Joseph Damiani, a.k.a José Giovanni, was born on June 22th, 1923, to a Corsican family. He did many little jobs when he was a teenager. Washing dishes in a train-restaurant, lumberjack, coal miner, waiter in a hotel restaurant of Chamonix. During WWII, from 1942 to 1944, he was a high mountain junior guide, and was in the resistance, too.
After the war, he came to Paris and became (with some other members of his family) a petty gangster. But after a robbery where his older brother and his uncle died, and the owner of the robbed house too, he was arrested, though he didn’t use any gun. On November 17th, 1948, he and his accomplice Georges Accad were judged in Paris and they were both sentenced to death. After months spent in the death row, they were clemenced by president Auriol, thanks to Joseph’s father, who did his best to save his son.
In 1956, Joseph was freed. He spend a long time in jail writing, and one of the first things he did after being back to free life was… read more