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Klaus Barbie

Klaus Barbie
Klaus Barbie was a former Nazi paramilitary commander who became an international counter-insurgency consultant after WWII.

Born in 1913 in present-day Bonn, Germany, Barbie joined the Nazis in 1935 as a member of the SS, where he worked in their covert intelligence operations. After the German invasions of the Netherlands and then France, Barbie directed — and personally participated in — the capture, imprisonment, and torture of political prisoners, including partisans, Freemasons, and Jews.

After the war, Barbie worked for the United States as a counter-intelligence agent in Eastern Europe, and then for the same service in West Germany. To avoid prosecution for his crimes he emigrated to Bolivia in 1951, where he became a favored military advisor to the Bolivian armed forces and military governments, including those of generals Hugo Banzer and Luis García Meza. There he assisted in the establishment of Bolivian secret police and counter-insurgency operations that laid the foundations of present-day Bolivian right-wing militias, where he also assisted in the capture and execution of the revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Finally, a democratic Bolivian government agreed to extradite Barbie to France in 1983. Barbie was tried in France for his war crimes in 1987, and served four years of a life sentence before his death in 1991.