When the author describes Louis Darquier and his scams, both could be happening today in Vancouver. Carmen Callil tells how a two bit schemer became a war criminal. He started small, outwitting the gullible, anything that screwed others for money. He asked widows to contribute to legal action for raising war veteran pensions. Bartering his daughter for money was not his lowest swipe. Although his father and brothers worked diligently in professions, he preferred to sleep in, prey on others, tout scams, brag, dress fashionably, eat in the best restaurants, get as much on credit and stiff all bills. When cornered for payment, Darquier bluffed, chewed the scenery, puffed his war record. Pretending to be upper class cowed collectors, so he added de Pellepoix to his name, dropped names and bullied. When he ran out of suckers for grandiose lies, he turned on his family. In the 1930s, during the economic, Fascists used him to rail against the socialist government and destabilize France before the Second World War. Although he wanted to lead, for more money, the fascists found he was inept at winning minds, writing speeches, or planning. After the fall of France, the Nazis found him tedious, but he applied to be a French figurehead for their nasty pogroms. He collaborated, betrayed friends, acquaintances, strangers, then his country and humanity for four years. As chief responsible for deportations to death camps, he looted the refugees. After liberation, hunted in France, Darquier scampered into Spain. DeGaulle dropped prosecutions after a few years, for the sake of unity and wealthy collaborators. So why research and write the story of this failing jerk bobbing for more money ? Partly so we recognize the patter and patterns. Most fiction portrays the con artist as charming rascal. This jerk's greed harmed most people, even his daughter, wife, brothers and parents. The author Carmen Callil includes many revelations which would embarrass anyone else. Today’s thinking eerily matches then, when pols and developers insist on sacrifices so corporations prosper. Where's the thin line between farce and horror ? Oreal gave jobs and money to reckless traitors, before, during and after the occupation. Have they put on a better face now ? Condemning one man overlooks the system planned and condoned by the self appointed “elite”. Nobody called this sociopath’s bluff, then he got bumped into a position where he did real damage.
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