Klaus Barbie, also known as the ‘butcher of Lyon’ was implicated in 4,000 deaths and the deportation of 7,000 Jews from occupied France, before he inexplicably vanished. This Oscar winning documentary, from visionary director Marcel Ophuls, traces the 40-year hunt for Barbie, initiated by the same governments that would later hide him and protect his family.
Employed by the American government as an informant, Barbie was smuggled out of Europe via an underground railway with Vatican ties – known as ‘the rat line’. He found refuge in South America where his particular ‘talents’ were employed by governments in Bolivia and Peru. Until his trial in 1987, authorities harboured Barbie at the same time as denouncing his crimes.
This spellbinding documentary features interviews with both supporters and opponents of Barbie’s trial, from his defence attorney to journalists, to old friends and former US Counter Intelligence agents. The film spans 70 years, three continents and 120 hours of interview footage.