German-French Relations: My France Ulrich Wickert – Culture

42 years after the war, in May 1987, the trial of SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Klaus Barbie, known as the “Butcher of Lyon”, took place in Lyon. Women whose husbands and children had been tortured and murdered by Barbie appeared as co-plaintiffs. As a television journalist, I was able to speak to some, one said: “You are the first German I have spoken to in forty years.” When I heard the women talk, I found it difficult to maintain the sobriety that is required of a journalist. I’ll never forget Barbie’s blank eyes as he gazed out of the docket into the courtroom. I asked the cameraman to shoot these eyes in close-up for a minute and broadcast them in my report for the “Tagesschau”. They were eyes without any feeling. He had in France murdered in the name of Germany.

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