of Europe.
Both are Auschwitz
survivors.
Meanwhile, the Barbie trial
opened with two surprises.
Barbie, replying to the first
question by the presiding
magistrates, identified
himself as "Klaus Altmann, a
Bolivian businessman." He
admitted that his father's
name was Barbie and that he
was born in Bad Godesberg,
Germany.
Altmann was the alias
under which Barbie lived in
Bolivia for nearly 40 years
until his expulsion in January
1983. Legal experts believe he

gave that name in court in
furtherance of one of the
defense strategies of his
lawyer, Verges.
Verges contends his client
cannot be legally tried in
France because he was never
extradited to this country but
taken into French custody
when he was forced to leave
Bolivia. Verges has used the
word "kidnapped."
The second surprise was
the fawning courtesy with
which the accused was
treated by the court. The
presiding judge addresses
him invariably as "Monsier
Barbie" or even "sir."
Again, according to the
same experts, the politeness
is due to the court's deter-
mination to observe all of the
legal niceties to avoid any
possible appeal on technical
grounds or claim of bias
against the defendant.
The trial began immediate-
ly after the jury of five men
and four women was sworn in.
The first legal action was re-
jection by the court of a mo-
tion by a lawyer for a Holo-
caust survivor, one of Bar-
bie's victims, to reinstate the
death sentence imposed on
Barbie in absentia by a
French court in 1952.
The State Prosecutor op-
posed the motion on grounds
that the war crimes for which
Barbie was originally sen-
tenced are covered by the
20-year statute of limitations.
The maximum penalty now is
life imprisonment.

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Friday, May 15, 1987

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Vienna (JTA) — The
Austrian people support
President Kurt Waldheim by
a much larger majority than
elected him last summer, ac-
cording to a straw poll
published here following the
U.S. Department of Justice's
announcement last week that
Waldheim would be barred
from entry into the United
States because of his alleged
involvement in Nazi persecu-
tions and atrocities during
World War II.
The poll, in the newspaper
Neue Kronen Zeitung, found
that more than 70 percent of
the respondents do not want
Waldheim to resign in wake of
the American charges; 57 per-
cent think he should file libel
suits; and 53 percent want
Chancellor Franz Vranitzky
to cancel his scheduled of-
ficial visit to the U.S. later
this month.
Vranitzky is being urged to
call off his visit by politicians
of his own Socialist Party, his
conservative partners and the
opposition liberal-right

-

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THURSDAY UNTIL 9 P.M.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Freedom Party. They are
echoed by editorials in their
respective party newspapers
which have called the Amer-
ican action an anti-Austrian
measure.
But Vranitzky announced a
meeting with Waldheim that
he would make the visit
which was planned some time
ago. He said that while the
government rejects the
charges against Waldheim
because of lack of evidence,
the matter should be dealt
with coolly and without emo-
tion.
Vice Chancellor Alois
Mock, who is also Foreign
Minister, told a press con-
ference that he summoned
the U.S. Ambassador, Ronald
Lauder and gave him Aus-
tria's official response to the
U.S. ban on Waldheim for
transmission to Washington.
Mock said the Austrian
government demanded that
the U.S. authorities provide it
with all the material and
documents which led to their
decision.

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