A Nazi-hunting husband and wife team just received top French honours. Who are Serge and Beate Klarsfeld?

PARIS — French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld has been awarded
France’s highest honour, the Grand Cross of the Legion of
Honor, in a ceremony led by President Emmanuel Macron.

His wife, 79-year-old Beate Klarsfeld, received the National
Order of Merit in the same ceremony.

The French presidency said Tuesday the intimate ceremony, in
the presence of family and friends, was held Monday evening at
the Elysee presidential palace in Paris.

The two have dedicated their lives to the fight against
impunity for perpetrators of the Holocaust.

Klarsfeld, 83, had already been decorated with a lower rank of
the Legion of Honor in 2014.

A French Jew, he managed to escape the Gestapo in Nice in 1943.
His father, Arno, was captured and deported to the
Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where he died.

The couple is responsible for bringing at least 10 Nazi
officers to justice, tracking them down decades after their
crimes and after they’ve moved out of Germany. The Klarsfelds’
operations are a family affair. Serge and Beate’s son, Arno,
named after Serge’s father, helps prosecute the Nazis they

At a political rally in 1968, Beate slapped German
Chancellor Georg Kiesinger, a former member of the Nazi Party
who was never charged with war crimes. Kiesinger worked with
the Nazis’ propaganda arm under Joseph Goebbels.

Among the war criminals the Klarsfelds brought to justice are
Klaus Barbie, whose nickname was the “Butcher of Lyon.” Barbie
was responsible for the arrest, torture or death of tens of
thousands of people during the Second World War.

Beate tracked him down a decade before his capture, in Bolivia.

With files from National Post wire services

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