Family history of Nicolas Sarkozy

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Nicolas Sarkozy is a Frenchman of mixed national and ethnic ancestry. He is the son of Pál István Ernő Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa (Hungarian: nagybócsai Sárközy Pál [nɒɟ͡ʝboːt͡ʃɒi ʃaːrkøzi paːl] (About this sound listen), in some sources Nagy-Bócsay Sárközy Pál István Ernő),[1] a Hungarian nobleman,[2] and Andrée Jeanne "Dadu" Mallah (b. Paris, 12 October 1925), who is of Greek Jewish and French Catholic origin.[3][4] They were married at Saint-François-de-Sales, Paris XVII, on 8 February 1950 and divorced in 1959.[5]

Pál Sárközy[edit]

Pál Sárközy at the 2010 Brive-la-Gaillarde book fair

Pál Sárközy was born on 5 May 1928 in Budapest into a family belonging to the lesser[6] Hungarian nobility.[7] His paternal ancestor was elevated to the untitled nobility of Hungary on 10 September 1628 for his role in fighting the armies of the Ottoman Empire. The family possessed 285 hectares (700 acres) of land (reduced from an estate of 400–800 ha (990–1,980 acres) in the 18th century),[8] and a small castle in the village of Alattyán, near Szolnok, 92 km (57 mi) east of Budapest.[1] Pál Sárközy's father and grandfather held elective offices in the city of Szolnok. Although the Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa (nagybócsai Sárközy) family was Protestant, Pál Sárközy's mother, Katalin Tóth de Csáford (Hungarian: csáfordi Tóth Katalin), grandmother of Nicolas Sarkozy, belonged to a Catholic noble family.

As the Red Army entered Hungary in 1944, the Sárközy family fled to Germany.[9] They returned in 1945 but all their possessions had been seized. Pál Sárközy's father died soon afterwards and his mother, fearing that he would be drafted into the Hungarian People's Army or sent to Serbia, urged him to leave the country and promised she would eventually follow him to Paris. Pál Sárközy fled to Austria and then Germany while his mother reported to authorities that he had drowned in Lake Balaton.

French Foreign Legion[edit]

Eventually, he arrived in Baden-Baden, near the French border, where the headquarters of the French Army in Germany were located, and there he met a recruiter for the French Foreign Legion. He signed up for five years, like many recruits who were destitute like himself,[10] and was sent for training to Sidi Bel Abbes, where the French Foreign Legion's headquarters were located. He was due to be sent to Indochina at the end of training, but the doctor who checked him before departure, who was also Hungarian, sympathised with him and gave him a medical discharge to save him from possible death at the hands of the Viet Minh.[10]

Return to civilian life[edit]

He returned to civilian life in Marseille in 1948 and, although he asked for French citizenship only in the 1970s (his legal status was that of a stateless person until then), he nonetheless gallicised his Hungarian name into "Paul Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa". He met Andrée Mallah (known as Dadu[11]) in 1949.

Andrée Mallah[edit]

Andrée Mallah, then a law student, was the daughter of Benedict Mallah, a well-off urological surgeon with a well-established reputation in the mainly bourgeois 17th arrondissement of Paris. Benedict Mallah, originally named Aaron Mallah (and nicknamed Benico), was born in 1890 in the Sephardic Jewish community of Thessaloniki (then part of the Ottoman Empire, now Greece). The family had originally been from Spain, then resettled in Provence, southern France, and later moved to Thessaloniki into the Jewish community established there by other Spanish expellees victims of the Spanish Inquisition. Benico Mallah, the son of jeweller Mordechai Mallah and Reyna Magriso, left Thessaloniki with his mother in 1904 at the age of 14 to attend the prestigious Lycée Lakanal boarding school of Sceaux, in the southern suburbs of Paris. He studied medicine after his baccalaureate and decided to stay in France and become a French citizen. A doctor in the French Army during World War I, he met a recent war widow, Adèle Bouvier (1891–1956), whom he married in 1917. Adèle Bouvier, Nicolas Sarkozy's maternal grandmother, was born to a wealthy Catholic bourgeois family from Lyon.[12] Mallah, for whom religion had reportedly never been a central issue, converted to Catholicism upon marrying Adèle Bouvier, which had been requested by Adèle's parents, and changed his name to Benedict. Although Benedict Mallah converted to Catholicism, he and his family nonetheless had to flee Paris and take refuge in a small farm in Corrèze during World War II to avoid being arrested and delivered to the Germans. During the Holocaust, many of the Mallahs who stayed in Thessaloniki or moved to France were deported to concentration and extermination camps. In total, 57 family members were murdered by the Nazis.[13]

Paul Sarkozy and Andrée Mallah settled in the 17th arrondissement of Paris and had three sons: Guillaume, born in 1951, who is an entrepreneur in the textile industry and current vice president of the MEDEF (French union of employers); Nicolas, born in 1955; and François, born in 1957, who is the manager of a health care consultancy company.[14] In 1959, Paul Sarkozy left his wife and his three children. He later remarried three times and had two more children Caroline and Olivier Sarkozy.

Global affiliations[edit]

Paul Sarkozy's son, Olivier, was chosen by the Carlyle Group in March 2008 as co-head and managing director of its recently launched global financial services division.[15] In November 2015, he married former child actress Mary-Kate Olsen.[citation needed]

Christine de Ganay is a former wife of Pal. She is married to Frank G. Wisner, who retired from American International Group (AIG). His father, Frank Wisner, Sr. worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and its predecessor the OSS, in charge of covert operations. It has been alleged that AIG, which financially collapsed in 2008, insures CIA facilities globally.[16]


  1. ^ a b Schmemann, Serge (15 May 2007). "The New French President's Roots Are Worth Remembering". The New York Times. Retrieved 28 September 2008. 
  2. ^ It is the "westernised", or "internationalised", version of his Hungarian name, in which the given name is put first (whereas in Hungarian given names come last), and the French aristocratic particle "de" is used instead of the Hungarian aristocratic ending "-y". This "westernisation" of Hungarian names is frequent, particularly for people with an aristocratic name. Check for example the leader of Hungary from 1920 to 1944, whose Hungarian name is nagybányai Horthy Miklós, but who is known in English as Miklós Horthy de Nagybánya. The French name of Pál Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa from 1948 is Paul Étienne Arnaud Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa, where the given name Pál has been translated into Paul in French, and the acute accents on the "a" of Sarközy and the "o" of Bocsa were dropped as these letters never carry an acute accent (accent aigu) in French. The trema on the "o" of Sárközy was kept, probably because French typewriters allow this combination, whereas it is impossible to write "a" or "o" with an acute accent using a French typewriter.
  3. ^ "Profile: Nicolas Sarkozy". BBC News. 26 July 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  4. ^ "A Greek book on Nicolas Sarkozy". The European Jewish Press. Archived from the original on 2008-04-17. Retrieved 2008-04-12. 
  5. ^ "Ancestry of Nicolas Sarkozy". William Addams Reitwiesner. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  6. ^ "Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa Or Nicolas Sarkozy", Heinz Duthel., 2008. ISBN 1-4092-1137-1, ISBN 978-1-4092-1137-2. p. 20
  7. ^ Nicolas Sarkozy has the last laugh on 'aristocratic' rivals Henry Samuel in Paris, Daily Telegraph, 8 December 2009
  8. ^ La saga hongroise de la famille Sarkozy "Paul Sarkozy, né en 1928 à Budapest, aurait raconté que ses parents possédaient un château près d'Alattyan. [La réalité était un peu moins flamboyante]" English translation: The Hungarian saga of the Sarkozy family: "Paul Sarkozy, born in 1928 in Budapest, was told his parents owned a castle near Alattyan. [The reality was a little less flamboyant."] from the French newspaper Le Figaro
  9. ^ Weekly Standard, France girds for the Sarko-Ségo showdown
  10. ^ a b "Nicolas Sarkozy", Dennis Abrams. Infobase Publishing, 2009. ISBN 1-60413-081-4, ISBN 978-1-60413-081-2. p. 22
  11. ^ The tough new president still loves his mum, France's real first lady. The Guardian, Angelique Chrisafis, 14 May 2007.
  12. ^ "Genealogie des Amar de Salonique". Amar Family. 14 October 2009. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ "" (in French). Bio Alliance Pharma. Archived from the original on 24 November 2006. Retrieved 9 March 2010. 
  15. ^ Nick Clarck, Carlyle poaches Olivier Sarkozy, The Independent, 4 March 2008 (in English)
  16. ^ "Fallen Giant: The Amazing Story of Hank Greenberg and the History of AIG", Ronald Shelp, Al Ehrbar. John Wiley and Sons, 2009. ISBN 0-470-48002-5, ISBN 978-0-470-48002-1. p. 99