Death of Jacques Rossi, Komintern spyand Gulag survivor

30th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 30 (AFP) - Jacques Rossi, a Frenchman who spied for the Russians in the 1930s, spent 19 years in the Gulag and later wrote harrowing accounts of life in the Siberian prison-camps, has died in Paris at the age of 94, friends told AFP.

PARIS, June 30 (AFP) - Jacques Rossi, a Frenchman who spied for the Russians in the 1930s, spent 19 years in the Gulag and later wrote harrowing accounts of life in the Siberian prison-camps, has died in Paris at the age of 94, friends told AFP.

Born to a wealthy family from Lyon, Rossi joined the Communist party when he was 16 and four years later began working as a courier across Europe for the Moscow Komintern. In 1937 he was on a mission to Spain during the civil war there when he was abruptly recalled to Russia.

Put on trial for treason in one of Stalin's purges, he was sent to a prison camp at Norilsk in the Arctic circle. Eventually released in 1956, he spent several years in Samarkand before taking up a teaching post in Poland and returning to France in 1986.

In retirement he wrote a number of memoirs, the most famous of which was "The Gulag Handbook" - a reference book containing some 1,300 entries on life as a Communist prisoner.

A committed Communist as a young man, Rossi was later scornful of his own naivety. In a 2000 interview with AFP he ascribed his survival to two causes: good fortune, and the discipline instilled in him as a child by an English governess.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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