During World War II, in and around one village in Nazi-occupied France, 5,000 Jews were sheltered—by 5,000 Christians! The astonishing story of a unique conspiracy of goodness.
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon was a tiny Protestant farming village in the mountains of south-central France. Defying the Nazis and the French government that was collaborating with the Nazis, the villagers of the area of Le Chambon provided a safe haven throughout the war for whoever knocked on their door. Most of the villagers were proud descendants of the Huguenots, first Protestants in Catholic France. They remembered their own history of persecution, and it mattered to them. They also read the Bible, and tried to heed the admonition to love your neighbor as yourself. Henri Héritier in "Weapons of the Spirit" "The responsibility of Christians," their pastor, André Trocmé, had reminded them the day after France surrendered to Nazi Germany, "is to resist the violence that will be brought to bear on their consciences through the weapons of the spirit." There were many other uncelebrated individual and collective acts of goodwill and righteousness throughout the dark war years. But nowhere else did a persistent and successful moral consensus develop on a scale approaching what happened in the area of Le Chambon.