Brassens and Sète

Georges Brassens was born in Sète, France, in the department of Hérault, in the region of Occitania. At the time, and until 1927, the town was called Cette and had 36,503 inhabitants, while in 2018 it had 43,686.
Jean-Louis, Georges's father, was an atheist and anti-clerical mason from Sète, while his mother Elvira Dagrosa was a practicing Catholic, born in Sète to a family of immigrants from Marsico Nuovo (in the province of Potenza, Italy). Elvira was a war widow and mother of a little girl, Simone Comte, born in 1915 and later known as Simone Cazzani, after her marriage to Yves Cazzani.
house where Georges was born lies in a road currently named rue Georges Brassens at number 54 (now 20), and a plaque has been placed on it. In the same street, at the corner with rue de la Révolution, there is a mural painting dedicated to him by the graffiti artist Maye.

In 1940 Georges moved to Paris to work at the Renault factory in Boulogne-Billancourt, but after the Nazi occupation of the capital he returned to Sète. After the armistice he returned to Paris, but in 1943, he was forced to work at the BMW factory, in the Basdorf labor camp, near Berlin, following a compulsory work decree (STO, Service du travail obligatoire).
Back in France on sick leave, Brassens did not return to Germany and waited for the end of the war in Paris, where he lived the rest of his life, but he often returned to Sète, where he also performed at the
Municipal Theater.
Georges Brassens died on October 29
th, 1981 at 11:15 pm, in the village of Saint-Gély-du-Fesc, also in the Hérault, just over 40 km (25 Mi) from Sète, in the house of his surgeon, Dr. Bousquet, where he had celebrated seven days before his sixtieth birthday.
The love for his hometown can also be read in one of his best known songs : “
Supplique pour être enterré à la plage de Sète”, which gave the name to the 1966 album, in which he expressed the desire to be buried on Corniche beach in Sète.
Brassens' grave is not on the Corniche beach, as he wished, but it anyway has a sea view. With him in the grave rest his half-sister Simone with her husband Yves Cazzani, and his partner, from 1947 until his death, Joha Heiman (1911-1999), an Estonian from Tallinn, whom he affectionately called «Püppchen» (little doll in German), even though they both spelled the name as «Püpchen». Joha and Georges never married and never lived together, but he wrote for her : « J’ai rendez-vous avec vous », « Je me suis fait tout petit (devant une poupée) », « Saturne », « Rien à jeter » and « La Non-Demande en mariage ».

The city of Sète, on the occasion of the centenary of Brassens, has set up an old lightvessel, the Roquerols, devoting it to meetings, conferences and concerts about Georges.

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page created: October 20th, 2021 and last updated: October 27th, 2021