Beate Klarsfeld : “The day I slapped the German chancellor”

In Germany where I was born in 1939 and where I grew up until my 21 years, the crimes of nazism are still buried under a blanket of lead. We don’t talk about it. This is me installing in France in 1960, and meet Serge, who is a historian, that I am aware of. He tells me the fate of his family, his father was gassed at Auschwitz. It reveals to me as to how many former nazis occupying always the important functions within the State apparatus or German. We married in 1963.
We are revolted by the election of Kurt Georg Kiesinger.

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Under nazism, there has been a propagandist of high rank within the ministry of foreign Affairs. He knew very well what was happening in the camps. In 1967, I wrote several op-ed articles against him in the newspaper ” Combat “, which allows me to be removed from my position of secretary to the franco-German Office for youth. But this does not stop.

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What we need now is a scandal. Where the idea of a slap in the face in public. A gesture designed from the start as a symbolic act : the German youth slap in the face to the generation of the fathers nazis. The opportunity came on the last day of the congress of the christian democrats, the November 7, 1968, in West Berlin. I record first a statement to explain my gesture, just in case. I’m not afraid of what could happen to me, more fail. Yet I risk my life in this case.
Berlin has an appearance of a fortified camp, the Palace of Congress is swarming with police officers. But I manage to cross the cords of security with the help of a photographer of the magazine ” Stern “. My notebook faux journalist in the hand, I baratine a keeper at the level of the forum into believing that I must join a friend on the other side, he lets me pass. I reach behind Kiesinger, he turns his head, I’m screaming at the top of his lungs : “Nazi ! Nazi ! ” and I unchecks a slap-on-the-fly.

It is the eye, a doctor comes running up. I am surrounded and evacuated without mercy. But it is a huge relief for me. The same evening, a judge condemns me to a year in prison. But I manage to make them doubt the court reminded him that my quality of French citizen. My detention is suspended, and I am released on-the-field. Serge joined me in Berlin. Chance of the calendar, we celebrate this day in our five years of marriage. He said to me : “This slap in the face-there, you will remain all your life. “The next day, she made headlines around the world. For Kiesinger, it is a defeat in public opinion. His party will lose the elections of 1969 and it is Willy Brandt, a former resistance fighter, which will replace the chancellery.

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