Hunt Goes on ... after the
Accused of Anti-Semitism
PARIS (AP) -- The
publisher of Jacques-Yves
Cousteau's biography claims he has a
1941 letter that reveals an anti-Semitic
side to the undersea explorer.
Portions of the letter were reproduced
in the daily France-Soir on
Thursday, when Cousteau was to be saluted
posthumously by his successor at the
prestigious Academie Francaise. Cousteau
died two years ago at 87.
The letter was provided to the
newspaper by Bernard Violet, who
says it is addressed to Cousteau's best
friend at the time.
It was written shortly after Cousteau
was transferred to Marseille to work with
French naval intelligence against the Nazi
In it, Cousteau complained of having
trouble finding proper housing for his
family. He said "there will not be a
decent apartment until all those ignoble
kikes burdening us are kicked out."
Asked if Cousteau might not simply be
making a joke, Violet told the newspaper
"The only attenuating circumstance, if
I dare say that, is the ordinary
anti-Semitism that France was bathed in
during the 1930s and that his family --
from Bordeaux's petite bourgeoisie --
shared," he said.
Cousteau's widow, Francine, vigorously
denied that her husband was
"I spent 20 years of my life with him,"
Mrs. Cousteau said in a telephone
interview. "I can swear that the captain
was not an anti-Semite. He had a lot of
friends who were Jewish, including members
of our board."