Greif, Jean–Jacques 1944-

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Greif, Jean–Jacques 1944-


Born September 23, 1944, in Paris, France; son of Lonek Greif (a doctor) and Malvina Zien; married; wife's name Katia; children: two sons, one daughter. Education: Attended École Polytechnique, 1964-66.


Home—Paris, France. E-mail—[email protected]


Worked variously as an artist, advertising executive, copywriter, and freelance writer. Marie Claire, Paris, France, journalist, 1975—; founder and teacher at a small, experimental high school, Paris, France, 1982-87.



Ring de la mort, École des loisirs (Paris, France), 1998, translated as The Fighter, Bloomsbury (New York, NY), 2006.

Une nouvelle vie, Malvina (title means "A New Life, Malvina"; children's book), École des loisirs (Paris, France), 2000.

Lonek le hussard, École des loisirs (Paris, France), 2000.

Sans accent, École des loisirs (Paris, France), 2001.

Nine Eleven, École des loisirs (Paris, France), 2002.


Les ordinateurs et les robots, (title means "Computers and Robots"; nonfiction children's book), Hachette jeunesse (Paris, France), 1987.

Moi, Marilyn (title means "I, Marilyn"; biographical novel), École des loisirs (Paris, France), 1998.

Jeanne d'Arc (title means "Joan of Arc"; children's book), École des loisirs (Paris, France), 1999.

Einstein: l'homme qui chevauchait la lumière, (biography), Archipel (Paris, France), 2005.

Also author of biographical novels about Beethoven and Mozart; author of numerous computer manuals.


French writer and journalist Jean-Jacques Greif began his career in 1969 as an advertising account executive and moved on to work as a copywriter when he realized he could actually earn money by writing. In 1975, he took a position as a staff writer for Marie Claire magazine in Paris, and he continued there while writing computer books, children's books, and young-adult novels.

Several of Greif's books are inspired by his parents, Lonek and Malvina, who escaped from Poland prior to World War II to avoid persecution as Jews. Both worked as part of the French Resistance and were arrested by the Nazis. Lonek spent one year in the Auschwitz concentration camp, and his friend's experiences there inspired The Fighter, the first of Greif's young-adult novels to be published in English.

The Fighter tells the story of Moshe, a fourteen-year-old Polish boy who emigrates from Warsaw to Paris in 1929. Moshe finds his new life as an amateur boxer thrown into upheaval when the Nazis invade the city and he is sent to Auschwitz. Hazel Rochman, writing for Booklist, commented that The Fighter "may be too much for some readers." However, Rita Soltan, in a review for School Library Journal, found Greif's effort to be "tough, realistic reading with some raw language."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, October 1, 2006, Hazel Rochman, review of The Fighter, p. 48.

Horn Book, November-December, 2006, Martha V. Parravano, review of The Fighter, p. 712.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2006, review of The Fighter, p. 841.

School Library Journal, December, 2006, Rita Soltan, review of The Fighter, p. 140.


Jean-Jacques Greif Home Page, (April 14, 2007).

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Greif, Jean–Jacques 1944-

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