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Book by Serge Klarsfeld to Be Entered As Evidence at Barbie Trial

April 8, 1983
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A book which documents and lists the names of some 80,000 Jews who were deported from France and murdered by the Nazis will be entered as evidence at the upcoming trial of Klaus Barbie, the “butcher of Lyon” who is facing trial in France on charges of crimes against humanity during World War II.

The book, which was published today in its American edition, is “a memorial to the Jews Deported from France 1942-1944,” by Serge Klarsfeld. The book was introduced by Klarsfeld and his wife, Beate Klarsfeld, at a press conference at the American Jewish Committee’s headquarters here. The two Nazi-hunters, helped bring Barbie to justice and were instrumental in his recent return from Bolivia to France.

In today’s press conference, Klarsfeld said that the 704-page volume, first published in France in 1979, serves as the only “tombstone” to many Jewish families who were wiped out altogether in the deportations from France.

In addition, he said, the book was “a potent legal weapon” in the struggle against Nazi war criminals still at large. Klarsfeld noted that the book was already accepted, shortly after its publication in France, as evidence at a trial in Cologne of three top Nazis who were active in France during the war.

The book, published here by the Beate Klarsfeld Foundation at the price of $35 a copy, contains a detailed description of each of the 78 convoys that carried Jews from detainment camps in France to Nazi death camps, in most cases to Auschwitz.

It gives the name of each person in the convoy, together with his or her birthdate, place of birth and nationality. It also contains many hitherto unpublished photographs, eyewitness accounts of the Nazi horror and reproductions of documents from the period that point to the active role played by the French, as well as by the Germans, in the deportations.

The book reveals that Jews ranging in ages from new born to 95, and coming from almost 60 countries, were victims of the deportations. Most of the deportees were, however, from France and Poland, but others were from countries such as Turkey, Ireland and Tahiti. They came to France seeking refuge from Nazi and other persecution. They found, instead, deportation and death.


Klarsfeld told the press conference how he was able to obtain the lists of the deportees. “Each time a convoy left France for the killing centers in the East,” he disclosed, “a list of the names of the victims was, by Nazi order, prepared in quadruplicate. Two copies of the list accompanied the convoy and were eventually destroyed. A third copy was kept by the Germans at the detainment camp, and was also lost.

“The fourth copy was kept by the captive Jewish community council in Paris. When the Germans fled the city in 1944, they were in such haste that they simply neglected to get back and destroy those fourth copies.” He said that he discovered the fourth copies “faded and crumbling” a in a crate in a French Jewish archive in Paris, a few blocks from where he lived.

In response to a question, Klarsfeld said that another purpose for his visit here was to find relatives of the Jewish children who were deported by Barbie to death camps. He said that Barbie ordered the deportation of at least 41 children in the French town of Izieu. He said he wants the family members of these children to take part in Barbie’s upcoming trial.

In response to another question, Klarsfeld said that the whereabouts of Dr. Joseph Mengele, the notorious war criminal who experimented and tortured thousands of inmates in Auschwitz, are not known. He said that Mengele is probably in Paraguay but his exact whereabouts is not known. He declined to reveal what is being done, if anything, to locate him, saying only that until Mengele is found nothing can be done regarding his extradition to Germany.

The American edition of “Memorial to the Jews Deported from France 1942-1944,” was prepared by Susan Cohen Hellman. It can be obtained from The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, P.O. Box 137, South Deerfield, Mass. 01373.

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