Husband and wife Nazi-hunters have been awarded Germany’s highest distinction, the Order of Merit, for several decades’ of work bringing war criminals to justice.
Beate and Serge Klarsfeld are perhaps best-known for helping locate the so-called ‘Butcher of Lyon’ Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie, who was based in the southern French city.
Together, the couple created a database of Jewish deported children.
Germany’s ambassador to France Susanne Wasum-Rainer offered her thanks to the pair for their part in “rehabilitating” the German image.
However, German-born Beate said she had not known much about the crimes committed by the Nazis during World War II until she moved to France in 1960 and met her husband-to-be. He is a Romanian Jew whose father had been killed in Auschwitz.
In 1968 Beate famously slapped the then-Chancellor of Germany Kurt Georg Kiesinger in anger over his role in the Nazi propaganda effort. For that she received a one-year jail sentence, which was later reduced.