Andre Malraux

On this date in 1901, writer and freedom fighter Andre Malraux was born in Paris, France. Malraux studied Asian language at the Ecole des Langues Orientales. Not completing his studies, he traveled to Asia as a young man, becoming a noted critic of French colonial rule in Indochina. He cofounded the Young Annam League and founded the newspaper, Indochina in Chains. Malraux was an avowed religious agnostic, although he was once described as obsessed with the divine.  His first novel, The Temptation of the West, was published in 1926, followed by The Conquerors (1928), The Royal Way (1930), Man's Fate (1934), Days of Hope (1937), and The Walnut Trees of Altenburg (1943). After joining archeological expeditions to Iran and Afghanistan in the 1930s, Malraux cofounded the International Association of Writers for the Defense of Culture. During the Spanish Civil War, Malraux flew on missions as a pilot for the Republicans, and was wounded twice. He also traveled to the United States to try to raise money for the Republican cause. "Man defines himself by what he does, not by what he dreams," he wrote. A fictional account of his experiences, (L'Espoir) was published in 1937, and a movie followed in 1939. During WWII, Malraux joined the French Army, was captured in 1940 during the Western Offensive, escaped and joined the French Resistance. In 1944, he was captured by the Gestapo, and, following a mock execution, was rescued by the Resistance. He then joined the Free French and fought at Strasbourg and the takeover of Stuttgart. He was awarded the Medal of the Resistance, the Croix de Guerre, and the British Distinguished Service Order. Gen. Charles De Gaulle appointed Malraux his minister of information in 1945-1946. During the 1950s, Malraux wrote about aesthetics and art. He served as minister of cultural affairs in 1960-1967. His autobiography, Anti-Memoirs, was published in 1967. D. 1976.

"The attempt to force human beings to despise themselves is what I call hell."

—-Andre Malraux, "La Condition Humaine" (Man's Fate), 1933

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor; Photo by Boris15,

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