Soviet KGB may have killed Albert Camus, claims paper

Albert Camus

Albert Camus

Albert Camus, one of France’s most revered intellectuals, who died in a mysterious accident in 1960, may have been killed by Soviet intelligence, according to an article in one of Italy’s most reputable newspapers. Camus, a philosopher, novelist and journalist, who won the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature, died on January 4, 1960, during a road trip from Provence to Paris. Camus had initially planned to accompany his wife and children on a train ride to Paris, but changed his mind at the last minute, after his trusted friend and publisher, Michel Gallimard, offered him a ride in his car to the French capital. That evening, as Gallimard and Camus were driving through the small town of Villeblevin, Gallimard’s Facel Vega FV3B rammed into a tree at high speed. Camus was killed instantly, while Gallimard died in hospital several days later. But an article published last week in one of Italy’s oldest newspapers, Corriere della Sera, claims that the two men may have been killed after Soviet intelligence agents sabotaged Gallimard’s car. The allegation is based on Italian literary scholar Giovanni Catelli, who reportedly unearthed a written testimony by Czechoslovakian author and translator Jan Zábrana. The testimony is included in the Czech-language edition of Zábrana’s personal diary, in which he claims that “a man who knew lots of things and had very informed sources” had told him that Camus’ assassination was “ordered personally” by Dmitri Shepilov, who was the Soviet Union’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1956 to 1957. According to Zábrana, Soviet officials decided to assassinate Camus after the French writer used the worldwide fame he gained through his Nobel Prize success to criticize the November 1956 Soviet invasion of Hungary. In several of his articles, Camus personally blamed Shepilov for the invasion and resulting casualties, which he termed “the Shepilov massacres”. In 1957, Camus also spoke publicly in defense of Soviet writer Boris Pasternak, author of Doctor Zhivago, who was also awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature, over Moscow’s objections (as a side note, our readers may remember that intelNews has previously reported claims by another Italian newspaper, La Stampa, that the CIA pressured the Swedish Academy to award the prize to Pasternak). Zábrana goes on to allege that Gallimard’s car was sabotaged with “the use of a very sophisticated device”, which caused the vehicle’s front tire to explode once it reached a certain speed.

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