This is a translation by D. G. of a 1982 letter and two enclosures from Maurice Bardèche to Keith Stimely. I wish to thank Mark Weber for providing a copy. The location of the French original of the letter and the accompanying note is not known. The translation of the pages of Suzanne and the Slums can clearly be improved in places by consulting the original. — Greg Johnson
Dear Mr. Stimely,
I received, only two or three days ago, your letter of May 28th . But I am leaving in 48 hours for the South where I will remain up until September 15.
My address henceforth for this period of time will be:
33 Boulevard Cassanyes
66140 CANET PLACE
It is useless for me to dictate a cassette since the answers that I can make to your questionnaire are very short. For more accuracy it will be necessary to wait for the end of the month of September so that I can consult my correspondence files which will give me perhaps other details, but that is not certain.
The essential points are in the note that I have attached to this letter and that I believe will be sufficient for your work.
Please accept my best and very sympathetic wishes.
Note on F. P. Yockey
My first meeting with Yockey took place in the winter of 1950/1951. At that time, I represented France on the presidium of the European Social Movement which had just been created and of which the other representatives were delegates for Sweden, Germany, and Italy. I was at that time the representative of certain number of small French groups which had never reached the point of choosing from among themselves a delegate and who have asked me to represent them by reason of the repercussions of my book on the Nuremberg trial. It was on the subject of that book that Yockey had entered into correspondence with me under the name of Ulick Varange while sending me a certain number of extremely valuable documents coming from archives of which he had had knowledge and which were intended for the headquarters of General McCloy, concerning the requests for clemency for a certain number of the persons condemned by the International Military Tribunal. I made use of that documentation in the second book that I did on the Nuremberg Trial under the title of Nuremberg 2 or the Counterfeiters.
At the same time Varange had sent me his book entitled Imperium which interested me a great deal and to such a point that I began the translation of it which is still in my files. At that time, there must have been an exchange of correspondence between Varange and me, of which I will probably find traces in my correspondence files or in my engagement books. I will be able to give you the details about them in September if they seem to you to be necessary.
At the time of his visit to Paris Varange did not at any time mention to me that he himself had founded a European movement under the title of the European Liberation Front. He simply asked me to put him in contact with the most important nationalist groups in France and it was at that time that I put him in contact with Rene Binet who lead a small, very active movement. The interview between Ulick Varange and Rene Binet took place at my home at 10 Rue du Bouloi. (It was at that time that I was staying there in the wake of the commandering of my apartment.) This was my first meeting with Varange, and it was at that time that I had a very relaxed impression of him.
I have recounted that meeting in a small book devoted to my personal adventures during that period which is entitled Suzanne and the Slums. I am attaching for you a photocopy of the pages which concern Varange, who is designated in the narrative under the name of Clarence. I had the impression of finding myself in the presence of a man whose talent I knew from his book but who had an absolutely unrealistic mind. We had been able to measure by the reports of our correspondents in the European Social Movement how difficult the moral recovery of Europe would be in the wake of the policy of reeducation and of police set up by the Americans. Varange saw himself on the eve of taking power in the principal European countries, and from his point of view it was only a question of discussing with Rene Binet the supreme command of the new European order. This absolutely unreal dialogue set against one another two persons who were equally authoritarian and equally completely blinded by Utopian hopes. That scene as complicated by a comic detail that I scarcely pointed out in my narrative: Varange, at that time (he was not accompanied by any woman, and he did not talk about anything like that to us) obviously suffered from a prostate problem which forced him to interrupt the conversation every half hour to go to take care of his bladder. This comic dialogue appeared to me to render illusory any type of practical collaboration with Varange, who besides was, as I have told you, very vague on his own projects. I am convinced besides that his movement of European liberation only existed in his brain and that he disposed of no group nor of any support in the nationalist groups existing at that time.
The details that you ask of concerning his physical appearance are very characteristic. Varange was at that time a handsome young man who could be between 30 and 40 years old. Physically vigorous and well-built with an Anglo-Saxon and not particularly American personality, not speaking French, appearing to have absolutely no sense of humor. Your questionnaire indicates to me that he was a musician: I would never have suspected that. I repeat that he was not accompanied by a woman and that he made no allusion to his private life.
On Point Number 6, I believe I have given the answer: Varange allowed absolutely no criticism of his ideas. He was convinced that he was the repository of an absolute and undebatable truth and that the methods that he thought to be able to use allowed no discussion. I must tell you that from the beginning of the discussion, while establishing how much the views of Varange was distanced from reality, I had absolutely abstained from taking a position, and in fact the discussion, often passionate and violent, took place only between Varange and Rene Binet. I even refused to arbitrate between the two adversaries whose personalities were equally opposed and intolerant and impermeable to all arbitration. I have never found out what was the impress ion of Binet, who was some months later excluded from the European Social Movement because of his personality and his refused of all collective discipline.
Regarding paragraph 7, I answer that I have never had any knowledge (if I remember correctly) of the Proclamation of London, or, if Varange sent it to me, I have never attached any kind of importance to it by reason of what I have just explained.
Point 8, Yockey had told me, while sending me the documents, that he had been attached to the International Military Tribunal. I thought that it was a question of the Tribunal sitting at Nuremberg. It is only your letter which informed me that he was attached to the section sitting at Wiesbaden. Of course, he had read my book on Nuremberg or the Promised Land which had been translated into several languages and which had in particular three German translations, one of which he must have read.
I then lost all contact with Yockey. I had never received any correspondence from him and only after a great delay did I learn of his tragic death in 1960 under conditions about which I have receive little enlightenment.
If you desire more explicit details or documents, I repeat that I can only furnish them to you at the end of the month of September since they are located in some archives that are not at my home in Paris and which require of me a trip and a sorting out which I do not have the time to carry out now.
Be of good heart for your work at the Institute for Historical Review. Do not fail to be careful, obviously. I am convinced that the revisionist movement will only go on to become more marked and to develop, especially after the brilliant exhibition that the Israelis have just made on Lebanon and which had moved deeply French public opinion and has converted many people who, up to the present, were unconditionally favorable to the Jews.
I hope that the information that I have given you, though briefly, can be useful to you.
You have my best and very sympathetic sentiments.
[page 124] . . . Since he did not speak French, the conversation took place in German, which I understand with difficulty and which I speak worse yet. At the end of two hours of that exercise, here is what the situation was.
Clarence, muffled up in his overcoat, lying in the armchair in the room that served me as a study, gulped down his ninth cup of coffee, and every fifteen minutes turned the half of the coal scuttle into an apocalyptic fireplace which resembled the firebox of a locomotive. Having taken the time to note on a piece of paper the number of the fire department, I followed the conversation or rather the monologue of Clarence as best I could, red, sweating, my hand fan-shaped behind my ear. Fortunately, that monologue was interrupted every ten minutes, because Clarence, suffering from a bladder ailment, frequently had need of a moment of solitude. He got up, heroically braved the corridor, stepped over the tricycle, the children, and the hobby horse, and left me thus some minutes of respite. Then he returned, fed the fireplace, took up the coffee, and continued at the point where he had left the exposition [page 125] of the organization of the party that he wished to found. That organization very simply reduced itself to an absolute obedience under pain of death to Ulrich Clarence, founder and president: the sanction was automatic in case of lack of discipline. Clarence, having already recruited one adherent, which appeared to me an unhoped for success, counted on my becoming the second. I tossed my head with a stupid air, feigning not to understand, and for the fifteenth time I attempted without success to attack the probably unintelligible phrase by which I wanted to suggest to my questioner that we would be better in a cafe on the boulevards.
The rest resembles a dream. I do not know why, on that day, several persons had come to see Suzanne. Among them there were Madam Abetz, whose husband was in prison and who came periodically to Paris in order to try to understand who her husband was in prison and to try to find out at what moment he could leave. There was also a young Swiss woman whom we liked very much: she had on her side some subjects of uncertainty but a little different. Her head being filled with metaphysical fumes, she had come [page 126] to interrogate Suzanne at length on the relations that it was fitting to have with the Universe and with God. Mme. Abetz heard with some astonishment an absurd monologue on the question of the sex of angels, and, on the other hand, from time to time, noted some outbursts from the discourse of Clarence, who, in a guttural German, promised lightning and the guillotine to those who would not obey him.
“Do you believe that one can make love with the souls, Suzanne, with the souls of persons who are dead?”
“When one loves Christ, Suzanne, do you believe that one can make love with Christ? But the mystics, Suzanne. Have you read St. Theresa, Suzanne?”
“Do you believe that you can make love with the angels, Suzanne?”
“Why not, Suzanne? Oh! Suzanne, you are an angel, you ought to know all that. Answer me!”
Suzanne, who stifled with difficulty a bout of wild laughter at each raid by Clarence on the corridor, answered distractedly to those questions on which I suspect she had not meditated too much. I left from time to time to breathe in a whiff of fresh air. In passing I caressed the head of the Swiss girl, whom the caress did not seem to distract from her grandiose projects. I had a terrible toothache, and I did not know how to rid myself of Clarence. Mme. Abetz explained sweetly to grandmother the promises that had been made to her and was astonished that they had not been kept: she spoke with little benevolence of the President of the Republic. The Swiss girl followed Suzanne into the kitchen and continued to question her passionately. From time to time, she met Clarence in the hallway and they nodded to each other while meeting each other with the seriousness of fools.
In honor of Clarence, I had called Rene Vinay, a fascist of the puritan type, who spent his life founding parties and publishing mimeographed flyers. He entered courageously into the furnace, and the conversation took a more animated turn. Vinay thought that Clarence ought to obey Vinay and Clarence stupidly persisted in maintaining that Vinay ought to obey Clarence. Consoled by the liveliness of that philosophical conversation, I disappeared to go to my dentist, leaving Suzanne as prey to her visitors.
When I came back two hours later [p. 128] none of the speakers had eaten any of the others, but the session had not adjourned. Suzanne, seated in her kitchen, answered the Swiss questioning with monosyllables. She appeared a little tired, but the gracious Swiss woman, having discovered my cognac, was more and more insistent.
Her curiosity had taken a pantheistic turn, and, with her cheeks slightly glowing, she was absolutely bent on knowing whether one could make love to a city, Suzanne, to a city like Paris, for example, or to God, don’t you think so, Suzanne? I saw with terror that the hour of my train was approaching. The corridor saved me: abandoned to its users, it had become the site of an inextricable bottleneck. I led Clarence to urinate in a cafe with sumptuous lavatories.
I had just barely enough time to hug Suzanne. And, as I am incorrigible, that admission of fascists, not having discouraged me, I threw myself onto the express for Rome.
One of the great misfortunes of we who do not like democracy is surely that Hitler began his political action with nine comrades in the basement of a [p. 129] beer hall. Too many excellent young men have concluded from that that with a half dozen pals and a _______, they themselves were also going to seize power. Clarence, in spite of his excess enthusiasm as a neophyte, was a courageous and estimable young man. He had dared to sacrifice his career and his comfort in order to protest violently against the Nuremburg trial, an indignation which was unwise at that time. He gave himself over entirely, without money, without support, to a difficult and hopeless apostolate. One does not meet very often men of that stamp. Why is it necessary that nearly all of them have in themselves a predisposition to a jealous and implacable despotism?
I have known, after Clarence, very many “fascists,” for the race is not dead. Some of them them had boots, they were familiar with the runes, and they camped out on the nights of the solstice in order to sing under the stars the beautiful solemn songs of their ancestors. The others did not have boots, they wore glasses, they collected cards, and they made furious speeches. All were poor. They believed, they fought, they detested lying and injustice. . . .