Raymond Aubrac

Where the memory lingers Publication date : September 1, 1996

A man of secrets, of the shadows, as much by nature as necessity, Raymond Aubrac has been closely involved in more than half a century of history, in France and abroad. Within France, he is one of the great figures of the Resistance, especially since he was one of the pioneers of the movement from 1940. Assistant to the chief of the secret forces of the Resistance, General Dugoujon, he was arrested several times but managed to escape, and is, in addition to the doctor, the last survivor of the meeting at Caluire, on June 21st 1943, in the course of which Jean Moulin was arrested. In this book, Aubrac gives us a new perspective on these events, and others, including his meeting with de Gaulle in Algiers. However, the life of Raymond Aubrac is not just limited to the Resistance. As the prefect of Marseilles after the Liberation, then director of the mine-clearing team, he participated in the reconstruction of the country. After starting a research consultancy company, he then worked from 1948-1958 with popular democracies, and with China. Here for the first time, he explains his engagement on the side of the Communists as one of their supporters. The third section of these memoirs, but certainly not the least, is consecrated for the most part to the two Indochina Wars. A confidant of Ho Chi Minh, Raymond Aubrac was very close to the centre of the secret negotiations which accompanied these wars. In this book, he reveals what went on behind the political scenes in a war which transformed international public opinion. He also evaluates the actions of the major players he knew well, such as Henry Kissinger, Robert McNamara, Kurt Waldheim, and Pham Van Dong, in addition to demonstrating the importance of the role played by the Pugwash movement with which he worked. The memoirs of this 82 year old man, who was at the heart of major events, is a first class source for any interpretation of the history of the twentieth century in France and the wider world.