High award: Macron honors Nazi hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld

High award: Macron honors Nazi hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld

Beate and Serge Klarsfeld made the pursuit of Nazi criminals their life’s work. For this, French President Macron honored the German-French couple with high awards.

French President Emmanuel Macron has honored the persistent persecutors of Nazi criminals, Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, with high French awards. The German-French couple received the honors during Macron’s state visit to the French embassy in Berlin.

With their decades of commitment, the Klarsfelds ensured that those responsible for the persecution of Jews were convicted and that the victims were given a face and a lasting memorial, said Macron. The German Beate Klarsfeld (85) was appointed Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour, the Frenchman Serge Klarsfeld (88) received the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.

“They are fighters for memory and fighters for justice. They have fought against forgetting and to make the victims of the Holocaust a part of history again,” Macron said, adding that the couple had “enabled our two countries to face their history.”

The Klarsfelds were responsible for exposing Nazi criminals in hiding and therefore became known as “Nazi hunters”. In the 1970s, for example, they tracked down the Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, who was feared as the “Butcher of Lyon” because of his cruelty and who was living in hiding in Bolivia. Alongside Simon Wiesenthal, the Klarsfelds were considered to be the best-known persecutors of Nazi criminals.

Decades of commitment against anti-Semitism

When Beate Klarsfeld was working as an au pair in Paris in 1960, she met her husband Serge, the son of a Jew who was murdered in Auschwitz. Both published numerous publications, in particular a volume on more than 80,000 victims of Nazi persecution in France. In a monumental book, they also compiled information and photos of the murdered Jewish children of France. The couple, who live in Paris, were awarded the Federal Cross of Merit in 2015 and have received numerous other honors for their decades-long commitment to remembering Nazi crimes and fighting anti-Semitism.

Beate Klarsfeld also became famous for a slap in the face that she gave the then Chancellor Kurt Georg Kiesinger in Berlin on November 7, 1968. She wanted to draw attention to his Nazi past: The CDU politician was once a member of the NSDAP and worked in the broadcasting department of the Reich Foreign Ministry during the Nazi era.

“Your fight against forgetting has changed the conscience of Germany,” Macron said, paying tribute to Beate Klarsfeld’s lifelong commitment. With his tireless efforts, her husband Serge provided evidence of the French authorities’ complicity with the Nazis in the persecution of the Jews.

Source: Stern

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