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André and Magda Trocmé

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Pastor André Trocmé
Pastor André Trocmé

André Trocmé (April 7, 1901, Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmont – June 5, 1971, Geneva) and his wife Magda (née Grilli di Cortona, November 2, 1901, Florence, Italy – October 10, 1996, Paris)[1] are a French couple designated Righteous Among the Nations. For 15 years, André served as a pastor in the French town of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon on the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon in south-central France. He had been sent to this rather remote parish because of his pacifist positions which were not well received by the French Protestant Church. In his preaching, he spoke out against discrimination as the Nazis were gaining power in neighboring Germany and urged his Protestant Huguenot congregation to hide Jewish refugees from the Holocaust of the Second World War.

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  • ✪ Remembering the Good: Holocaust Rescue and Resistance in a French Village
  • ✪ La Colline aux mille enfants (trailer) english subs


- So I want to thank you all for joining our NEH colloquium series event. We are going to be further exploring this theme of complicity and collaboration today. For those of you haven't had an opportunity to meet me yet, I'm the scholar in residence here for this academic year, I'm Dr. Azadeh Aalai. So welcome, I see a lot of familiar faces, which is always nice. So this particular talk that we're having is in partnership with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. Specifically it's with their campus outreach lecture program and it's part of their Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies and it's also part of our doctor's BB and Owen Bernstein lecture series. So this particular talk I've really been looking forward to. It aligns really well with our conspiracy of goodness exhibit that we've had up. I know some classes have had an opportunity to walk through the exhibit. If you haven't yet gotten a chance and you have some extra time after our talk, I strongly recommend sticking around and you can walk through the exhibit and get a sense of more of the details of what our speaker will be discussing today. So our speaker is Dr. Margaret Paxson, she's an anthropologist and an author of The Plateau (mumbles) and the Search for Our Better Angles which is forthcoming at Riverhead Books. Her essays have appeared in the Washington Post, the Washington Post Magazine, the Wilson Quarterly, (mumbles), and her last book, Solovyovo The Story of Memory in a Russian Village was named a 2006 book of the year by We actually have two of Dr. Paxson's essays posted on our library guide which are specific to (mumbles) and rescue and resistance during the holocaust. So for those of you who are here for classes or assignments, you might find those resources helpful and they're listed on our library guide. In terms of her many achievements, Dr. Paxson has held research appointments at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and at the George Washington University. She's a native of Rochester, New York and she has a lifelong interested in community and peace-building and was a coordinator for Rochester's biracial partnerships, an innovative program that sought to build lasting bridges between the city's racial communities. She's also fluent in Russian and French, you saw I was struggling with some of the titles of her books 'cause I'm not as fluent, and she also has skills in Kabardian, a language of Russia's north caucus region and she's appeared on BBC radio, Dialogue Television, and other broadcast medium. Dr. Paxson holds a BA in anthropology from McGill University and a masters and PhD, also in anthropology, from the University of Montreal. So please join us in giving her a heart QCC welcome. (applause) - Hello everybody. I'm so happy to be here today and thank you so much to Azadeh and Dan, and the whole group here. This is such a gorgeous place, a gorgeous facility, and what an opportunity to be able to talk about, really, what is I think a story of goodness in a terrible, terrible time. And I think that's what I kind of pull out from the story of (mumbles) and the plateau, the broader plateau that it's a part of, that we get from it an example of a place and a people who did something very, very remarkable and very difficult in a time when it was very difficult to do that. So, um, I also should say that the exhibit that you have back there is just really wonderful. And so if any of you have not had a chance to look at it and you can, please, please do. It's the most beautiful exhibit on (mumbles) I have ever seen. So, in any case. So basically for a person who writes about the holocaust, I am an unusual kind of case. Normally people who write about the holocaust are historians and what historians do, historians do a lot of things, but probably most importantly they try to get the past right, they try to figure out what actually happened. Why do they do that? Because it matters. It matters to get it right when some people are saying one thing and another group of people are saying another thing, you've got to get it right. In the case of the holocaust, that really matters morally also, we have to get it right because getting it wrong is part of a terrible denial of who we are. But I'm an anthropologist. An anthropologist studies human society, human culture, it usually has historically studied human culture far away from where we are. So I did my PhD based on research in a teeny tiny little village in Russia in the 1990s. I started in the middle of no where and I learned a lot of things. So, I think I wanted to start for this talk I want to start on the moment that I went, for the first time, to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. as an anthropologist. So have any of you been to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.? It's a really remarkable place. So this anthropologist went to the Holocaust Museum and what happened when I went and visited that Holocaust Museum for the first time, you go into this place, this space, it's all done up in a kind of way to evoke the period of, sort of, the 1930s. And things are sort of made in metal and steel and they're sort of dark and rusty. You go up an elevator that's made out of this gray rust and then the doors open. And then a story unfolds are you start walking through. And it's a terrible story. It's one of the worst stories that we have, as human beings. It begins, basically, in Germany in the 1930s. Germany had lost a huge World War and it was in a very, very terrible place at that time. It was in a period of economic collapse and political confusion. And it was basically trying to figure out how to be, who to blame for how bad things were. And so as it looked around and decided who to blame for how bad things were, and they were really terrible, it decided that a really great target was Jewish people. So when you go through that museum you really sort of figuring out at first the story of how they blamed Jewish people for these things. And you see artifacts for that blame. So you see how, you see this economic collapse, evidence of the economic collapse, you see photographs of policemen who start going around with big dogs looking for people, you hear songs of nationalism, like nationalist songs in the air. That's all there in the museum. You go down the hall a little bit and you see the evidence for what were called the Nuremberg Laws, basically laws designed to tell you who was Jewish and who wasn't and who was kind of somewhere in between. In other words, who was gonna be the person to blame, and who was not the person to blame. By my own background I realized in that first time that I was in the museum that I was something in the middle so I would've, my mother's Jewish and my father isn't so that would've made me a certain kind of person to blame at that time. You start going through the museum, years go by and they show you what happened in these years. 1938 was something called kristallnacht, the night of the broken glass. And that was a moment when there was a decision to have a huge kind of demonstration and break all these synagogues, the glass in all these synagogues, people were terrified. So all these Jewish people who were in these places now had a new reality. And as part of this new reality they went into flight. Basically they became immigrants in their own country, in other countries, and there was a huge crisis. So that's actually something important that I'll come back to, but this was a period of the 1930s caused by this moment in time of political and nationalism, antisemitism, naziism. It was a time when people started wanting to get out. And so they started moving around. So Europe at this time was a time when people were not home anymore, they were now in new places, they were now trying to make a new life somewhere because they didn't feel safe where they came from. In 1939 Germany, the pink there, advanced into Czech lands and Polland. In 1940 France fell, in 1941 was something called Operation Barbarosa, that was... (mumbles) Into Russia, Ukraine, (mumbles) where Germany decided that it needed to gobble up those new territories. That in turn created whole new ways of refugees from those places. So this movement came to be called the holocaust by bullets. This is when Jewish started being killed by being shot rather than later what we would know, a lot of us would know as the story of killing in the holocaust as in the concentration camps. In the museum it then goes to January of 1942, the final solution. The official decision that the solution of who to blame was to get rid of all the Jewish people on the face of the earth. That's who you solve the problem of who to blame, you just get rid of all of them. If they live in Germany, if they live in France, if they live anywhere on the planet. You look for them and you get rid of them and that's how you solve the problem, your problems. The museum shows you signs of ghettos, then work camps, then killing centers and gas chambers. You see evidence of entire villages eradicated. You see the shoes people left behind when they went into the gas chambers. You see photographs of tattooed arms, you see evidence of medical experiments. Basically if you step back this was one of the worst moral hurricanes the world has ever known. It's a terrible, terrible moment. And if you, like me, have gone through that museum you might've had the experience, but by that time when you're in that museum you're exhausted. You don't know what to do. You don't know what to do anymore. How can you believe anymore that we can be better than this when you see this evidence of the worst of what we are? People's responses were varied to this terrible, terrible time. There are people what are called perpetrators, people who actually did the worst of the atrocities. There were collaborators, both states and individuals who decided that they were gonna just kind of make due and maybe take advantage of the situation that was dangerous. There were bystanders, people who looked along when these horrible things were happening and just like, "I don't, I can't see it, I don't know, "I don't know what's going on." I think we all can think about how in our own lives sometimes this happens. Do you do something bad when other people are, do you try to fix things with the folks who are in charge so that things can be easier for you, do you not pay attention when things are going wrong? This is a terrible story. But if you managed to get that far in the museum and you keep walking, something else happens and there's another exhibit. And that, I'm gonna have a sip of water, excuse me. Set against all of this, this anthropologist, me, I walked into what was called The Hall of Rescue and Resistance. And basically this was a room dedicated to show people how some resisted this terrible time. They resisted blaming the people that everyone else was blaming for their troubles. There was the story of Oscar Schindler, some of you, you've seen Schindler's List, that movie. Story of him and his list of a group of Jewish people that he put himself under very dangerous circumstances to save. There's a story of a Danish boat that transported thousands of Jews to safety in Sweden in October of 1943. There were stories of heroic Jewish fighters who lived in the forest and fought from those forests and figured out how to destroy the enemy as they could. There are stories of groups, like a youthful anti-Nazi group called the White Rose from Munich whose members were beheaded for treason in 1943. Resisting was a dangerous business back then. And I think we can also all empathize with the fact that sometimes resisting the forces that are out there can be very, very dangerous. But then I saw on another wall the story of shelter in a place called Le Chambon sur Lignon. And I learned later that that village was a part of a tiny tiny little plateau in the south of France called the plateau viva Lignon. It's a tiny little plateau. On that plateau during the second World War, some really incredible things happened in that terrible time. There, local people took in these refugees, right this was an immigrant crisis, took them in, these people who were immigrants because their life, if they were found they would be killed. They fed them, they clothed them, they hid them in their barns, in their walls, in their basements, they taught their children, they got them work, they got false documents for them, and then they got them off to other countries, usually Switzerland, for safety. It was an incredible place. I looked at this exhibit and I think I felt like many people would've felt. That this was like a light in the darkness. So, a couple of words just about what was going on at the time. So France, I said that Germany invaded France in May of 1940. That was kind of an odd occupation. Basically Germany, when it marched in it marched in and took the top, the north of France called the occupied zone there in that map, first. And then basically south of that, if you gathered up all the regular sort of right wing people in the country, the people with sort of tendencies towards, that might be agreeable to the Nazis, you make a puppet government called (mumbles) regime and called that the free zone. So basically in the north the Germans were already there, in the south you had sort of a puppet regime that was French. No matter how you slice it, this spelled disaster for the Jewish community in France. So, I didn't know this before I started. I should have, but I didn't. That there have been Jews in France for centuries, that the Jewish community was small, but thriving. There were Ashkenazi Jews, European Jews, Sephardic Jews, African-based Jews, they spoke many different languages, had different kinds of cultures, right? They had different cultural traditions, they're also had been a stead increase in France of Jews all the way from the late 19th and early 20th centuries when people, for totally other reasons, Jews for other reasons, were coming in from eastern Europe where it was also pretty bad in the late 19th and early 20th century. By the start of the war the Jewish population was 350,000, but a good chunk of those people were part of the migrant crisis. Now, when the Germans occupied France, things happened like happen in most places when there is occupation. French people collaborated, some of them collaborated, decided, "Now that we know who's in charge, "we're gonna do what we can to make do." But then some of them also resisted, very famously in France there was a very powerful French resistance to this occupation. Now, there were also French concentration camps. This I did not know, either, before I started this. Anthropologists did not know that there were French concentration camps. That were maintained by French people, they were their very own concentration camps. They worked in tandem with the Germany occupiers. There was also French transportation to concentration camps. "So here are our railways, here are our ways to get people, "use what we have and you can get, "you can advance your program of getting rid of "these people that we want to blame." Also in France, to those in charge, there were French defined antisemitic laws. So the way, it's complicated, but basically France had a choice and it decided it was gonna be more inclusive in who it even decided was Jewish. So, in other words, who was to blame got a bigger chunk of people than even in Germany. Altogether it was a climate of fear and terror for these Jewish people. This is just a map from, by the way the photographs and maps that I'm suing are basically from the Holocaust Museum, mostly. This is just a map that shows what happened, what could happen if you were caught up in that net and you were Jewish. The arrows point to various concentration camps, the ones that are in the country of France. Famous ones like one called (speaking French) and one called (speaking French). And then transportation camps like one north of Paris called (speaking French) and then outwards to Auschwitz, we know about Auschwitz, to (mumbles). These extermination camps. So again, set against all that, there's this village. Or there's this, actually, cluster of villages of Le Chambon sur Lignon and this plateau, viva le Lignon. So this is what I, when this anthropologist saw this for the first time, I learned. So where was this? Where was Le Chambon sur Lignon? You see it's in south central France. It's important to note about this place that was so different from these other places that it was far from the capital. It was basically in the boondocks, it was far from Paris, it was on a plateau. An area of France, sort of this high plateau and within that plateau is another mini plateau. It was very hard to get to. And I learned that along the way, too. Actually, based on some of my work in Russia, as well, in mountainous regions of Russia, one of the things that's important there is that it's really hard to get there. So if you're like a kid trying to get there it's one thing, but if you're an Army trying to get there and take over it's kind of another thing and to take control of it. Now it was important, also, that this, it's important the way the people talk about themselves there. This is a Protestant region of France, as opposed to a Catholic region of France, for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. That does not mean it was only Protestants there, but it was a lot more Protestants than Catholics. Now, we can talk later about what that might have meant, but it meant a lot to people there. Also you can see, here it is. There it is and there's (mumbles). It was also in that unoccupied part of France. So at first when the Germans were in the north, there's this huge push south. All these people were like, "I'm getting out," and they went south. So a lot of these Jewish people moved south and then later when the Germans came, they occupied the whole of France that created new dangers, but at first especially there's this big huge wave of people coming in. So that's where it is. Who was rescued? Who was rescued there? A lot of Jewish people were rescued there. So, according to, there's actually a big debate about how many people this was, but some of the estimates say about 5,000 people were sheltered there through the course of the war. Some people say that's a number that's way too high, but somewhere between many hundred and 5,000 people passed through and were sheltered there during the war. And of those, 3,500 according to that estimate, were Jewish people. These were not one kind of Jewish people, Jewish person or Jewish people. These were Jews from France, from Germany, Austria, Poland, and the Soviet Union, Ukraine, (mumbles) countries, Czechoslovakia, and even someone who I know because I studied, who I tried to follow his case, who was from Iran. But they weren't just Jewish people who were rescued, some were people who were just there for political reasons. It was also quite dangerous to be a communist in that period in Europe. And there were communists there and other, anarchists, and other kinds of political refugees who also were in trouble because of the Germany occupation. There were also, later in the war there were people called (mumbles), those who were once Germany occupied it required all young men, I see a lot of young men in this audience, all young men to sign up to serve the German state. So you had to do that. So those young men decided, "There's no way I'm gonna do that," and so they also were in flight. And those young men also ended up in Le Chambon during the war. Those people who were there spoke many different languages, they had all kinds of different cultural backgrounds, some were country people, some were city people, some of them were from well-to-do backgrounds, some of them were from poor backgrounds. They had whole ranges of political attitudes and attitudes towards the law, which is another issue. So this was a big diverse group in a tiny, tiny village. Le Chambon itself had about 5,000 people living there. The whole little plateau that I've been talking about had about 24,000 people all together. Now we can imagine what it would mean to have this many strangers, and this kind of outback, this kind of lonely little area with all these different kinds of people. I mean, it's pretty remarkable. Important to this story is also that local folks didn't ask people about their background, they made it a habit. I mean, I don't know, no one ever uttered the question, "What is your background?" But they didn't make a habit to say, "Are you Jewish, what's your story?" They just like, "Okay, you need something, here you go, "here's a place for you." They also, when it was clear that people were Jewish, they did not, as a matter or principle make a point of converting people to Christianity. This was also a big deal, right? So they didn't try to change who people were. They just said, "You need something, come on in." And we can talk about that later if you like, but that's a very important point to the survivors who passed through there, that meant a lot to them. Also I can say there was a group from 1943 onward, there was a group of German soldiers who was convalescing, the was convalescing there in Le Chambon. German soldiers who had been in the eastern front, remember how I talked about how the Germans pushed east and this terrible, terrible stuff happened? Some of them got wounded and they had to convalesce. They were convalescing right there in that tiny little village. In fact, right next door to a home for children. Those Germans never told anybody. They were never the cause of any arrests, as far as I know. Also one who was rescued, this is a little interesting, I did not know this either going in, have any of you ever ready the works of Albert Camu? The Stranger, (mumbles), The Plague. He was there during the war. In fact, he wrote a good chunk of a book called The Plague which is really a story about how the plague infests a city in the north of Africa. But in any case, he wrote a bunch of that there. Who was doing the rescuing? There are some, uh, there were a lot of people who were doing the rescuing. Basically, I think now that I've spent actually, because I have spent a lot of time in this place, basically if you scratch anybody's life story, you learn that there was a history in the family of having taken people in. People don't like to talk about it, but if you get to know them and they relax, then you learn, "Oh my grandmother, she did this," or, "my grandfather did that," or, "I heard about that." Basically everyone was doing the rescuing, almost everyone was doing the rescuing. Doesn't mean everyone was at their best behavior all the time, they absolutely weren't, but people were all participating in this, pretty much all participating in this. So, famous for this rescue is a group of charismatic leaders who were inside and outside of the village. A number of local pastors who, if you go into this exhibit you will see whole descriptions of Pastor Andre (mumbles), another pastor named (mumbles). (mumbling) A mayor who was really involved, (mumbles). They were sort of charismatic leaders who were involved. But I think, really, for me, remember this anthropologist, anthropologists who study human society, most important I think was just folks. Folks were involved with this. Just farmers, folks. Folks were doing this, regular people, who didn't have any particular charisma or any particular education, but they were participating. Women were involved, actually in an outsized way. Women who were there because their husbands were gone and women who were in charge of food. They were doing sort of an outsized amount of the rescue. The people who were doing the rescue, also, I said this region was a Protestant region, a lot of Protestants, but also a lot of Catholics, a lot of Jews were participating in this. A lot of the people who were sheltered because they needed to flee were then going and helping with the sheltering. So in this slide you see at the lower left, that woman was a Jewish woman named (mumbles). She, oh my gosh, she found tons and tons of these children and she brought them in. She herself, she was very brave and very active, got herself and put into camp, she survived the war. Right above her is (mumbles) and his wife. This was a doctor who was involved in the resistance. He found his way, he had been working in Africa with Albert (mumbles) and he found his way up to the plateau to help out as a doctor because they needed doctors. He eventually was arrested and tortured at the hands of Claus Barbie and killed in Lignon. In the middle of the pictures, that is the picture of Pastor Trocme and his wife and their children. I know one of their daughter on the right, Nellie Trocme, was really important in helping, sort of with some advice for this exhibit. Enormously charismatic person, enormously important to this whole effort. Going to concentration camps, fishing out children, bringing them in. That picture that I have there, I want to make that much bigger the next time I give a talk. That is a picture just of a farmer, that kind of person. 'Cause I wanted to have people fixed in their mind that not all of the faces were faces that you would necessarily remember right away, but most of the faces of people who were helping were more like that guy. Then at the far right, that is someone named Daniel Trocme. He was the cousin of Pastor Trocme. He was asked by his cousin, the pastor, sort of 1942 if he could come and help out because they had a lot of people in the village and they were putting children in homes and they needed to have classes and they needed to be taken care of. Daniel Trocme was his cousin. Daniel Trocme got swept up in one of the only real large raid, successful raid of the Germans in Le Chambon. He was arrested, sent to a prison called Mulan, and then he was sent to a French concentration camp called (mumbles), and then he was sent from there to a concentration camp we might've heard called Buchenwald, and then he was sent to another camp called (mumbles) and that's where he perished finally in April of 1944. Daniel Trocme has actually become a very special and important person in my own work, and maybe we can talk about him a little bit more later. He's the brother of my great grandfather's second wife. So for this rescue to happen, you also need infrastructure. This is something that I didn't really pay much attention to when I started out. You need organizations, there were so many organizations helping getting children from concentration camps, hiding people, doing false documents. You need trains, you need buildings, you need churches, or you need organizations. Okay so, I love this picture so much it might be my favorite group picture from that time. If you study this picture and you look at the difference faces you realize that this is a story of rescue, yes, and it's a story about this place, but it's also a story of every single face that is in that picture. Behind every face is a mind and a heart and a story. People who started, they didn't start out their story in Le Chambon, they started in their story out, maybe, in Warsaw, or maybe in Munich, or maybe in somewhere else in eastern Europe, maybe from a village, maybe from Paris. They saw things that we wouldn't want to see in our lives, but there they were, there they were. They were trying to survive but also being treated with kindness maybe for the first time in years. Many of them lived and traveled in horrific circumstances. So I just like that photograph because I think it's always important to remember that this isn't an abstract thing, this is a thing about people's lives. It's very, very, very specific people's lives. And I should say that once I went to this Holocaust Museum and is aw this and I decided that I was gonna dedicate the next several years of my life to understanding this, the first thing I did was watch a series of interviews that were done by some of the survivors that had lived in Le Chambon during that time. And I got, this is through the visual history archives and these interviews are so incredible, they could just make you weep looking at them and watching them and hearing them because you realize, again, when these people in Le Chambon in the plateau saved a life, this was not just a ran-- This was not just any life, it was a whole life, a life of a person who went on to live and to have a family and children and grandchildren and great grandchildren, who went on to teach the things that they learned about what it mean to be a good person all their life long, including what they learned about what it meant to be a good person right there. Okay actually I'll keep it there for a second. So I said I was an anthropologist, I said that made me unusual, a little bit, in this field. So I think history has a moral question, as I said, and that is to get what happened right and it matters to get it right. I think the social sciences also have a moral question, or maybe a moral couple questions. And that is how does something happen? How does it happen? What, maybe sometimes they even ask what causes something to happen. Why does that matter here? We want know how something happens because if we know how the holocaust happened, for example, maybe we can learn how not to do it again. And if we want to know how something like the resistance that happened in Le Chambon happened, then we can learn how we can do it again. Because the world keeps presenting us with opportunities to think through this stuff. So, as I said, this anthropologist went to this museum and my life changed. A few years after that I stopped all my work in Russia and I said, "I want to get this." I felt like this story, for me as social scientist, was like a gem that you hold up, hold up in your hand and you're like, "How do I get it, what are the different sides of it, "how can I understand what made this happen?" 'Cause it was so different from everywhere else. So I put together kind of a fancy social science question. Maybe not so fancy. I said there are communities in this world that actively resist violence during violent times. Are there, over the long term, social practices that combine to support and reproduce this kind of resistance? So in other words, what gets them to do this stuff and how can we see them do it again? How can that, whatever they did before, happen again? Okay. So I'm gonna jump to this, let me see what time we have here. So... I started noticing some things, some things jumped out at me right away. Again, with my hat of a social scientist hat on, so I'm wearing a social scientist hat. And the first thing I said, okay what is this place, how is it different, what happened here? The first thing I noticed that was really remarkable if you were a social scientist is that this was a group level rescue. Meaning that it wasn't just a person who was like, "I see, oh my gosh, there's this kid and he's in trouble "I'm gonna give him a blanket, or I'm gonna give him "some money, or I'm gonna let him in my house." This is a whole group of people. This is a social unit of action. That's actually different in kind from one person. So you have to get some measure of agreement between people to have a group level rescue action. Then I noticed, so that's extreme. In the holocaust, by the way, that was very rare that a whole group of people did something together. Then I noticed that it wasn't that it happened once, it was that it happened over, every day that people were living and facing this crisis of migration, this refugee crisis, every day they were having to do something again and again. There were these moments of heroic rescue where people, a group of people in a day or two would transport Jews from one country to another, but this lasted for years. Again, when people's lives were imperiled for doing this. Then I noticed that the, I say it this way, the units of action are non-intuitive. So that's another way of saying that how do you explain that? Was it one kind of group of people, were they doing it 'cause they were French? No, not really. Were they doing it because they were Protestant? Well non-Protestants did it too. Were they doing it because they lived in a tiny village and villagers are nicer than non-villagers? Well no, that's not quite right either. The units of action, who did this was a little bit more complicated than you might think at first glance. Structure and agency, what I say there, is just really another way of saying that in this case you also have to notice, you have to ask the question, was it a powerful group of people who made these villagers, like, "Everybody villagers, stand up and let's "do this thing," and then they did it? That's agency, that's one person sort of, "It's my agency, I'm gonna decide this." Or was this something about the structure of how people lived and how they knew how to live that they did this sort of over and over again? I also noticed that this was against what political science, my husband's a political scientist, what political scientists call rational choice. Basically the idea that, on the whole when you're alive, you're gonna do things that are good for you and not things that are bad for you. This case of what people did, risking their lives in Le chambon, was a case where they were not acting out of rational choice. They could die for what they were doing. So this is, again, a way of saying, do we make the right assumptions about how people act and what they do and what animates them? I'm gonna come back to we only did what was normal. This is something that people would say about what they did. And like, when I first heard that they would say, "We only did what was normal, you have to do this," this is what people would report years later. "This is what you're supposed to do. "This is what's normal. "We're not heroes, we just did what was normal." And I'm like, I want to know your normal because the story of the holocaust is a story of a different normal from that. And finally, then, something that jumped right out at me, and some of you might know this already if you've looked at the exhibit, there was evidence in Le Chambon and the plateau that what they were doing, sheltering these outsiders, they'd actually done before. And they'd done it many times before. So very quickly, this was a Protestant region, as I said. This mean that from the 16th century, for hundreds of years, there had been battles between Protestants and Catholics. And most of that time the Protestants were the ones who were in trouble, they were the minority. And so they learned something about how you take care of other people, you hide them. They actually built, I lived in Le Chambon, there are tunnels under their big old houses to help people flee. And some of these tunnels have been used for hundreds of years. So they took care of Protestant people from the 16th century for hundreds of years. Then, after the French Revolution, they took those Catholics, especially Catholic priests, and they hid them, they protected them from the French revolutionaries who were against them. In the 19th century they started taking in children from industrial cities. I grew up in industrial city. They took in children from industrial cities who needed a bit of fresh air and they brought them in for summer programs. They also took in children from other countries, like Algeria. France has a long story of it's relationship with Algeria, but they were Algerian children who were refugees and in need. And in the 19th century they were, in that village, they were taking in those children. As the 20th century came on and then you started having political upheaval after political upheaval they were taking in refugees, particularly mothers and their children from the Spanish civil war. Then again in the 1930s things just got more complex with people coming from Eastern Europe in some cases. Not often, not much, but already coming. And then you have the deluge from the Second World War. But then I learned that after that, to, through various means they were bringing in people who were refugees from Hungary, Tibet, Laos, there were all kinds of communities that were coming. And through one of the schools, which if we have time we'll talk about later, they were coming in from literally all over the world. (mumbles) And then once this anthropologist started her own research in this area, she noticed that they're doing this now. So this innocent anthropologist, when I first got to Le Chambon I learned that there are whole communities of asylum seekers who are living there. Asylum seekers who are living there. Mostly from eastern Europe, from parts of Africa at that time, mostly western Africa, from the caucuses region of Russia where I actually had lived, and from, from eastern Europe, what did I say? Now they're actually from the middle east, they're from all kinds of other places that you might expect. So the habit continues. So, again, if you step back. By the way, for a social scientist to learn this, that this thing goes on and on in time, that's really important because it shows that they're reproducing some kind of behavior, they didn't just do it, it wasn't a one shot. They do it over and over again, they take in vulnerable people over and over again, and they're doing it now. So when I learned that, basically that became my research by the way. As an anthropologist I began to interact with, learn the lives of, get to know the asylum seekers who were there. And because I spoke Russian it was actually, it was really helpful. So people would say, "We weren't heroes, "we're not heroes, we only do what's normal, "of course you take in this people, "of course that's only normal." They put into terms this rescue as something normal, something that everybody does, that it's second nature. And so I'm a social scientist, I know how to learn about second nature and common sense and these sorts of things so I set out to try to learn about these things about what was normal to them. In the next, basically, I had this to think about. And this is a way to frame it. How I framed it, again, not as a historian, but as a social scientist. I thought, okay let's say community is a circle, here's a community. Here we are, we're a community right now. What if that community is under stress? What if there's a war going on all outside, what if bombs are going off? What if the government's in turmoil, what if the electricity doesn't work anymore? What if there's not any food? What if the doors are locked? You would expect that a community, a circle, under pressure like that, would hunker into itself. Would say, "Okay here we are. "How are we gonna manage resources, "how are we gonna mange ourselves? "How can we take care of ourselves? "Because out there it's crazy." You would expect that. Again, to translate, though what happened in Le Chambon resistance and rescue. Resistance, you can kind of thing about it as like, resistance is, there's the thunder going on the outside but you're being told by the thunder, "Okay everybody, it's time to start killing all "the people who are under five foot four "and everybody's who's over five foot four gets to live." Resistance is a way of saying, "No, no, no, no, no, "we're not gonna do that. "We don't take that thing and bring it into our community. "We're gonna keep our community like what it was before. "We're not gonna be told that we have to kill the Jews, "we're not gonna be told that we have to hate "the immigrants." Some of this might sound familiar. "We're not gonna be told any of this." What is rescue? Rescue is, in the most dangerous moment, opening the door. Taking that circle, letting people in instead of barring them out. Why do you do that? But you do that, that's what rescue is. That's what these people were, in effect, doing. So, as an anthropologist, what do I need to understand? I need to understand what's the deal? What are people learning about how to be a person? What are people learning about normal? What are they learning about how to trust other people? What are they learning about how to not ask who you are or what your background is? What are they learning so that they do this over and over again? How is it that they're learning it so well that they keep doing it? So I'm gonna give you just a couple of themes that came up in the research. So far. I think that this is something that will continue, I hope this is just the beginning, but these are some of the things that I noticed. L'etranger. L'etranger is the French word for a stranger, it's also that name of that book by Albert Camu, L'etranger, The Stranger. What I learned is that there's a way of treating a person as a stranger where they're not strange. Where you, how you interact with them in such away without immediate suspicion, with an open face, with a handshake. There's a way of treating a stranger where you don't care who that stranger is, you treat them as a human being first, right? So the stranger is not a stranger, the stranger is a human being. So what I'm learning, and I see this to this day, you are seeing people who know how to see other people as human beings. They may not know them, but they equally share being human beings. The second is actually in your exhibit, "Aimez-vous les uns les autres" the one Protestant church in Le Chambon has, the only writing on it is the words, "Aimez-vous les uns les autres." That comes from the bible. It actually comes from, in the Old Testament there are things like it, in the Qur'an there are things like it, as well. Love one another is what it means, love one another. It is the command to love one another. So I started witnessing, what does this mean? What does it mean to love one another when times are terrible? And, in a way, I decided that the best way to think about love one another is to treat it also like a social scientist. What does it mean to love? Does it mean to hug everybody? Does it mean to have affection for them? Does it mean, what does it mean to love? And I think it means a lot of different things, to love, and I think depending on the community that you're in or you come from, or what your own background, there's a lot of ways to show love. But this is a kind of love that is action-based. This is a kind of love, there's a child at the door, the door opens, here's a place to sleep, here's some food. This is an action-based love. It's not necessarily, you might have sentiment, but it's not a sentiment-based love, it's an action-based love. So you look at that loving and you say, "What do people do?" They opened the door, they gave the food, they put themselves at risk. Many times they did, these children who arrived in Le Chambon were, again, they were in a terrible, terrible way. They were crying all night, they were also affectionate, it wasn't that they were without affection. But if you treat in a way like a social science act, and not just an act of sentiment, then you get further to explain what loving one another means. But this loving one another, it was inside people's heads, it was being reproduced in their heads. Silence is another thing that I learned about. I said earlier a lot of people didn't want to talk about what happened during the war. Those of you who have studied a little bit, Le Chambon, they didn't like talking about it. It meant that the history of the place was a little funny for a while 'cause some people were dying to tell the story, but many other people didn't, they just, they didn't want to talk about it. And I started realizing, too, that this silence about your good acts. It seemed to be part of the dynamic. So you do this thing and then you don't talk about it. You don't treat it like a thing where you're elevated, but you don't talk about. We're dying for people to talk about it, but they don't want to talk about it. And that I felt like has been important, as well. La burle. I sprinkled this with French words. La burle is a funny word. Even those of you who know French might not know this word, it is a word that they have in the plateau for a very particular kind of wind that blow in the plateau. And that is a wind that's, they're high up, right? It's a terrible wind. What it does is it takes the snow and it just swooshes it up. It's so powerful that it swooshes it and then it plops it, it lands in the middle of things. So la burle is a kind, everybody like la burle, people like, "Oh did you see la burle." I have seen la burle with my own eyes. But what it is, and it's kind of a metaphor for me here, is kind of a, like, yeah, like the time overturning, the times when things are overturning. The times when you, life goes on in regular ways, and then there are these terrible, terrible times. And how people hunker in in those terrible times and how they help each other in those terrible times. Finally this was a social sort of a theme that I noticed is that children, they are, children are sweet and wonderful, but they're also bridges between communities. They also act like bridges because the children that come in as refugees are treated with affection and love by the people who receive them, the families that come in now, the children go to school together, they get to know each other, their parents then get to know each other, and the next thing you know you have a community that is embedded. So the next thing you know, in Le Chambon for example, you have families who have had refugees into their homes who have tasted peanut chicken from Ghana, like I've gotten to taste, or dumplings from (mumbles) like I have. Or they've broken bread together. Because of the children, because of the children you create bonds. This is an instructive thing, also, I think for our society. What can we do? What can we do to make the stranger not strange? What can we do to make the stranger a person to us, a complete and full and whole person. And children are one way to help with that because we love them and we love our children and then our children love each other and then they bind us together. So, can good be remembered? This is a very, very big subject, but I think the answer is yes, it can. You can learn how to do these things and you can teach your children how to do these things. But, as I said, the example of Le Chambon is like a gem that you look and you have to look at from many, many, many, many, many angles. We should be thinking about these examples of goodness in terrible times and how to make them our example in terrible times. They're not just dramatic, dramatic examples like this, but there are examples everywhere. All terrible things aren't the holocaust, there are terrible things going on in the world right now that are not the holocaust. But we can learn from them. And I think we should try to learn from them. So I think I'll hold it there, if there are more questions about other things I'm very happy to talk. (applause) - [Narrator] So we're gonna open the floor now for questions if you have a question (mumbles). - This one behind you. - [Narrator] Thank you very much, very interesting. It reminds me of an exhibit I saw at another Holocaust Museum about, I think it was the Albanians, they did something very similar. And it almost like was part of their culture or their religion to just do it 'cause it was the natural thing to do. So is that something very similar? - Yeah, so I did learn along the way that, this is a very special case of this, but it is not the only case and it is not the only way to do this. So here the thing that bound people was that they were all part of one community, right? And they were interdependent. In a place in Holland, in a village called New Land, I think it was the local minister was like, "Everybody's gonna get one refugee." It was decided everybody had to have one. And so that way everybody, "I get in trouble, "we're all in trouble." Everybody was implicated. Another example that I learned about in the north caucuses that a Muslim village actually took in all these Jewish children that were coming from St. Petersburg on a train. So these Jewish children were like, the whole Russia situation was another whole story entirely and it's actually under-investigated still, but this train full of Jewish children was going south, south, south towards the Muslim area. And this one village in one republic took in these children. And they were orphans, the children were orphans and people were adopting them because there, culturally, too you get a new child. It's a wonderful thing to have a new child and take care of them. And then, again, it was a case where they could've gotten in big trouble. And what they did was they gave the Jewish children, (mumbles) name and they couldn't be distinguished. I don't know, I don't know the whole story. - [Narrator] I'm curious about how the children arrived at this village. How did they, did they escape? They must each have had a different story. - Thank you for asking that. There were a lot of details that I wasn't able to go over and this was one of them. So there were a lot of different ways, but that's an excellent. Again, when I first started I was like, "How did they get up there?" So there were several ways. Some of it was word of mouth by people who were already there. But also there was this effort of some of the aid organizations to go into French concentration camps and to help chil-- Offer to families that the children could come for protection in the village. So it was a specific effort, Pastor Trocme did this, go into these concentration camps and retrieve groups of children at a time. So also there was word of mouth, all this was happening at the same time. One of the examples, Elizabeth Koffman, a child at the time, she was from Vienna and her old teacher who was also Austrian got a job there and she wrote to her and she said, "You have to come here." But again, you can imagine how the word of mouth works. In the churches there were people who, they found their way to a church were hiding in churches and the priest said, "Okay there's this place that you can go to. "This is not safe, but you can go to this place." So lots of different way. So thank you. - [Narrator] If we could get a question or hold the space open for a student question, that would be nice. - Come on, students. - [Narrator] Here we go. - Alright. - [Narrator] When you said that Jewish people even participated in rescuing people, who did that solely work? Were they given permission by the people that rescued them, or where did they keep them? - That is a really great question too, and that has aa whole side. So imagine how chaotic it was, right? So the Germans were looking for Jewish people, but they're not always finding them. And some of the Jewish people are sort of in and out of the woods, literally. Like they're fighting from in and out of the woods. So, you know, taking advantage of the chaos of the moment, some of them would pitch in for something. Like one of the people, one of the teenagers who was helping with the documents was a Jewish kid. People teaching at a local school, teaching at these local schools who were Jewish, also. Also it was complicated because the way Germany occupied. So for a time it was kind of safe-ish for some people to be Jewish and then it stopped being safe at all. And in that time people tried to go into flight or change their name or whatever else. But the one raid that I was talking about at that one kind of home for refugees, I know that there were five people, five young men who were known to be Jewish at that time of the raid, they were scooped up in that raid, they were sent immediately to Auschwitz. But there were also four, as far as I can figure, who were not known to be Jewish but who were Jewish. They had false documents, they had changed their names, they survived the war. But that's a really good, that's a research, that's a question that is, that's a whole research program in a way 'cause it's like how do you manage in that dangerous moment when your very identity could bring you into trouble? And then how do you decide that you want to, like, stick your neck out? But they did, they did. So thank you. - [Narrator] Could you please tell me, you said the current circumstances now they have people from Laos, families, mothers and fathers and children? How many? And how'd they get there? - There is what's called, and I should say that my book, which I'm finishing the second draft now has a lot about these refugees because this is a really wonderful, wonderful story. Because you get to see this playing out, also, in real time. So they come, these particular families, these are a group of, there's one little Albanian girl at the far right, and the rest are two families of (mumbles) girls. And they come as part of a program that France has called Welcome Centers of Asylum Seekers. So it's a funded program, they have these centers in various parts of France. Various, basically the (mumbles), it's like a state unit in France. It so happens that in Le Chambon there's one of these centers. The reason Le Chambon, it's a mixture of state funding and sort of other funding. So, yes, these people come mostly in families. Basically what happens, if you're an asylum seeker in France, you flee whatever you had to flee, then you go and give yourself in. You've gotten into France illegally and then you go and you give yourself into the authorities, they give you a document. Actually a document that has the same name as the document Jewish people had, or refugees back then, it was called (speaking French). You get this document and then they find you, sort of a place, to live in one of these centers if you're lucky. Only about 30% of the French refugees at the time I was doing this could make their way into these centers. If you make your way into a center you were far more likely to achieve refugee status. (mumbling) That's not these people, that's from before. I don't know how many, I'm sorry. What I was trying to say was these waves were happening over the years. There are no Laotians there now, as far as I know. There are people from Yemen there now, there are Syrians there now, there are middle easterners there now. So they're not, but not from Laos as far as I know. (mumbling) There are non-governmental, there's things with folks, yeah. - [Narrator] I wanted to mention that the Armenians, like (mumbles), who themselves had been persecuted during the First World War and also suffered industrial holocaust. That was only 20, 22 years prior to that. And that happened because, I want to make (mumbles) basically that Germany that was an ally of Turkey actually cosigned a lot of death march orders. So 20 years later those same military officers ended up on the left and the right of Hitler. Consequently, Hitler said, "If they didn't lift a finger for the Christians, "do you think they will lift a finger for the Jews?" And this is basically what happened. - It was a terrible century. - [Narrator] So if you don't have awareness and education and I really want to thank you for what you brought out today, thank you. - Thank you, thank you. - [Narrator] Wanted to ask you, you said there were Germans who were recuperating there. Obviously it was just a small amount, because otherwise they would've been followed up on and they've would've been-- So in other words they were there and that was it and then they never returned or whatever? - All I know is what I've heard and how people describe this that they were recuperating from having been in the eastern front and that there was one case of one of those, one of the people that were scooped up in that one raid, and this is a wonderful story that Magda Trucme tells, that when they were all sorting themselves out, one of the young men had saved the life of one of those soldiers, as far as I know. I might be mixing up the soldiers, but because of that they petitioned the German soldiers who were doing the round up for his life. Basically, "Don't arrest him, he saved a German soldier." That saved his life. - [Narrator] Any other questions? There's a hand. - [Narrator] When the Jewish people were trapped in the concentration camps, like in France and Germany, did they, is it true that they had to take off their jewelry and everything? They had to take off their golden teeth or whatever? Is it true? - So, yeah. I mean it depended on which camp and what was happening to them. So, famously, in Auschwitz there was something called selection where as soon as you got off the train they decided, they'd use you to work or they'd kill you immediately. So they decided what you were worth to them. And that's actually a big part of the story that I didn't know either, the incredible use of human beings of labor, Jewish people but also a lot of, like people were used for labor. So these camps were running all the time. So if you were chosen to go to the gas chambers immediately then all of your possessions then at that point were no longer yours and they were collected. Now, as for your teeth, it's such a terrible, terrible thing. As far as I know, that's something that was collected after people were killed. In any case, I don't know, there are historians in the room who might know better than I do. But if you were going to live, though, they actually made a point of keeping some of your belongings. And it depended on the prisoner and oftentimes they would get lost or stolen. But Daniel Trocme, who I talked about, I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what his experience was going into camps. And there's a record down to a silver watch and chain that he owned. And it made it all the way to Buchenwald with him. And then that package was supposed to be sent to (mumbles) and it was stolen. But what I did find of his that remained in (mumbles), in the archives there, two pieces of paper. And one was his social insurance card and one was a letter that his mother had written to him at a really important time of his life. And so those two things had been, somehow, been saved. Now, as for stuff, basically yes, you are feeding the system with stolen property. And so at really important times people were losing all that they had. And that doesn't even talk about what they lost when their homes were stolen. So thank you for your question. - [Narrator] One more. - [Narrator] Do you know of any programs or places that are incorporating these early teachings of taking care of each other as human beings, early teachings? - That's such a wonderful question. Yeah. Yes, I mean I think in some ways all over the place. So sometimes it's a level of a family. Parents who work on that with their kids. Either through a religious education or through various groups that they belong to, or just because the parents, it really matters to the parents as individuals. Then in communities, again, yes you have different kinds of organizations that really want to teach children stuff. We don't really teach civics anymore, as far as I know, in schools. I didn't learn civics in school, but that was an attempt, in a way, to help teach people how to be. Now in Le Chambon, there was a school for many decades, actually just closed very recently, and it was a school that was designed exactly for this purpose. I think it was Magda Trocme, actually I have to check with Nellie Trocme to be sure, who had the idea for a school that would be there in the plateau, in Le Chambon that would attract an international group. So it would teach languages, it would teach about the world, but also it would teach the philosophy of non-violence. We haven't talked at all about that, that is a really important and wonderful part of the story too, that there were people really thinking through a philosophy of non-violence through this. But I would say to you, that's a really great question, I would say it's a question that all of us should be answering and thinking about how we can be part of it in lots of different ways. So thank you for that. Thank you. - [Narrator] Alright we have time for one more question. Maybe one and a half more questions. - [Narrator] I'm sure you all hear about the bullying problems that are in schools now and the schools are working on the bullying issue, which is just a precursor to what happened to that bystanders and perpetrators and if you stand by and you're neutral, you're helping the perpetrator, you're not helping the victim. And that's a very big push throughout, from kindergarten all the way through high school. So that's something (mumbles). - Yeah and I would say that, again, we didn't get to this part of the talk, but this became very personal for me. And I found that the more I sort of studied this example, actually, the more I wanted to learn about, wait what can I do? Basically I want to know how do I know what person I would be when the time came. And we don't know. It's always a mystery 'cause you think, "I'd be the kind of person who would do the right thing," but we can't see into the future. So what can we do? We can try to train ourselves. We can try to train ourselves to see the friend in the stranger. We can try to train ourselves, but we can't know. And Daniel Trocme, this person who was arrested and ended up dying in this extermination camp, he was a person who didn't know either what he was gonna be. In the 1930s he was exploring all kinds of things, the political right, the political left, he was questioning his religion, he lived in (mumbles), he was all of civilization, there's not one civilization, there's all of civilization. He was questioning everything. But when the time came, when the moment came, when he was scooped up and arrested he could've escaped really easily but he did not do that because he couldn't leave these people that he was encharged with to take care of. So the more I go, all I'm saying is the more I go with this the more I feel like I need to turn the mirror on myself and ask myself this question. And I don't think there are easy answers, but I want to know that at least I'm trying. So thank you again. - [Narrator] Thank you so much. Let's give another thank you to Dr. Paxson. Thank you so much. (applause)



Reformed church in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon
Reformed church in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon

André and Magda were married in 1926. They had four children: Nelly, Jean-Pierre, Jacques, and Daniel.[1] In 1938, Pastor André Trocmé and the Reverend Edouard Theis founded the Collège Lycée International Cévenol in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. Its initial purpose was to prepare local country youngsters to enter the university. When the refugees arrived, it also took in many Jewish young people wishing to continue their secondary education.

When France fell to Nazi Germany, the mission to resist the Nazis became increasingly important. Believing in the same ideas as former Pastor Charles Guillon, André and Magda Trocmé became very involved in a wide network organizing the rescue of Jews fleeing the deportation efforts of the Nazi implementation of their Final Solution. Following the establishment of the Vichy France regime during the occupation, Trocmé and other area ministers serving other parishes encouraged their congregations to shelter "the people of the Bible" and for their cities to be a "city of refuge."[2] Trocmé was a catalyst whose efforts led to Le Chambon and surrounding villages becoming a unique haven in Nazi-occupied France. Trocmé and his church members helped their town develop ways of resisting the dominant force they faced. Together they established first one, and then a number of "safe houses" where Jewish and other refugees seeking to escape the Nazis could hide. These houses received contributions from the Quakers, the Salvation Army, the American Congregational Church, the pacifist movement Fellowship of Reconciliation, Jewish and Christian ecumenical groups, the French Protestant student organization Cimade and the Swiss Help to Children in order to house and buy food supplies for the fleeing refugees. Many refugees were helped to escape to Switzerland following an underground railroad network.

With the help of many dedicated people, families were located who were willing to accommodate Jewish refugees; members of the community reported to the railroad station to gather the arriving refugees, and the town's schools were prepared for the increased enrollment of new children, often under false names. Many village families and numerous farm families also took in children whose parents had been shipped to concentration camps in Germany. Trocmé refused to accept the definitions of those in power. "We do not know what a Jew is. We only know men", he said when asked by the Vichy authorities to produce a list of the Jews in the town.[3] Between 1940 and 1945 when World War II ended in Europe, it is estimated that about 3500 Jewish refugees including many children were saved by the small village of Le Chambon and the communities on the surrounding plateau because the people refused to give in to what they considered to be the illegitimate legal, military, and police power of the Nazis.

These activities eventually came to the attention of the anti-Jewish Vichy regime. Authorities and "security agents" were sent to perform searches within the town, most of which were unsuccessful. One arrest by the Gestapo led to the death of several young Jewish men in deportation camps. Their house director Daniel Trocmé, André's second cousin, refused to let the children put in his care be sent away without him; he was then arrested and later died in the Majdanek concentration camp. When Georges Lamirand, a minister in the Vichy government, made an official visit to Le Chambon on August 15, 1942, Trocmé expressed his opinions to him. Days later, the Vichy gendarmes were sent into the town to locate "illegal" aliens. Amidst rumors that Trocmé was soon to be arrested, he urged his parishioners to "do the will of God, not of men". He also spoke of the Biblical passage Deuteronomy 19:2–10, which speaks of the entitlement of the persecuted to shelter. The gendarmes were unsuccessful, and eventually left the town.

In February 1943, André Trocmé was arrested along with Edouard Theis and the public school headmaster Roger Darcissac. Sent to Saint-Paul d'Eyjeaux, an internment camp near Limoges, they were released after four weeks and pressed to sign a commitment to obey all government orders. Trocmé and Theis refused and were nevertheless released. They went underground where Trocmé was still able to keep the rescue and sanctuary efforts running smoothly with the help of many friends and collaborators.[4]

After the war, Trocmé served as European secretary for the International Fellowship of Reconciliation.[5] During the Algerian War, André and Magda set up the group Eirene in Morocco with the aid of the Mennonites, to help French conscientious objectors.[5]

André spent his final years as a pastor of a Reformed Church in Geneva, where he died. André and Magda are buried in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.[1]


Plaque commemorating the Trocmé's rescue of the Jews in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon
Plaque commemorating the Trocmé's rescue of the Jews in Le Chambon-sur-Lignon

In January 1971, the Holocaust memorial center in Israel, Yad Vashem, recognized André as Righteous among the Nations. In July 1986, Magda Trocmé was also recognized. Several years later, Yad Vashem honored the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and the neighboring communities with an engraved stele erected in its memorial park. It was the second time Yad Vashem honored a whole community, the first time being the Dutch village of Nieuwlande in 1988.

André Trocmé was uncle to Daniel Trocmé (1910–1944), who was involved in similar activities to rescue Jews from the Vichy government. Daniel Trocmé died in the Majdanek concentration camp in April 1944. In March 1976, Yad Vashem likewise recognized Daniel Trocmé as Righteous among the Nations.[6]

Magda Trocmé was the guest of French radio program Les Chemins d'une Vie (Paths of a Life) recorded by Christian Lassalas for FR3 Auvergne Radio (April 1982 – 90 minutes)

Today, the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon and Le Chambon-sur-Lignon have become a symbol of the rescue of Jews in France during World War II.

As historians continue to examine events during the German occupation and Vichy rule, several long-standing disputes have emerged. In the case of the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon and Le Chambon-sur-Lignon these include whether the interpretations based on Trocmé's writings are sufficiently accurate or correct but partial. The issues are addressed in Robert Paxton's Vichy France: Old Guard and New Order (1972). Caroline Moorehead's Village of Secrets (2014) examine's both the events in the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon and Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, and offers a review of conflicting interpretations.


  • "Look hard for ways to make little moves against destructiveness".[7][8]

See also


  1. ^ a b c "André Trocmé and Magda Trocmé Papers, 1919–date". Swarthmore College. Archived from the original on 8 October 2010.
  2. ^ Atwood, Kathryn J. Women Heroes of World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. p. 83. ISBN 9781556529610.
  3. ^ Hallie 1979, p. 103.
  4. ^ Pacifism in the Twentieth Century, by Peter Brock and Nigel Young. Syracuse University Press, New York, 1999 ISBN 0-8156-8125-9 (p. 220)
  5. ^ a b Charles E. Moore, "Introduction" to André Trocmé Jesus and the Nonviolent Revolution. Orbis Books, 2004. ISBN 1570755388 (pp. ix–xvii).
  6. ^ "The Village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon: André & Magda Trocmé, Daniel Trocmé". Righteous among the nations. 2013. Retrieved 2013-04-15.
  7. ^ Volf & Bass 2001, p. 158.
  8. ^ Hallie 1979, p. 85.


  • Hallie, Philip P (1979), Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed: The Story of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There, New York: Harper & Row, ISBN 0-06-011701-X.
  • Volf, Miroslav; Bass, Dorothy C. (2001), Practicing Theology: Beliefs and Practices in Christian Life, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, ISBN 978-0-8028-4931-1.

External links

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