France bestows its highest award to Nazi-hunter couple

October 15, 2018 by JNS
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Famed French Nazi-hunters Serge Klarsfeld and his German wife, Beate, received the highest honours last week in a ceremony led by French President Emmanuel Macron.

The Klarsfelds in Jerusalem in 2007. Source: The Klarsfeld Foundation.

France’s highest award, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, was presented to 83-year old Serge, while 79-year-old Beate, who already received the Legion of Honor in 2014, was bestowed the National Order of Merit.

The intimate ceremony was attended by the Chief Rabbi of France, Rabbi Haim Korsia.

Serge, whose father was killed in Auschwitz, fled to France with the rest of his family from Romania. He met Beate Kuenzel, the daughter of a former German soldier in 1960. Three years later, they married and decided to dedicate their lives to hunting fugitive Nazis.

Among their successes was the capture of the “Butcher of Lyon,” former Gestapo officer Klaus Barbie, who had escaped to South America. He was extradited to France in 1983 and died behind bars.

They also pursued collaborators with the Vichy regime, including Marice Papon, Rene Bouquet and Jean Leguay.


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