“When the deportations began in France in 1942, [Andre] Trocmé urged his congregation to give shelter to any Jew who should ask for it. The village and its outlying areas were quickly filled with hundreds of Jews. Some of them found permanent shelter in the hilly region of Le Chambon, and others were given temporary asylum until they were able to escape across the border, mostly to Switzerland. Despite the danger, Jews were housed with local townspeople and farmers, in public institutions and children’s homes. With the help of the inhabitants some Jews were then taken on dangerous treks to the Swiss border. The entire community banded together to rescue Jews, viewing it as their Christian obligation.
According to one estimate, some 5,000 Jews passed through Le Chambon and the surrounding villages until liberation. The people of Chambon acted on their conviction that it was their duty to help their “neighbors” in need.”
-article, Yad Vashem
If you wonder where I am escaping to this weekend, it is Le Chambon-Sur-Lignon on the plateau in France. It will take me two trains and a near 2 hour rental car ride to get there, but I am fortunate to have the unique opportunity to work with the main historian there, now retired, who has agreed to spend the weekend with me, largely due to Pat and Nelly’s help. I will post about the weekend when I get back, but I think the trip and travel time will be worthwhile! I’m excited to try and establish the Le Chambon-Swiss connection, which is clearly there, to travel somewhere I may never go again, and to get to work with this amazing historian and community.
A lundi, Lausanne!