The French writer Joseph Joffo died Thursday at age 87 in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, just outside Nice, where he resided since decades. Joffo was known for his more novel successful, A sack of marbles, published in 1973, autobiographical book where he recounted his flight from the nazis with his brother Maurice in the France of the Second World War. With this book, translated into 18 languages, Joffo managed to sell 20 million copies. A bag of marbles had two film adaptations: one of Jacques Doillon, shot shortly after the publication of the book, and another by Christian Duguay, was released earlier this year. “Curious destiny for a book that no one wanted. Rejected by 14 publishers”, recalled Joffo in an interview with THE COUNTRY in January 2018. “In reality, only what I wrote for my children to understand where we come from”.

the Son of a barber and a violinist, of Russian immigrants who came to Paris fleeing from the pogroms, Joffo was born in the French capital in 1931, and lived a childhood gentle in the neighborhood of Montmartre. His life came to a standstill with the invasion of the German army, which forced him to flee during three years, between 1941 and 1944. Arrested in Nice by the Gestapo, Joffo and his brother were saved thanks to the archbishop of the city, they issued false certificates of baptism. His entire family survived the persecution of the nazis, except for his father, that he would Kaçak Bahis be deported to Auschwitz. “It was a tough experience, but what doesn’t kill you always makes you stronger. When you’ve lived something like that, what relativizas all. My obsession is that this story can serve the young people of today,” he said in January. Joffo had decades of touring the French schools to tell his story to the children. “It is difficult to make them believe that it is not just a story of fiction. Many do not understand that actually happened. And yet, last year, there were in France more than 300 anti-semitic attacks…”

‘A bag of marbles’, the book that Joffo sold 20 million copies, was earlier rejected by 14 publishers

Despite the fact defend the existence of the State of Israel, Joffo never wanted to leave France. “It is my country. I must say that here one lives in quite well. It was my mother who instilled the love for France. Every time we passed by a city council, we had to read the three magical words that are contained in its walls: freedom, equality, fraternity,” recalled the writer. Despite all of this, he was perplexed to the future of their country. “I feel disappointed for the people of today. France was a great land of welcome, but it has already ceased to be. Although, at the same time, I am aware that we cannot welcome all the misery of the world,” he said in January.

Before becoming a writer, Joffo was a hairdresser of great success, which featured actors such as Alain Delon or Jean-Paul Belmondo among its customers, as well as politicians such as François Mitterrand and Jacques Chirac. He came to open a dozen salons in Paris. Joffo dreamed of turning into a musical comedy another of her books, Anna and his orchestra, inspired by the story of his mother, a project that remains unfinished. In total, Joffo wrote 17 novels, though none of them managed to renew the spectacular success of his debut.