Maurice Kriegel-Valrimont

Memoirs of a Rebel Publication date : January 1, 1999

The publication of this book is a major event. Olivier Biffaud, a journalist on the French daily Le Monde, has obtained a series of exclusive interviews with Maurice Kriegel-Valrimont, a Communist who was a major figure of the French Resistance and who remains highly respected among the non-Socialist Left. Kriegel-Valrimont was directly connected with many significant events of the century, and he speaks of them in great detail for the first time.In the early 1940s, he was in the Resistance in Lyon, where he worked with Raymond Aubrac to unify the various currents of the Resistance movement. These were years of secret hideouts, false documents, and secret meetings. He evokes the Liberation of Paris, when he was one of the top three leaders of the Comité d’Action Militaire, or COMAC.He was a political activist from his early years. As a student in the 1930s, he was a fellow traveller of the Communists, later becoming a union organiser during the Popular Front government. After the war, he was a member of parliament for Meurthe-et-Moselle, and formally joined the French Communist Party in 1947. Because of his anti-Stalinism the Communist Party accused him in the late 1950s of being a Gaullist. During the Servin-Casanova affair he accepted "political death", and finally broke with the Party in 1961 rather than suffer indignity at the hands of French Communist Party leader Maurice Thorez. He later joined other members of the Resistance in denouncing the nomination of Georges Marchais to the head of the Communist Party, but he refused to join the Socialists, preferring instead to follow with care the attempts made by various waves of opponents to make the French Communist Party more democratic.The book is a major historical document by a man who throughout his life has remained a rebel against the establishment and who has never abandoned his confidence in a future dominated by human solidarity.