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Former Resistance Members Testify Barbie Tortured Them

May 22, 1987 GMT

LYON, France (AP) _ Former Lyon Gestapo chief Klaus Barbie took intense pleasure in torturing people, former members of the French Resistance testified today.

″When he had nobody to hit, he hit his boots. He was a savage,″ testified Lise Lesevre, 86, who told the criminal court about the whip Barbie carried.

Barbie, 73, is on trial for crimes against humanity. He is accused of arresting, torturing and deporting French Jews and Resistance members to Nazi death camps during the German occupation of France in World War II.

Mrs. Lesevre set aside her cane and stood throughout her testimony, refusing the special offer of a chair by Presiding Judge Andre Cerdini. She told the court of her arrest March 13, 1944, and of her subsequent interrogation, torture and deportation to the Ravensbruck concentration camp.

″Barbie took pleasure, a pleasure that was astounding, in torturing,″ said Mrs. Lesevre, who said she was beaten, hung by her wrists and tortured in a variety of ways during the course of 10 interrogations.

At Ravensbruck she worked in an arms factory making anti-aircraft shells for the German army.

″Not many of those shells killed any French, or allies, we carried out an intense sabotage,″ she said.

Mrs. Lesevre’s husband and son both died at in the Auschwitz death camp.

Irene Fremion, 65, testified about her arrest on March 9, 1944 in a trap set up by the Gestapo. She also was taken to the office of Barbie, an SS lieutenant in charge of the Lyon Gestapo.

″He called in a militiaman and told him to ’beat the little blonde,‴ Mrs. Fremion said.

She was beaten and tortured periodically for weeks before being put on a train for Ravensbruck.

″Barbie is a torturer, bloodthirsty,″ she said. ″He was a human beast.″

Seven other Resistance members were arrested with Mrs. Fremion. Two came back alive.

Ennat Leger, 92, came to the trial in a wheelchair and had to be carried up nine steps to the witness stand to testify.

Mrs. Leger lost her sight at Ravensbruck and was not entirely coherent during her testimony. Nevertheless, she described her torture in detail.

″He broke my teeth, he pulled my hair back ... he put a bottle in my mouth and pushed it in until the lips split from the pressure of the bottle,″ she said.

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Like other witnesses, Mrs. Leger remembered Barbie’s eyes.

″What struck me was his eyes, he had the eyes of a monster,″ Mrs. Leger testified.

On Thursday, Michel Thomas, 73, a Polish-born member of the Resistance who later worked for the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps in Germany, testified that Barbie personally directed a roundup of Jews on Feb. 9, 1943, that led to the deaths of 84 people.