Nicolas Grunitzky

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Nicolas Grunitzky
2nd President of Togo
In office
13 January 1963 – 13 January 1967
Vice PresidentAntoine Meatchi
Preceded byEmmanuel Bodjollé
Succeeded byKléber Dadjo
Prime Minister of Togo
In office
12 September 1956 – 16 May 1958
Preceded bynone
Succeeded bySylvanus Olympio
Personal details
Born(1913-04-05)April 5, 1913
Atakpamé, Togoland
DiedSeptember 27, 1969(1969-09-27) (aged 56)
Paris, France
Political partyTogolese Party of Progress

Nicolas Grunitzky (French pronunciation: ​[nikɔla gʁynitski]; 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 a limited "national" government in their colonial possessions. He was elected Prime Minister of Togo —still under French administration— in 1956. Following the 1963 coup which killed his nationalist political rival Sylvanus Olympio, Grunitzky was chosen by the military committee of coup leaders to be Togo's second President.


He was born in Atakpamé in 1913 to a German father (of Polish origin) and a Togolese mother (of Yoruba royalty).[1][2] 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 Togolese Party of Progress and was elected into the Togolese Representative Assembly in 1951. Grunitzky also served in the French National Assembly from 1951 to 1958, winning elections in 1951 and 1956. Supported by France, he became the Prime Minister of the Republic of Togo on September 12, 1956. The PTP and its northern ally, the Union of Chiefs and Peoples of the North, were defeated in elections held on May 16, 1958 by Sylvanus Olympio's Committee of Togolese Unity (CUT) and their nationalist allies Juvento, and Grunitzky subsequently went into exile.

The CUT/JUVENTO government declared Togo's independence on April 27, 1960, and Olympio (Grunitzky's chief political rival and brother-in-law) was elected the first president of independent Togo. Following a coup d'état in 1963 that ended with the assassination of President Olympio, Grunitzky was appointed president by the "Insurrection Committee" headed by Emmanuel Bodjollé. 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. Grunitzky attempted to unify the country by including several political parties in his government. He was, however, 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.


  1. ^ Kondi Charles Madjome Agba (2002). Le commandant de Cercle à Bassar (in French). Editions Haho (the University of Michigan). p. 56.
  2. ^ Emmanuel Kwaku Akyeampong; Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; Mr. Steven J. Niven (2012). Dictionary of African Biography, Volumes 1-6. OUP USA. ISBN 9780195382075.

External links[edit]

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