A look at the history of one-time Gestapo commander Klaus Barbie, infamously known as "The Butcher of Lyon." This documentary's main focus will be on Barbie's post-war activities, in which ...
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A look at the history of one-time Gestapo commander Klaus Barbie, infamously known as "The Butcher of Lyon." This documentary's main focus will be on Barbie's post-war activities, in which he became a counter-intelligence agent who worked for the same countries that pursued him during WWII.Written by
Scratching the surface of collaborating with Nazi war criminals in the still murky world of post WWII
I saw this last month at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. Director Kevin MacDonald who directed the recent Last King of Scotland narrative feature returns to his documentary roots in his latest offering My Enemy's Enemy. MacDonald picked up an Avademy Award for his One Day in September documentary and received much acclaim for his previous documentary Touching the Void, examines here, how former Nazi Gestapo war criminal Klaus Barbie was able to flee to the west and serve as a tool for the CIA in exchange for not being prosecuted as a war criminal. Barbie was known under the infamous moniker given him by France as the Butcher of Lyon for ordering the execution of Jews and French resistance members in Lyon during Germany's occupation of France. He was also implicated as being personally involved in the execution of French Resistance leader Jean Moulin. Following WWII, Barbie fled to Bolivia where he lived under the name of Klaus Altmann and dreamed of creating a Fourth Reich in the Andes of South America. It has been suggested that Barbie directed the efforts leading to the death of Che Guevara. Barbie also lived in Peru and is linked to being a tool of right-wing regimes and of the CIA in the cold war fight against Communism. When Barbie was no longer of use to United States interests he was cut loose which ultimately would lead to his extradition to France to face trial as a war criminal. This film was produced by Rita Dagher who was the producer of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 so expect an anti-US slant. It's filled with interviews of people and government insiders who knew Barbie as well as his victims and relatives of his victims. It is well researched but fails to mention that not just the USA but several Western European countries were using former Nazi's who would have been considered war criminals in the fight against communism. Some as "stay-behinds" within Eastern Germany. Even the Soviets themselves were using former Nazi's as double agents against western governments. There indeed was a lot of postwar collaboration between US Intelligence and former Nazi's and Barbie was one of the most undesirable. He used the only following orders defense when it was convenient while harboring a vision of resurrecting the Nazi Reich with himself as the new Führer. He would have been what US intelligence agents once termed an "unreconstructed Nazi" or a Nazi that had no repentance whatsoever for his war crimes and kept a grudge that they lost the war. A lot of effort was put into conducting interviews with people involved in the Barbie story but the rest of the documentary looks like a standard cut and paste assemblage of footage and stills with stiff narration. I would give this a 6.5 out of 10.
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