A French town where dozens of residents saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust will open a museum to commemorate the rescuers’ actions.
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The Memory of Chambon museum is scheduled to open its doors on June 5 in Chambon-sur-Lignon, 70 miles south of Lyon in southern France, according to the French news agency AFP.
The new museum will commemorate the actions of at least 35 residents who, according to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, prevented French authorities under the pro-Nazi Vichy government from deporting and murdering approximately 5,000 Jews.
The rescue was initiated and led by the town’s pastor, Andre Trocme, and his wife Magda. The couple and another 33 townsfolk have been recognized as Righteous among the Nations, a title conferred by Yad Vashem to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.
Trocme hid Jews in his parish and smuggled many others into neutral Switzerland.
According to Yad Vashem, the Vichy authorities became aware of his activities and cautioned him to cease. His response was: “These people came here for help and for shelter. I am their shepherd. A shepherd does not forsake his flock… I do not know what a Jew is. I know only human beings.”
Andre Trocme was arrested but released. His cousin, Daniel Trocme, died in the Buchenwald concentration camp, where he was sent for rescuing Jewish children in his capacity as director of a local children’s home.