The story we tell today is that of a life of a boy. A boy whose painful suffering became his reason for living.
Gérard Feldzer was born during the second world war, the son of a Jewish father and a Russian mother. At the age of just six months, he lost his father, a resistance fighter killed in action.
Gérard lost a very important person except the will to live. And this will to live propelled him forward onto a personal journey that led him to an extraordinary destiny.
A life-changing opportunity
Gérard was first introduced to the world of aviation when he was just six years old. His uncle, a pilot of a Soviet aircraft of the 2nd World War, Yak 03 Russian fighter plane, offering him a chance to fly in the plane and this simple gesture changed Gérard’s fate.
While flying with his uncle, he experienced an unparalleled sense of freedom; the emotions and experiences he encountered as he soared through the air completely transformed his perspective of life.
Ever since, he has set his sights on using his life and skills to serve others.
Later, having secured his first diploma at ESTACA, École Supérieure des Techniques Aéronautiques et de Construction Automobile, Gérard entered the world of aviation and never looked back.
When people give us one opportunity, anyone can have the chance succeed.
Gérard was deeply inspired by his father, a resistance soldier who died at the age of 33. Gérard’s father’s life was dedicated to fighting for a cause and saving lives, and he paid the ultimate price in his quest to help others.
As a child, Gérard frequently questioned his father’s actions. He lamented the fact his father had chosen to fight instead of taking the easy path and enjoying a comfortable life with his family.
However, when the six-year-old boy saw the world from above, for the first time he truly saw destruction, saw the war, saw death, and saw the beauty of our planet. During that flight, his uncle, hero of Normandy Niemen, shared his vision with Gerard; a vision through which he highlighted the futility of destruction and the need for humanity to do good.
Like his father, Gérard chose to fight; to fight for peace.
And that is exactly what he has done ever since.
He has helped people in Somalia, Uganda, Mali, and Mozambique, among many others. He told me, “It was my way to make a war… a war with a real propose.”
If you do something for nothing, it is not worth living. If it is not going to be useful to someone; make an adventure for adventure, does not make sense, it does not make you exist.
Gérard has dedicated his life to helping others. At every opportunity, he endeavors to understand the difficulties and causes of a problem before judging. He has been involved in many projects that have delivered much more than financial results alone; they have fundamentally changed human actions for the better.
For example, Gérard created ZEBUNET, a microcredit project that aims to give people the means to help themselves. Help a farmer to buy an animal, and you give him the ability to generate an income with which he can feed his family and, ultimately, repay his debt.
Through giving people the funds they need to set about actively changing their own lives, you give them dignity and a brighter future.
To date, ZEBUNET has already helped over 17,000 animals and 7,500 families.
A true inspiration
Gérard’s frankness is astounding. He has worked and met many important people, like Mr. Bertrand Piccard and Minister of Ecological and Solidary Transition Mr. Nicolas Hulot, among other personalities, yet he remains grounded and humble. He has developed and experienced fantastic inventions, and his enthusiasm and dedication are relentless and contagious.
But what stands out the most about Gérard’s view of life is its simplicity. Gérard is simply dedicated to helping others, regardless of what form that help may take.
His compassion and humanity extend beyond borders; for Gérard, there are no frontiers, only opportunities to continue his fight for peace.
Ana Paula Araujo Mendes
Many thanks to:
Mr. Gérard Feldzer, former French airline pilot. Is a consultant and popularizer in aeronautics and transport media, member of the Academy of Air and Space since 2000. Honorary President of the Aéro-club de France.
Founding President of CARWATT since 2015 (transformation of diesel vehicles into electric)
Founding President of futura – m o b i l i t y
Interview Photos Nadjim Ait-Meddour