Max Jacob and the people from Quimper - His childhood

A victim of anti-semitism

Max Jacob had been a victim of anti-semitism, since his childhood. At the grammar-school for boys La Tour d’Auvergne, he suffered from his schoolmates’ recurrent assaults. In spite of these hostilities, Max Jacob had some very good friends. André Villard, though he had beaten him up, became one of his best friends, so did Raoul Bolloré and the Thomases.

Max Jacob's class in 1893-94
Max Jacob’s class in 1893-94

André Villard declares : « My brother René and I, were quickly outraged by the bad treatments Max Jacob underwent, only because he was Jewish ; so not only did we stop our teasing but we also took him under our wing ». But anti-semitism wasn’t confined within the school walls, Max was excluded from the cult ceremonies, communions and processions in which his friends took part.

The pupil Max Jacob

Max Jacob was very active at secondary school : in his fourth year, he created a paper entitled La Cigogne (The Stork) ; Max jacob’s career in literature had already begun.

On the other hand, he had a good contact with his teachers of La Tour d’Auvergne.

That’s why he recalled with emotion, for the 50th anniversary of the Secondary School in 1936, the Memory of Mr Watecamps, a history teacher, of Mr Villard, an art teacher and of Mr Patuvier, his French teacher.

The street which leads to the boys' grammar school
The street which leads to the boys’ grammar school

Max Jacob was a very bright pupil, that’s why he was awarded a Prize in Rhetorics in 1893. The local press and his Secondary School thanked him : « the nomination of Max Jacob is a credit to him and ranks our Secondary School among the best ones. »