6 November 2013

Maurice Joyeux and Suzy Chevet: Père Lachaise Columbarium #1

The Columbarium in Père Lachaise cemetery can reveal some fascinating things if you know where to look, although this place – especially the underground areas – can be as confusing as the divisions where the graves are. Anyway, this is the first of a number of Columbarium posts:
Maurice Joyeux (1910–91) is a prominent figure in the history of French anarchism. In 1957 he published a book called Le Consulat polonais, which fictionalises his attack on the Polish consulate, for which he was imprisoned for a year. Other minor spells in prison followed, and then in 1940 he received five years for refusing to go to war. He started a rebellion in the prison, escaped, was caught, and was freed in 1944: this is the subject of his second book, Mutinerie à Montluc (1971). Joyeux's writings from about 1969 seem to be almost entirely related to anarchist theory.

Radio libertaire, an organ of Fédération anarchiste, was founded in 1981 and made Joyeux its first guest.

Suzanne Chevet was an anarcho-syndicalist who was the editorial director of the anarchist paper La Rue, published by the libertarian group Louise Michel. Sent to Saint-Malo by the Vichy régime, she organised a series of escapes to Jersey until she was caught by the Gestapo, although she escaped, took on a false identity, and worked in offices of the Service du travail obligatoire until Liberation. In 1945 she met Joyaux, her partner. For many years she worked for the unionist organisation Force ouvrière. She died in Port Grimaud when a car hit her.

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