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The Museum’s Collections document the fate of Holocaust victims, survivors, rescuers, liberators, and others through artifacts, documents, photos, films, books, personal stories, and more. Search below to view digital records and find material that you can access at our library and at the Shapell Center.
Klaus Barbie (1913-1991), was the SS-Obersturmfuehrer and the Gestapo Chief of Lyon in German occupied France. Barbie was born in Bad Godesberg, Germany on October 25, 1913. Following a stint in the Hitler Youth, Barbie joined the SS and SD after September 26, 1935. He joined the NSDAP later, in May 1937. In Lyons, he was head of Section IV, the Gestapo, at SD headquarters. From 1942 to 1944, Barbie allegedly committed numerous war crimes which earned him the name "The Butcher of Lyons." Most notably, he was responsible for the torture of French Resistance hero Jean Moulin and the deportation of the children from the village of Izieu. A military court in Lyons sentenced him to death in absentia in 1954. Both French and German authorities sought to track Barbie down, but after the war the United States helped him escape to South America in return for information he had. He lived under the pseudonym Klaus Altmann. He was discovered living in La Paz, Bolivia in 1960, but extradition attempts to Germany and France failed. In 1983, he was expelled from Bolivia and captured in French Guiana. On July 4, 1987 he was sentenced to life imprisonment for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Rhone Court of Assize after a highly publicized trial. [Source: Zentner, Christian. "Encyclopedia of the Third Reich." MacMillan, 1991.]
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Learn about over 1,000 camps and ghettos in Volume I and II of this encyclopedia, which are available as a free PDF download. This reference provides text, photographs, charts, maps, and extensive indexes.