I owe to her great moments of emotion, passion and friendship : when I was young and had drunk too much champagne at the cabaret Raspoutine, near Champs-Elysées, she used to follow me when I ripped tablecloths off in grand theatrical style caviar flying under the noses of the charming ladies invited by their bosses and she would say: “She is my friend, a great writer, come douchka … it’s my friend …” and she prevented headwaiters from throwing me out. She also freely gave her opinion on the men who invited me, with the eye of an iguana; in the olden days she had obviously been very beautiful and seductive. Her voice took your breath away and her majestic braid crowned centuries of experience. It was through Chauvel that I discovered Raspoutine and the gypsies celebrated by writer Joseph Kessel who, when I was young, came to our home, in avenue Victor Hugo, to see my father whom he knew well, and to entertain me, would crush the glass from which he just slaked his thirst…
Christopher Dodd, born the 27th of May 1944 and father of a little girl born in 2001, now a senior Democratic leader in the United States Senate Senator (elected for the fourth time!), was at the time Congressman of Connecticut. We met at the end of the 1970s, at Port-au-Prince, introduced by Aubelin Jolicoeur, master of ceremonies on the island of Haiti, and we have been great friends for quite a time. Senator Dodd had inherited the chivalrous spirit of his Irish ancestors, and their intense glance ; with a natural elegance, he cares about people much more than the political parade requires. Even if we did not agree on political issues all the time, I greatly appreciated his courageous stand recently in his speech about Iraq. He also had the courage to insist upon my presence at dinner like the birthday party given with the Wall Street Journal team, in the early 1980s, where, not knowing the rules of the political and financial games, I discussed issues like a bluestocking with some senators and congressmen. Our passion for Haiti was a strong link between us. In my long absence from the States our relationship has faded. Sic transit friendship on both sides of the Atlantic Sea… But a memory still remains, warm and joyful.
David Douglas Duncan
Star photographer at Life Magazine, author of many books and reports on Picasso, David helped me a lot when I was shooting my first TV film in the States for Chauvel, Life and Death of a Journal. Then, we met many times at the Frankfurt Book Fair, or in Paris. A rare artist of a sensitivity and talent I appreciate immensely, loving the south of France and Sardinia, he did the most wonderful photos I have ever seen on such themes as the loneliness of creation or the vibration of sunflowers.
How different and how (very) much poorer our lives would be without some of those who work behind the scenes and helped us adapt nicely to changing circumstances. From the launching of Antebi Publishing Cy, Catherine (above, at Frankfort) became my assistant, in the little house near the Batignolles area. Young, fiery, very cultured and good at sizing things up, nothing fazed her. She seized onto the computer and the production of the books, the conception of dummies, and the thousands of problems of daily life. She adapted herself to any new task, negotiated her way through Parisian sharks, and learned how to deal with humour just for starters. When we went the first time together to the Frankfurt Fair, she drove the van and we were very proud of our stand. We slept with my dear Hanne Wendt, where we knew moments of bliss. When I stopped editing, Catherine found immediately a new job with Le Rocher … where I ran into her again when publishing my tenth book on Edmond de Rothschild. Back now in her own region of the southwest of France, near Bordeaux, she left for new adventures, with the music of the accordion, which she played very well.
With Catherine, we are singing Tel qu’il est il me plaît by Fréhel.
A multiform artist, Tillmann was my Art Director at Hologramme (we did the books of the collection « Chemins » together),and then at Antebi ((books on Baby Before Birth and The Wardrobe of Power:Justice). I owe to him my love of Art Design, which he taught me and which I use today in the field of multimedia.
An engraving by Tillmann
During my investigation on Satan and Lucifer, in 1969, I met Rabbi Josy Eisenberg, well known to French TV viewers for his shows, "La Source de Vie" (« The Source of Life »), created in 1962 and "A Bible Ouverte" (“Reading the Bible”) created in 1968. Born in Strasbourg in December 1933, author of around fifteen books, he was the co-author of the movie by Gérard Oury, Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob. He frequently talked about my books, especially in the filmed interview Autant en emporte le Levant, on the history of “The little Pasha of Jerusalem”, LHomme du Sérail.
Thanks to Dominique de Roux , éminence grise of the French literary world, I met demonic Julius Evola at the last stage of a Roman palace, Corso Vittorio Emmanuele… Reserve officer in the artillery, Dadaist, Fascist, Hinduist and Buddhist expert, the author of Metaphysics of the Sex and of To Ride the Tiger was in some way associated with Rosenberg, Himmler and von Pappen, and had an influence on Mussolini. Founder, just before the war, of the group Ur, devoted to research on Magic, he was wounded in Vienna in 1944, in the spinal column, and, when I saw him, was paralyzed, in a wheelchair. His works nevertheless ask true questions about the spiritual involution (and not evolution) of our societies, even if he talks about himself in one of his poems as one of those “murderers with charred hands, still looking at the sun ». When I published my interview with him in my book Ave Lucifer, Evola tried to bring an action against me. It was dismissed.