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Lviv French and the first Freemasons in the city. The family of Lenshan de Berier

Yevhen Huliuk



Дата публікації

On the night of July 3 to 4, 1941, separate departments of the special task force of the Security Police and the Nazi Security Service arrested 21 professors of higher educational institutions in Lviv.

Among the victims was Roman Lenshan de Berier (1883 - 1941) -  the rector of Lviv University, judge of the tribunal and member of the Academy of Sciences of the Second Polish Republic, professor of civil law and author of many texts on legal topics.

He, his three sons and the servants (the Nazis came to the professors, focusing on a specific list, and then took away the entire male population of the house) were taken for interrogation and then shot together with other professors on the Vulecki hills.

This tragic event did not begin but ended the history of the Lenshan de Berier family in Lviv. So a few words about this family in our city and their main achievements, locations and phenomena.

From religious dissidents to power, from France to Lviv

Roman Lenshan de Berier was a native of Lviv; he was born in our city, grew up and worked here. You can't tell it by his surname. The fact is that this outstanding scientist is a representative of the family of French Huguenots, who, due to religious pressure, left their land and moved to Lviv in the middle of the XVIII century.

The family did not stay in the new place for a long time - about twenty years after their appearance in Lviv, a representative of the family, banker Francois Lenshan de Berier (1710 - 1784), was elected to the city council and later - even became mayor. After that, he was re-elected several times in this position.

The mayor of Lviv was also a doctor by profession Maxime Mersenier - a well-known local politician of French origin. He is the brother of François Lenshan de Berier's wife, Genevieve.

Significantly, it was during the period of Mersenier's rule - the division of the Commonwealth and the entry of Lviv into the Austrian Empire - that occurred. Therefore, on behalf of the authorities and the city community, Maxim Mersenier swore allegiance to Empress Maria Theresa. 

Francois Lenshan de Berier had an estate on the outskirts of the central part of Lviv, where the family lived. This area was noted for its picturesque landscapes and well-groomed appearance. Lviv residents then knew this area under the name of Lenshanivka.

In 1780 this area of Lviv was visited by Emperor Joseph II, and it began to be called Kaiserwald. Today, most Lviv residents call the area Znesinnia.

François Lenshan de Berier was also a prominent figure of Freemasonry in Lviv - he headed the first Lviv Masonic Lodge -"Des Trois Deesses". He was also associated with the activities of another lodge - "Three White Eagles", which included influential traders and bankers of the time.

Polish flower on French soil

Lviv, ancient as well as modern, is hard to imagine without pharmacies. Once there were not so many of them, but these institutions had an impact on scientific, cultural and educational life in the city. So, we have an opportunity to recall the contribution of the Lenshan de Berier family in this sphere. 

François and Geneviève Lenshan de Berier were a large family and had four daughters and five sons. It is difficult to trace the life path of each of them, but it is impossible not to mention Alexandre Lenshan de Berier.

He was the founder of one of the most famous Lviv pharmacies - "Under the Hungarian Crown". The latter is located on the modern Soborna Square, and most Lviv residents and visitors of our city know it as the Interactive Museum "Secret Pharmacy".

The following information is only indirectly related to the history of the Lenshan de Berier family, but it is symbolic: Eleonora Lenshan de Berier, one of the daughters of François and Geneviève, was the mother of the famous Polish poet and scientist Vincent Pol.

Lenshan de Berier and the present time

Not many ancient aristocratic families managed to preserve the continuity of their family line to this day, but the family of Lenshan de Berier is one of them.

At the same time, representatives of this family also continue their family traditions. At least professional ones. For example, we can mention Franciszek Lenszan de Berier (born in 1969) - a Polish lawyer and historian of law from Wroclaw.

He is the great-grandson of Roman Lenszan de Berier (the one who died on the Vulecki Hills) and the son of Franciszek Lenszan de Berier - also a famous lawyer.

Our short story about the French family Lenshan de Berier, who once lived in Lviv, does not fully reveal the whole topic. Nevertheless, those interested can convince that this topic is important, and the representatives of the mentioned family did a lot for the development of our region. 


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