Germany on Monday awarded husband-and-wife Nazi-hunters Beate and Serge Klarsfeld its highest distinction, the Order of Merit, for four decades of work bringing war criminals to justice. The Klarsfelds created a database of deported Jewish children and won fame in the 1970s for helping to locate former Gestapo chief Klaus
Barbie, known as the “Butcher of Lyon” for torturing and executing prisoners in France. In 1968 Beate Klarsfeld famously received a one-year prison, later reduced, for slapping then-Chancellor Kurt Kiesinger in a confrontation over his war-time role in the Nazi propaganda effort. “This recognition by Germany is gratifying,” she told Reuters after the ceremony at the residence of the German ambassador to France in the presence of friends of the family and fellow workers on Holocaust memory projects.