Nazi Hunter Asks U.S. to Bar Cosmetics Executive
PARIS (AP) _ The U.S. Justice Department is studying a request by a Nazi hunter to bar a cosmetics executive from the United States because he worked with the Nazis during World War II.
Serge Klarsfeld, a Paris lawyer, said Wednesday he sent the Justice Department documents detailing some of the wartime activities of Jacques Correze.
Correze, 79, is chairman of Cosmair, which handles U.S. marketing for L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics company. L’Oreal’s holdings in North America include Helena Rubenstein Inc.
In Washington, Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Maltby confirmed Wednesday that the government’s Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations, was studying Klarsfeld’s allegations.
She said the investigation would determine whether he would be placed on a ″watch list″ to prevent him from reentering the United States.
At L’Oreal, a company spokesman who requested anonymity said Correze was gravely ill with pancreatic cancer in a French hospital and is unlikely to recover. The spokesman said Correze was an agent for L’Oreal, not an employee of the company.
According to Klarsfeld, Correze was a member of La Cagoule, a clandestine, far-right paramilitary group before World War II.
After France surrendered to Germany in June 1940, Correze joined the Revolutionary Social Movement, an anti-Semitic group that collaborated with German occupation forces, Klarsfeld said.
In 1941, Correze joined the Legion of French Volunteers and fought alongside the Germans during their failed invasion of the Soviet Union. Correze was condemned by a postwar tribunal and imprisoned for collaboration but was given amnesty after five years.
A representative of Correze’s lawyers, who spoke on condition his name not be used, said Correze has acknowledged being a collaborator and has apologized.
″But he has denied the accusations that go beyond what he was already judged for,″ the representative said. ″He denies engaging in any activities which impacted on Jewish individuals or their property.″
Klarsfeld said the documents he sent to Washington included wartime papers of the Revolutionary Social Movement detailing how Correze, a colonel with the group, had organized the expulsion of Jews from their homes in Paris and the confiscation of their property.