August 23, 2011


Albert Camus might have been killed by the KGB for criticising the Soviet Union, claims newspaper: Car crash in which French literary giant was killed in 1960 was no accident, claims new theory (Kim Willsher, 8/07/11, The Observer)

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has now suggested that Soviet spies might have been behind the crash. The theory is based on remarks by Giovanni Catelli, an Italian academic and poet, who noted that a passage in a diary written by the celebrated Czech poet and translator Jan Zábrana, and published as a book entitled Celý život, was missing from the Italian translation.

In the missing paragraph, Zábrana writes: "I heard something very strange from the mouth of a man who knew lots of things and had very informed sources. According to him, the accident that had cost Albert Camus his life in 1960 was organised by Soviet spies. They damaged a tyre on the car using a sophisticated piece of equipment that cut or made a hole in the wheel at speed.

"The order was given personally by [Dmitri Trofimovic] Shepilov [the Soviet foreign minister] as a reaction to an article published in Franc-tireur [a French magazine] in March 1957, in which Camus attacked [Shepilov], naming him explicitly in the events in Hungary." In his piece, Camus had denounced the "Shepilov Massacres" - Moscow's decision to send troops to crush the Hungarian uprising of 1956.

A year later, Camus further angered Soviet authorities when he publicly supported the Russian author Boris Pasternak, a fellow Nobel laureate and author of Doctor Zhivago, a work banned by Stalin. Corriere della Sera concludes that there were enough reasons for "Moscow to order [Camus's] assassination, in the usual professional style of its KGB agents". If true, it would reopen wounds among the millions of devotees of Camus's work. At the burial of the author of L'Etranger (The Outsider), La Peste (The Plague) and Le Mythe de Sisyphe (The Myth of Sisyphus) in the Lourmarin Cemetery near Vaucluse on the Côte d'Azur, one of Camus's coffin-bearers was a celebrated anarchist. The local football team also turned out, demonstrating his status as a man of the people as well as an intellectual.

...the point is really that he'd have been about the only European intellectual they felt the need to kill. Most of the rest were mouthpieces for the regime.

Posted by at August 23, 2011 5:32 AM

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