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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 Trocme's 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 Lion 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 Chambon's 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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