University of Oxford
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Interview with Yvon Chotard

Version 2 2021-03-11, 09:45
Version 1 2021-02-09, 14:02
posted on 2021-03-11, 09:45 authored by Robert GildeaRobert Gildea
Chotard, Yvon
Jeunesse Étudiante Catholique/ Conscientious objection/Situationism/ Intersyndicale de Nantes

Born 3 Aug 1946, at Guérande (Loire-Atlantique). Father a draughtsman at Chantiers de l’Atlantique at Saint-Nazaire. Little evidence of Resistance, parents married 1945 while Germans holed up in Poche de Saint-Nazaire. Mother’s family very closed and Catholic – two brothers missionaries, one sister a nun.

Petit Séminaire of Beaupréau (Maine-et-Loire), run by Missionaires de Paris, where uncle was a missionary (1958-61). Mother wanted him to became a priest. Father helped him to get out of this ‘prison’, to Lycée Aristide Briand (mixed) at Saint-Nazaire, 1961. At Law and Arts Faculty of Nantes 1965.

Political Apprenticeship
Active in Jeunesse Etudiante Catholique (JEC) to ‘stay in touch with my parents’ religion’ but mystical interest in Hinduism/Lanza del Vasto/Gandhi. Antimilitarist, inspired by hunger strike in favour of conscientious objection of Louis Lecoin 1962. Mixed with anarchists, international camps in Holland and Austria. Met Alexandre Hébert and anarcho-syndicalist milieu of Loire-Atlantique. Knew Daniel Cohn-Bendit – brother of Dany - though school council of Lycée Aristide Briand, who introduced him to Internationale Situationniste (1966-7)– correspondance with Guy Debord, met him in Paris. Tocsin group at Nantes.

President of Union Nationale des Étudiants Français (UNEF) in Nantes, 1968. Key role in occupation of Rectorat 14 Feb. and demonstration/general strike of 13 May – speech by Chotard, announcing world-wide struggles. Student representative on Intersyndicale de Nantes which linked revolutionary youth and organised workers/peasants, including Bernard Lambert.

post 1968
Became a travel agent, specialising in Eastern Europe. Qualified as barrister 1975. Elected to conseil municipal of Nantes, 1989-2008. Digging up slave-trading past of Nantes: Les Anneaux de la Memoire.


Date of interview


Place of interview


Name of activist

Yvon Chotard

Activist date of birth


Activist Gender

  • Male

Activist nationality


Name of interviewer

Robert Gildea

Name of transcriber

Alice Moscaritolo