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Klarsfeld Says Germany to Seek Extradition of an Alleged War Criminal Now Living in Damascus

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Beate Klarsfeld, who along with her husband Serge, were responsible for tracking down the wartime head of gestapo in Lyon, Klaus Barbie, said today that West Germany is currently preparing to make a formal request to Syria for the extradition of an alleged Nazi war criminal now living in Damascus.

Klarsfeld, the world famous Nazi-hunter, said in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency here, that West Germany will seek the extradition of Alois Brunner, who is alleged to have directed gestapo operations in the Nice region. Serge Klarsfeld went to Damascus in June, 1982 to make a formal protest with the Syrian government for harboring Brunner. He was ultimately expelled from Syria.

According to the Klarsfelds, Brunner was responsible for the deportation of Jews from Austria, Salonika and France in 1943-1944. They claim that Brunner was personally responsible with having rounded up 300 children from Jewish centers in the Paris area on July 20, 1944 and deporting them to Auschwitz where they were exterminated.

Mrs. Klarsfeld said that Brunner decided to seek haven in Syria because “he knows the feeling of Syria towards the Jews, and towards Israel” and also knows the way the Syrian government has treated its Jewish population in the past.

RECIPIENTS OF ORT AWARD

The Klarsfelds were in the United States to receive the Women’s American ORT Human Rights Award at the organization’s 27th biennial convention in Los Angeles at the West in Bonaventure Hotel. Serge was called back to Paris for personal reasons and Beate was in New York attending to responsibilities at the office here of the Beate Klarsfeld Foundation.

In a speech delivered by Beate on behalf of her husband at the ORT awards dinner last Sunday, Serge promised that he “will do everything in my power to make sure that Brunner pays for his crimes …. not just out of revenge, but because impunity for a Nazi war criminal like Brunner is intolerable for a Jew, for all Jews.”

Serge Klarsfeld’s father, Arno, was taken by the Nazis and deported to Auschwitz where he was killed. While conducting research at the YIVO Institute several months ago on the Barbie case, Serge discovered a document written in pencil which bore the name “Arno Klarsfeld.” Serge Klarsfeld said: “He had been transferred from Nice to Lyon’s Fort Montluc Prison and had probably tried to contact some one with a message for us. It took 40 years for the message to reach me ….”

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