Born in Bad Godesberg, a quit town on the Rhine, on October 25, 1913, Nikolaus ‘Klaus’ Barbie was the son of two schoolteachers. Barbie did poorly in school except for his fluency in languages, a skill that would later serve him well during the war and later in exile.
He joined the Hitler Youth and became so enthralled by the party’s ideology that he even volunteered for six months of hard labor at the party’s work camp of Schleswig-Holstein.
After Germany invaded France, Barbie became head of anti-resistance efforts there. As head of the Gestapo in Lyon he was responsible for actions against French Jews, and in one raid of a Jewish orphanage 44 boys and girls were sent to Auschwitz.
|Nikolaus ‘Klaus’ Barbie|
Barbie was ruthless and fanatical and regularly used torture in his interrogation of prisoners. Just before Lyon was liberated Barbie fled to Germany where he was employed and protected by the US Army’s Counterintelligence Corps from 1946 to 1951, because of his police skills and anti-Communist zeal.
Later Barbie with his wife and children escaped to South America and eventually took up residence in Bolivia where h obtained citizenship in 1957.
He was ultimately convicted of war crimes committed in Nazi-occupied France but not before having enjoyed a life on the run, facilitated with some degree of US connivance.
Klaus Barbie (1913-1991)