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Armed Man Arrested After Trying To See Barbie At Prison

May 19, 1987

LYON, France (AP) _ A man carrying an automatic pistol was arrested at St. Joseph Prison today after asking to see former Lyon Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, police sources said.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Christian Didier, 43, told prison officials he was to perform a urological examination on Barbie.

When searched, Didier was found to be carrying an automatic pistol, and was taken to police headquarters for questioning, they said.

Barbie, 73, is refusing to attend his trial on charges of crimes against humanity during World War II.

On Monday, the director of the West German center specializing in research into Nazi crimes testified that documents linking Barbie to the deportation of French Jews to German extermination camps appeared to be genuine.

Alfred Streim was to continue his testimony today along with one of his colleagues from the center, Rudolf Holtfort.

Streim was the only witness to testify Monday, the sixth day of proceedings charging Barbie with arresting, torturing and deporting hundreds of French Jews and Resistance members while head of the Gestapo in Lyon from 1942 to 1944.

″After seeing the originals, I think we can say they are authentic,″ Streim said after examining three documents bearing Barbie’s name and connecting him to the roundup of Jewish children in the village of Izieu, east of Lyon, and at the General Union of Israelites in France.

Barbie has said he had nothing to do with the roundup of Jews and knew nothing of the exterminations until after the war.

Pierre Cohendy, one of 43 attorneys representing the 129 civil parties participating in the case, opened the day’s proceedings Monday by informing the court that he and many other civil party lawyers and their clients had received anonymous, abusive telephone calls and letters containing death threats.

Cohendy said the calls were received over the weekend, and one of the lawyers had a swastika painted on the door of his office.

Barbie is standing trial more than 40 years after his alleged crimes because it took years to track him down and bring him back to France.

After the World War II, Barbie escaped to Bolivia with American help. In 1983, Bolivia expelled Barbie to stand trial in France. He was twice convicted in abstentia of war crimes during trials in the 1950s.

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