Thursday, February 3, 2011
Faithful readers of this blog know about my love for Citroëns; I grew up with them really (but modestly; the most luxurious Citroën in our family was the Ami 8, after a good number of 2CV's). These days I drive a Citroën C8 - one of two in this country. But anyway, this is about André Citroën:
Born in Paris in 1878, André-Gustave was the 5th and last child of Jewish diamond merchant Levie Citroen from the Netherlands and Mazra Kleinmann (of Warsaw, Poland). He was related to the famous British philosopher A. J. Ayer. The Citroen family moved to Paris from Amsterdam in 1873. Upon arrival, the diaeresis was added to the name, changing Citroen to Citroën (a grandfather had sold lemons, and had changed the consequent name Limoenman "lime man" to Citroen ("lemon" in Dutch). His father committed suicide when André was only six years old.
André Citroën and family with guest Charlie Chaplin on winter-sports holiday at St Moritz, in 1932
André was a graduate of the École Polytechnique in 1900. During World War I, he was responsible for mass production of armaments. André founded the Citroën automobile company in 1919, leading it to become the fourth-largest automobile manufacturer in the world by the early 1930s.
André Citroën in St Moritz, 1932, in front of a C-6 on half-tracks
He died in Paris, France, of stomach cancer in 1935 and was interred in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, the funeral being led by the Chief Rabbi of Paris. In 1992, the Parc André Citroën public garden in Paris was named after him.