Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maximilian Kowler - April 26, 1984

Klaus Barbie Trial

I wrote to the, to the man who is the mayor of the--that small town where, where Jean Moulin--that's the famous French Resistance leader--got caught. I wrote to him--that that was one of the big things of uh, Klaus Barbie. He caught Jean Moulin and then he practically killed him--he killed him. He didn't die in his hands, he died from the way uh, I wrote to the mayor and I offered him my help--if I can be of any help--and believe it or not I didn't even get an answer. My--the big question is--I keep in touch with my friends in Lyon--the question is, that that uh, trial's ever gonna come up. It was supposed to start last January now--last January it was a year that he was brought back, and they said it'll be a year 'til they are ready for the trial, and they are still nothing. The--one of the big men behind the trial, sort of pushing it is uh, the president, président du Consistoire in Lyon, who used to be a Cub Scout under me at the Jewish Boy Scouts. I saw him when I was in Lyon. Uh, I--no, I should correct myself--I don't know whether he's pushing it, he might not be pushing it. It's really funny, some of the people in Lyon don't--even Jews--don't want the trial. They are afraid it might re-create waves of anti-Semitism, or create waves of anti-Semitism, or uh, make the--make stronger waves of anti-Semitism. It's an, it's an interesting situation, because you don't even know how many French people want it or don't want it. I believe very strongly that the youth of France wants it, because they want to know what happened during the war, and why it happened during the war. And there are other French people naturally don't want it because he might spill the beans and say who collaborated, who didn't. I think that's his strength, and I'm only afraid they're gonna let him sit and die in prison without a trial, and I think that wouldn't be fair. No reason why they should let, let that happen.

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