Un bon fils (A Good Son) by Pascal Bruckner
My Father, the Anti-Semite
Pascal Bruckner, the French writer and New Philosopher, on his new book, his family’s Nazi sympathies, the rise of hatred in Europe, and the crisis of radical Islam
“Your father is the only one who ever succeeded in taking advantage of the Jews. I don’t know how he did it.” So Pascal Bruckner’s father René said one day to his grandson. The father remained a fanatical follower of Hitler even 60 years after the Nazi downfall. The son went in the opposite direction, toward friendship with French Jewish intellectuals like Alain Finkielkraut, and a partnership with Roman Polanski (Bruckner wrote the novel on which Polanski based his movie Bitter Moon). Bruckner’s first marriage was to a Jewish woman, his second to a Belgian of mixed Jewish and Tutsi ancestry. And so Bruckner’s father, his head still in the Fascist clouds, was treated to Jewish and mixed-race grandchildren.
These days Bruckner, the celebrated French intellectual, has been thinking about his father, the anti-Semite. The elder Bruckner died in 2012, and now Bruckner has published a book in France, Un bon fils (A Good Son) about their relationship.