Ngo Van Papers

Biographical / Historical Note

Born in Tân Lô, a Vietnamese village near Saigon, 1913, died in Paris 2005; left his village at the age of fourteen and moved to metallurgical industry in Saigon; became involved in demonstrations and strikes against the French colonial power; during the thirties he belonged to a coalition between parties with Stalinist and Trotskyist views, editing the journal La Lutte but Van and other Trotskyists left La Lutte; during the Second World War Van and his comrades were arrested, tortured and imprisoned by the representatives of the Vichy government and the short Japanese rule; Van decided to leave Vietnam in the spring of 1948 and moved to Paris where he became a factory worker; also he became a writer on the history of the revolutionary movement in Vietnam and Indochina and the colonial and later relations with France and entered the group around Maximilien Rubel; among his works are Viêt-nam 1920-1945. Révolution et contre-révolution sous la domination coloniale (1996, 2000) and his memoirs Au pays de la Cloche fêlée (2000); the second part of his memoirs Au pays d’Héloïse and also Le Joueur de flute et l’Oncle Hô. Viêtnam 1945-2005 were published shortly after his death; an English translation and compilation of his memoirs was published in 2010 under the title In the Crossfire. Adventures of a Vietnamese Revolutionary. See also the survey of his publications, paintings and drawings and an obituary by Hilary Horrocks and Simon Pirani in Simon Pirani's Archive.


Correspondence, working materials, reviews, lectures and other documents relating to Ngo Van’s books Viêt-nam 1920-1945, Au pays de la Cloche fêlée and Le Joueur de flute et l’Oncle Hô 1959-2004; incomplete typescript of ‘Au pays d'Héloïse’ 2004; minutes of meetings of and other documents on the group around Maximilien Rubel (‘le Conseillisme’ / Workers’ Council Movement) 1958-1964; letters and postcards from Loren Goldner 1996-2002.

Processing Information

Preliminary list made by Bouwe Hijma in 2012