Per Lemoine, a Leading Breton Nationalist, Passes Away

One of the leaders of the FLB (Breton Liberation Front), the nationalist Per Lemoine, passed away on Saturday 19th October 2023, at the age of 96. He was born on 4th August 1927 in Mael-Carhaix, where his father was Mayor. In 1943, at the age of 16, Per Lemoine joined the Resistance. Arrested by a troop of Russian soldiers based in Brittany, while wearing the German uniform, he escaped being shot. He owed his life to a vaccination certificate he had in his wallet, which had been badly translated by the officer in charge. It was interpreted as a medical document certifying that he had contracted tuberculosis and could therefore not be a fighter in the Resistance, of which he was accused.

After the war, Per Lemoine studied mathematics and architecture and became an architect in 1954. He learned the Breton language with Marc’harid Gourlaouen, a famous teacher of Breton with Skol Ober distance-learning courses, as well at the Breton cultural centre Ker Vreizh, based in Paris.

During the period of FLB (Breton Liberation Front) terrorist attacks in the seventies, he was arrested in a police search as they found a detonator on his desk. He declared that “it was perfectly normal for an architect” to have a detonator around. He was eventually liberated, probably thanks to the help of his relationship with the General Vallerie, who happened to be his father-in-law. Per Lemoine went into exile for many years on the Channel Island of Jersey. He said that each time he came off the ferryboat in St Malo, he was followed by Special Branch Agents.

“Everything that’s Breton is ours “ Per Lemoine

For 10 years, he regularly took part in the Kamp Etrekeltiek ar Vrezhonegerien (Interceltic camp of Breton people) together with Vefa Bellaing, Xavier de Langlais and Ronan Huon. In 1955, Pierre Lemoine, together with other Breton militants, created the magazine Ar Vro, and later on, the magazine L’Avenir de la Bretagne, as well as contributing to the magazine ARMOR. Founding member of the party: Mouvement pour l’Organisation de la Bretagne (Brittany Organisation Movement), he was also administrator of Kuzul ar Brezhoneg (Breton committee) for about 20 years. Member of l’Union Fédéraliste des Communautés Européennes (FUEN: Federal Union of European Nationalities), from its creation in 1949 with Joseph Martray, its founder, he became vice-president for Europe from 1980 until 1986, then President from 1986 until 1990. He represented FUEN at the European Council from 1990 onward. Member of the Institut Culturel de Bretagne – Skol Uhel Ar Vro (Cultural Institute of Brittany), he was, for a moment, President of the International Relations section.

“European national minorities are the last colonised people . “ – Per Lemoine

Commander of the order of St John (Denmark), he received the order of the European Fighter, and also the Breton order of the Collier de l’Hermine in 1994 in Vannes. Per Lemoine was close to Yann Fouéré, who had not fought in the Resistance, and he even went to visit him during his exile in Ireland. A European at heart, he shared Yann Fouéré’s vision of a Europe with 100 flags. 

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