We know, love can be the ultimate resolve to valor.
We see valor played out on battlefields across the pages of history. Countless acts of bravery some of which were not on a battlefield.
We will witness the powerful acts of valor through many stories of these brave souls.
Le Chambon-sur-Lignon is a commune
in the Haute-Loire department in south-central France.
Residents have been primarily Huguenot or Protestant since the 17th century. During World War II these Huguenot residents made the commune a haven for Jewish people fleeing from the Nazis. They both hid them within the town and countryside, and helped them flee to neutral Switzerland.
In 1990 the town was one of two collectively honored as the Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in Israel for saving Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe. The other awardee was the Dutch village of Nieuwlande.
World War II
During World War II, throughout France, the Nazis and the collaborationist Vichy regime were rounding up Jews and sending them to the death camps.
Under the remarkable leadership of local Protestant minister Pastor André Trocmé, and his deputy pastor Edouard Theis, the citizens of the village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon risked their lives to rescue and hide Jews from being rounded up. They hid the Jews in private homes, on farms in the area, as well as in public institutions. Whenever the Nazi patrols came searching, the Jews were hidden in the mountainous 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." The situation took a more tense turn when the Germans invaded the South Zone in 1942. Local people continued to protect the Jews in open defiance of the authorities. For instance, they gave Vichy Youth Minister Georges Lamirand a petition against the deportation of the Jews when he visited the village in 1942.
In addition to providing shelter, the citizens of the town obtained forged identification and ration cards for Jews to use. They 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 was estimated that the people of the area of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon had saved between 3,000-5,000 Jews from certain death. The exact number is not known.
The Holocaust Rescuers of Jews
Righteousness Seven Laws of Noah Yad Vashem
Nieuwlande (Dutch Low Saxon: Neilaande) is a small Dutch village. The population, as of 1 January 2004, is 1,250. It is located in the north-eastern province of Drenthe. In the Drents dialect, the town is called Neilande. The town is situated in the municipality of Hoogeveen. It is one of only two villages in the world that collectively received Righteous Among the Nations award for all 117 inhabitants of the village for saving Jews during World War II, the other being the French Le Chambon-sur-Lignon.
Nieuwlande in World War II
Nieuwlande is famous for its collective sheltering of Jews in 1942 and 1943, during the Holocaust.
The villagers resolved that every household would hide one Jewish family or at least one Jew.
Arnold Douwes, the son of the local pastor, had never had very much to do with Jews or Judaism, but when antisemitic measures were introduced, he threw himself body and soul into the effort to help Jews on the run by convincing the local inhabitants to give shelter to fugitive families. In addition, the villagers provided the fugitives with food, new identification papers, and financial support.
In 1988 a monument to honor the village of Nieuwlande was built in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem.