Pierre Vidal-Naquet, the great historian of antiquity and exemplary, politically engaged thinker passed away Sat, July 29, 2006, in Nice. Born in Paris in 1930 in a Jewish secular family, son of a pro-Dreyfus lawyer, he barely escaped deportation when he was 14. On May 15, 1944, both his parents were arrested and sent to Auschwitz. They didn’t return. Before he left, his father had asked his son to read Chateaubriand and especially this sentence:
When in abject silence one hears only the clanging of the slave’s chainand the voice of the informer, when everything shakes before the tyrant,and it is as dangerous to incur his favor as merit his disgrace, the historian appears, entrusted with the peoples’ vengeance.