Ernst Jünger, 86 years old, answers Bernard Pivot's questions regarding his Journal Parisien which he ran during the Occupation while working in Paris. Bernard Pivot asks him about being and appearing like an aesthete while wearing a German captain's uniform, when all around him desolation and denouncement reigned.
The political path and the free spirit of Ernst Jünger (1895-1998) have made him one of the most contested, but most admired, German writers of the XXth century. A patriot, he became a volunteer in 1914 and received the "Pour le Mérite" order, the highest German military distinction, at the end of a war whose horrors and fascination he recalled in 1922's Storm of Steel.
Vehemently nationalist, he nevertheless rejected the Nazi party's attempts to reach him, which he denounced in 1939 in On the Marble Cliffs, an allegory on power, culture and barbarianism which earned him an angry response from the Gestapo. Assigned to the Parisian Wehrmacht headquarters, he kept a war diary that detailed his horror of Nazism and his progressive disgust for militarism. However, after the surrender, he refused to participate in the de-Nazification.
Always close to anarchy, he then secluded himself in a village in Souabe, where he continued to reflect upon power, the State, individualism and the dignity of man. A converted Catholic in 1998, the one who wrote that "the loss of self-respect is the beginning of all unhappiness amongst men" died in 1998, at the age of 103.