November 9, 1983
Kings County, New York, district attorney Elizabeth Holtzman, former congresswoman from Brooklyn and the first female Democrat nominated for a New York Senate seat, lectured on "The Government's Protection of Nazi War Criminals" in the Villard Room.
During her address, Holtzman discussed the case of Klaus Barbie. Barbie, a former Gestapo head in Lyons, France, where he was called “the Butcher of Lyon,” who, instead of being prosecuted with other Nazi war criminals, had been recruited in 1947 by a United States Army counterintelligence detachment. Hiding in Bolivia, Barbie was arrested in January 1983 and extradited to France.
Holtzman claimed that Barbie was not the only Nazi granted a reprieve. There were, she charged, many war criminals residing in the United States and “many never even bothered to change their names or conceal their identities.” Holtzman argued for the prosecution of these former Nazis, saying, “If we protect mass-murderers, where will be ever draw the line?” The Miscellany News
Klause Barbie was put on trial in 1984, and on July 4, 1987, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity.