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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Andre Malraux (1901-1976)

"The problem of this century is the religious problem and the discovery of Hindu thought will have a great deal to do with the solving of that particular problem". 

“Europe is destructive, suicidal,” said André Malraux to Nehru in 1936, whom he would meet several times until the 1960s, trying in vain to persuade him of the relevance of India’s spirituality in today’s world.

Malraux also reflected :

"...The West regards as truth what the Hindu regards as appearance (for if human life, in the age of Christendom, was doubtless an ordeal it was certainly truth and not illusion), and the Westerner can regard knowledge of the the universe as the supreme value, while for the Hindu the supreme value is accession to the divine Absolute.

But the most profound difference is based on the fact that the fundamental reality for the West, Christian or athiest, is death, in whatever sense it may be interpreted --- while the fundamental reality for India is the endlessness of life in the endlessness of time: Who can kill immortality? - Andre Malraux (1901-1976)

1963. A close confidant of André Malraux (1901 – 1976. French novelist and astonishing politician), then Minister of Cultural Affairs, would have made a request for information concerning certain historical documents and files on the sector of Rouen and neighbouring areas. Known under the reference of “Lazare” (Lazarus), this file seemed to enthrall Mr Malraux, who apparently wanted to use the greatest discretion in this affair. Thus significant document on certain aspects of the past of Rouen would have gathered information from its remote origins to the 17th century.
The enigma of the Lazare file
The file “Lazare” would apparently have relied partially on files and private collections (Maurin, Bautre, Perchaud-Vattoux, Joceran Urachet and Cobourg) – an innovation for such enquiries. On March 24, 1965, the documentary study was declared closed and the file “Lazare”' classified “without further action”… a brutal decision made without any explanation. The only thing that would have happened would be to report the document to the archivist. But no… The file would never be officially indexed. Furthermore, the identity of the requestor, this “close confidant” of Mr. Malraux would never be released. But there is even more weirdness when it is learned that the people in charge of collecting this dossier, Mr. Henry Cabanaret and Christian Eylauth, were apparently totally unknown in the personnel files of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, or for that matter with any other agency. No trace of these people would ever be found… as if these identities were fake. More intrigue: the dossier itself would never be found, or be made accessible. “They” will claim it existed until 1976, but somehow missing, but from the start of 1977, it is boldly argued that the dossier never existed, that any original reference to it was either a clerical error or false information.
The timing is interesting, for André Malraux died in the hospital of Cretil on November 23, 1976. As a result, there is no-one who can be interviewed regarding the existence of a “Lazare” file… However, at the time, an investigative journalist, Daniel Réju, seemed to have excellent reasons to monitor closely the affaire of this file and its research. He collected a series of notes, which we were able to use for our reconstruction. Réju was actually able to find parts of the lost documents and some passages which had been copied for the file, specifically the famous “Leg Martel”, of which there were many references in the dossier.
However, all these intriguing events about the file itself have bypassed the central important question: what was it that Malraux was looking for and what could the history of Rouen enlighten him? What was it that required such precautions?
Mankind has been living along the banks of the river Seine in this region for thousands of years. The town of Rotomagos would become in Roman times the capital of an administrative unit that was known as the “Second Lyons”. It was the second town in France until the 13th Century and its history is one of torment, violence and a string of intriguing characters. Definitely worth a study, but what is it this or another aspect that Malraux was interested in?
It was in Rouen that Chilperic I celebrated his wedding to Galwinte in 560. It was, according to the chronicles of Dom Quarin (720), on this occasion that goods of great value were placed in a local abbey. The same document affirms that the bishop Prétextat knew the location of this royal deposit. Another treasure would be added to this one. Once again, the central query was what hiding place had been used by Chilperic for his treasure. It is clearly noted that this was some type of royal tomb – which is extremely remarkable, as officially, no king had been buried in Rouen at that time. It was said that the tomb contained the “cap”, or crown of the mythical king Artus. Was he Arthur? If so, it should be noted that there is no evidence that connects Arthur with Rouen…
Later, Rouen would be the theatre of almost endless combat. Initially against the Normans (841-876), then under the Dukes of Normandy until Philippe Augustus removes the English in 1204. But the list of those on the walls of the city continues: Alain Blanchard (1419), Joan of Arc (1431), Charles VII (1449), Antoine de Bourbon, Montgomery, François de Guise (1562), Henry III (1588)… and finally the bombardments of 1940.
But it seems unlikely that Malraux was interested in the town for any of these reasons. Perhaps his focus was linked with the accidental discovery in Fécamp in 1970, when workmen stumbled upon 3000 gold coins, originally belonging to the dukes of Normandy. The experts catalogud the discovery as one of the most significant treasures on record.
The Gaalor spring and the Nazis…
One of the parts of Rouen is known as the “Tower of Joan of Arc”, after the location where she was held captive. It is known that this keep had a very deep well, which was replenished by the Gaalor spring. During the Second World War, the Gestapo occupied this location and dug a gallery at the bottom of the well, this in an effort to connect it to the medieval sewers. It is odd, to say the least, that an occupying power in wartime would care so much about a medieval sewer system. But a more rational approach might be that the Nazis were on the lookout for ancient treasure, specifically the Huguenot spoils which were known to be located in that area. We can wonder whether it was the work by these occupying forces that inspired or intrigued Malraux to open his own investigation into the matter, on the assumption that whatever the Nazis were after, should be known to him also.
It was in 1967 that two workmen discovered an underground gallery during road works, in a street near the keep. The two men descended into the cavity, and found two stones which had figures engraved on them. An amateur archaeologist would also descend in the gallery and would take a series of photographs for his own records.
The Holy Object N° 431
References in the dossier also refer to a “Reliquary Capsule”, which contained the relics from the Calvary Mount, the Sepulchre, the table of the Last Supper, the stone of Calvary Mount, as well as relics from a certain Irish saint, etc. The date of this object was given as 1312 (Répertoire manuscrit- A. Deville – 1842), the object itself now in the Departmental Museum of Antiquities (this since 1842), known as item number 431.
The date, 1312, might suggest a relationship with the Knights Templar, who were officially disbanded in that year. But the inventory of this holy object also seems to have a connection with the history of Perillos, specifically as it is known that in recent years, one person, Bill Cooper, claimed that all of these artefacts were located in the South of France – and were at the core of the mystery of Rennes-le-Château.
The day before October 13, 1307
The possible Templar connection brings us to Gisors, where Malraux was also interested in. The dignitaries of the Knights Templar were said to have “known” of their arrest, planned for October 13, 1307. It is said that they would put to safety all the documents and valuables that were held in the Temple in Paris. It is said that on October 12, 1307, three escorted carriages, made up out of 50 horses, left Paris in the direction of the coast. It is said that they contained the treasure over the Grand Master of France, who is said to flee in 18 ships. This account is known to be authentic, come from Jean de Chalon of the Temple of Nemours, who made it in front of the Pope at the end of June 1308. The deposition is in the Vatican archives, known as “Register AVEN, N°48 Benedicti XII, Volume I, folio 448-451”. If such a rescue was envisaged, only the faster roads towards the coast would do for this posse. And in order to reach Tréport, you need to pass through Rouen. Though it is known the party left, what became of them is not known, though there is widespread speculation, ranging from them never leaving (indeed), to them depositing their treasure in Scotland, or even America. But that is assuming that the fleeing Templars were brutally dangerous with their precious cargo, this at a time when the French authorities were after them. Surely, before reaching the coastline, there must have been a dangerous situation? Perhaps it impeded their further progress. Perhaps it meant that the original plan had to be abandoned, and the deposit left behind in Rouen? Or perhaps, as Gerard de Sède would argue, the treasure had to be abandoned in Gisors, a short distance from Rouen.
Further questions on Gisors
Apart from the Lazarus file, Malraux was also intrigued in Gisors. In 1929, a certain Roger Lhomoy had arrived in the town. He knew that the Nazis, during the Second World War, were looking for something, and in 1946, Lhomoy arrived at the town hall, to claim that he had discovered a crypt that contained 30 trunks. He was told not to make such “delirious statements”, but to argue that his claims are purely the result of an unbalanced individual, seems to be a bizarre statement, specifically in light of the previous history, which is that the Nazis did research in the very area Lhomoy claimed he had made his discovery in. However, the important aspect of this affair is that it was the Ministry of Cultural Affairs, on orders of its minister, Malraux, who ordered to seal the keep of Gisors in 1962.
It was in the wake of this event that de Sède became interested in the story of Lhomoy, and that he would later begin to write on Rennes-le-Château. Did he think all of these events were related? That is very difficult to argue, but the “coincidences” are definitely there.
The strange intervention of the army
After Malraux had sealed of Gisors, at the end of September, the Ministry ordered that a regiment of the Genie had to undertake excavations to find “vestiges of an old unknown civilisation”. The definition itself is very bizarre. First of all, the text itself suggests that the “unknown civilisation” was known – but it seems that the author did not want to mention it. But then it begs the question why not. Also, if genuinely “unknown”, how was it that Malraux was aware of it?
The army began their investigations and Malraux followed the works with a keen interest. Journalists would be kept away from the site and television would never be authorised to film the excavations. This in itself creates some interest from the media, and it is left to the leaders of Freemasonry to add intrigue to the mystery: they state that the excavations are no-one’s business, specifically that it is not there for the “general public” to see. On which criteria these dignitaries decided to base that statement is a major enigma. And whether it is a good thing that public money was spent on something the public should know nothing about, is an even greater political issue… which would never be addressed.
The 12th Genie Regiment began their work on February 10, 1964 and on March 12, Malraux announced the work had been fruitless. But it should be clear that att that time, is there no longer any mention of an “unknown civilisation”. Worse still is the blank statement that there was “nothing” under the mound of Gisors. It is bizarre to see how in 1964, at the end of the investigations, the hymn sheets have been radically altered and the original statements before work commenced had been “forgotten”. Or should that be “whitewashed?”
It should be noted that archaeological research done by the military is different from that done by civilian archaeologists… the latter should have a larger responsibility to inform the general public, to write up their findings, a work which in itself often takes years to do. But no such detail or duty to the public was present in the army. Though we do not argue the fact that no doubt they were careful diggers, the central question remains: where is the report? Even if there was “nothing to report”, archaeologists still take great care to write the reports, and make those available. However, if one is looking for something and one wants to keep the answer secret… what better way is there to use the army as archaeologists?
The report of the Genie might have been very detailed, we do not know, as it was only submitted to the Ministry involved, i.e. Malraux. And it was never given to the media. It thus suggests a clear motive of Malraux to keep the investigations private, and we can only wonder why…
From Gisors to Salses via Rouen?
But if the above is on the brink of political abuse of power, the following is on the edge of the ridiculous. After haven taken an interest in Rouen and Gisors, Malraux directs his attention towards the Languedoc. Whether the first two provided hints for the third location is unknown. He is specifically interested in the Roussillon, specifically Salses. This time, he did not wait, but instead used a direct route, asking for the oldest available plan of the castle of Salses, which was and is notorious for its remarkable defensive qualities.
Malraux receives some initial feedback, but it is clear that he is not satisfied with what he gets. He restates his demands and is more specific: the wants to know the underground layout of the water supply of the fort. But he is then informed that these plans do not exist any longer, or are at the very least untraceable. At the same time, they do note that they were undoubtedly preserved by the Catalan or Spanish authorities, when the Roussillon changed hands from Spanish to French hands, in the 17th century. As a consequence, Malraux himself writes to his Spanish counterpart. Nothing out of the ordinary, were it not for the fact that his Spanish colleague says he will not provide those documents. Though the Spanish minister is obviously diplomatic and courteous, a stern “no” is nevertheless a major puzzle… specifically as the reason for the “no” is that the files have been classified as “confidential for defence purposes”. This means that, at least officially, Malraux would never receive his information. But though that was the official end of the matter for Malraux, it is equally true that this “no” is ludicrous. The fort itself would never be used in any war between Spain and France anno 1960. It was of value to the military centuries ago, but not in times of modern warfare. Furthermore, why the water supply of a disused French fort would be important for the Spanish not to release it, is equally strange.
Though the official enquiries made no inroads into resolving the enigma, it is known that the water supply of the fort of Salses originates from the sector of Opoul and Perillos. There is another supply that would come from under Bugarach…
Secrets held by some people
Let us assume that the ministry would have had a serious reason to invest time and effort into these researches… though the reasons why will undoubtedly always remain not decisively answered. But there are intriguing questions and coincidences. Opoul-Perillos is the backdrop for a scientific experiment, known as Operation Chronodrome, which involves the usage of the satellite KEO to send a message to the future, in the hope that time travel, should it exist in the next 50,000 years, to return to our era. We also add that it was on January 11, 1963, a time when Malraux was in charge, that another military plane crashed in Perillos. It was known to be a reconnaissance mission, but the question is whether it had anything to do with the research Malraux was performing.
We can only wonder whether the subjects that Malraux was interested in, were either known to himself, and whether he thus used his officially gained power to pursue this private interest. Alternatively, it might be that the problems he investigated, were part of the government’s tasks and that he worked on these files as part of official business. Perhaps Malraux was at the centre of a massive gathering process of information, available in various locations (Gisors, Rouen, Opoul, Salses, etc.), and then collated. Perhaps…
Lazare and André Malraux
But because of the lack of precise answers, let us reconsider some other strange details of the life of André Malraux, and more particularly his literary works.
In 1933, he published “La Condition Humaine”, in which the name of his hero is KYO, which is very similar to Keo. This could be coincidence, but other details of the book suggest that is not the case. The partner of Kyo is called May, and his father is named Gisors. Let us note that the Keo event occurs on May 1, and Gisors needs no further explanation… except to argue that Gisors is not a common name to give to people...
Though seventy years separate the Chronodrome from this book – and thirty years separate the novel from his time as Minister, could it be coincidence? The novel was set in Changhai, in 1927. And though Kyo is a very Asian name, May and specifically Gisors are not. And in 1974, Malraux would write a work that was titled “Lazare”, about which on critic argued that it was successful, “due to a subtle play between realistic illusionism and symbolic references”.
Forgotten enigmas
Official history is just that. But underneath that layers are rumours and speculation. Thus, there is one persistent rumour which reports that the excavations under the castle of Gisors did uncover something; that four trunks were discovered by the soldiers, the contents of which were used by General de Gaulle to pay a debt towards the United States. According to Daniel Réju and Serge Hutin, Malraux was for a long time on a list of people that was “reserved” for specific tasks, and when he was made minister, was to launch himself into resolving his quest.
This would suggest that Malraux was part of a small group of people who were either aware of these secrets… or who knew even more. What then to make of other coincidences, such as Rouen being the cradle of Maurice Leblanc (1864-1941), the author of the Arsene Lupin novels. Leblanc corresponded with two people from Rivesaltes, near Opoul, namely S. Baso and Mr. Pounet. He asked them many historical and archaeological details about the Roussillon and Salses. Did Leblanc need specific information, information of a similar nature that Malraux was interested in?
But it is known that Malraux was close to a widow, Madam Kikoff, who apparently was aware of the secrets held by Marie Denarnaud, the help and closest confident of Berenger Saunière,

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