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Documents, Fingerprints, May Prove Altmann is Really Barbie

Mrs. Beate Klarsfeld, the determined hunter of ex-Nazi Klaus Barbie, returned here Friday from Bolivia, but only long enough to pick up documents and fingerprints in West Germany to convince Bolivian authorities that the man they have in custody in La Paz is indeed the former Gestapo “butcher of Lyons.” Mrs. Klarsfeld, a German married to a French Jew, told reporters at Orly Airport that she would return to Bolivia in a few days after receiving the documents West German authorities promised her in Frankfurt and Bonn.

Klaus Altmann, the man believed to be Barbie, was arrested Friday in La Paz for non-payment of a $4,000 debt he owed the Bolivian government. France asked the Bolivian authorities last week to take the suspect into custody until a La Paz court can determine whether he is the Nazi fugitive who obtained Bolivian citizenship under the alias of Altmann.

If that proves to be the case, Bolivia, which does not extradite its own citizens, would have grounds to hand over Barbie to France to face war crimes charges, legal experts here said. Mrs. Klarsfeld said the documents she will get in West Germany would include Barbie’s fingerprints from his old Wehrmacht personnel files. These could confirm his identity.

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