Cousteau racism revealed in letter
Friday 18 June 1999
On the day the late captain Cousteau was to be eulogised at the Academie Francaise, a French newspaper published the text of a letter he wrote to a friend on 1 May 1941.
Cousteau, then a 31-year-old naval officer, wrote that he and his family could find nowhere suitable to live in Marseilles and that "there will be no decent apartment available until we have kicked out all these ignoble yids who are burdening us".
At the time, the pro-Nazi Vichy government was in power in part of France and beginning the persecution of Jews which led to mass arrests and tens of thousands of deaths in concentration camps.
The letter was discovered by Cousteau's biographer, Bernard Violet, who says that the explorer, television pioneer and inventor of the aqualung often made racist remarks in private.
Cousteau, who died two years ago, was eulogised at the Academie Francaise yesterday by the writer Erik Orsenna, who took his seat-for-life in the citadel of French culture last year.
Mr Orsenna told the newspaper Le Monde that the letter was "clearly ignoble" but reflected its times. If all French correspondence from the era were to be re-read today, "one would find a great deal of anti-semitism of this kind" he said.
- 1 Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 2 Frank Lampard equalises for Manchester City against Chelsea: how Twitter reacted
- 4 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
350 skinny dippers brave Northumberland seas for record attempt at mass naked swim
Rihanna 'nude photos' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
Jennifer Lawrence leaked 4Chan sex video branded 'fake' by forum users
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God
£85 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chester: Job Opportunity for Secondary ...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...
£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...
£38000 - £45000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...