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Klaus Barbie
Born October 25, 1913(1913-10-25)
Bad Godesberg, Germany
Died September 25, 1991 (aged 77)
Lyon (jail), France
Nationality German Germany
Other names Butcher of Lyon
Occupation Hauptsturmführer
Known for Working as a Nazi Leader in France, torturing resistance members. And for being a drug lord and arms dealer in Bolivia.
Political party National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP)
Religious beliefs Roman Catholic

Klaus Barbie (October 25, 1913 – September 25, 1991) was an SS-Hauptsturmführer (rank approximately equivalent to army captain), Gestapo member and war criminal. He was known as the Butcher of Lyon.

Contents

Early life

Klaus Barbie was born in Bad Godesberg, today part of Bonn, Germany. Barbie was born to a Roman Catholic family. His parents were both teachers. Until 1923 he went to the school where his father taught. Afterward, he attended a boarding school in Trier. In 1925, his whole family moved to Trier. In 1933, Barbie's father and brother both died. The death of his abusive, alcoholic father derailed plans for young Barbie to study theology or otherwise become an academic, as his peers had expected. While unemployed, Barbie was drafted into the Nazi labor service - Reichsarbeitsdienst.

In September 1935, he joined the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), the special security branch service of the SS that acted as the intelligence-gathering arm of the Nazi Party. Soon he was sent to serve in Amsterdam in the German occupied Netherlands. In 1942, he was sent to Dijon and in November of the same year he was sent to Lyon, where he became the head of the local Gestapo.

War crimes

He first set up camp at Hôtel Terminus in Lyon. It was his time as head of the Gestapo of Lyon that earned him the name Butcher of Lyon. Evidence suggests that he personally tortured prisoners and is responsible for the deaths of up to 4,000 people.[1] The most infamous case is the arrest and torture of Jean Moulin, one of the highest-ranking members of the French Resistance. In April 1944, Barbie ordered the deportation to Auschwitz of a group of 44 Jewish children from an orphanage at Izieu. After his surgery in Lyon, Klaus Barbie rejoined the SIPO-SD of Lyon in Bruyeres-in-Vosges France where he was also responsible for a massacre in Rehaupal in September 1944.

In 1947, Barbie became an agent for the 66th Detachment of the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC).[2] In 1951, he fled to Juan Peron's Argentina with the help of a ratline organized by U.S. intelligence services[3] and the Ustashi Roman Catholic priest Krunoslav Draganović. Asked by Barbie why he was going out of his way to help him escape, Draganovic responded, "We have to maintain a sort of moral reserve on which we can draw in the future."[4] He then emigrated to Bolivia, where he lived under the alias Klaus Altmann. Testimony of Italian insurgent Stefano Delle Chiaie before the Italian Parliamentary Commission on Terrorism suggests that Barbie took part in the "Cocaine Coup" of Luis García Meza Tejada, when the regime forced its way to power in Bolivia in 1980.[5]

Barbie was also reported to have worked as an officer for Bolivian intelligence and helped plan concentration camps, and formulate torture and repression techniquies for anti-government rebels while Bolivia was under a violent dictatorship.

While in Bolivia, Barbie managed a company that diverted Belgian and Swiss arms to Israel while Israel was still under a post-Six-Day War international arms embargo. A report in the Israeli press alleges that Barbie also had frequent dealings with Israel concerning supplies of Israeli arms to Latin American countries and "various underground organizations."[6]

Trial

Barbie was identified in Bolivia as early as 1971 by the Klarsfelds (Nazi hunters), but it was only on January 19, 1983, that the newly elected government of Hernán Siles Zuazo arrested and extradited him to France.

In 1984, Barbie was put on trial for crimes committed while he was in charge of the Gestapo in Lyon between 1942 and 1944. The trial started on May 11, 1987, in Lyon — a jury trial before the Rhône Cour d'assises. In a rare move, the court allowed the trial to be filmed because of its historical value. Also, a special court room with seating for an audience of about 700 was constructed.[7] The head prosecutor was Pierre Truche. At the trial Barbie received support not only from Nazi apologists like François Genoud, but also from leftist lawyer Jacques Vergès.

Quite likely under Vergès' direction, Barbie caused sensations on the first days of the trial: he gave his name as Klaus Altmann (the name he had used while in Bolivia) and, claiming that his extradition was technically illegal, made the request to be excused from the trial and return to his cell at St Joseph prison. This was granted though he was brought back on the 26th of May to face some of his accusers, during which he stated that he had "nothing to say".

Vergès had a reputation for attacking the French political system, particularly in the French colonial empire. His strategy at the trial was to use it to expose war crimes committed by France since 1945. Indeed, many of the charges against Barbie were dropped, thanks to legislation that had protected people accused of crimes under the Vichy regime and in French Algeria. Vergès further argued that Barbie's actions were no worse than the ordinary actions of colonialists worldwide, and that his trial was selective prosecution. During his trial, Barbie famously stated that: "When I stand before the throne of God I shall be judged innocent".

On July 4, 1987, Barbie was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, and died in jail in Lyon of leukemia four years later, at the age of 77.

In popular culture

Barbie is memorably referenced in the film Rat Race, when the Jewish Pear family stops at the "Barbie Museum", thinking it to be a museum of Barbie dolls. They arrive, shocked at its true subject and threatening staff of neo-nazis, who attempt to portray Klaus Barbie as a "loving husband, devoted father, wine connoisseur, and three-time ballroom dancing champion." Following their awkward departure, the Pear family finds their van destroyed and subsequently steals one of the museum's relics, Adolf Hitler's staff car.

References

  1. ^ "Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie gets life". BBC. 3 July 1987. http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/july/3/newsid_2492000/2492285.stm. Retrieved 2009-05-01.  
  2. ^ Wolfe, Robert (19 Sept 2001). "Analysis of the Investigative Records Repository file of Klaus Barbie". Interagency Working Group. http://www.archives.gov/iwg/research-papers/barbie-irr-file.html. Retrieved 2009-05-01.  
  3. ^ Terkel, Studs (1985). The Good War. Ballantine. ISBN 0345325680.  
  4. ^ Falcoff, Mark (9 Nov 1998). "Peron’s Nazi Ties". TIME Magazine 152 (19). http://www.time.com/time/magazine/1998/int/981109/latin_america.perons_na30a.html.  
  5. ^ "Hearing of Stefano Delle Chiaie on before the Italian Parliamentary Commission on Terrorism headed by President Giovanni Pellegrino" (in Italian). 22 July 1997. http://www.parlamento.it/bicam/terror/stenografici/steno26.htm. Retrieved 2009-05-01.  
  6. ^ Linklater, Magnus; Isabel Hilton, Neal Ascherson (1984). The Fourth Reich: Klaus Barbie and the Neo-Fascist Connection. Hodder and Stoughton. http://books.google.com/books?id=ijAEHgAACAAJ.  , quoted in Chomsky, Noam 'Turning the Tide: US Intervention in Central America and the Struggle for Peace' South End Press 1985 page 36
  7. ^ Barbet Schroeder (director) Jacques Vergès (subject) Klaus Barbie (subject). (2007). L'avocat de la terreur. France: La Sofica Uni Etoile 3.   Documentary; English title: “Terror’s Advocate”.

Further reading

  • Hilberg, Raul (1982). "Barbie (SS, Lyon)" (in German). Die Vernichtung der europäischen Juden (110 ed.). Olle & Wolter. p. 453. ISBN 978-3883954318. OCLC 10125090.   Case No. 77, Fn 908 KsD Lyon IV-B (gez. Ostubaf. Barbie) an BdS, Paris IV-B, 6. April 1944, RF-1235.
  • Goni, Uki (2002). The Real Odessa: How Peron Brought the Nazi War Criminals to Argentina. Granta Books. ISBN 978-1862074033.   A chapter in this book also follows how top Nazis made their way to Argentina and Latin America.
  • Bower, Tom (1984). Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyons. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0394533599.  
  • U.S. Samurais in Bruyeres Klaus Barbie found in the Vosges Mountains in Bruyeres after his surgery in Lyon. Barbie rejoins his unit the SIPO-SD of Lyon there and was responsible of the Massacre of Rehaupal in September 1944|year=1993 |publisher=Editions du CPL [1][2]

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Perhaps you think that any fool could become a member of the SS. Do you really know what an SS soldier is? He is a superman. He is a professional chosen personally by Hitler. A soldier whose antecedents are analyzed for four generations back before he is given the honor of being allowed to join this elite organization.

Klaus Barbie (October 25, 1913September 25, 1991) was an SS-Hauptsturmführer, soldier and Gestapo member. He was known as the Butcher of Lyon. On July 4, 1987, Barbie was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity, and died in prison of leukemia four years later.

Sourced

  • Perhaps you think that any fool could become a member of the SS. Do you really know what an SS soldier is? He is a superman. He is a professional chosen personally by Hitler. A soldier whose antecedents are analyzed for four generations back before he is given the honor of being allowed to join this elite organization.
    • Quoted in "The Butcher of Lyon: The Story of Infamous Nazi Klaus Barbie" - Page 140 - by Brendan Murphy - History - 1983
  • If there were mistakes, there were mistakes. But a man has to have a line of work, no?
    • Quoted in "Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs, and the Press" - Page 184 - by Alexander Cockburn, Jeffrey St. Clair - Political Science - 1998
  • If I think of all those homosexuals in Germany today, I think I'd hand my German passport back, if I had one.
    • Quoted in "Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyons" - Page 23 - by Tom Bower - Biography & Autobiography - 1984
  • Don't worry. Your friends are dead and you are going to join them.
    • To Blandon from "Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyons" - Page 63 - by Tom Bower - Biography & Autobiography - 1984
...pale eyes, extraordinarily mobile, like those of an animal in a cage.
  • I admire you, but in the end everybody talks.
    • To Lise Lesevre during interrogation, from the Saturday, March 23, 1987 issue of "The Philadelphia Inquirer"

About Barbie

  • ...Had the eyes of a monster. He was savage. My God, he was savage! It was unimaginable. He broke my teeth, he pulled my hair back. He put a bottle in my mouth and pushed it until the lips split from the pressure.
    • Ennat Leger
  • ...pale eyes, extraordinarily mobile, like those of an animal in a cage.
    • Lise Lesevre
  • After 19 days of interrogation, they put me in a cell. They would carry by the bodies of tortured people. With the point of a boot, Barbie would turn their heads to look at their faces, and if he saw someone he believed to be a Jew, he would crush it with his heel.
    • Lise Lesevre

External links

Wikipedia
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Simple English

Klaus Barbie
Born October 25, 1913(1913-10-25)
Bad Godesberg, Germany
Died September 25, 1991 (aged 77)
Nationality German
Other names Butcher of Lyon
Political party NSDAP
Religion Roman Catholic

Klaus Barbie (October 25, 1913September 25, 1991) was an SS-Hauptsturmführer, soldier, and Gestapo member. He was called the "Butcher of Lyon".









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