My watch list  

Jacques Bergier

Jacques Bergier (born Yakov Mikhailovich Berger (Russian: Яков Михайлович Бéргер)) (Odessa, August 8, 1912 - Paris, November 23, 1978), was a chemical engineer, member of the French-resistance, spy, journalist and writer. He co-wrote the best-seller The Morning of the Magicians with Louis Pauwels of fantastic realism .

Early life

Yakov Mikhailovich Berger, that later adopted the name Jacques Bergier[1], was born in Odessa in 1912. Mikhail Berger, his father, was a Jewish wholesale grocer and his mother, Etlia Krzeminiecka, was a former revolutionary. A grand-uncle of his was a miraculous rabbi and in his autobiography, Je ne suis pas une légende [2], Bergier says he was a cousin of nuclear physicist George Gamow and of a certain Anatoly, a member of the firing squad that shot Tsar Nicholas II.

He was a gifted child: at two he read his first newspaper and at four he could easily read Russian, French and Hebrew. He was a speed reader (until the end of his life he could read 4 to 10 books per day) and had an eidetic memory. He was a vivacious child, and he told fabulous sounding stories of discussing strategy with generals as well as talking with street prostitutes in Odessa. He never went to school but had private tutors.

In 1920 the Russian Civil War forced the Berger family to take refuge in Etlia's homeland in Krzemeiniec, Northwestern Ukraine. Young Yakov Mikhailovich went to a Talmudic school and he became enthralled with the study of the Kabbalah and its mysteries. Besides that he studied mathematics, physics, German and English. He read everything he could lay hands on, but his favourite reading was science-fiction.

In 1925 the family moved to France.


  1. ^ In his autobiography, Bergier tells that it was a transliteration error from a Polish official that turned his surname into "Bergier" (in Russian "e" is read "ye"). "Jacques" is the French for Yakov (in Russian and Hebrew).
  2. ^ I'm Not A Legend.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Jacques_Bergier". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE