Students Demonstrate In Memory of Barbie’s Victims With AM-Barbie, Bjt
LYON, France (AP) _ About 200 Jewish students staged a brief and silent demonstration Sunday in memory of the victims of the crimes for which former Lyon Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie is about to be tried.
The students, mixed with about as many older people, gathered under umbrellas in the rain by a 70-foot-high monument to the Holocaust that is to be unveiled just before Barbie’s trial opens Monday.
″We wanted to demonstrate our solidarity with the victims of Klaus Barbie,″ said Daniel Drai, president of the Lyon branch of the Union of Jewish Students of France, which organized the ceremony.
Many demonstrations and memorial ceremonies are planned to coincide with the trial of Barbie, 73, who was in charge of the Gestapo in Lyon from 1942-44 under the Nazi occupation of France.
Barbie is charged with crimes against humanity - mostly deportations of French resistance fighters and Jews who died in Nazi concentration camps.
A group of lawyers representing some of the 120 ″civil parties″ - victims with official standing at the trial - made a visit Sunday to the mountain village of Izieu east of Lyon, where 44 Jewish children and seven adults were arrested and deported from a foster home in April 1944, allegedly at Barbie’s orders.
After the group observed a moment of silence, attorney Hubert du Granrut said, ″We are here to recall in silence and memory those who were victims of barbary.″
At a parade Saturday in Lyon honoring Joan of Arc - an annual observance by traditionalist Roman Catholics - witnesses said about 40 neo-Nazi youths wearing black shirts and shaved heads chanted, ″Marshal, we are here,″ a reference to Marshal Philippe Petain, who led the Vichy government that collaborated with Nazi Germany after France’s defeat in 1940.
In Paris, the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism issued a statement condemning ″the scandalous demonstrations by young Nazis in Lyon 48 hours before the opening of the trial of the Butcher of Lyon,″ as Barbie was known.
The league urged the Interior Ministry to take measures ″against this doctrine of hate.″
Culture Minister Francois Leotard, in a radio interview, said the trial should provide ″a moment of truth for French people.″
″French youth must know what happened,″ Leotard said. ″The message of the Barbie trial is that we must accept others in their diversity.″
More than 800 journalists from 27 countries have been accredited for the trial. The proceedings will not be broadcast, but will be videotaped for posterity. Scholars and historians will have access to the videotapes in 20 years, but the general public will have to wait 50 years.