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Beate Klarsfeld (2015)
|Born||Beate Auguste Künzel
13 February 1939
|Spouse(s)||Serge Klarsfeld (1963-present); 2 children|
Beate Auguste Klarsfeld (née Künzel; 13 February 1939, Berlin) is a Franco-German journalist. She became famous through her involvement in the investigation and prosecution of Nazi crimes. Along with her French husband, Serge, she has investigated with detailed documentation, numerous living Nazi perpetrators: Kurt Lischka, Alois Brunner, Klaus Barbie, Ernst Ehlers, Kurt Asche. In March 2012, she was a candidate for The Left in the election of the German Federal President 2012 against Joachim Gauck, which she lost by 126 to 991 votes.
The only child of Helen and Kurt Künzel, who was an insurance clerk. Her parents were not Nazis, according to Klarsfeld, however, they had voted for Hitler. The father was drafted in the summer of 1939 into the infantry. From the summer of 1940, he fought with his unit in France and was moved in 1941 to the eastern front, in the following winter because of the illness of double pneumonia he was transferred back to Germany and was used as an accountant. Beate spent several months in Łódź with her godfather, who was a Nazi official.
The apartment in Berlin was bombed and relatives in Sandau gave shelter to Beate, and her mother. In 1945, her father was released from British captivity and joined them. The house and property in Sandau were taken by Poland, and the family returned to Berlin. From the age of about fourteen years, Beate began frequently to argue with her parents, because those "not responsible" for the Nazi era, regretted what then befell them, injustices and material losses, the Russians' accusations, but felt themselves no pity for other countries.
Moves to Paris
In 1960, Beate Künzel spent a year as an au pair in Paris. By her own admission, at that time "politics and history were completely foreign". But she was confronted in Paris with the consequences of the The Holocaust. In 1963, she married the French lawyer and historian Serge Klarsfeld, whose father had been killed in Auschwitz. Beate Klarsfeld said that her husband helped her to be, "a German to be conscience and awareness".
They had two children: Arno David (born 1965) and Lida Myriam (born 1973). After changing employment she worked from 1964 as a secretary at new German-French Youth Office. They published a guide German girl au pair in Paris.[clarification needed] During an unpaid leave year, after the birth of her son, she became increasingly engaged in feminist literature and the emancipation of women in Germany. By the end of 1966, she moved with her family, her mother and the three-member family of Serge's sister in an apartment together.
At a Paris visit, after the government crisis in October and November 1966, Kurt Georg Kiesinger was chosen as the new German chancellor of a grand coalition of CDU and SPD. Klarsfeld, who was then foreign member of the SPD, in an essay for the French newspaper Combat on January 14, 1967 came out against Kiesinger chancellorship, but for Willy Brandt. There were other pieces for Combat in March and 27 July of that year. Among other things, they held Kiesinger right to have a "good reputation" as procured "in the ranks of the brown shirts", "like where the CDU". Then at the end of August 1967, she was terminated by the French-German Youth Office. The Klarsfelds decided to take legal action against the decision, and started a journalistic campaign against Kiesinger.
Action against Kiesinger
To draw attention to Kiesinger's Nazi past, Beate Klarsfeld initiated a campaign with various public actions. Kiesinger had to register as a member of the Nazi Party in late February 1933 and had risen since 1940 at the State Department as deputy head of the broadcasting political department, which was responsible for influencing the foreign broadcasts. Kiesinger was responsible for the connection to the Reich Propaganda Ministry. Klarsfeld bought up Kiesinger's membership in the Board of Directors of Inter Radio AG, foreign radio stations for propaganda purposes. He was a principal responsible for the contents of the German international broadcaster which had included anti-Semitic propaganda and war propaganda, and had worked closely and cooperated with the SS functionaries Gerhard Rühle and Franz Alfred Six, who was directly responsible for mass murders in Eastern Europe. Kiesinger continued the anti-Semitic propaganda even after he knew about the murder of Jews. These allegations were based in part on documents that Albert Norden published, about those responsible for the processing of war and nazi crimes.
Klarsfeld called out to Kiesinger on 2 April 1968, at the Bonn Bundestag from the public gallery "Nazi, resign!" and was charged, but soon released. According to archives, she traveled the end of April 1968, after East Berlin in order, "to discuss the preparation of some actions against Kiesinger and receive appropriate support" there with the National Council, the supreme body of the National Front. On 9 May she was in West Berlin, for a demonstration of the extra-parliamentary opposition "Kiesingers Nazi past". A press conference was scheduled for 10 May. On 14 May, Klarsfeld wanted to organize a "Kiesinger-Colloquium" in Paris. The West department of the SED Central Committee immediately set Walter Ulbricht as the chairman on the plans Klarsfeld. Subsequently, the National Council was instructed "to provide any relevant assistance Mrs Klarsfeld". She was eventually supported the printing of a brochure with a circulation of 30,000 copies, but wished not help her financially.
On 9 May, in the main auditorium of the Technical University of Berlin, Klarsfeld, Günter Grass (who had urged Kiesinger in 1966 in an open letter to resign), Johannes Agnoli, Ekkehart Krippendorff, Jacob Taubes and Michel Lang (student from the "Jewish Working Group for Politics") led, before 2000 to 3000 students, a panel discussion. Grass was initially booed from the audience, before the start of his speech. Klarsfeld, who represented Kiesinger as a major threat to Germany and the National Democratic Party of Germany called the right wing of the CDU, promised those present to try to slap him publicly. Also it was not taken seriously by representatives of the SDS, and a part of the audience and laughed. Grass' thesis was that withdrawal of Kiesinger was a prerequisite for an efficient fight against the NPD, and Agnoli contradicted Krippendorff. The Assembly adopted with a 3/4 majority a resolution that Kiesinger was urged to resign.
In mid-1968, when Kiesinger was a witness in a lawsuit, he said that he did not believe reports in 1942 of the murder of Jews, but said that he saw similar messages in 1944 and thought them more likely to be true. While at the CDU party conference in Berlin on 7 November 1968, Klarsfeld mounted the podium of the Berlin Congress Hall, slapped Kiesinger, and shouted "Nazi, Nazi, Nazi".
A few days after the fact, they expressed concern to Der Spiegel that she had planned the slap already on May 9, 1968. They wanted to thus express that part of the German people - especially the youth - rebel against that a Nazi should be at the head of the Federal Government. Berlin was selected as the site because Klarsfeld and her husband expected they would be punished only mildly because of the quadripartite status of the city as a French citizen.
Beate Klarsfeld was sentenced on 7 November 1968 to one year imprisonment, but this penalty, however, because of their also French nationality was not complete. Her defense was by Horst Mahler. The judge justified the amount of the penalty - it was the best possible under an accelerated procedure - so that political beliefs should not be represented by force. That the injured Chancellor was, had no effect on the amount of the penalty. Klarsfeld appealed against the judgment.
In recognition of the fact she sent the writer and later Nobel Heinrich Böll red roses to Paris. During a wave of violent actions and attacks of the student movement in the judgment against Klarsfeld also the windows of the judge were pelted with stones, which the SDS called "an adequate response to a unparalleled terrorist judgment".
In late 1969, Klarsfeld's sentence was reduced to four months in prison, which were suspended on probation. Klarsfeld established the fact in a poem that she had received in a version on 23 November 1968, for a record. Accordingly, Klarsfeld when asked understood her slap on behalf of 50 million dead of World War II and the future generations the "repulsive face of ten million Nazis". Germany needed in her view, the slap to prove the guilt of the Nazi followers and to avenge dead Russians and German youth soldiers in the Battle of Stalingrad, to the victims of the Holocaust, so Germans sympathize with concentration camp victims, to clean the occupied countries and daughter crew opponents as Manolis Glezos, the glory of the Scholl siblings, to reconciliation with the Jewish, Russian and Polish people, for a joint anti-fascism, for an association "freed from the urge for hegemony" of "three or two" Germany to in "socialism and peace, the other nations of the world respected" and respect for women among the bombing and torture victims of the Holocaust.
Klarsfeld was accompanied her mother on 11 November 1968 in Brussels where two days later Kiesinger was to speak on the evening of 13 November 1968 to the Grandes Conférences Catholiques. She was advised to leave the country by the Belgian police. In 1969 she joined the Waldshut constituency federal election campaign as a direct candidate of the Party of Democratic Progress action against the direct candidate of the CDU, Chancellor Kiesinger. Kiesinger received 60 373 votes, Klarsfeld 644.
In February 1971 Klarsfeld demonstrated before the Charles University in Prague against "Stalinisation, persecution and anti-Semitism". As a result, she was temporarily banned from entering the GDR. That same year, she tried with her husband, the responsible for the deportation of 76,000 people from France Kurt Lischka kidnap from Germany and deliver justice in Paris, as a previous conviction Lischka blocked further legal action. Beate Klarsfeld was sentenced in 1974 to two months imprisonment, but suspended the sentence after international interventions and protests on probation. The war Lischka also initially remained at large; until 1980 he was sentenced.
In the 1970s, Beate Klarsfeld repeatedly pointed to the involvement of the FDP politician Ernst Achenbach into the deportation of Jewish victims from France. In 1976, she succeeded in her political activity. To stop as a lobbyist of Nazi criminals shortly before her scheduled deployment as West German representative in the European Community in Brussels. In 1984 and 1985 she toured the military dictatorships of Chile and Paraguay, to draw attention to the search for the suspected there Nazi war criminals Walter Rauff and Josef Mengele. in 1986 Beate Klarsfeld stayed for a month in West Beirut, Lebanon and offered to go in exchange for Israeli hostages in custody.
in 1986, she campaigned against the candidacy of former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, the Austrian Federal President, who was accused of having been involved as an officer of the Wehrmacht in war crimes. She attended his campaign events and bothered after his election appearances in Istanbul and Amman, where she was supported by the World Jewish Congress.
On 4 July 1987, a resolution adopted at her initiative, condemned SS war criminal Klaus Barbie was (known as the Butcher of Lyon) . Barbie was charged with crimes against humanity. He was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. This success Reviewed Klarsfeld as the "main result" of their actions. As early as 1972 they had uncovered his whereabouts in Bolivia. Her gift was the foundation of the memorial Maison d'Izieu (Children of Izieu), is reminiscent of the victims of the crimes committed by Barbie crimes. In 1991, she fought for the extradition of Eichmann's deputy Alois Brunner, then living in Syria, the murder of 130,000 Jews in German concentration camps. In 2001, Brunner was sentenced by the efforts of Klarsfeld by a French court in absentia to life imprisonment.
Beate and Serge Klarsfeld issued a commemorative book in which the names of over 80,000 victims of the persecution of Jews in France are recorded, during the period of National Socialism. They strove successfully to have the pictures of about 11,400 deportees in the years 1942 to 1944 of Jewish children. The French railway SNCF welcomed the project and showed three years at 18 stations, a traveling exhibition (Enfants juifs Déportés de France). The German Railways (DB), the legal successor of Deutsche Reichsbahn, refused a corresponding exhibition in the DB-stations "for security reasons" from and referred them to the DB Museum in Nuremberg. The former DB CEO Hartmut Mehdorn argued the issue was "much too serious, as one is chewing gum" must employ at stations with him. Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee spoke out in favor of the exhibition. At the end of 2006 Tiefensee and Mehdorn agreed to support a new, DB own exhibition on the role of the Reichsbahn in World War II.
Under the special Deutsche Bahn traveling exhibition "Special Trains to Death" has been shown since January 23, 2008, at numerous Germant rain stations. Since its opening, this exhibition saw more than 150,000 people. The hunt for Klaus Barbie was made into the movie Die Hetzjagd (The hunt) of 2008. In 2009, she was nominated by the parliamentary group Die Linke for the Order of Merit. Led by Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle of the German Foreign Office refused, which is responsible for the awarding of expatriate German nationals. In the term of office of Joschka Fischer as foreign minister (1998-2005) the ceremony was already rejected.
Since 2008, Klarsfeld is a member with Michel Cullin of France, of the International Council of the Austrian Service Abroad and supports especially the memorial service of young Austrians in Holocaust memorials and Jewish museums around the world. On 8 November 2009, she was awarded in Munich the Georg-Elser Prize; but carried her nomination in violation of the regulations.
Candidacy for Bundespräsidentin
On 27 February 2012 Klarsfeld, after previously Luc Jochimsen and Christoph Butterwegge had been mentioned as possible candidates, was nominated by the board of the Die Linke unanimously for the election of the German President in 2012 as a candidate.
Klarsfeld stated that she felt supported by the Left hundred percent in the fight against fascism. The fact that the party had nominated them with knowledge of their commitment to Israel, show that the party was in agreement on this relationship with her. She put a program established for their administration in case of their choice, intention, however, to improve the image of Germany. It had a moral Germany to be created that can bring about social justice in other European countries. Klarsfeld had announced, to assist in the French presidential election, 2012 Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy. You have no "abdominal pain that I just left for a candidate" although it would have preferred a nomination on the part of the CDU or the SPD. The election for President of the Confederation would be the "highest honor" that she could be granted.
At the end of February 2012, the Saxon State Commissioner for the Stasi files, Lutz Rathenow, made in the Tagesspiegel Klarsfeld contacts with the Ministry of State Security of the GDR on the subject. Klarsfeld had indeed supplied no reports and had also not been a player, but I always get material from the GDR secret. They have also wanted. According to Rathenow, it "already a reflection of how far served the Stasi legwork of Nazi Crimes elucidation and where it has harmed." would require. He asked: "Had such a secret trust has been applied also to the American CIA or the Federal Intelligence Service? Where it led politically by those who also blackmail made by permanent adoption of material? "
In 1991, former Stasi officers Günter Bohnsack and Herbert Brehmer made public in an article for Spiegel that "Mrs Klarsfeld" the "incriminating evidence against the former Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger," "with which they then since 1967 Kiesinger's past denounced "have picked up at them. Her husband Serge was repeatedly at them. The two would get "piles of documents" of them. According to Bohnsack this cooperation began in 1966 and ended only in 1989. The "Plan with the slap" have Klarsfeld "probably concocted itself"; he knew nothing about it before it is executed.
Klarsfeld confirmed that it was not an informer, the GDR but suggested that she open the "Archive to Nazi criminals in Potsdam". After Klarsfeld actions against antisemitism early 70s in Prague and Warsaw, the GDR had these doors but closed again. The Stasi background of their interlocutors in East Germany, she was not aware at the time: "I met with people, which I thought they were historians with access to State archives of the GDR."
On March 5, 2012 Klarsfeld was elected by the Saxon parliament on the list of the Left Group as one of 33 people election as member of the 15th Federal Assembly in 2012.
On 7 March 2012, Welt published online under the article title "2000 D-Mark for the famous German slap" an internal instruction of the SED Politburo member Albert Norden announced the 14 November 1968, a week after the slap against Kiesinger, Klarsfeld should be provided 2000 DM "for further initiatives". Officially, the amount should be reported as honoraria an article she had written DDR Revue for foreign journal.
Referring to this publication said CDU General Secretary Hermann Gröhe Klarsfeld from any fitness for the office of president. The head of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, Hubertus Knabe, said something similar and attested her a missing "democratic awareness". Asked about the allegations, Klarsfeld said it was outrageous to reduce their commitment for Kiesinger's Nazi past to support by the GDR. she never worked on behalf of the GDR, but on their own behalf. In 1968 she had a few days spent by the slap 2,000 marks for it to organize the event with Kiesinger in Brussels. As early as 1972 she had described it in her autobiography.
Klarsfeld described in her 1972 autobiography that she had received 2000 D-Mark for an article in the East Berlin magazine Horizont. With the money they have paid the airfare from supporters of their action on 13 November 1968 in Brussels, who arrived with brochures about Kiesinger from Berlin.
Klarsfeld answer was interpreted by World Online as an indirect and first-time admission that she had once actually received the $2000. FDP General Secretary Patrick Döring said: "If it turns out that Ms. Klarsfeld 1968 nothing but an accomplice for a paid of the SED PR campaign was her candidacy for the highest German state office is a slap for all democrats in our country". The general secretary of the CSU, Alexander Dobrindt, Klarsfeld called an "SED puppet".
The national director of Die Linke, Caren Lay, described it as against it "absurd charge", "to discredit commissioned by the GDR" Klarsfeld commitment as. The deputy chairman of the parliamentary faction Dietmar Bartsch said Klarsfeld sought to put the slap Kiesingers a sign, but achieved a great deal more. He opposed equating DDR and Nazism, calling it legitimate that Klarsfeld was supported in its "fight against Nazis" from France, Israel, and also of the GDR.
In the world which Klarsfeld had three years earlier honored on her birthday, now published opinion comments, after which there was "little to do with the Klarsfeld" that Klaus Barbie was tried, and the slap was doubtful also because Kiesinger had been a "follower of the Nazi regime".
When choosing 18 March 2012 voted 126 members of the Federal Assembly for Klarsfeld. These are placed three more than the Left Party delegates. Klarsfeld was against Joachim Gauck, whose candidacy of CDU / CSU, SPD, FDP and Greens had been supported and the 991 votes received.
- 1974: Beate Klarsfeld received the Isralei "Bravery medal of the Ghetto fighters".
- 1984: French President François Mitterrand named her a Knight of the Legion of Honour.
- 2007: French President Nicolas Sarkozy named her an Officer of the Legion of Honour.
- 2009: She received the Georg-Elser Prize
- 2011: President Sarkozy awarded her the National Order of Merit.
- 2015: She and her husband Serge received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, first class.
- 2016: Beate received honorary Israeli citizenship.
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- Verfolgt und gejagt (Nazi Hunter: The Beate Klarsfeld Story) – TV-Film, USA, Frankreich, 1986, ca. 100 Min., Regie: Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Produktion: Films Ariane, SFP, TF 1, Brent Walker TV, Silver Chalice, Orion-TV, mit Farrah Fawcett als Beate Klarsfeld und Tom Conti als Serge Klarsfeld.
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