Barbie trial shown on French TV

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A French cable channel last night launched a groundbreaking series of filmed excerpts from the 1987 trial of Klaus Barbie, the Nazi Gestapo commander known as the"Butcher of Lyons".

A French cable channel last night launched a groundbreaking series of filmed excerpts from the 1987 trial of Klaus Barbie, the Nazi Gestapo commander known as the"Butcher of Lyons".

The screening of the trial, in which Barbie was found guilty of sending thousands of French Jews and Resistance fighters to the Nazi death camps during the Second World War, is a legal and media first in a country that rarely allows cameras into courtrooms.

Barbie's was the first trial by jury to be filmed in France. It was, however, intended as a document of France's first trial for crimes against humanity, and not for television screening. Following the trial's completion the film was placed in the state archives, where it was supposed to stay for 30 years. But after a long legal battle, the cable channel Histoire won permission to screen two-hour excerpts of the film every day for a month - 70 hours out of a total 185 hours of film.

"This is a fantastic contribution to historical knowledge," said Marc Ferro, who presents his own history series on French television. Mr Ferro said the series would also enlighten French viewers about their own justice system.

Barbie died in prison in 1991.

Comments