Léo Sauvage

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Person.png Léo Sauvage   SpartacusRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
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BornLéopold Smotriez
Mannheim, Germany
Died30 October 1988 (Age 73)
New York
Alma materSorbonne
ChildrenPierre Sauvage
SpouseBarbara Suchowolska
InterestsJFK Assassination

Léo Sauvage (born Léopold Smotriez was a French journalist and writer, specializing in the United States.

Early Life

He was born in Mannheim, Germany, before coming to France as a child. He first pursued law studies at the Sorbonne[1], and became a dramatic critic on the eve of the Second World War. Léo and his wife Barbara were both Jewish and when the German Army invaded France in 1940 they joined the resistance. He then set up a theater company in Marseille which mocked the Vichy regime and wrote in the resistance paper Liberation and others. His son Pierre was born in in 1944 while he was in hiding.

At Liberation after the war, he was a film critic.

He finally emigrated in April 1948 to the United States where he was employed by Agence France-Presse. In 1959, he was the first European reporter to arrive in Cuba after the fall of Batista. He was notably correspondent for Figaro in the United States from 1950 to 1975, when the newspaper was bought by Robert Hersant.

JFK Assassination

After the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, he disputed the report of the Warren Commission that concluded with the guilt of Lee Harvey Oswald.

In an article published in Commentary Magazine in March 1964, he suggested that there had been a cover-up. He pointed out that all the available evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald had "either been leaked or eagerly and even ruthlessly spelled out - whether true, half-true, or demonstrably false; whether pertinent, confused, or obviously irrelevant" by the Dallas Police.[1]

Sauvage's article greatly impressed a large number of people, including the commissioning editor of Random House and on 11th March, 1964, he signed a contract with the publisher to develop his ideas on the assassination into a full-length book. However, a month after the publication of the Warren Report, a senior editor at Random House, Jason Epstein, wrote to Sauvage cancelling the contract: "The problem is that the Warren Report has put the Oswald matter in a different light from what I expected, and I'm now convinced that any book which attempts to question Oswald's guilt would be out of touch with reality and could not be taken seriously by responsible critics." No other publisher in the United States was willing to bring out the book and so like other opponents of the lone gunman theory, Sauvage was forced to go to Europe to have the book published.[1]

Sauvage's argument was also based on the total absence of evidence against the accused and the presence in the statement of the commission elements pointing to innocence (praise of Kennedy by Oswald the day before the assassination of the president). He thus concludes his book The Oswald Affair in January 1965: "I would say that it is logically untenable, legally indefensible and morally inadmissible to assert that Lee Harvey Oswald was the assassin of President Kennedy".[2]

Sauvage published in 1983 The Americans: Investigation of a Myth, a large collection of anecdotes covering his American experience from the end of the war to the arrival of President Reagan where he tried to paint a portrait of the American people by dealing with their relationship to money, work, religion, food, culture, media, democracy, their country, the rest of the world ... and by going beyond the received ideas that Europeans have.


  1. a b c https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKsauvage.htm
  2. Léo Sauvage, L'Affaire Oswald, Les éditions de Minuit, 1965, page 442.