Mr B. George Balanchine's Twentieth Century
In the 1960s, Carmen Callil visited a psychiatrist called Anne Darquier; they forged a close bond, which was broken when Anne committed suicide. Years later Carmen discovered that Anne’s father was the French war criminal, Louis Darquier de Pellepoix. Louis Darquier was a French Nazi, a collaborator and a con man. He married a failed, alcoholic Australian actress, Myrtle Jones, and Anne, their only child, was abandoned to a nurse at birth. She was raised in poverty in Oxfordshire.
Their extraordinary story – and that of Louis Darquier’s ascent to power before and during the Second World War – is the key to a revelatory account of the terrible acts of the Vichy government during the war years. Louis Darquier – always broke, always desperate for attention, social cachet, women and drink – became the longest serving Commissioner for Jewish Affairs in theVichy government. Over seventy thousand French Jews died in Auschwitz, most were sent to death during his tenure. He was never brought to justice, having fled to Madrid where he lived out the rest of his life.
Carmen Callil was born in Melbourne in 1938. She started work in publishing in 1965, and in 1972 she founded the Virago Press of which she was Chairman and Managing Director until 1982. In 1982 she was appointed Managing Director of Chatto & Windus and The Hogarth Press where she remained until 1993, continuing, also, as Chairman of Virago Press until 1995. From 1985 she was a member of the Board of Channel 4 Television. She is now a critic and writer and divides her time between London, and South-West France.