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Born in 1913 in Bonn, Germany to Roman Catholic parents. His father and brother both died in 1933, Barbie became involved with the Hitler Youth and in 1935 he joined the Sicherheitsdienst (SD). During the war he was stationed in the Netherlands and France where he was head of the Gestapo.
In 1947, Barbie worked with the United States Intelligence Corps, until 1951 when he fled to Argentina where he was helped by Ustasha member, Krunoslav Draganović. Barbie remained in Argentina until he moved to Bolivia and helped in what known as the Cocaine Coup, which saw Luis García Meza Tejada force his way into power in 1980.
In 1983 the newly elected Prime Minister of Bolivia had Barbie arrested and deported to France for war crimes. In 1987, the Trial was completed and Barbie was convicted of Crimes Against Humanity and received Life Imprisonment. Barbie passed away 4 years later of Leukemia, age 77.