The Joinovici Affair

The Stavisky of the Fourth Republic

in French Politics, Culture & Society
Author: Jeffrey Mehlman
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This essay follows the strange career in France of the Bessarabian Jew, Joseph Joinovici, before, during, and after the Second World War. A corrupt but exceedingly talented dealer in scrap metal before the war, he was officially branded an “economically worthwhile Jew” by the occupying forces and quickly amassed a considerable fortune. He was also a leading associate of the French Gestapo leaders Henri Lafont and Pierre Bony, but appears to have devoted a considerable portion of his wealth to bribing German officials into releasing a number of potential victims. A credible claim has been made that he was a principal financier of the insurrection that issued in the Liberation of Paris. Particular attention is paid to the claim by the philosopher Pierre Boutang that the eccentric Joinovici was the exemplary citizen of France's Fourth Republic.

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