Biographies: Joseph Kessel (Russia/France, 1898-1979)

Figure 1.--Here we see Joseph Kessel and his siblings, wevthink while still in Orenburg, Russia about 1908. That was the year their father moved the family to France. Nitice the peasant tunic he is wearing. This was used as auniform in many Russian schools. .The military-style cap was used in many schools, although the style here is a little different than many we have seen.

French author and journalist Joseph Kessel led an interesting life. His father and he made some very importaht decesions that saved their lives. He was born in a strange place for a French author--Villa Clara, Entre Ríos, Argentina. And his father was not French, but a Jewish Lithuanian dictor. Joseph was born in Argentina because his father traveled so widely. Joseph grew up as a boy in Orenburg, Russia situated in the Urals between Europe and Asia. Here we seee Joseph and his siblings btothers wgile still in Russia (figure 1). His father took the family to France (1908). a fortuitous move. Joseph thus learned France and was educated in Nice and Paris. He was this flunt un Russian and French. He served in World War I as a French pilot--one of the most dangerous military activities of the War. He would serve again as an aviator during World War II, this time as France was occupied with the Free French 342 'Lorraine' bomber Squadron of the British Royal Air Force. Kessel and his nephew Maurice Druon translated Anna Marly's song 'Chant des Partisans' from the originl Russian into French. The song became an iconic World war II song and one of the anthems adopted by the Free French Forces during the War. Kessel authored wrote several popular novels and books that were later produced as films. The best known is 'Belle de Jour' directed by Luis Buńuel (1967). Kessel was a member of the Académie française (1962-79).


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Created: 9:29 PM 3/15/2016
Last updated: 9:29 PM 3/15/2016