The World at War


Klaus Barbie

Klaus Barbie was born at Bad Godesberg, Germany on October 25, 1913. Barbie was a member of the Hitler Youth and joined the SD or Security Service of the SS (the black shirted elite guard of the Nazi Party) in 1935. After the German Army overran western Europe in 1940, Barbie served in The Netherlands and in 1942 was appointed chief of Gestapo Department IV in Lyon, France. It was in this position that he was especially active against French partisans causing the torture and death of thousands. Among his victims is the Resistance leader Jean Moulin.

After the war he was recruited by American authorities for counter-espionage work from 1947 until 1951 when he was spirited out of Germany to Bolivia. The United States subsequently apologized to France for this travasty of justice. Barbie lived in Bolivia under the name Klaus Altmann until 1972. After long negotiations with the Bolivian government he was extradited to France in 1983 to stand trial. Barbie remained an unrepentent nazi to the end. He was convicted of "crimes against humanity," for which he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1987. He died in prison in 1991.

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