The World at War


Robert Brasillach

French Author and Journalist

Born: March 31, 1909 at Perpignan, Pyrenees Oreintales
Died: February 6, 1945 at Montrouge

     Brasillach studied at l'Ecole normale superieure before embarking on a career as a novelist and literary critic for Charles Maurras' l'Action Francaise. He openly espoused fascism after the February 6, 1934 riots in the Place de la Concorde . As editor in chief of Francois Coty's anti-semitic tabloid Je suis partout he wrote in favor of collaboration and establishment of a new European order governed by Nazis ideology.

     Brasillach was tried by the High Court and sentenced to death for collaboration on January 19, 1945. His trial stirred angry debate amongst French intellectuals regarding the responsibility of writers for the actions their works incite. Francois Mauriac, a Catholic writer and resistant, was a leading opponent of Brasillach's execution and circulated a petition asking General de Gaulle to commute the sentence. Albert Camus signed the petition but only because he opposed the death penalty in all cases. Prominent leftists, Jean Paul Sarte and Simone de Beauvoir refused to sign. De Gaulle refused to commutation holding firm in his belief that intellectuals must be held accountable for the consequences of the ideas they propagate. Brasillach was executed on February 6, 1945.

UP - Biography Index - Homepage