PARIS (Dec. 19)
A book describing the arrest and deportation to death camps of 44 Jewish children when Klaus Barbie was gestapo chief in Lyon will be part of the evidence presented against the Nazi war criminal when he goes on trial, possibly next summer.
The book, “The Children of Izieu: A Jewish Tragedy,” was compiled by lawyer Serge Klarsfeld who, with his wife Beate, have devoted their lives to tracking down war criminals and bringing them to justice. The couple was instrumental in prevailing on the Bolivian government to expel Barbie a year ago. He had lived in Bolivia for some 30 years under the alias Klaus Altmann.
Following his ouster early in 1983, he was taken into custody by the French authorities. He is presently confined to the Mont Luc Fort prison in Lyon where he and his gestapo henchmen once interrogated their victims.
Klarsfeld’s book is based on letters and documents found at the Izieu children’s home from where, in April, 1944, the 44 Jewish children were deported. All perished in the Auschwitz gas chambers. A picture of each child appears in the book with biographical sketches describing the youngsters and their family backgrounds.
Klarsfeld said at a press conference here this week that “one of the aims of this book is to give faces and real identities to the 44 victims. It would have been unthinkable to have held the (Barbie) trial without restoring their Jewish identities.” The book, published by the Klarsfeld Foundation, may be obtained by writing to Post Office Box 104, Paris 75722, France.
According to the investigating magistrate, Christian Riss, Barbie will be tried next summer for “crimes against humanity.” But several newspapers have insisted that the trial will be postponed until after the 1986 national elections. Justice Ministry sources have declined to comment, except to say that the investigation into Barbie’s war crimes is continuing.