is a town and commune
in the Haute-Loire département
in the Auvergne région
of southern France
Primarily a Huguenot town, it became a haven for Jews fleeing from the Nazis during World War II.
World War II
With the leadership of a local minister André Trocmé and his wife Magda
, beginning in 1942, the citizens of Chambon-sur-Lignon risked their lives to hide Jews who were being rounded up by the Nazi SS
for shipment to the death camps
. They were hidden in private homes, on farms in the area, as well as in public institutions. Whenever the Nazi patrols came searching, they were hidden in the countryside. After the war, one of the villagers recalled: "As soon as the soldiers left, we would go into the forest and sing a song. When they heard that song, the Jews knew it was safe to come home."
In addition to providing shelter, the citizens of the town obtained forged identification and ration cards for Jews to use and then helped them cross the border to the safety of neutral Switzerland. Some of the residents were arrested by the Gestapo such as Rev. Trocmé's cousin, Daniel Trocmé, who was sent to Maidanek concentration camp where he was murdered.
It is estimated that the people of Chambon-sur-Lignon saved between 3,000-5,000 Jews from certain death. In 1981 the entire town was awarded an honorary degree - accepted on the town's behalf by Magda Trocmé - by Haverford College in Pennsylvania in recognition of its humanitarian efforts. In 1990, for their humanitarianism and bravery under extreme danger, the entire town was recognized as "Righteous Among the Nations" by the government of Israel. A small garden and plaque on the grounds of Israel's Yad Vashem memorial to the Holocaust was dedicated to the people of Chambon-sur-Lignon. In 2004 French President Jacques Chirac officially recognized the heroism of the town, and in January of 2007 they were honored along with the other French Righteous Among the Nations in a ceremony at the Panthéon in Paris,.
The town of Chambon-sur-Lignon is home to the Collège Lycée International Cévenol
, a private boarding school founded in 1938 by local Protestant ministers André Trocmé
and Edouard Theis.
- 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.
- Aired in the USA by the PBS.
- Matas, Carol (1998 April 1). Greater Than Angels. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-689-81353-8. A book for youngsters.