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From Nazi hunters to warriors against today’s fascism

CNN – “For six decades, Serge and Beate Klarsfeld devoted their lives to hunting former Nazis — from death camp guards to leaders of the Gestapo — and bringing them to justice. It was the Klarsfelds who identified the Butcher of Lyons, Klaus Barbie, who was living in exile in Bolivia under an assumed name. Thanks largely to their efforts, Barbie was extradited to France and spent his last years in a French prison, convicted for having sent some 14,000 French Jews and resistance leaders to their death. The Klarsfelds identified fascists who had scattered after the end of World War II, at times to hidden exiles. The duo pursued them, often at great risk, and held to account politicians and diplomats who sought to mask their Nazi backgrounds and carve out a new life in post-Holocaust Europe. In 1968, at a conference of Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union party, Beate rushed onto the stage and slapped Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger, who’d served in the Nazi Party during the war. For shouting “Nazi, Nazi, Nazi,” she was briefly imprisoned, but Kiesinger lasted less than a year in office after that. To this day, the Klarsfelds recently told me, they believe this action played a central role in the arrival of the moderate Willy Brandt as Kiesinger’s successor. Today, 73 years after the end of World War II, with most of their Nazi targets dead or imprisoned, the Klarsfelds have turned their attention to the rise of neo-fascism and, inevitably, the comfort and support the far right is feeling from Donald Trump. The duo’s focus now is on the power of Europe’s resurgent extreme right…”

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