Former Gestapo Head Klaus Barbie Sentenced to Life in Prison

Former Gestapo Head Klaus Barbie Sentenced to Life in Prison

Klaus Barbie on Trial

In Lyons, France, Klaus Barbie is sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity. He will die four years later while in prison.

In his closing argument, prosecutor Pierre Truche said:

"My conviction as a jurist and as a citizen is that inhumanity is always unacceptable and must be punished. That is why I tell you that everything under your consideration today is inhuman and should be judged. ...

Time has not played the role of forgetfulness, neither individual nor collective. The mothers still weep over their children. Some deported people have come here to tell you that they have not slept well for 40 years.

The punishment must be useful because it is necessary to understand the notion of crime against humanity, that it enter into our civilization. ...

The question is: Could Barbie have done greater evil? Could he have done less? Barbie could have done a great deal less and have still fulfilled his function as the head of the Gestapo. You can find no extenuating circumstances in this."

The only thing Klaus Barbie said in his defense during the entire trial was:

"I did not commit the roundup of the children of Izieu. I did not have the power to decide on deportations.

I fought a harsh combat against the Resistance, which I respect; but it was war, and now the war is over."

The children of Izieu were 44 Jewish children rounded up by Klaus Barbie and the Gestapo from their hiding place in order to send them to die in concentration camps.


Klaus Barbie Documentary

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