Jacques Lusseyran

Last updated
Jacques Lusseyran
Lusseyran2.png
Born(1924-09-19)September 19, 1924
Paris, France
DiedJuly 27, 1971(1971-07-27) (aged 46)
Occupation(s)Author, Political activist
Notable workAnd There Was Light

Jacques Lusseyran (19 September 1924 27 July 1971) was a French author and political activist. Blinded at the age of 7, at 17 Lusseyran became a leader in the French resistance against Nazi Germany's occupation of France in 1941. He was eventually sent to Buchenwald concentration camp because of his involvement, and was one of 990 of his group of 2000 inmates to survive. He wrote about his life, including his experience during the war, in his autobiography And There Was Light.

Contents

Life

Lusseyran was born in Paris, France. He became totally blind in a school accident at the age of 7. [1] [2] He soon learned to adapt to being blind and maintained many close friendships, particularly with one boy named Jean Besniée. [3] At a young age he became alarmed at the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany and decided to learn the German language so that he could listen to German radio broadcasts. By 1938, when Nazi Germany annexed Austria, he had accomplished this task.[ citation needed ] [4]

Germany invaded France in 1940. In the spring of 1941, at the age of 17, Lusseyran formed a Resistance group called the Volunteers of Liberty with other students from the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and the Lycée Henri-IV. [5] [6] He was put in charge of recruitment. The group later merged with another Resistance group called Défense de la France. In July 1943 he participated in a campaign to drop pro-resistance leaflets on trains: forty squads of ten members each passed out seventy thousand leaflets. The squads carried tear gas pens to stop people from interfering, though these were never used, and there were no arrests.[ citation needed ] [7]

On July 20, 1943, Lusseyran was arrested by the Gestapo, betrayed by a member of his resistance group named Elio. His knowledge of German helped him understand more of the situation than most French prisoners. He spent six months at Fresnes prison before being moved to Buchenwald concentration camp with 2000 other French citizens, where, because he was blind, he did not have to participate in forced labor as most other prisoners did. Soon most of his childhood friends and fellow resistance operatives were arrested, and he met some of them in the concentration camp. Lusseyran helped to motivate a spirit of resistance within the camp, particularly within the French and German prisoners.[ citation needed ]

In April 1945, he was liberated; 990 of his group of 2000 inmates survived. [8] After the war, Lusseyran taught French literature in the United States and wrote books, including the autobiographical And There Was Light, which chronicles the first 20 years of his life. He died together with his third wife Marie in a car accident in France on July 27, 1971. [9]

Awards

Writings

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Buchenwald concentration camp</span> Nazi concentration camp in Germany

Buchenwald was a Nazi concentration camp established on Ettersberg hill near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937. It was one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps within Germany's 1937 borders. Many actual or suspected communists were among the first internees.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fresnes Prison</span>

Fresnes Prison is the second largest prison in France, located in the town of Fresnes, Val-de-Marne, south of Paris. It comprises a large men's prison of about 1200 cells, a smaller one for women and a penitentiary hospital.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp</span> Nazi concentration camp

Mittelbau-Dora was a Nazi concentration camp located near Nordhausen in Thuringia, Germany. It was established in late summer 1943 as a subcamp of Buchenwald concentration camp, supplying slave labour from many Eastern countries occupied by Germany, for extending the nearby tunnels in the Kohnstein and for manufacturing the V-2 rocket and the V-1 flying bomb. In the summer of 1944, Mittelbau became an independent concentration camp with numerous subcamps of its own. In 1945, most of the surviving inmates were sent on death marches or crammed in trains of box-cars by the SS. On 11 April 1945, US troops freed the remaining prisoners.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jorge Semprún</span> Spanish writer (1923–2011)

Jorge Semprún Maura was a Spanish writer and politician who lived in France most of his life and wrote primarily in French. From 1953 to 1962, during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco, Semprún lived clandestinely in Spain working as an organizer for the exiled Communist Party of Spain, but was expelled from the party in 1964. After the death of Franco and change to a democratic government, he served as Minister of Culture in Spain's socialist government from 1988 to 1991.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marcel Paul</span> Trade unionist, Communist politician (1900-1982)

Marcel Paul was a French trade unionist and communist politician. He was also a Nazi concentration camp survivor and later served as a member of the French parliament.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Carl Værnet</span>

Carl Peter Værnet was a Danish doctor at Buchenwald concentration camp and an SS Sturmbannführer (major). Værnet attempted to cure homosexuality by implanting artificial hormone glands into male prisoners at Buchenwald. Although he was arrested after World War II, Værnet fled to Argentina where he practiced medicine until his death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Kamp Amersfoort</span> German concentration camp near Amersfoort, Netherlands in World War II

Kamp Amersfoort was a Nazi concentration camp near the city of Amersfoort, the Netherlands. The official name was "Polizeiliches Durchgangslager Amersfoort", P.D.A. or Amersfoort Police Transit Camp. 37,000 prisoners were held there between 1941 and 1945. The camp was situated in the northern part of the municipality of Leusden, on the municipal boundary between Leusden and Amersfoort in the central Netherlands.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Liberté chérie</span> Masonic Lodge

Liberté chérie was a Masonic Lodge founded in 1943 by Belgian Resistance fighters and other political prisoners at Esterwegen concentration camp. It was one of the few lodges of Freemasons founded within a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jacques Desoubrie</span>

Jacques Desoubrie was a double agent who worked for the Gestapo during the German occupation of France and Belgium during World War II. He infiltrated resistance groups, such as the Comet Line, and was responsible for the arrest of several leaders and more than 100 members of organizations helping Allied airmen who had been shot down or crash-landed to evade German capture and escape occupied Europe. After the war he was tried, convicted, and executed in France.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Phil Lamason</span> World War II pilot from New Zealand, Buchenwald concentration camp survivor (1918–2012)

Phillip John Lamason, was a pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) during the Second World War, who rose to prominence as the senior officer in charge of 168 Allied airmen taken to Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany, in August 1944. Raised in Napier, he joined the RNZAF in September 1940, and by April 1942 was a pilot officer serving with the Royal Air Force in Europe. On 8 June 1944, Lamason was in command of a Lancaster heavy bomber that was shot down during a raid on railway marshalling yards near Paris. Bailing out, he was picked up by members of the French Resistance and hidden at various locations for seven weeks. While attempting to reach Spain along the Comet line, Lamason was betrayed by a double agent within the Resistance and seized by the Gestapo.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fort de Romainville</span> French fort used as a Nazi concentration camp in World War II

Fort de Romainville, was built in France in the 1830s and was used as a Nazi concentration camp in World War II.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">International concentration camp committees</span> Organizations for Nazi concentration camp survivors

International concentration camp committees are organizations composed of former inmates of the various Nazi concentration camps, formed at various times, primarily after the Second World War. Although most survivors have since died and those who are still alive are generally octogenarians, the committees are still active.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joseph Schleifstein</span> Polish-born American (born 1941)

Joseph Schleifstein is a Polish-born American who survived the Buchenwald concentration camp during the Holocaust at the age of four. He was hidden by his father in a large sack, enabling him to avoid detection by SS guards when arriving at the camp. Other prisoners helped his father keep him hidden and Schleifstein survived until the Americans liberated the camp. After World War II, Schleifstein and his parents emigrated to the United States. He did not discuss his wartime experiences for decades, even with his children. His case gained publicity in 1999 with the anniversary of the 1997 movie Life is Beautiful; it was discovered Schleifstein's story was an inspiration for the script. This led to a search for him and an eventual newspaper interview.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jacques Fouques-Duparc</span> French diplomat

Jacques Fouques-Duparc was a French diplomat and writer.

Léon Delarbre was a painter, museum curator, and World War II resistance fighter. After a career as a museum conservator and teacher in his hometown of Belfort, he joined the French resistance in 1941. Arrested in 1944, he was held in a series of concentration camps where he sketched scenes from camp life. These drawings have been widely used to illustrate the horrors of camp life.

The Volontaires de la Liberté was a French resistance group founded in May 1941. Consisting of school boys and led by Jacques Lusseyran, the group's activities consisted initially of propaganda; it published a bulletin that agitated against the Nazi occupation and the regime of Vichy France. After the Service du travail obligatoire, the Compulsory Work Service, was installed by the Nazis in February 1943 the group's size increased and it dispersed, in part due to ideological differences, many members joining the larger, militant Défense de la France to engage in armed combat. Others continued under the Volontaires name and aided other resistance organizations by sheltering downed Allied pilots.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">André Rogerie</span>

André Rogerie was a member of the French Resistance in World War II and survivor of seven Nazi concentration camps who testified after the war about what he had seen in the camps.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Marcelle Henry</span> French civil servant

Marcelle Marguerite Henry was a French civil servant and a member of the French Resistance during the Second World War.

Jacques Bloch was a French resistance fighter.

References

  1. Brunel, Pierre (2019). Préface. Que la lumière soit. In: Marion Chottin, Céline Roussel, and Zina Weygand (eds). Jacques Lusseyran, entre cécité et lumière. Éditions Rue d’Ulm/Presses de l’École normale supérieure, ISBN 978-2-7288-0606-5. p.10
  2. Lusseyran, Jacques (2016). Against the Pollution of the I: On the Gifts of Blindness, the Power of Poetry, and the Urgency of Awareness. New World Library. pp. 5–. ISBN   978-1-60868-386-4 . Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  3. Hochard, Cécile. "Jacques Lusseyran". Musée de la Résistance. Retrieved 11 November 2023.
  4. Lusseyran, Jacques (1985). And There Was Light. Edinburgh: Floris Books. p. 86. ISBN   978-086315-507-9.
  5. Hochard, Cécile. "Journal des Volontaires de la Liberté: Le Tigre". Musée de la Résistance et de la Déportation à Besançon . Retrieved 10 March 2014.
  6. Wakeman, Rosemary (2009). The Heroic City: Paris, 1945-1958. U of Chicago P. p. 243. ISBN   9780226870175.
  7. Lusseyran, Jacques (1985). And There Was Light. Edinburgh: Floris Books. pp. 174–176. ISBN   978-086315-507-9.
  8. Lalieu, Olivier (2019). Jacques Lusseyran en déportation. Entre histoire et mémoire. In: Marion Chottin, Céline Roussel, and Zina Weygand (eds). Jacques Lusseyran, entre cécité et lumière. Éditions Rue d’Ulm/Presses de l’École normale supérieure, ISBN 978-2-7288-0606-5. p.55
  9. 1 2 3 "Lusseyran, un destin peu commun". Le Monde. 20 August 1971. Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  10. Prix Louis Barthou 1954 de l’Académie française

Further reading