Nicolas Grunitzky

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Nicolas Grunitzky (April 5, 1913 – September 27, 1969) was the second president of Togo and its third head of state. He was President from 1963 to 1967. Grunitzky was Prime Minister of Togo from 1956 to 1958 under the French Colonial loi cadre system, which created limited "national" government in their colonial possessions. His political rival Sylvanus Olympio was elected President of Togo—still under French administration—in 1958, and was elected first President of independent Togo in 1960. Following the 1963 coup which killed Olympio, Grunitzky was chosen by the military committee of coup leaders to be Togo's second President.


He was born in Atakpamé to a German father (of Polish origin) and a Togolese mother. He studied civil engineering at the ESTP in Paris and was a public administrator before leaving to form his own company. He was the secretary-general of the Parti togolais du progrès (Togolese Party of Progress) and elected into office with the Togolese Parliament in 1951. Grunitzky also served in the French national assembly 1951-1958. He was Prime Minister of the Republic of Togo from September 12, 1956 but went into exile after being deposed on May 16, 1958.

Grunitzky was appointed president by the "Insurrection Committee" headed by Emmanuel Bodjollé following a coup d'état that ended with the assassination of president (and Grunitzky's brother-in-law) Sylvanus Olympio. This was the first military coup in Western Africa following independence, and was organized by a group of soldiers under the direction of Sergeant Étienne Gnassingbé Eyadema. Nicolas Grunitzky attempted to unify the country by including several political parties in his government. However, he was toppled in a bloodless military coup led by now-Lt. Col Étienne Gnassingbé Eyadema and was exiled to Paris.

He was injured in a car accident in Côte d'Ivoire, and died from complications in a hospital in Paris in 1969.


Much of the content of this article comes from the equivalent French-language Wikipedia article (retrieved 27 May 2005).

Preceded by
Prime Minister of Togo
Succeeded by
Sylvanus Olympio
Preceded by
Emmanuel Bodjollé
President of Togo
Succeeded by
Kléber Dadjo