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Klaus

Klaus

Klaus, Josef, 1910-2001, Austrian politician. He was drafted into the army and fought in World War II on the Axis side. Chosen leader (1963) of the business- and church-oriented People's party, Klaus tended to oppose compromises with the party's coalition partner, the Socialists. He became chancellor in 1964 and was succeeded in 1970 by the Socialist Bruno Kreisky.
Klaus, Václav, 1941-, Czech politician. A staunch free-market economist and leader (1991-2002) of the Civic Democratic party, he has been one of Eastern Europe's more influential post-Communist leaders. While a member of the Czech state bank (1971-86), he came to admire the ideas of such conservative economists as Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek. The first finance minister of the Czech Republic after the fall of Communism in 1989, the dapper, imperious Klaus became prime minister in 1992 and continued in the post when after Czechoslovakia was dissolved (1993) and the Czech Republic became independent. The Czech economy was extensively privatized, but economic setbacks in 1997 forced his resignation. In 2003 he was elected Czech president, succeeding the retiring Václav Havel, with whom Klaus was often at odds when he was prime minister. Klaus was reelected in 2008. A staunch Eurosceptic, Klaus refused to sign the European Union's Lisbon Treaty as required to formalize Czech ratification (the last ratification needed). He finally did so (Nov., 2009) after the Czech Republic was given an exemption from the EU rights charter that he demanded so that Germans expelled after World War II could not reclaim their property.
von Klitzing, Klaus, 1943-, German physicist, Ph.D. Univ. of Würzburg, 1972. He was a professor at the Technical Univ. of Munich (1980-85) and then director of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Physics. His discovery that electrical resistance varies by discrete, quantized jumps made the extremely precise measurement of electrical resistance possible. For his discovery he was awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Barbie, Klaus, 1913-91, Nazi war criminal known as the "Butcher of Lyons." As Gestapo chief in Lyons, France (1942-44), he was responsible for the deaths of French Resistance members and thousands of Jews. After the war he secretly served as a U.S. army agent in Germany. In 1951 he fled Europe for Bolivia with U.S. help. Identified by Nazi-hunters in the early 1970s, he was expelled from Bolivia in 1983 after a civilian government came to power. He was tried in France, found guilty of crimes against humanity, and sentenced to life imprisonment.

(born Oct. 25, 1913, Bad Godesberg, Ger.—died Sept. 25, 1991, Lyon, France) Nazi leader. As head of the Gestapo in Lyon, France (1942–44), he pursued members of the French Resistance and promoted the torture and execution of thousands of prisoners. After World War II he was seized by U.S. authorities in Germany, who recruited him for counterintelligence work (1947–51) and then moved him and his family to Bolivia. He lived there as a businessman from 1951 until he was extradited to France in 1983 to stand trial. Throughout his trial “the Butcher of Lyon” remained unrepentant and proud of his service to the Nazis. Held responsible for the death of some 4,000 persons and the deportation of some 7,500 others, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

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(born Oct. 25, 1913, Bad Godesberg, Ger.—died Sept. 25, 1991, Lyon, France) Nazi leader. As head of the Gestapo in Lyon, France (1942–44), he pursued members of the French Resistance and promoted the torture and execution of thousands of prisoners. After World War II he was seized by U.S. authorities in Germany, who recruited him for counterintelligence work (1947–51) and then moved him and his family to Bolivia. He lived there as a businessman from 1951 until he was extradited to France in 1983 to stand trial. Throughout his trial “the Butcher of Lyon” remained unrepentant and proud of his service to the Nazis. Held responsible for the death of some 4,000 persons and the deportation of some 7,500 others, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Learn more about Barbie, Klaus with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Klaus is a German given name and surname. It originated as a short form of Nikolaus, a German form of the given name Nicholas.

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