Anti-Semitic Pamphlets by Celine to Be Republished in France, Sparking Controversy

The Gallimard publishing house wants to go ahead with the reissue of the 1930s texts; French Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld has threatened legal action

Louis-Ferdinand Céline on winning the Prix Renaudot for his novel "Journey to the End of the Night" in 1932.
Wikimedia Commons

Anti-Semitic pamphlets from the 1930s by the French writer Louis-Ferdinande Celine have sparked controversy in France as the Gallimard publishing house seeks to reissue the works, The Guardian reported.

After Gallimard announced plans to republish the pamphlets this spring, the publisher was summoned by the government unit responsible for fighting racism, anti-Semitism and hatred of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

The meeting resulted in a decision to include notes by a Celine expert in order to "put them back in their context as writings of a great violence, marked by the anti-Semitic hatred of the author."

French lawyer and Nazi hunter Serge Klarsfeld is among those opposing Gallimard's move. He said Celine's work "influenced a whole generation of collaborationists that sent French Jews to their deaths," and is demanding that the pamphlets not be reissued. He further threatened to take legal action if the move isn't reversed.

Celine's 1932 novel "Journey to the End of the Night" is widely considered a modern classic of French literature.

The pamphlets in question have been out of print since 1945, but were recently permitted for reissue by Celine's widow.