Liberté Cherie – a Masonic Melodrama by Richard Simmons and Dafydd Bullock

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Liberté chérie Memorial at Esterwegen concentration camp

Liberté chérie was one of the very few Masonic lodges founded within a Nazi concentration camp during the Second World War. On November 15, 1943, seven Belgian Freemasons and resistance fighters founded the Masonic Lodge Loge Liberté chérie (French: Cherished Liberty Lodge) inside Hut 6 of Emslandlager VII (Esterwegen). The name of the lodge was derived from La Marseillaise.

The original seven Freemasons of Loge Liberté chérie were:

Paul Hanson
Luc Somerhausen
Jean De Schrijver
Jean Sugg
Henri Story
Amédée Miclotte
Franz Rochat
Guy Hannecart

They later initiated, passed, and raised Brother Fernand Erauw, another Belgian.

More than a hundred prisoners were in Hut 6, and locked up nearly around the clock—allowed to leave only for a half-hour walk per day, under supervision. During the day, half of the camp had to sort cartridges and radio parts. The prisoners of the other half of the camp were forced to work under dreadful conditions in the surrounding peat bogs. The nutrition was so miserable that the prisoners lost 4 kg of body weight each month, on average.

After the first ritual meeting, with an admission of the new brother, further meetings were thematically prepared. One was dedicated to the symbol of the Great Architect of the Universe, another “The future of Belgium”, and a further, “The position of women in Freemasonry”. Only Somerhausen and Erauw survived detention, and the lodge stopped “working” at the beginning of 1944.

More information can be found out about Liberté chérie at this Blog  (French)

In recognition of these brave brethren, Richard Simmons and Dafydd Bullock have written the Masonic Melodrama, Liberté Chérie  Opus 266, which is available to download here Dafydd-Bullock-Liberte-Cherie-A-Masonic-Melodrama-Opus-266 (1)

Dafydd was born in Llanberis, Gwynedd, Cymru (Wales). A composer, he graduated in Music (University of Manchester and the Royal Northern College of Music, 1971 – 1976) where he studied with George Hadjinikos and took a Master’s Degree in International Relations (University of Sussex, 1981 – 1983). In 1993 and 1994 he won first prizes at the National Eisteddfod of Wales, and in 1995 he was honored in Wales by admission to the highest Order of the Gorsedd of Bards.

He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in 2005. His compositions include 24 symphonies, a cycle of 18 symphonic poems, 2 operas, 2 Requiems, 2 Mass settings, a Missa Brevis, an oratorio, 22 string quartets, 12 Trios and other chamber music and many songs and pieces for piano. He has written scores for 2 films. His works have been published in the British Isles by Cwmni Gwynn, Curiad and Bardic Edition, in Belgium by Alain Van Kerckhoven Editeur, in the USA, and in Luxembourg by Luxembourg Music Publishers, Music Enterprise and Double You. He has made 32 CDs to date, with SAIN (Wales), AVK (Belgium) and LakeSound. His music has been performed and broadcast in many countries, including Japan, China, Brazil and Colombia as well as widely within Europe.

Dafydd has a particular relationship with Prague: his Second Symphony was given its world premiere by Musici de Praga during the 1996 Prague Spring Festival and the Third Symphony, again in Prague, on St. Valentine’s Day, 1997. The third and fourth String Quartets were also recorded in Prague (Becher Quartet) as were the complete works for Cello and Piano (Jindrich Ptacek) and five Trios. More recently, Virtuosi di Basso, the twelve solo celli of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra have recorded and performed music especially written for them. Recently he premiered his Requiem for Jan Palach in Luxembourg and in Prague.

The text is by Dr Richard Simmons, an urbanist, historian and occasional librettist. Though not a Freemason himself he has close friends in the Craft and was privileged to oversee the UK Scout Association’s expenditure of grants from the Masonic Charitable Foundation. He became interested in the fate of Europe’s Freemasons during World War II on a visit to the site of the former Lodge in Trier, near the home of the composer, a lifelong friend.

Dafydd and Richard have asked that any income generated (and no copyright payments or author’s rights asked) can go to any charitable cause.

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