Le Chambon Essay Research Paper Resistance And

Le Chambon Essay, Research Paper

Resistance And Ethics In Le Chambon

Happy are those Hungary and thirsty for justice,

For they will be satisfied

Lest innocent blood be shed in the land which the lord your god gives you an

inheritance, and the guilt of any bloodshed be upon you . These prophetic words

taken from the bible in Deuteronomy 19:1-13 are what the people of Le Chambon

acted upon to save Jews and resist evil. During the most terrible years of World

War II, when inhumanity and political insanity was manifested throughout the

world, and when the Nazis conquering of Europe seemed irreversible and inevitable,

a courageous uprising replete with morality and conscience took place in a small

Protestant town in Southern France known as Le Chambon. Pastor Andr Trocme

and his valiant supporters saved l lives in spite of the government of Vichy and the

threats made against anyone who resisted. Le Chambon s active but non violent

refusal to accept the indomitable spirit of evil and brute power emphasized by the

Nazis resulted in their rapid awakening to conscience, resistance and the necessity

for action.

The struggle in Le Chambon initiated upon and ended in the isolation of

peoples homes. Decisions that were often life and death turning points took place in

the kitchen at the hands of women. Andr Trocmes practical wife Magda Trocme,

exceedingly invited the first Jewish refugee into her home and therefore ignited a

spark for the kitchen resistance against the Nazis. Non-violent resistance in the

kitchens of these houses was a fight for the true liberation of their village. Secrecy

was fundamental to the kitchen as it was to the resistance of Andr Trocme and his

supporters in the church, and so was a minuscule amount of records. Magda was

able to resist due to her astute sense of danger and alertness to when the Nazi s were

becoming suspicious. It was easy for the women of Le Chambon to refuse to give up

the consciences, decline to participate in acts of hatred, betrayal, and murder, and to

help the devastated adults and children that knocked on their doors.

Alexander Worth summarized the condition of resistance in Vichy France as,

Resistance in the early days of Vichy while the Nazis occupied was totally

disinterested. The people that did resist did it out of ordinary self respect to do so.

Resistance prior to World War II, was not a rapid awakening phenomenon, it was

scarcer than people even thinking about defeating the Nazis. In these early days of

the war only fools and people of principle resisted. Andr Trocme was a person

ethic and principles. The people that followed Andr Trocme led a tranquil struggle

against Vichy and the nazi s. They were grappling for the emancipation of their

village, not their country. The actions for Andr Trocme were the antithesis to his

self interests: by resisting an authority greater than his own he put the village in

jeopardy of massacre, especially in the last two years of the occupation when the

Germans were growing desperate. The Trocme s were always devoted to the truth

and never lied even to avoid hardship for themselves. This is proven when Andr

Trocme says to a high Vichy official, These people came here for help and shelter.

I am their shepherd. A shepherd his flock. I do not know what Jews are, I only know

human beings. Under the guidance of Andr Trocme, the villagers of Le Chambon

attempted to act on their conscience in the middle of a bloody, hate filled war. the

individuals under this guidance were dedicated to defending human lives rather

than destroying them.

Daniel Trocme, Andres cousin had a keen common sense regarding people

and human nature. Andr described Daniel as, An intellectual given to rather

vague ideas and often rather absentminded, but totally free of selfishness, and

possessed a conscience without gaps. Andr was drawn to Daniel, most likely

because of Daniel s prophetic devotion to others. Daniel had the will power to think

not in terms of his own security or well being, but the security and well being of the

children. Besides Daniel s persevering courageousness, he had a heart ailment

which made it difficult for him to perform strenuous physical work, especially in Le

Chambon due to it being high in the mountains. Despite his heart ailment, as

caretaker of the children, he did an immense amount of physical work. Magda

Trocme described Daniel s working attitude like a madman . Daniel devoted most

of his time repairing the children s shoes with obsolete automobile tires and making

a vast amount of soup for them to eat. Eventually Daniel, with the children that he

cared and loved for was taken to a concentration camp called Maidaneck in Poland.

Suspicions grew stronger among the Nazis when under severe questioning about

harboring Jews, Daniel used reasoning that it was his conscience without gaps that

has forced him to defend the Jews. If he had been a soldier, he would have been

trained and committed to conduct minimal replies without reasoning to

interrogation by the enemy. Instead, all Daniel Trocme was his conscience, not even

cautiousness had the ability to make a gap in it.

Le Chambon Sur Lignon served as the focal point for the sheltering of

thousands of Jews during the Nazi occupation. This rescue operation was unique in

that an entire community of civilians banded together to resist evil, and at the same

time saved lives. Not many other areas in Europe had achieved such a persistent

and successful moral consensus that erupted on the scale as to the occurrence in Le

Chambon. Without the aid of people like Daniel, Magda, and Andr Trocme death

would appear sooner than life and malice would supersede righteousness. The

people of Le Chambons resistance revolved around G-d. Due to their lives being

replete with G-d gave them no need or desire to focus on themselves, only others.

Both Andre and Daniel Trocme were rewarded medals of righoussness for their

persistant resistance efforts, two trees are planted for them in Israel, and their

names are listed at Yad Vashem in Israel.

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