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Lot 8: KLAUS BARBIE - "THE BUTCHER OF LYON"
May 8, 2012
Stamford, CT, USALive Auction
KLAUS BARBIE - "THE BUTCHER OF LYON"
(1913 - 1991) "The Butcher of Lyon", German SS officer, head of the Gestapo in Lyon and responsible for the deportation and murder of thousands of Jews and resistance fighters, including Jean Moulin. Barbie joined the Nazi Party in 1932 and three years later became a member of the SSIn November 1940 he became an SS Obersturmführer and moved to Holland where he served in the Central Bureau for Jewish Emigration. In November 1942, the Germans occupied Lyons and Barbie established an office in the Hotel Terminus. The following year he moved to offices with specially built torture chambers in the Ecole de Santé Militaire. On 7th June 1943, Barbie captured René Hardy, a member of the French Resistance who had successfully carried out several acts of sabotage against the Germans. Barbie eventually obtained enough information from Hardy and others to arrest Jean Moulin, Pierre Brossolette and Charles Delestraint. Moulin and Brossolette both died while being tortured, Delestraint was sent to Dachau where he was murdered. As Allied troops approached Lyons in September 1944, Barbie destroyed Gestapo records and killed hundreds of Frenchmen who had first-hand knowledge of his brutal interrogation methods. Barbie fled to Germany where he was recruited by the US Counter-Intelligence Corps (CIC) and was thereafter kept safe from war crimes trials in exchange for undercover counter-communist espionage. In March, 1951, Barbie was smuggled out of Germany and given a new life in Bolivia under the pseudonym "Klaus Altmann". It was not until 1983 that Nazi hunters were able to find Barbie and have him extradited to France. He was found guilty of crimes against humanity and died in prison.
An extraordinary, most historic collection of 25 separate autograph manuscripts, one signed "Klaus Altmann Barbie", each written as an episode of sorts. There is a total of 167pp., 4to., believed to have been written while Barbie was in prison in Lyon awaiting trial, ca. 1983, all written in ball point in German on lightly-lined graph paper. This is an incredible autobiography documenting Barbie's life from early childhood through his serviced in the SS in Holland and while in France, his escape to Germany, service with the American C.I.C., exile in Bolivia, and deportation to France. According to our consignor, these manuscripts were smuggled from Barbie's cell and given to his attorney, Jacques Verges (b. 1925), whose clients have included both leftwing and rightwing terrorists, war criminals, and militants, including Holocaust denier Roger Garaudy, and international terrorist Ilich Ramírez Sánchez a.k.a. Carlos the Jackal. Presumably these manuscripts were intended to be used in Barbie's defense.
The manuscripts read, in very small part: "…Episode La Paz February 4, 1983…Ms. [Nazi hunter Beate] Klarsfeld appeared in my life…and announced to the whole world the sensation, that she succeeded in discovering the war criminal K.B., who was wanted in France…at that moment two unknown people approached me…and explained to me I was being arrested… put into the prison 'San Pedro' which I remembered well…leader and instructor of the 'paramilitares'…[following is my explanation that is in the possession of Maitre Verges]…I was warned by my friends to leave the country….Siles administration could cause problems for me…letter from my friend Officer Hans Rudel…in a democracy everything is possible…I stayed in La Paz up to the day of my arrest…Episode II…August 19/20, 1983…next to my office was the office of the current Bolivian President Hernan Siles Zuazo, a lawyer…task of my company 'Standard Industrial LTD' was to make connections in Bolivia and abroad…to organize projects for Bolivia…including financial assistance…in April 1968 I received a promising offer…the founding of the first Bolivian commercial fleet… embezzled $350,000…accused of smuggling of weapons with the help of the fleet…following my suggestion Admiral Roch and I met with the president of Hapag and Lloyd in Hamburg…lived with my German friend Fritz (Friedrich) Schwend in Lima…we never met during the war, but I heard vaguely about his activity, forging of pound notes….in 1971 at my arrival at the airport in Hamburg, the Bolivian Consul told me that the airport was surrounded by German police to arrest me…I had no connections to the CIA… my travels to the United States are being portrayed as weapons smuggling…Episode: Teenage Years, Graduation, Work Service, H.J. - S.D…Another date that remains in my memory is June 30 1934, the day of the Röhm-Putsch, we were on vacation on the island Amrum, but nobody heard about the putsch on this small island. We learned about it upon our return to the Work Service in Niebühl…Upon my return to Trier I became again active in the Jungvolk and volunteered within the local group of the N.S.D.A.P. Trier- Mitte. There, without my knowledge, my destiny was decided. The district leader introduced me to an SS man with the name of Jacoby, who was working for the S.D. headquarters in Berlin. He described the career opportunities within the Secret Service. He didn't explain much about the organization itself. He only explained to that it was a Secret Service in the beginning stages organized by the State, whose leaders were Himmler and Heydrich. I accepted the offer of earning money right away…At the end of 1935 I traveled to Berlin and appeared at Wilhelmstrasse 102 in Berlin, headquarter of the Secret Service…On October 1, 1935 I was accepted into the SS and sworn in. I started at Office III as assistant. That's how my career started in the service with a clean conscience, a career as any other, a service as in any other country - a secret service. Who could have predicted back in 1935 a World War, who could have known that in 1945/46 the complete SS was judged a criminal organization by a tribunal of the victors that meant death and persecution 40 years after the end of the war. The old Roman expression "vae victis" lives on…Lyon October 25, 1983…My 70th birthday…[signed] Klaus Altman Barbie…Episode: Wartime…I was part of Office III, domestic intelligence…these reports also contained the criticism of the people on decisions of the government, rumors about party leaders..the reports came from informants which were placed within every organization… the most important information was forwarded by Himmler to Hitler and the cabinet…providing a picture of the mood in the population…at this time began the set up of the infamous Einsatzkommando der Sicherheitspolizei und SD [operational commando of the security police and secret service], which immediately followed the army into any occupied territory…an expanded with the increase of resistance and partisan fighting against the German occupation…the work was top secret, the [secret service] had to do the dirty work of the war…the execution of orders from the top leadership….which often went far beyond human judgment...in the military area it was the Waffen-SS who did the work…hence it is not surprising that at the Nuremberg Trials the whole of the SS-Units were declared a criminal organization and a large amount of SS members were executed and driven into exile…in South America…I was transferred to Amsterdam at Office III…the tasks were the same, except the circumstances were that of an occupied country.. the majority of the Dutch people were against the German occupation. After the French campaign it was quiet, but slowly our informants provided information about a forming resistance, directed from England…in February 1941 came the uprising in Amsterdam, the first in the occupied territories…which was defeated by the Waffen-SS, army and the (SD) commandos…we were worried about the visit by Hermann Goering in Amsterdam…most of the time he would appear unannounced…he did not follow the rules…reason for his visit was the inspection of the diamond factories and for buying art…an informant reported that he bought forged paintings… at the beginning of the war with the Soviet Union I volunteered for the eastern front, my request was rejected, instead I was transferred to Gex at the Swiss border…in November 1942 the free zone of France was occupied and I was transferred to Lyon…the headquarters moved into the 'Hotel Terminus'…chief of the unit was Hautsturmfuhrer Heinz Hollert...Hollert and I went for an orientation walk through Lyon in full uniform…people stared at us and we could clearly hear the word 'Gestapo'…Hollert was in charge of organizational duties while I developed a plan for my special task, the fighting of the resistance. I was aware that Lyon was the center of the resistance and was considered communist…The army set up the local command center…and took charge of the military prison… Captain Kurt Merk, who would play an important role in my life after the war, sat in a restaurant and observed a person eating in the American style, he cut his meat with knife and fork, and the placed his knife down and continued eating with his fork…we arrested the man, who hardly spoke French…he turned out to be an American paratroop officer in Africa, trained as a spy in order to train resistance fighters near Lyon…Episode: External Commando Gex…In 1942 I was transferred from Holland to the secret police and secret service directly to the Swiss border…the Swiss were very friendly to Germany…it was planned to set up the external command for counterintelligence and place it under the command of Paris…we were successful in recruiting people in Switzerland to spy for us at the allied embassies…the test was to obtain the main telephone directory of the Swiss post and to bring it to Dijon…to later kidnap foreign spies and bring them into German territory. The British and Americans could move freely, especially Allan Dulles, chief of the O.S.S. … the main intelligence source of the Soviets was in the Organization 'Lucky', directly connected to the High Command of the Wehrmacht…Episode: Albert Leo Schlageter…In the middle of 1942 I received a file document marked 'Secret Reichs Case - Albert Leo Schlageter'…the case came directly from Himmler…the order was to make available all the information regarding the informant from [ISK resistance fighter Rene] Bertholet…even threaten him with transfer in to a K. Lager…I tried to convince him for over a week to give me that information without success…I submitted my report that even torture wouldn't make him give up the information regarding the informant….it would be wiser to keep him as an informant for counterintelligence work in the fight against the partisans…Himmler agreed…Episode: Classical Concert at the University Lyon…I received information regarding a performance at the university..which was to be used as a camouflaged meeting of French resistance fighters…I decided to wear my dress uniform…long pants with SS-dagger without weapon…I had the list of names of the members of the resistance (professors, doctors, etc.) all in all 20 people…I took a seat in the first row…he mentioned my name loud and clear…the surprise was apparent…a SS officer alone at a university concert…the director got more uncomfortable..I explained the real reason for my visit…showed him the list of names and told him that the next time it wouldn't be so peaceful. The Director promised to ensure that the University would not be used for resistance purposes…Episode: Commando Mission…Shortly after my transfer to Lyon, we received an order to free some high Arab politicians…who used to be partisans in fight against France…they were being held not far from Lyon…I gave the commander of the French fort 10 minutes to think about it…Told him I wanted the Arabs and it was not about the French troops occupying the fort…we loaded them onto trucks to Lyon and then to Dijon. One of the freed Arabs was the current President of Tunisia, Bourgiba…Episode: Commando Mission in Grenoble; Lebrun and Francois Poncet, Alcala-Zamora…Between March and May 1943 our unit received orders from Himmler to arrest the former French President Lebrun and the former French Foreign Minister to Berlin…both lived in Grenoble. Himmler's orders were to avoid an armed confrontation with the Italian military if at all possible…I recruited the commandoes, 8 men, 2 unmarked cars (Citroen) and light weapons, 2 machine guns…the order was to lock up the Italians once in the castle…Lebrun sat behind a desk and I explained without wasting time I was ordered by the commanding German general in Lyon to bring him to Lyon, his safety was guaranteed… At the same time a German commando took the president of Spain, Alcala-Zamora into custody...Episode: Arrest of an English Commando in the Massif Central Beginning of 1943…Through our informants I received news of English Paratroops hiding on a farm in the Massif Central and training resistance fighters…we knew they only had light weapons…in a blitz we surrounded the farm…the British and maquis were surprised but fought back…after half an hour they surrendered…they were arrested as British spies…I was very interested in interrogating them as soon as possible…one officer jumped out of the window on the fourth floor of the Hotel Terminus...he get caught in an exterior netting…In Lyon the other British soldier told me about a weapons depot in a cloister...this was a precarious situation since according to Himmler's orders, all housing hiding weapons was to be burned and the inhabitants were to be shot…we found more weapons inside the cellars and the nuns told us they voluntarily hid the weapons…both nuns were court-martialed and shot, if I remember correctly…Episode: Set-up Spy Ring…To fight the Resistance we first had to establish a network of agents…naturally made up of French people…first in line was the French militia...it was understood that the militia was readily available to us on the grounds of the same political views…I can ensure that no French man fought on the side of the Germans for Hitler…another method to expand the spy ring was to use denunciation…to our surprise, every day we received visitors at the Hotel Terminus that were ready to make verbal and written statements denouncing resistance fighters and enemies of all kinds…under the leadership of the famous Rugby player Andre…cooperation of Catholic clergy. Special care was needed to turn around an active member of the resistance who was in custody…a method that I was very successful with…Episode: Fight Against the Maquis…Lyon was the headquarter of the French resistance…sabotage and military action was in the hands of the Maquis…Himmler was placed in charge of fighting the terror by these gangs…Himmler transferred these tasks to the commandos of the security police and the secret service…to fight the terror ruthlessly and with all means…at the beginning we could only improvise since we had no guidelines…my first goal was to infiltrate…the fight against the resistance was divided in three parts…the fight was fought on both sides, outside of the rules of normal warfare, the Hague conventions and the Geneva conventions, measures that led to the so-called war crimes..the Germans alone were judged for war crimes…Dr. Knab gave me the special mission to arrest General Gierako near Lyon…on August 27, 1944 I set up a special commando..along with 2 Tiger Tanks..between Macon and Lyon we were attacked by Maquis…during the fight I was injured and put in a field hospital train to Germany…Episode: Last War Operation…The direct routes between Kassel and Berlin were destroyed…after three days I arrived at the Secret Service headquarters in Berlin…which was only rubble…on to the Secret State Police…it was partly bombed out…I was led into the cellars where the cells were which housed the inmates from the July 20 assassination attempt…including the former General Fromm…shortly after he was shot…I moved on to the bunker of the Reichsfuhrer of the SS at Wannsee…my first questions was 'Klotz, what is the situation with the war, it is already lost!'…inside I shook my head with the knowledge that the Russians weren't too far from Berlin…I was ordered to get myself to the Secret Service section in Dusseldorf…there were Russian and Polish foreign laborers organizing armed resistance groups…I remarked that there were already American and English Units in Neuss, just across the river from Dusseldorf, to no avail… at my arrival I found only rubble…I moved on to the XI. SS Army corps… the plan was to use the 'Werewolf' to undermine and blow up the villa where the Americans and English planned to establish their headquarters…I was put in charge to acquire the building blueprints…I never heard if the villa was blown up…if I remember correctly here was the area where the SS-Division 'Nibelungen' was set up…the Twilight of the Gods started…I organized identification papers for my men and myself and filled in French names…on April 18, 1945 the war was over for us…I heard that there were SS units in the surrounding forests and planned to unite with them…we buried our weapons and uniforms…we got picked up by a American patrol and brought to a temporary camp. There we saw men in concentration camp clothing and others with armbands with the word 'Antifa', they interrogated us and we denied being soldiers, which they didn't accept…Episode: Illegality May 1945 - 1947…I appeared at the local American command and said I was a forced French laborer…I was issued a travel document by a German secretary…surrounded by Russians in civil clothing, foreign forced laborers…he pulled a knife and made a gesture of cutting of my finger…I had no choice but to give him my wedding ring…on May 9 the day of German surrender, I arrived in Bursfelde, where my wife and my daughter were…three weeks after my arrival a jeep with English soldiers showed up at the farm and made enquiries about me...I disappeared in the early hours on the next day…I lived officially under the name Mertens…we forged dismissal papers from the American prisoner of war camps, with the help of a German doctor…the prisoners, especially SS men, were transferred to a hospital and there they received our forged dismissal documents…the English developed a tactic to find SS members…using former secretaries…I pushed myself up and jumped out of the jeep…the woman hid me in a pigeon coop…in my travels I also visited Klotz my connection to [Leon] Degrelle…Klotz told me about an expensive tapestry that he was keeping safe for Degrelle, a present from Baldur von Schirach…with his help many SS members burned out their blood group [tattoos] from underneath their left upper arm…the train didn't move instead the door to the compartment opened and soon after we were tied up, laying on the platform…we were locked up in the coal cellar, an improvised jail…we jumped through the window into the garden…he wore shirts with the initials H.F., he said the shirts were from SS-General Hermann Fegelein, whom Hitler had shot for being a coward…Episode: Allied Mission 'Selection Board'…In February March 1947 I was doing illegal 'activities', in other words, I tried to survive…black market, cigarettes, buying and selling, forged food stamps… we formed the 'brown help'…My friend Fridolin Beier [F. Becker]. He was a Stahlhelm leader and was accepted into the S.A. He wasn't living in hiding, but he was part of the 'brown help'…the Americans took Fridolin… he was being interned at a camp near Frankfurt…I was wanted as well, but it was assumed I was in Munich…an announcement that the western allies were searching for former SS, SA and Party leaders in their zones with the help of 5,000 tanks and corresponding amount of soldiers…the Allies called the mission 'Selection Board'…Episode: Activity for the American C.I.C. 1948 - 1951…My son was born on December 11, 1946 in Kassel…visited my wife without the knowing that the clinic was observed by the German police…the orderly was notified by American officials not to release the child…in April 1947 I met my comrade Herbst and he told me about his connections to the C.I.C. [Counterintelligence Corps]…we met Kurt Merk at the train station…he would talk to the American office in Kempten. The Americans needed every anti-communist man especially those who had knowledge of counterintelligence against the communists…a great chance for me to come out of hiding…on the other hand there was the danger of being extradited to the French…he introduced me to an American and I was readying myself for interrogation, but he did not ask any questions, he only mentioned that Merk was the chief of the operation…at no time was any information requested regarding the past history of our former SS comrades who were now informants...I am not aware if the C.I.C. ever shared my interview with the French officials…there was no doubt that the C.I.C. knew who I was…it is incomprehensible why after 33 years the US Department of Justice wrote the Ryan Report and apologized officially to the French Government for preventing my extradition in 1949… all of this is history…the situation between the two superpowers is not very different today compared to back then…It was Eisenhower, today it is Reagan, who publicly announced in almost the same words that the Soviets are the world's biggest misfortune… General Gehlen understood to protect all his reports and troops…Adenauer incorporated the whole Organization Gehlen under the title 'Bundesnachrichtendienst' [Federal Intelligence Service]…Kurt Merk was connected to the 'Organization Gehlen' but we never talked about it…He was the chief of the group…He was also responsible for the finances…it was agreed upon that due to security concerns, I was not to be active in French matters…after three months I was approached by an officer from the C.I.C. …he was ordered to bring me to the internment camp…for war criminals…after 9 months I was still in the camp...I was brought into the 'Welfare office'… he threw a black uniform at me with the letters W.C.P. (War Crime Prisoner)…almost three months I sat in my cell M75…once I tried to commit suicide…a note was passed through the keyhole into my cell, it read M75 to DI 11…shortly thereafter I was brought before interrogation officer DI 11. He was a German emigrant in an American uniform…during this time I received a visit by French officials. An American officer explained that I was a prisoner of the Americans and not required to answer the questions of the French…he was interested in names of agents and French collaborators from my days in Lyon…strangely enough he didn't ask me about Jean Moulin…I was asked about Agent Moog…who often fought in German uniform against the Maquis and that he was an interrogation specialist…after 8 or 9 months I was transferred to the C.I.C. office in Munich…the next day I left Munich for Memmingen…the imprisonment was over…we continued our work …expanding the circle of spies…Episode: Augsburg - Bolivia…In the middle of 1951 I received a visit by the chief of the C.I.C from Munich…he reported that in the interest of my future I should emigrate with my family to South America…we thought about Names for the passports…Klaus Altmann, stateless…the passport was valid for only a limited time and issued for exit from Germany-Triest…the passage was financed by the C.I.C. …I was free to choose the country where I wanted to live…Prof. [Krunoslav] Draganovic [1903-1983) Croatian Roman Catholic priest and historian who is accused as being one of the main organizers of the ratlines which aided the escape of Nazi war criminals from Europe] recommended Bolivia…Draganovic acquired the emigration papers with ease…the papers for the red cross passes were delivered by the Vatican including an attestation 'no criminal record'…a visa to travel through Argentina was required… I never heard of Draganovic again…he spoke perfect German…he didn't give me his name, he only said that he took part in the Röhm- Putsch in 1934…I can only laugh out loud when I think of the millions of dollars of "Party and SS-treasures" which Martin Bormann supposedly brought to South America and shared with me…he pulled up his sleeve and showed me his tattooed concentration camp number…Episode: Beginning and Building…made contact with the German colony in La Paz...he offered me a job as a manager at the sawmill…I received a salary of $100…it was a good time to leave the war behind me…my family and I became Bolivian citizens…I formed the company 'Standardindustrial' in 1965…exporting the bark of the cinchona tree…I had no connections to [Hugo] Banzer…Episode: Rene Hardy in La Paz, Bolivia 1972…A man addressed me in Spanish and introduced himself as Ribeaud, reporter for the French magazine 'Paris Match'…his companion he introduced as an American reporter…his English was so bad I knew he lied…asked him if he knew Rene Hardy…he was willing to tell me more about Hardy…as soon as I received the personal information from their passports I saw that the 'American' was no other than Rene Hardy…the next day the newspaper in Lima, Peru printed a statement by Hardy…Ribeaud wanted to know if Hardy betrayed Jean Moulin…it would have been easy for him to assassinate me…eliminate the main witness…Verges just received all the important information for the book…Jean Moulin - Episode. After I delivered Moulin in the evening of June 24, 1943 in Paris to SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer [Karl] Beumelburg, I never heard anything about the fate of Moulin…report of his state funeral…his activity during the war and mentioned his arrest by me, my name was mentioned…just recently found his grave…about his death it was reported that he died of a head injury…the injuries came from an attempted suicide in Lyon, which is what I always said…Standard Industrial LTD Export of Quinine…An interesting project was the export of bark from the cinchona tree…Boehringer Mannheim was looking for a contact in La Paz…the Vietnam war required large amounts of quinine to fight malaria…Boehringer Mannheim made available large sums of money to buy up the bark…Serge and Beate Klarsfeld, Paris. Lima - La Paz…A representative of Agence French Press… wanted to meet with me…an urgent personal matter…the cover page of the newspaper featured a big photograph of me…in big letters 'War crimes criminal exposed, Chief of Gestapo in Lyon lives under the name of Klaus Altman in Peru and Bolivia, Nazi Hunter Beate Klarsfeld is expected in Lima, to expedite Altman-Barbie!'…at the Bolivian embassy I informed the Navy attache that a few details were correct, but exaggerated…the ambassador promised his support…it was clear that my work in Lima was finished…life at home became hell, one got the impression Adolf Hitler had suddenly appeared… five undercover police officers provided security for me…I'm convinced it was an attempt to kidnap me… leave Peru immediately, because I was a Bolivian citizen and the government didn't want any problems with the French Government…15 minutes to pack my bags… it was considered that Klarsfeld had planned a kidnapping like in the case of Eichmann…General Richter, Minister of the Interior, send a telegram informing me that I could return to Lima…I am not being accused of anything…guaranteeing my safety…they didn't understand that there were people who worked as 'Nazi-hunters'…human trafficking was always a business of bad character…the press created an absolutely wrong and exaggerated image of me…neither the Bolivians nor the justice system knew the concept of 'war criminal'….after the interview with the French Television, the Minister explained to me I was to be arrested for my protection…Beate Klarsfeld returned to Lima in the company of a Ms. Hallenbrunner…she was a Jew…Hallenbrunner accused me of killing her husband and three children with 17 shots…after causing a scandal they were arrested by the chief of the police and had to leave La Paz…since that time a continued effort by the press, especially from France, tried to make a murderer out of me, a sadist, drug trafficker, weapons dealer…the Butcher of Lyon…Episode: La Paz - Santa Cruz - Cocha Bamba - La Paz -1979 - 1983...we believed we had some wonderful and peaceful years ahead of us…how cruel the future became!...our son died in a plane crash in the mountains of Cochabamba on May 1, 1981…soon after my wife was diagnosed with cancer…she died in 1982…I never thought I would have to write these letters in the prison of Lyon. With the appearance of the 'Nazi hunter' Klarsfeld a wave of slander took place against me…regarding alleged war crimes during my activity in Lyon…promoted me to chief of the Gestapo, which I never was…overnight I became world famous…I was not impressed by this mass propaganda…I was used to cause problems for the Government of Banzer, because the media painted Banzer and his administration as fascist military dictatorship…young foreigners came to visit me, who called themselves followers, national-socialists, fascists…my reputation was Gauleiter of the former N.S.D.A.P. in South America…and nevertheless I was hunted, a single man, who just wanted to have his peace…removed me from the 'German Club' due to 'anti-Semitic activities'…the German Jewish owner welcomed me at his Bavarian style restaurant…buying the tanks for the Bolivian army was a legal business between two countries…Episode: Visit former General Waffen-SS Karl Wolff and "Stern" reporter Heidemann in La Paz…He introduced himself as Herr Heideman who wanted to write a detailed book about the history of the SS