Thanathorn buys Pridi”s house in Paris

Thanathorn buys Pridi"s house in Paris

To be preserved as an important part of Thai history

Thanathorn buys Pridi's house in Paris
A photo of Pridi Banomyong, placed behind his statue at Thammasat University during an event on May 11, 2022, to commemorate the statesman’s life and achievements. (Photo: Chanat Katanyu)

Progressive Movement leader Thanathong Juangroongruangkit has purchased the house in Paris where Pridi Banomyong spent the last days of his life, to preserve as an important part of Thailand’s political history.

Mr Thanathorn told Thairath Online on Monday he and his wife had acquired the house in the southern  Paris suburb of Antony from the Vietnamese owner last year. They would renovate it to serve as a memorial to Pridi’s long political crusade.

“We think this is a good opportunity to keep this house as a memorial to Pridi, who fought a political battle until he went into exile, spent his life in France and died in this house,” he said. 

The house owner had approached Mr Thanathorn last year asking whether he was interested in buying it, he said. The suburb of Antony is about 11 kilometres from central Paris. 

Mr Thanathorn did not reveal the price tag of the house, or whether he and his family would use it privately or open it to the public.

The former leader of the disbanded Future Forward party said he would reveal more details of his plans for the house in the next month or two. 

A native of Ayutthaya province, Pridi was a statesman and considered a political hero by reformists. He was a core member of the People’s Party, which paved the way for democracy in Thailand on June 24, 1932, when the country abolished the absolute monarchy, replacing it with a constitutional monarchy. 

He was leader of the Free Thai Movement, operating underground against the Japanese during World War II, and later was forced into exile, first in China and later in France, after a failed coup in 1949. He was briefly the prime minister in 1946.

He also founded Thammasat University in 1934, when it was initially called the University of Moral and Political Sciences.

Mr Thanathorn hoped the Paris house would be a factor in reminding Thais of the importance of 1932 in political history. “I would like people to remember the historical importance of 1932, like the 4th of July in the United States and Bastille Day of France,” he said.