A significant 20thcentury owner of Château de Détilly was Jean Worms, an engineer who was born in Paris in 1894 but moved to the Dordogne region in the 1920s after fighting in World War I.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, he was seconded to work as a hydraulics engineer in a gunpowder factory. Frustrated with his job, he joined the Resistance movement after the invasion of the German army, under the pseudonym “Germinal”.

In 1943, one of his daughters, Nadine, was arrested by the French police and sent to the detention camp of Drancy, before being deported to Auschwitz where she perished. Also during the war, his first wife Yvonne disappeared without trace, probably a forgotten victim of the Shoah.

After the war was over, Jean Worms went back to Paris to run an industrial company and also bought Château de Détilly, which he modernized extensively. Some of his changes to the interior are still to be seen to this day. The château remained in the family after his death in the Dordogne in 1974, where he is buried with his second wife Gilberte, who died in 1991.

That same year, Château de Détilly was acquired and partly redecorated by flamboyant Alfred Sirven, a very prominent director of the then leading French oil company Elf, who subsequently became embroiled in several major financial and political scandals. Although he escaped from Europe when these started to break out, well ahead of the first trial, he was found in the Philippines in 2000 and sentenced to prison in 2001, eventually dying in 2005 before a second trial.

Mr. Sirven having left many debts behind despite having embezzled massive amounts of money during his time at Elf, the furniture and contents of Château de Détilly were seized and sold in 1999, then the château itself was repossessed in 2001, when it was auctioned off.

It was acquired by a California-based Anglo-American couple, who very tastefully refurbished and furnished it to its present style, which has been largely preserved by the new owners, who in turn bought it in 2020.


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