University of Oxford
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Interview with Hervé Ott

Version 2 2021-03-11, 09:45
Version 1 2021-02-09, 13:59
posted on 2021-03-11, 09:45 authored by Robert GildeaRobert Gildea
Ott, Hervé
Conscientious objection/ Lanza del Vasto/Larzac/Kanaks.Gorleben

Born 7 March 1949, La Londe-les-Maures (Var). Grandparents emigrated to Paris from Alsace after 1870. Father born in Midi, winegrower, mother from Lyon, lost father in 1914 war. Both parents Calvinists.

Lycee of Hyères (1962-68), baccalauréat 1968. École préparatoire de théologie at Lyon (1968-9), Faculty of Theology Montpellier (1969-71), University of Heidelberg (1971-74).

Political Apprenticeship
Became a conscientious objector in 1968 under influence of Lanza del Vasto and his elder brother, who did three weeks in prison at Lyon, on hunger strike, Nov-Dec 1968. Hervé founded a group of conscientious objectors at Montpellier 1969 to spread the idea illegally. Read Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Assistant pastor at Meyrueis, Lozère (Jan-June 1975) while he applied to be conscientious objector and directed to do civilian service in Marseille 1975.

Larzac Struggle
Saw film on the Larzac while at Meyrueis and decided to join the struggle. Made contact with Franciscan Robert Pirault, and spent three months with him. Decided to occupy farm of Le Cun, which had been sold to the army by a Paris doctor, with group of conscientious objectors (Oct 1975). Sent to prison July 1976 for attack on the military base. Ejected from Le Cun by army Oct 1976 and occupied La Blaquerie with a new team (1977. Unable to build there so moved to Le Cun near St Martin Aug. 1979. Set up community of five couples and five children at one stage, using alternative energy (wood, wind). Wife a primary school teacher.
Developing non-violence research and reflection. Links to Germans like Wolfgang Hertl, at Gorleben. Advised Kanaks on non-violence 1987. Set up Institut Européen Conflits Cultures Cooperation. Consultant on human relationships in groups and businesses.


Around 1968: Activism, Networks, Trajectories

Arts and Humanities Research Council

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Date of interview


Place of interview

Le Cun du Larzac

Name of activist

Hervé Ott

Activist date of birth


Activist Gender

  • Male

Activist nationality


Name of interviewer

Robert Gildea

Name of transcriber

Nora Khayi

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    Around 1968



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