- Mairie of Annemasse
Re: Declaration by the association known as
the 'Priory of Sion'
Further to your telephone communication, I have
pleasure in returning to you the Declaration Receipt that you
asked me to send to the president of the association known as the
'Priory of Sion'.
For the time being I shall hang on to the
register that you have initialled.
I also enclose three examples of a magazine
that seems to originate with the same organisation as that
In issue No. 1 of the magazine the design of
the emergency accommodation that the town built last year is
In issue No. 2 reference is made to a matter
that led to a dispute with an administrator of the CIL [Comité
Interprofessionnel du Logement = Housing Committee], a Monsieur
Maitret, solely in our opinion to give Monsieur Maitret an
opportunity to reply (see issue No. 3).
This particular matter, which concerned the use
of gas and electricity sub-meters [i.e. to monitor consumption on
an individual basis] in blocks of flats, formed the subject of
quite a lively polemic last January. The copy of the letter
addressed to Monsieur Deffaugt which I enclose will provide you
with all the information you need on the subject.
For your personal information, I feel I should
add that Monsieur Maitret, the Director of the CIL, is the leader
of the opposition group on the town council, that this
organisation that is currently being formed [i.e. the Priory] was
inspired by this opposition group and - finally - that during the
recent Mothers' Day celebrations Monsieur Maitret, taking the
floor in the Mayor's presence in his capacity as President of the
Large Families Association, delivered a speech that contained a
whole host of demands and in which the Town Council was dealt
with none too gently.
The outraged tone that he used on that occasion
was condemned even by his own friends. An incident was only just
avoided. I feel that it is useful for you to know this little
aspect of the matter,
Léon Guersillon (Mayor of Annemasse 1953-1959)
Léon Guersillon, 1898-1995
Mayor of Annemasse from 1953 to 1959
Léon Guersillon was born on 10 April 1898 in Le Cateau, in the North of the country. Forced to leave his native region during the First World War, he then took up residence in Annemasse as a Great War veteran at the end of the 1920s. He started his working-life as an accountant, and was then responsible for launching and developing the watchmaking firm of ‘Huma Watch’. Called up once again in 1939, he joined the Resistance in 1941 and helped a large number of people to flee across the Swiss border. His war service was rewarded with the Médaille de la France libérée, the Deportees and Internees medal, the Croix de la Libération and the Palmes académiques.
‘His sense of good citizenship and his willingness to serve’ helped him get elected as a town councillor, in which position he served from August 1944 until 1953, when he was elected Mayor of Annemasse. During his term of office a general town-planning programme known as the Palanchon Plan (1955) was adopted, which specified, district by district, which roads were to be widened, which new roads were to be built, and where new public buildings, parks, squares and public gardens, and residential, industrial and mixed-use zones were to be established. Guersillon was responsible for building the central nursery school and also gave permission for the first council estates in Sous-Cassan and Château-Rouge. He was also responsible for enlarging the hospital, the secondary school (in two additional stages), and the town hall along Rue de la Gare and Rue du Commerce. He supported the campaign to raise money for the reconstruction in Annemasse of the statue of Michael Servetus, which had been removed and melted down during the war. A keen sportsman, he was chairman of the Annemasse Sports Association from 1942 to 1952. He finally left the town hall at the end of his term of office in 1959 and died on 9 March 1995 in Ambilly at the age of 97 years.
[Sources: Annemasse municipal archives]