HUMA 1825 Note 23
More info on Barbie:
- She is skipping the section where with the help of the US, the CIC and the
Vatican, a notorious war criminal escaped to South America where he lived
for 33 years as an Arms dealer, and part of the cocaine trade
- 33 years later, the Bolivian government elected a left-wing socialist
o What happened at this juncture was that Bolivia extradited Barbie
back to Lyons, and he was put on trial
o We’re going to watch the hour dealing with his trial
o He was tried with crimes against humanity, and the trial was a media
There were hundreds of journalists covering this trial. The star
of the trial is not Barbie – but his defence lawyer.
Look at the lawyer – notice how he is life Herr Rolfe
from judgment at Nuremberg.
o In many ways this is a “show” trial, because the outcome was
predictable at the outset
The interesting part is to see the defense attorney (there’s
been a movie made about him called the advocate of terrorists)
Jacques Verges is famous for representing controversial
- The movie ends with a specific
o Pay attention to the voice over and the dedication of the movie
Hotel Terminus (continued):
- When Barbie was first discovered, he was brought in for payment evasion.
- He was expelled to Lyons after 40 years since he commit his crimes
o Barbie did not regret what he had done 40 years ago. He didn’t think
that he should have been punished for the crimes he committed 40
“Life is not never the same. It’s full of complications, trials and
He admits that he had made mistakes.
“The word Nazi doesn’t exist”
- Most Frenchmen thought that after 40 years it was a bit too late to prosecute
Barbie – all countries have some sort of secret services, and since France had
many chances to dispose of Barbie during those 40 years, they shouldn’t have
waiting until now to do it.
- He was removed from the regular prison for security reasons since a sniper
could have shot him.
o The press also had access to get photographs.
o He was 71 at the time and didn’t care what had happened – his wife
and son were dead
Relate this back to Anouilh’s Creon o Barbie: “In way you have to won, losers lose everything. He’s
forgotten what he’s done, therefore France should also forget”
- Verges: No case is indefendable for a lawyer. Verges also grew up in colonial
France and has lived in a society that abused citizens’ rights,
o Defending the individual against any state is a function the defense
o He’s a remarkable politician in the sense that it took courage to
protect Barbie after protecting “freedom fighters”
The public was confused in his change in client.
The question was what happened to change such a protection
o Verges believed that lawyers should do their jobs regardless of who
they must protect.
He believed that people went after him because they couldn’t’
build a case against his clients.
o Verges is a legal positivist in the sense that he believes in the “rules
that govern us”
o Verges notes that Barbie was in poor condition when brought in front
of the Lyons court – he received poor treatment in prison.
He told him that “in three years he hasn’t seen any animals,
plants or the sky”
He was treated inhumanely
Total confinement was inhuman – they treated Barbie
in an inhuman manner.
- It was hard for Barbie’s daughter to speak of Nazis since she couldn’t explain
what a national socialist is – therefore she couldn’t speak against her father –
she didn’t’ understand what it meant to be a Nazi
o She noticed how her family was very happy, and didn’t notice any
vulgarities or inhumanities
o She claimed that Barbie was a kind, gentle loving father.
He was nice to his family members, helped friends with their
problems; he was over all a good man.
- During the war, the restaurants played it both ways in the sense that they
provided rooms for Nazis and rooms for resistance leaders.
- Vichy wasn’t collaborationist, there were collaborationists in the
government, but the government itself was “moot”
o The French resistance did a lot of good things, but the part of the
resistance that came later are the ones who misinterpret the
- There were conflicts of politics, strategies and methods within the way, and
there was a general clash of ambition and character
o With Moulin gone, some resistance members began negotiating with
US and Swiss secret services.
- Can any government allow a private citizen to negotiate with a foreign power
o Allies are also foreign – they may not be o De Gaulle was right in always treating allies like the foreigners they
are, but not like enemies.
- Barbie knew the resistance leaders and contacts with home some members
had – he was very informed.
o He was protected immediately when he left Lyons in ‘44
- The Court decided that war crimes could be also crimes against humanity,
which means that…
- It’s more important to confront Barbie with the horror of his systematic
methods of approaching people
o Since his crimes against humanity aren’t prescribed, someone like
Barbie comes in very handy
o His case becomes a symbol of the entire Nazi regime.
o The only crime exempt from the 20-year limit is crimes against
humanity, as it was decided in Nuremberg, it is a crime against an
entire origin of people
- The French did not like the fact that the crimes against humanity as “The
Jews”, but they wanted to show how the crimes were committed against the
“Resistance” because everyone wanted to play the role of “the victim”
- Verges claims that you cannot discriminate against cases if there are similar
elements present in those cases that weren’t tried so harshly.
o They claim that the French also tortured the Algerians.
This raises problems in the sense “orders are orders – the
classic defense in all war-crime trials.”
The argument is the same as Rolfe used in Judgment at
- The prosecution purposefully did not give key evidence documents to Verges
– therefore the authenticity of the documents was challenged by Verges.
o German lawyers also questioned the reason why the prosecution
decided to hide the documents.
o Verges claimed that the document was a fake – the implication was
that Jewish groups forged it after the war.
In 1946 it was debated in Nuremberg as the case against the
- There’s a basic issue in the case: how can a regular man commit crimes
o The prosecution believed that relying only on evidence was contested
– sometimes true stories are hard to believe, and it is hard to build a
case on what is hard to believe
o If you are to convict someone from 40 years ago based on a testimony
of a man who was only a child and only witnessed that experience for
a few moment, is incredibly non credible.
- It’s easier to blame Barbie as the entirety of the SS – that way the case would
o The problem wasn’t who arrested the children, but decided to send
them to Germany to their deaths.
- We are part of the continent, every time a man dies, a small part of us dies. - Barbie’s on trial as a member of an organization. What notions of justice can
be accounted on membership? This trial is staged against France, to reopen
old wounds, therefore for France’s sake they should say “no”
o The charges against Barbie were never verified – the state didn’t
present it properly.
- The prosecution points out that Barbie was convicted on all charges, every
one of the defense’s arguments was taken out.
o In Nuremburg, Donitz did not receive a life sentence (he was Hitler’s
second), whereas in Lyon, a lieutenant of the Nazi regime received a
- A young French girl wrote to her mother – claiming how she forgot how it
was to live in the south.
Further Information On Hotel Terminus
- In the first part, a portrait of this person emerges
o As the prosecutor said, this man was a torturer, but he was a man –
what kind of man was he?
You see snippets on this man based on people who have
different perspectives on him
By comparing these different perspectives of “truths” to
establish one may truth
o You get a portrait of those who were his victims, you get a picture of
those who knew him as a child, and those who knew his as colleagues
- Barbie is an important historical person for two reasons:
o Because he was responsible for the capture, torture of Jean Moulin
o Because he captured children in hiding and sent him to his death
- There were two sorts of people who were after him; those who were in the
resistance, and those who were Jewish and wanted to avenge these children’s
o He was pursued unsuccessfully for decades until the politics changed
- He was charged with crimes against humanity because there was a statute of
limitations on being charged of war crimes (20 years)
o As in most countries, there are no statutes on limitations on crimes
o Verges makes the same argument that Rolfe made – others (even
France) were guilty of crimes against humanity where the war in
Algeria was concerned, and so “France does not come to this trial with
clean hands, and further, thindtrial exposes the very difficult past of
France herself during the 2 world war, where they collaborate with
o The later resistance was the “liberation” where the resistance found
those who collaborated and similarly killed them without due process
(10,000 people were killed that way for having denounced and
betrayed members of the resistance) - Eventually Barbie is extradited and brought to France in 87, and is sentenced
to life imprisonment, and died in 1991.
o He was 77 when he died
- This film shows that there are a lot of people that don’t believe this film
should have been made – we should not revisit the past, and these people
think that old men, even if they were Nazis and torturers should be left in
peace, because the past is the past and the rest should move on
o This is only one opinion – this was 40 years ago.
o Another point of view about this movie is people who believe that
justice required that those who participated in crimes against
humanity should be punished against the law.
- The film aluminates the use that was made by Anouilh’s Antigone
o It aluminates the role of resistance in actual history
- Anouilh has taken this background and used his “present” to present a vision
and version of Antigone for purposes that suit his particular viewpoint
o It is up to us to think about these things and our own perspective on
- One point emerges through these materials: the importance of the
interconnectedness of us all
o The proprietor quotes Hemingway that comes not just from
Hemingway, but also from the poet John Dun: “No man is an island
entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the
main, if a clad be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less as well as