Class of 1942
Soon after Henry Giniger graduated from City College with a degree in philosophy, he joined the Marine Corps, became a combat correspondent and covered World War II in the Pacific for The Stars and Stripes newspaper. A slender, slightly built fellow, he once said that when he waded out of the ocean onto the beach at Iwo Jima, he had a rifle slung over one shoulder and a portable typewriter over the other.
When the war ended, Giniger put his rifle aside. The typewriter became his weapon of choice and he wielded it for four decades as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times, his only employer.
He was born in Brooklyn on Jan. 15, 1922, and attended Boys High School before entering CCNY and joining the staff of The Campus, eventually becoming its editor in chief. In 1943, he received one of three annual Traveling Scholarships established under the will of Joseph Pulitzer. After a stint as campus correspondent for The Times while attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and then working on the metro staff, Giniger was assigned to the Paris bureau in 1946. He fell in love with Paris and with a young Parisienne named Jeanine Texier. They were married in 1948.
Immersing himself in the coverage of post-war Europe, Giniger became fluent in French, Spanish and Portuguese. Although based in Paris, he distinguished himself by reporting breaking news from Budapest during the Soviet invasion of Hungary in 1956 and from Algeria during its uprising against France in the early 1960s.
Giniger shifted to Mexico City in 1965 and was honored by the Overseas Press Club for the best reporting of that year from Latin America. After returning for a while to the Paris office, he became head of the Times’s Madrid bureau in 1972, reporting on the Portuguese revolution, the death of Franco and Spain’s return to democracy. Later, he became bureau chief in Montreal and Ottawa before coming back to New York in 1982 as an editor on the Week in Review section.
Following his retirement in 1987, Giniger returned to France and settled down in Boulogne, a suburb of Paris. In the last article he wrote for The Times, an Op-Ed piece that was published on Nov. 21, 1987, he said he was struck by the widespread influence of American culture: “After jeans and rock, American-style television is taking over the French public. An American who moved from New York City to Paris no longer needs to feel homesick. He is getting his movies, for example, the way he almost always got them: chopped up to fill the spaces between commercials.”
Giniger never forgot his CCNY roots. When he was invited to speak to Prof. Irving Rosenthal’s journalism classes about his experiences reporting from Europe, his talent for telling stories inspired many a young student to think about the lure of life as a foreign correspondent.
He died of lung cancer on March 7, 1993. He was 71.