18 Facts About Jean Zay


Jean Zay served as Minister of National Education and Fine Arts from 1936 until 1939.


Jean Zay was imprisoned by the Vichy government from August 1940 until he was murdered in 1944.


Jean Zay's father, Leon Zay, descended from a Jewish family from Metz, but was born and died in Orleans, where he was the director of a radical socialist regional newspaper, Le Progres du Loiret.


Jean Zay's mother Alice Chartres was a Protestant and a teacher.


Jean Zay grew up with his sister in the Protestant religion.


Jean Zay was educated at the Lycee Pothier in Orleans, and became a lawyer in 1928.


Jean Zay was politically active from his early days, joining the Radical Party aged 21.


Jean Zay defeated the incumbent representative of the Popular Democratic Party, Maurice Berger.


Jean Zay became one of the Jeunes Turcs who wanted to renew the Radical Party, and was instrumental in the party joining the Popular Front in 1935.


In 1938, Jean Zay proposed the creation of an international film event in France, which was planned to debut in Cannes in 1939.


Jean Zay resigned as minister in 1939 to join the French Army on the outbreak of the Second World War, serving as a second lieutenant attached to the headquarters of the Fourth Army.


Jean Zay remained a depute until 1942, and he was given leave to attend the last session of the French Parliament, held in Bordeaux in June 1940.


Jean Zay was arrested in August 1940, for desertion, and returned to France where he was held at the military prison in Clermont-Ferrand.


Jean Zay was convicted of desertion by a military tribunal in October 1940, and sentenced to loss of military rank and deportation for life.


Jean Zay was allowed to communicate with friends and family, and did not attempt to escape.


Jean Zay was removed from the prison by three miliciens on 20 June 1944, Henri Millou, Charles Develle and Pierre Cordier, purportedly so he could be transferred to Melun.


Jean Zay's conviction was posthumously annulled by the appeal court in Riom in July 1945.


Jean Zay's body was found with those of two others in 1946, under a pile of stones.