Paul F. Du Vivier, 82, career diplomat who was held prisoner by the Nazis

March 06, 1997|By Fred Rasmussen | Fred Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Paul Fuller Du Vivier, a retired career diplomat who was imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II, died of cancer Feb. 27 at home in Hunt Valley where he had lived since 1992. He was 82.

Mr. Du Vivier was a reporter for the New York Times, then joined the Foreign Service in 1941. He retired in 1972.

During World War II, while vice consul in Marseille, France, Mr. Du Vivier was active with the French Resistance, which led to his arrest by the Nazis.

He and eight other prisoners, including diplomats, reporters and a Russian dancer, were imprisoned for 500 days at Baden-Baden in southwestern Germany.

To ward off the monotony of incarceration, they "organized their own university and taught each other subjects in order to keep their minds going," said his wife of 53 years, the former Margaret de Ropp.

The prisoners also made a volleyball out of paper and had spirited matches.

"I was able to get mail through to him," Mrs. Du Vivier recalled. "But my monthly packages I sent of goods purchased at Hopper-McGaw's [grocers] on Charles Street were pilfered by the Germans."

The experiences of Mr. Du Vivier and the other prisoners are recalled in "The Lost Diplomats," a book by Ohio author John Baskin that is to be published soon.

After the war, Mr. Du Vivier held diplomatic posts in Ghana, Canada, Sweden, Germany, France, Scotland and Monaco, where he developed a close relationship with Princess Grace and Prince Rainier.

He retired after a stint as general consul in Frankfurt, Germany.

In a letter to Princeton University describing his diplomatic career, Mr. Du Vivier wrote, "Making friends for America has been our goal for over 30 years."

Mr. Du Vivier was born in New York City and raised in Paris. His father was an international lawyer.

He studied at Le Monteel School in Europe and graduated from Princeton Preparatory School. He earned a bachelor's degree in history from Princeton in 1938 and a master's degree from Georgetown University in 1940.

After he retired, he earned a doctorate at Georgetown University. He also worked in the rare-book section at the historic Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, creating a series of lectures on French history, and served on the board of the Alliance Francaise.

In 1986, he published "Five Lillies of France," a history of five regions of the country. He also wrote "Lorraine -- the Last of the Lillies" and, despite failing eyesight, completed his last book, "A Tale of Three Cities," which was published in 1995. It focuses on the creation of the French language.

Mr. Du Vivier was a member of the Metropolitan Club, the Atlantic Council and DACOR, the Diplomatic and Consular Officers Retired.

He enjoyed reading, writing and lecturing and spending summers at a home in Southampton, N.Y., on Long Island.

In June, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by the Princeton Class of 1938.

A Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 101 Church Lane in Cockeysville. He will be interred at Oak Hill Cemetery in Washington, next to his great-great-great-grandfather, Nathan Loughborough, one of the founders of Georgetown.

Other survivors include a son, Paul Trimble Du Vivier of Westport, Conn.; a daughter, Anne Du Vivier of Washington; a brother, Dr. Edward Du Vivier of St. Louis; and two grandchildren.

Pub Date: 3/06/97

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