Paul Clerc objects to the sale

Paul Clerc objects to the sale

With our new knowledge of the timing of the Clerc sale, we return to the letter posted in a recent item from the lawyer of one of the original Clerc brothers. Earlier we were mainly interested in the name of the letter's recipient, Dr. Blanke, but now let's look at the content of the letter.

It is written May 16, 1942 by the lawyer for one of the two feuding Clerc brothers. The odd thing is he seems to have them confused when he begins by saying "My client, Mr. Charles Clerc" when he seems to be stating the case for the other brother Paul. In the handwritten notations on the page, someone (presumably Blanke) has written a question mark and the word "Paul" above the first mention of Charles Clerc.

Like Blanke and Jean-Jacques Richard, who unearthed this letter among hundreds of pages of Clerc-case documentation in the French National Archives, I am going to interpret this as the lawyer making an error. It makes more sense for Paul, who was the brother shut out of the company succession as the death of their father, to be the one raising these objections. We know all about this already from JJR's reporting on his blog.

The letter requests that the occupation authorities do not approve the sale of the Clerc business, as had been previously publicly announced in the December 7, 1941 edition of the Paris Gazette. In our prior post, Armand Biney's aryanization report, we learned that a sale of the Clerc assets had been proposed to a new company managed by Andre Vigoureux that had been formed just months earlier.

Paul Clerc objected to the sale on the grounds that he should be recognized as a legal heir to the business because of the prior history of the company. The letter notes that after the death of his father, his brother and mother operated the company under the stipulation that the assets would be liquidated and distributed to the brothers following the death of the mother. He has been frustrated that this did not happen after a court failed to uphold the stipulation.

We only see the first page of the letter so we don't know what else it says. We do know that later the authorities will overrule Paul's request, inasmuch as upholding it would delay the pace of aryanization, which is the primary concern of Blanke and the German authorities.