Benveniste during the war, 1939-44

by alessandro

Paris, Fribourg, and Geneva

I will recount the adventures of Benveniste during the the Second World War, who, after being persecuted for being Jew, took refuge in Switzerland.

CHF 5’953

119% of CHF 5’000

119 %
This is how it worksä

The «all or nothing» principle applies: The project only receives the funds if the funding target is reached or exceeded.

69 backers

Successfully concluded on 3/6/2015

The story

In 1943, Emile Benveniste arrived in Switzerland. Benveniste was one of the most important linguists of XXth century. Beyond the world of linguistics, his research also had a significent impact on fields such as anthropology, philosophy and literary theory. Sent to war in 1939, the Jewish linguist had spent 18 months in a prison camp while his home in Paris was ransacked and his manuscripts destroyed.

He eventually escaped to Lyon, but after the Germans occupied the country, he fled across the border to Switzerland with a group of smugglers. One of Benveniste’s former students was living in Fribourg at the time and helped prepare for his teacher’s arrival. The two communicated through an old Iranian language.

The project

The details of his life during the Second World War, however, remain a mystery. In order to unearth his story, I will need to visit archives in Switzerland and France.

Why I need your help?

I plan to write an article that will be published in an international scientific journal. The funding I receive for this project will go towards travel and writing expenses.