French President Emmanuel Macron honours Beate and Serge Klarsfeld for bringing Nazi war criminals to justice

French President Emmanuel Macron has honoured Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, who for years worked to bring Nazi war criminals to justice, with high French honours during his state visit to Germany.

With their decades of commitment, the Klarsfelds had ensured that those responsible for the persecution of the Jews were convicted and that the victims were given a face and a lasting memory, said Macron.

Beate Klarsfeld, an 85-year-old German citizen, was appointed Grand Officer of the Legion of Honour, while her husband, 88-year-old French citizen Serge Klarsfeld, received the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour.

“They are fighters for remembrance and fighters for justice. They have fought against forgetting and for the victims of the Holocaust to once again become the subject of history,” said Macron, adding that the pair had enabled both France and Germany “to look their history in the face.”

The Klarsfelds were responsible for exposing Nazi criminals in hiding. In the 1970s, for example, they tracked down the former head of the Nazi secret police, Klaus Barbie, who was living in hiding in Bolivia.

Both authored numerous publications, including a volume on more than 80,000 victims of Nazi persecution in France. They also compiled information and photos of France’s murdered Jewish children in another monumental book.

The couple, who live in Paris, were awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2015 and have received numerous other honours for their decades-long commitment to the memory of Nazi crimes and against antisemitism.

Macron also credited Serge Klarsfeld’s tireless efforts for providing evidence of the complicity of the French authorities with the Nazis in the persecution of the Jews.

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