The Interview of the Two Brothers (April 18, 1892)


Publication of the indictment. — Proceedings against “La Lanterne.”

In our issue bearing the date of April 16, we published the indictment against Ravachol.

For that, our manager today received a summons to appear, Wednesday, April 20, before the 8th district court.

We will, moreover, have lots of company; for, as we have informed our readers, we have sent that subpoena to the Temps, and many of our colleagues have done as we have.




Henri Kœnigstein and Ravachol. — In the visiting room of the Conciergerie. — Attitude of the accused. — Ravachol sentimental. — Martyr for his faith. — An arrest at Lyon.

Henri Kœnigstein, brother of Ravachol, accompanied by Mr. Lagasse, presented himself yesterday afternoon at the office of the public prosecutor to solicit authorization of an interview with his brother. Mr. Quesnay de Beaurepaire having at first objected that it was necessary for Ravachol to communicate beforehand, in writing, his desire to see his brother. Mr. Lagasse carried proofs of the desire of his client.

Henri Kœnigstein was invited to produce some documents establishing his kinship with the accused.

He showed his birth certificated and various letters previously written by Ravachol.

The public prosecutor then decided to grant the authorization requested and, at half past three, the two brothers, Henri and François Kœnigstein, known as Ravachol, had a long conversation.

The two brothers

M. Henri Kœningstein was led to the Conciergerie and placed in the visiting room, that is, in a room where there is a double grill through which the relatives admitted to visit the detainees can speak with them. Soon, from the other side of the grill, escorted by a jailer and two bourgeois police agents, Ravachol appeared. Properly dressed in a beige suit, black necktie and well groomed, the prisoner looked good.

— Well, he said, seeing his brother, there you are!

— But you knew well that I was going to come.

— I didn’t expect you today. Mr. Lagasse had warned me of your visit, but I thought that it would be later.

And as Mr. Henri Kœningstein had tears in his eyes, Ravachol continued: “You mustn’t cry. Each of us is responsible for their actions: I have no regrets, and I am happy. I know the fate that awaits me, but you see, to live in misery or suffering, or to live without my liberty, I would rather die. At least, now, he added with a smile, I am sure of not dying of hunger or sickness. I will die a violent death, which suits me.

There is only one thing that I regret, and it is to see that our party lacks comrades like me. today, they say that I’m a criminal; but I maintain that I die for my ideas; Well, I have written my memoirs all my life, and you will see if I have pursued anything but the triumph of my party.

— All the same, I never would have thought you would commit the crime of Chambles.

— Well, it’s because you do not know me thoroughly. You see, I had had enough of no longer being able to find work, since I needed money for mother, and for my mistress.

—Ah? Yes, your mistress!

The crime of Chambles

— I loved that woman; then I also needed it for the party; I had given it a great deal. There is only one thing that annoys me about that crime of Chambles; it is that Fachard and the others were condemned. They had nothing to do with it; but I had left my umbrella at their house; that was enough to compromise them and condemn them.

— Well, are you okay here?

— Here, I am very happy; everyone is very kind to me, and leave me all possible freedom. They spoil me. You see, I have a tie. Well, that is a great favor. Here no one has a right to wear a tie. But they are sure of me. They know well that I don’t want to kill myself. I will wait tranquilly. I have no fear of death, nor of the sort of death. Certainly, I would have preferred to die on the field of battle when they arrested me, but I was able to.

“Ah! The agents have given me a selection. They have done well, for, if I could, I would never be without them; only, what I have found cowardly, is that they have still given me some blows with their fists when I was trussed up like a sausage.

— What do you do here?

— I am in good company here, you see, said Ravachol, indicating the police agents. I make anarchist propaganda and they listen. Along with that, I write and I eat with a good appetite.

— And do you think?

— Yes, but what can you do? Each of us has their destiny. Tell mother not to fret, that I regret nothing, and that I am glad, very glad to die for that. You know, later, they will know that I died as a martyr to my faith. Hug my little one well for me, and my sister Joséphine. You, don’t concern yourself for me. I am happy to have seen you, but I would not have made you can. You do not have my ideas; continue to live with your wife and child.

All that was delivered in a calm tone, without boastfulness, and with a smile on his face.

The interview lasted three quarters of an hour, after which Mr. Henri Kœnigstein said goodbye to his brother. He left the Conciergerie at four o’clock.

Mr. Henri Kœnigstein will leave Paris today to return to Givors.

Source: La Lanterne, April 18, 1892

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2701 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.