“You don’t have to look any further. He was hit by me” – how he died Antoine de Saint-Exupery

He “died” more than once. The first crash occurred in January 1923. After 9 years, he was killed while testing a new plane. 29 Dec 1935 trying to set a record for the flight Paris – Saigon, crashed in the Libyan desert. Thirsty pilot and mechanic were saved by the Bedouin. Three years later he suffered a serious accident during the flight new York- Tierra del Fuego. By exact plan Exupery was flying – relied only on their intuition. Seeing him flying, friends prayed that absent-minded, so often muddle-headed friend back safe and sound.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

  • “On the death of the man, about the death seriously”
  • Trace the diamond on the glass. The Memory Of Osip Mandelstam
  • Crazy good. The Memory Of Cervantes
  • Astrid Lindgren: First of all, I want to be with my kids
  • Overtaken By Narnia

And then came the time of the last job. He had just turned 44 years old. Major, counted among the group of scouts, had an obvious “contra-indications” to fly: a heart condition, improperly healed bones, multiple injuries and fractures.

“I have to participate in this war, – he wrote. Everything I love is under threat. In Provence, when the forest is on fire, everyone who is not a bastard, grabbing buckets and shovels. I want to fight, I was forced to do so by love, and my inner religion.”

His ninth flight lay with the Corsican airfield towards native and so loved Lyon for aerial photography.

With the job he has not returned.

31 July 1944 earth flight Saint AIX – only so-called close friends over. He seemed to have disappeared: neither the body of the pilot or the wreckage in hot pursuit could not be found.

Knight’s pedigree

Antoine Marie Jean-Baptiste Roger de Saint-exupéry was the third child of count Jean de Saint-Exupery and Marie de Fonscolombe. Mother Antoine came from an old provençal family. Born Saint-exupéry was even older. According to family legend, this was the name of one of the knights of the Holy Grail. With 1235 in the ancient Chronicles mention the counts of Saint-exupéry – “gentlemen of Saint-Germain in Limousin and Miremont in Auvergne”.

Gradually – as often happens – from an ancient family was only a memory, not backed by any material goods. The future writer was born in the family of ordinary insurance inspector in 1900. Four years later, the head of the family died, leaving his wife with five children without any means of livelihood.

Fortunately, severe deprivation did not have to face: came to the aid of two grandmothers of the children – native and cousins. They managed to create around the grandchildren such a carefree world, in memory of Antoine’s childhood forever remained unusually happy at times and a source of vitality and inspiration.

As an adult man, he said, “Where am I? I from my childhood. I come from childhood as from a country.”

“The world of childhood memories, our language and our games… will always seem infinitely more real than any other…”, “I’m not very sure that he lived after childhood”.

Attachment Tonio (home nickname Antoine) to his mother was extraordinary. The boy went everywhere with her little chair, sitting down next to it whenever it stopped or sat down. The image of a gentle, loving, caring and cheerful mother broke down after her husband’s death has been a recurring theme in the memoirs of his son. “…You leaning over us, he wrote her, over our crib, which we set out tomorrow, and that the journey was quiet so nothing disturbed our dreams, you smooth out the waves, folds and shadows on our blankets. You have humbled our beds, as a divine finger was humbled a storm at sea.” This love was more amazed that none of the other home-a special place the boy never used: brother and sisters he was quick-tempered and demanding.

Antoine is second from the right


In 1909, Antoine and his brother françois left home and entered the Jesuit College, who finished their father. Under the strict regime of the school the boys were only in part: they were incoming students, and after school he returned home to his aunt.

Antoine, often falls into a reverie for a long time and looked into the sky, quickly acquired the nickname “Lunatic”. “However, to tease Antoine is dangerous, writes biographer Exupery, MIA Marseille. – Nickname leads him to rage, and the offenders get their just deserts,”*.

Antoine Saint-Exupery in childhood

If school grades were directly linked to the talent of the person, anything sensible out of Exupery would not have happened. Discipline and courtesy of Antoine regularly earned the lowest rating – “e”, however exactly the same was the case with diligence and neatness. Reputation mediocre student assigned to him for a long time. One of the few subjects in which Antoine succeeded, was French literature. “He already has writing experience, notes, MIA Marseille, and out of College, he wrote his mother letters, very long for such a baby. And Antoine not without pride, attributed at the end of one of the letters: “I wrote you eight pages!””*

Apparently, the opinion of others hardly bothered him. Born in the first year of the twentieth century, he was thinking about the technique. His eyes embodied the old dream of man to rise to the sky in 1903, the first in the history of mankind flight of an aircraft engine. Soar up to the sky and feel there like a bird – is that it is not necessary to devote life? The first attempt to get off the ground proved to be a failure Exupery: a young inventor, having built wings out of twigs and sheets, fitted them to the bike and clocked at one of the local hills… it ended in the inevitable crash and numerous abrasions. The present “air baptism” Antoine got a little bit later – when he was twelve, a boy was passed over the famous Aviator Jules védrine. In memory of this event, impressionable Exupery even wrote poetry.

In the footsteps of tradition

In 1917 Antoine was faced with my first loss: died suddenly, his fifteen-year-old brother Francois. The death stunned the future writer. “Antoine was reared in a deeply religious environment, she MIA Marseille – where faith is expressed not in words, but is the unseen Foundation of the inner life. Faith often eliminates redundant questions, does not allow to reflect on the contradictions of life, albeit observed from the side. And that’s beside the dying brother of Antoine feels that his faith is shaken”*.

Confused Exupery writes: “one has only to grow and merciful God leaves you in the lurch”.

The already brooding and introverted young man totally immersed in themselves. With others Antoine became nervous and testy.

By this time, before Exupery acutely the question of the choice of life. After some deliberation it was decided to follow family tradition and enter the Higher naval school (one of his ancestor in the time of Louis XVI was famous in the Navy and even left interesting memoirs). Besides the romantic aura of the sea battles is quite consistent with the commitment of Antoine to the knighthood.

The external plot of life Exupery was no different from training a young man in his circle at that time: friends, disputes, preparation for entrance exams, social events… Inside was a relentless dialogue in search of his way. From the age of six, Antoine wrote poetry and stories. Love for writing was for the grown Exupery burden, deprived of his soul balance. “Of course, Antoine does not think about professional writing, he is aware that it is inaccessible from any point of view: nothing is experienced, not found a way of application of forces in life, and it is necessary to the writer”* – said, MIA Marseille. Despite this, from a sense of rootlessness Exupery can not get rid of.

Subsequent events themselves explain everything.

“Tell us about the experience of the Alsatian, who returned from the war to his native village, again became a French” is the theme of the works proposed by the applicants to the naval Academy. Antoine realized that there is a set of phrases and pseudo-Patriotic momentum, which must be inserted in the text to obtain high score. Angered by this logic, Exupery wrote only a few lines. And received the lowest rating. But his work in mathematics is recognized as the best, which gave him the right to try the forces in the oral exams. But for unknown reasons it failed miserably.

This failure knocked the young man off. Gone clear life trajectory. Confused Antoine almost without hesitation arrives at the architectural Department of the Academy of arts.

Now he lives this Bohemian life. “This is the most dull period of his life about which we know almost nothing – emphasizes the biographer. – Exupery writes even mother, experiencing all that happens to him, deep in himself”*.

Southern mail

In 1921, Antoine throws Academy classes. Eager noble activities Exupery is written as a volunteer in the regiment of Strasbourg. Miro, Marcel notes: “He does not know what it will take this step. To say that he is attracted to aviation, so much ahead of the actual events. While this is only a breakthrough, prepared for months of intense deliberation. It is a leap into the unknown caused by the underlying volcanic activity nature Exupery, his great concern, his high vitality”*.

The training went smoothly and quickly Exupery was qualified civilian pilot, then moved to Morocco for the rights of military pilot.

The time spent in Morocco, has brought Antoine a lot of discoveries and lessons. But most importantly it was filled with joy and a sense of their own need. He was finally a real profession. Flights were allowed to break away from everything external and focus on the most important.

In January 1923 Exupery suffered his first plane crash in which he received a traumatic brain injury. In March he was retired. Antoine settled in Paris, where he engaged in journalism.

And in 1926 became one of the most important meetings in the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery. He met Didier Dora – Executive Director of companies involved in air transportation of mail cargo from France to colonial Africa. And here Antoine again in the sky. He air postman.

– What about literature, Saint-Ex? – ask his friends.

– Before writing, you need to live, it is the answer.

A new profession Exupery describes: “At dawn you were to pick up the thoughts of an entire people. In their inept hands. And transfer them as the treasures under the cloak, across thousands of obstacles. Email, said you, is a jewel. She is more precious than life. And she’s fragile.”

His first artwork – a novel “southern mail” – written exactly here, in the midst of endless Sands and rebellious tribes.

The desert has taught him important things that he or another will say now all my life: “one sees clearly only with the heart that is most important is invisible to the eye” and “You are responsible for those who tamed”.

“You know what a good desert? – asked the Little Prince. – Sometime in her hidden springs”.

He was fond of saying that everyone has to find their experience of the desert. It is only away from all voices, you can hear the Voice.

The Moors who lived in the desert, for the courage and kindness called Exupery Captain Birds. “They came to him as a prophet. Long sat and drank tea with him, sought advice whether to marry or to start a war with neighbors. At one of these tea parties after long negotiations he will redeem their old, exhausted slave, give him liberty…

Him in the box they poked their curious heads gazelles, monkeys, often came to visit his friend the chameleon. Create a touching bond with the desert Fox, who stayed a little closer. Yes, Yes it became that the wise Fox from “the Little Prince”, which opened to readers the mystery of me”**.

“My real profession is to tame,” wrote Antoine de Saint-Exupery from cap-juby.

He finally truly happy and spend time with and he is irreplaceable.

“Jubi, 1927.

I love Sahara. And when you have to land in the desert surrounding me admire the salt lakes, which reflected the dunes. (However, it’s great I hate when thirsty.) I feel great. Mommy, is your son happy. He found his calling.

Sea watch tides fills us up to the very walls, and, if in the night I sit, leaning from my window with prison bars – we are surrounded by rebellious tribes – I see the sea in front of him, as with the launch. And the night it beats on my wall.

Our other facade overlooks the desert.
Misery complete. Wooden bed with a skinny straw mattress, a basin, a jug of water. I forgot trinkets: a typewriter and a folder with the Affairs of the airfield! Monastic cell.
Planes arrive every three days. Between them three days of silence. And when the planes fly – they’re my chickens, and I worried until the Telegraph will report that they landed at the next station a thousand miles away. And I’m always ready to fly in search of the missing. Hard kiss you. Write. Antoine”.

In October 1929 exupéry was transferred to a new duty station in Buenos Aires.

“I was appointed technical Director of the airline “Aeropost Argentina,” he writes to his mother, is a subsidiary of the company General the company “Aeropostal” with a salary of about 225 thousand francs. Hope you’re happy. I’m a little sad, I liked my old way of life. I think that makes me sound so old”.

Argentina – one of the pleasant evenings with a Cup of coffee with friends – Saint Ex met his future wife, Consuelo. Their life together was not always rosy, but even in such difficult relationship, he remained loyal to his convictions and never left – after all, “you’re responsible for those who tamed”.

Antoine and Consuelo

To silence the longing

In 1931 he published the novel “Night flight”, which brought Exupery prize “Femina” and worldwide fame.

From the rare to see and understand the inner life of man. And friends Saint of the axe were convinced that he’s great: good post, literary career, recognition, a passionate love of flying… And a few closest – felt: something not so, something gives him peace and a sense of satisfaction… to Drown out the anguish and anxiety he tried with feverish activity: articles, reports, lectures, research in the field of aviation, his own invention, trying to put the flight records.

A chronicle of his life of 30 years is impressive: in may 1935, he makes a series of stories about the everyday life of the Soviet people (after signing between France and the Soviet Union Treaty of friendship Exupery went to the land of the Soviets special correspondent). At the end of that year, crashed in the Libyan desert while attempting to set a record for the flight Paris – Saigon. It seemed that the Saint Axe and the mechanics of the Provost will not get out from the captivity of the ruthless sand. After three days 185 kilometers under the scorching sun, the exhausted French were on the verge of death.

But a miracle happened: on 1 January they were saved held near Cairo caravan. In August 1936, he was already in Spain – preparing reports about the civil war enveloping the country. In early 1938, Saint-Ex began flights new York- Tierra del Fuego, but suffered a serious accident in Guatemala, and then a long time recovering, first in new York and then in France.

1936 Exupery began work on “the Citadel” – a work destined to accommodate all his concern about the fate of humanity, all of his innermost thoughts and become a peculiar result of the writer’s life. On this book Saint-Ex worked until the last days, but never managed to finish. Part of the text remains in the drafts.

“Don’t shy away from suffering”

3 September 1939 France declared war on Germany, and the next day exupéry appeared at the place of mobilization to the military airport of Toulouse-Montaudran. Friends had made a huge effort to discourage Saint of the axe from this step.

The main argument seemed to be undeniable: how can you put on one scale the benefits that it would bring the country, as a writer and journalist, and work in military intelligence, implying constant risk of life and which, moreover, can deal with thousands of pilots. But Saint-Exupery was adamant. In the end, he made the appointment in the unit long-range reconnaissance.

“I know only one way to be in harmony with his own conscience: this way not to evade suffering,” he says.

Their experiences Antoine – as before – shares with mother, the closest person:

“Dear mommy!
Why jeopardy is exactly what I love most on this earth? Scares me the most is that the world has gone mad. Destroyed villages, scattered family. Death means nothing to me. But I don’t want the war destroyed the spiritual community. I don’t like the priorities of our time. On my heart heavy, and this feeling is not muted feelings and overcome obstacles. The only refreshing fountain – I find his childhood memories – the smell of candles in Christmas night. And now the soul is empty. I’m dying of thirst”.

22 June 1940 France capitulated. First Saint-Ex’s sister lived in the unoccupied part of the country, and later moved to the United States. It was in new York in 1942 Exupery wrote his most famous work – “the Little Prince”.

Plunging into this book, you find yourself in a huge amazing world, where doors seemingly obvious things are hidden treasures of wisdom.

In the pages of “the Little Prince” cynical, calculating and callous adult world is contrasted with the world as children see it.

“Adults love numbers. When you tell them that you got a new friend, they never ask about essential matters. They never say: “what does his voice? What games he likes to play? Does he collect butterflies?” They ask: “How old is he? How many brothers has he? How much does he weigh? How much money does his father make?” And then imagine that learned person. When adults say: “I saw a beautiful house made of pink brick, in Windows it geranium, and on the roof the pigeons,” they just can’t imagine this house. They need to say, “I saw that house for a hundred thousand francs,” and then they exclaim: “What a beauty!”

Similarly, if they say: “Here’s proof that the Little Prince actually existed: he was very, very nice, he was laughing and he wanted to have lamb. And who wants lamb, he is, of course, exist” – if they say so, they just shrug their shoulders and look at you like a mindless baby. But if you say, “He came from a planet called asteroid b-612″ is to convince them and they won’t bother you with questions. Really such people are the adults. Should not angry with them. Children should be very lenient to adults”.

“Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the Kingdom of heaven,” says Christ, and Exupery repeats after Him: be simple, kind and open, “for of such is the Kingdom of heaven”… And do not turn into adults – those who are responsible for the horrors perpetrated on our little planet.

There is no doubt that the Little Prince speaks through the mouth of the Saint-AIX, and for more than seventy years, his words are simple, at first glance, is touching the hearts of millions of people. After all, they need true courage, sensitivity, kindness and humanity. “Inhabited this planet or not?” – exclaimed one day exupéry affected by what is happening around lawlessness.

Our planet will be habitable as long as we are able to go to the desert and hear there the voice of the Little Prince.

The last flight

In 1943, Saint-Exupery joined the air force, “Fighting France”. Huge pains him to seek enlistment in a combat unit. In July 1944, Saint-Ex wrote: “I Have a fun craft for my age. Following me in age younger than me for six years. But, of course, the current of my life – Breakfast at six in the morning, dining room, tent or blennow lime room, fly at an altitude of ten thousand meters in the no man’s world – I prefer unbearable Algerian idleness… …I chose to work on the maximum wear and, because one must always squeeze themselves through, will not go back on their word. I only wish that this vile war is over before I fail, like a candle in the stream of oxygen. I have what to do and after it”.

With every new task companions of Saint AIX worried about him more and more. Scary to let go of that good-natured middle-aged scattered in such a dangerous flight. “To lose such a person is more serious than to lose a pilot,” writes Jean leleu, officer of the operations division, distributing tasks.

Exupery increasingly immersed in his inner world, gradually detached from all earthly things:

“…I increasingly feel that life is not caught and therefore not to better see everything, but as if from outside.

I always feel like I’m watching the game are not always clear, sometimes beautiful, but I just watch.

Growing every day in me indifference to the evaluations, approval, disapproval did not interest me.

Every day I no matter to what people think about me. I think part of me has already landed”.

In exceptional order he was given permission to five sorties, and they are already behind. Antoine insists on new jobs. Another three – and they too performed flawlessly. “Eight sorties, says his friend Hassan, having met with him on July 29 in Algeria, for forty-eight hours before his last, the ninth of departure. I have to stop. In three months you’ve already done as much as your young companions for the year. Now you already have the right to speak, so you have no right to risk that life.” This Saint-Ex says: “It’s impossible. Now I will go to the end. I think it won’t be long. I’ll stay with friends until the end.”

Fighter P-38 Lightning, which was flown by Saint-exupéry

The ninth flight was to be the last. He didn’t know about it but already decided: August 1, Exupery will be advised of the date and time of the alleged landing in France. The pilot with this information, go on missions was forbidden, because if he gets captured and tortured, he can give too much important information to the enemy.

On the evening of 30 July 1944 unsuspecting major de Saint-exupéry was preparing for its ninth flight.

“I don’t care if I’m killed in the war! What will remain from all that I loved? I mean not only people, but also the unique tone, tradition, some spiritual light. I mean dining on a provençal farm, but also Handel. I do not care you do certain things or not. Not in things but in their relationships. Culture is invisible because it is not expressed in things, and in the well-known relation of things among themselves – so, and not another. We are perfect musical instruments, but who will write the music? Damn me that I would be killed in the war! Don’t care if I become a victim of the explosion of rabies, a kind of flying torpedoes. Work on them has nothing to do with flying, in the middle of the levers and dials they turn the pilot into a chief accountant (flight is known, the system of relations). But if I get out alive from this “necessary and thankless job”, I will stand only one problem: it is possible, what do you say people?..”

He often compared himself, and his friend Guillaume, in the “Earth people”, with simple artisans, honestly and tirelessly doing his job. Speaking about his departure, and the risk posed, he said, “I think I give myself entirely. I feel healthy carpenter.”

July 31, 1944 Antoine de Saint-exupéry took off on his last flight from the airfield at Borgo in Corsica in the direction of his native France.

Back he never came back.

The ways of the earth

54 years after the death Exupery, 7 September 1998, the fishing vessel “Horizon” near Marseille entered the Mediterranean sea. Fishermen dismantled another trawl among Tina noticed the sparkling in the sun bracelet. It has been suggested that this belonged to Saint-Exupery, because the bracelet was embossed inscriptions: “Antoine”, “Consuelo” (his wife’s name) and “c/o Reynal & Hitchcock, 386, 4th Ave. NYC USA” (the address of the publishing house, which published books of the writer).

Bracelet Exupery

Two years later the diver Luke Vanrell 70-meter depth, found scattered on the bottom of the plane, which was lifted only in 2003.

On the fragment of the cabin preserved the serial number, which helped to establish: the pilot was Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Due to the fact that as of the date of the crash has been more than fifty years, the body of the pilot could not be possible. The only thing the pilot survived the crash, was the silver bracelet.

This open ended. Archival data allowed researchers to compile a list of German pilots to carry out missions on 31 July 1944 in the area of the crash.

When the searchers reached the Horst Ripper, and called the name of the writer, a former pilot replied: “You don’t have to look any further. He was hit by me.”

July 31, 1944, the Ripper took off from a German airfield. Over the sea he found a plane with French markings and decided to attack him. In a few minutes the enemy aircraft crashed into the sea.

The evening of the same day from radio intercepts negotiations of the allies, the Germans learned of the disappearance of Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Ripper realized who exactly he was hit.

The German pilot knew and loved the works of Saint-Exupery.

Horst Ripper

“In the years of my youth have all read and loved his books. If I knew this I would not shoot”, – said the 88-year-old Ripper researchers.

Saint-Ex wrote a lot about connecting threads, mysteriously connecting strangers. In his own destiny thread once again intricately interwoven: the writer was hit by the man who thanks to his work, love the sky and became a pilot.

*** *** ***

The presence Exupery in his books is so obvious that after reading remains a distinct sense of dialogue. The author’s reflections encourage the reader to co-work. It becomes impossible to remain silent, and birth a miracle of human communication and long-dead man in contact with his thoughts. Time and space are erased. There are only two conversing with each other.

“…You know, there is one way, wrote Saint-Ex, I think he is very inspiring. Boaters cruising in a fog, each on Board his boat. Each lost in the white desert, nothing is visible for twenty meters, you can believe that you are alone in the world. But from time to time one of them calls out, “yay!” Other boaters! And everyone encouraged and hopeful living friendly presence. No fog, no loneliness.

Yay! – fly towards each other wonderful submissions. Every boater owns the wealth – these echoing cries, and when among them there is, comes from somewhere from the depths of the fog new voice, and then – there in the fog, the birth of a new wonder of the human presence, then the boat leaned on the oars with a heart full of heat.”

Hey, Saint-Ex!

Your presence in the world obviously.

Your words are heard.

Thank you.

* MIA Marseille. Saint-Exupery.

** Groshev A. Exupery. Last flight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.