Lucette Destouches, who has died aged 107, was the widow and devoted tender of the flame of Louis-Ferdinand Céline, one of France’s most renowned yet controversial writers.
Revered as the author of the modernist classic Voyage au bout de la nuit (Journey to the end of night, 1932), Céline was also reviled for his anti-Semitic sentiments and for collaborating with the occupying German forces during the Second World War.
The Allied landings in 1944 forced Céline and his wife to seek refuge in the small southern German town of Sigmaringen. Until the fall of the Reich, this served as the Nazis’ official capital of France. Lucette Destouches was among the last witnesses to its bizarre ambience.