Alexandre Stavisky

Serge Alexandre Stavisky (November 20, 1886January 8, 1934) was a French financier and embezzler whose actions created a political scandal that became known as the Stavisky Affair.

In 1927, Stavisky was put on trial for fraud for the first time. However, the trial was postponed again and again and he was granted bail 19 times.

Faced with exposure in December 1933, Stavisky fled. On January 8, 1934, the police found him in a Chamonix chalet agonizing from a gun wound. Officially Stavisky committed suicide but there was a persistent speculation that police killed him.

Alexandre Stavisky was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery.

In 1974, film director Alain Resnais told the story in the film "Stavisky" that featured Jean-Paul Belmondo in the title role and Anny Dupérey as his beautiful wife Arlette.

Brandeis historian Jankowski (Communism and Collaboration: Simon Sabatini and Politics in Marseille, 1919-1944) patiently pieces together the story of Sacha Stavisky, a lifelong trompeur whose business dealings and mysterious death in 1934 left a wake powerful enough to threaten the Third Republic of France. The affair revolved around a complicated soft money racket operating through a municipal credit union, wherein fraudulent bonds were cashed out to Stavisky already under court investigation and making the scandal sheets as a runaway show promoter who then covered the bonds with other fraudulent sureties. Through the use of bribes, blackmail and intimidation which the author examines with lan Stavisky warded off judicial intervention and further bought his way into the administration of several Parisian newspapers, controlling first advertising and then the news. In the forging of such political ties, argues Jankowski, a charlatan revealed the corruptibility of a state already seriously marred by scandal, but his tar-and-feathering also paved the way for anti-Semitism (Stavisky was of Jewish descent) in France. Jankowski captures every twist and turn in the case, but potentially more interesting material an ensuing riot, the horrific results of French anti-Semitism, the inevitable collapse of the Third Republic isn't given enough play here, and an ambiguous epilogue leaves the reader hanging. While the book provides an ornate portrait of the Third Republic before the rise of Vichy, its appeal will be mainly to academics and historians and serious readers of French history. 19 b&w photos. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

In 1933-34, France was rocked by the Stavisky affair. Alexandre Stavisky was a swindler with a history of schemes, including selling worthless bonds, but he had long been protected from prosecution by leading politicians. With the collapse of his final scheme and the suspicious deaths of both Stavisky himself and a judge connected with the case, the scandal of his criminal immunity grew. Jankowski (Brandeis Univ.; Communism and Collaboration: Simon Sabiani and Politics in Marseille, 1919-1944) here presents an account of this financial and political scandal, emphasizing its importance in relation to French history rather than dwelling on biographical facts. He describes a riot that erupted in Paris over the affair and shows how the trial of many of Stavisky's accomplices engulfed the government. The affair, which was the last and largest of the scandals of the Third Republic (1870-1940), had the effect of discrediting the parliamentary democracy. In addition, Stavisky's Jewish origins gave strength to the nation's anti-Semitism. Jankowski, who had access to newly opened police and judicial archives, offers a thorough and well-researched account. It is, however, very scholarly and packed with details (including legal details), making it less appealing for general readers despite its fascinating subject. Recommended for academic and French history collections. Mary Salony, West Virginia Northern Community Coll., Wheeling

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Look at other dictionaries:

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