The writer Joseph Joffo is dead


Joseph Joffo, author of the famous autobiographical book " A bag of marbles ", recounting the flight of two young Jewish brothers in occupied France, died Thursday, December 6 at the age of 87. Here is his portrait, which La Croix had made in 2007.

Forgotten ceremonies and works dedicated to Vichy, Joseph Joffo continues his life's work in Paris: writing, publishing, telling stories from his memory. Launched by Jean-Claude Lattès, hailed as a brother by Joseph Kessel, he built since 1973 and publishedA bag of marbles, a popular work, inhabited by a spirit and a humanity that did not survive in the literary agora during the Second World War. Novels, wrote 14 years after A scholarship: Anna and her orchestra in 1975 to the Uncertain smile released in March 2007. Whether Anna or Baby foot are the best known, the most confidential is the whole of her work.

Joseph Joffo has mainly made a career and fortune in hairdressing. The living rooms of Joffo, it's him! The large salon of Rue Victor Hugo, still him. Since his birth in 1931, he has never left the cocoon of the hairdressing family. Before the war, his father held a salon on rue de Clignancourt in Paris, in the 17th. His childhood, at least until 1941, was wrapped in the reassuring and truculent warmth of this oasis planted in the heart of the Yiddish neighborhood. "My father left Russia at the age of seven, alone, not to be enlisted in the tsar's army."

"A lot of marbles", two Jewish children under the occupation

The noble ambition to be a writer

After passing through Europe, he stopped in France because "Freedom, equality, fraternity" was inscribed in the pediments of the town halls. "A unique currency in the world, and as long as it is written there, we are quiet here." This father slaps Joseph before sending him to the free zone, so he can only remember the question "Are you a Jew?" he had to answer "No.". Arrested, deported, gassed, they left their salon as a legacy. Moreover, if the success ofA bag of marbles In Joseph Joffo awakened the noble ambition of being a writer, but did not abandon his first work as a worthy heir to Marcel Aymé.

While the recognition of his peers is slow, that of his young readers has been acquired since 1973. For them, he voluntarily leaves his gold refuge, his current manuscript. "The children tell me that they do not understand that in Europe, we could do it … Why did the adults see nothing, nothing, nothing? Listening to them, I have a double feeling.What do I do for those who are victims of barbarism? for not getting up for Darfur! " he admits first. "I also say that in France, despite all that we endured, there were men like Bishop Raymond who stood up, and without the help of the clergy and most of the French, the" final solution "would have been applied much more heavily. "

Witness today of what he experienced yesterday

When referring to Bishop Raymond, the voice of Joseph Joffo strangles. "My brother Maurice and I have been saved three times by the priests … I can not do anything about it, it's just the truth … When we were prisoners of the Gestapo in Nice, Bishop Raymond wrote to you that if he deported us, he would physically come to oppose to all the priests of the diocese After the war, we went to thank him, although he died, he welcomed us: "My little ones, I do not remember you. I saved so much. But do not thank me, because if I intervened for you, I did it for me first. "»

An episode that he likes to tell, like many others that we sometimes prefer to ignore. "Adapting my story to the cinema, Jacques Doillon messes up the anti-clericalism of the shepherd who protects us from the Germans: in the scene of the train, he represents him as a parrot who intervenes despite himself"he regrets again. "My story will soon be the subject of a new adaptation: When I told the writers about our visit to Bishop Raymond, they said:" It's plaintive! " If the reply is offensive, the old shrieke of the yellow star has seen others. He prefers to testify today about what he experienced yesterday … in the name of all his people.

These priests who saved the heroes of Lots of marbles, two Jewish children fleeing from the Gestapo

Laurent Larcher


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