Fernand Meysonnier: torture tools belonging to ‘the executioner of Algiers’
Earlier this year, Paris-based auction house Cornette de Saint-Cyr brought his collection of torture apparatus to market, at the behest of his daughter. The auction was cancelled amid a human rights outcry. You see, between 1957 and 1962, Meysonnier was “the executioner of Algiers”. When Algerians were fighting for independence from France, Meysonnier went to work on the enemy. The auction house tried to placate the outraged by saying “none of the objects in the sale is concerned with Meysonnier’s sinister activities in Algeria”, according to Le Journal des Arts.
France culture minister Frédéric Mitterrand opined: “The collection in question has more to do with morbidity and barbarism than culture and its provenance raises painful historical issues.”
More that 20 million visit France ever year to see its battlefields and memorials, scenes of much of the fighting in World War 1 and the D-Day landings. Painful memories are big business. Why not show the kind of treatment France exported?
Here’s Fernand Meysonnier talking at Provence this home in 2004:
Here are highlights from his collection: