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A Good Place to Hide: How one French community saved thousands of lives in World War II

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They kept their heads down, they kept their mouths shut and they stuck together to offer sanctuary and shelter to over 3500 Jews in their small villages in the isolated upper reaches of the Loire. This is one of the great modern stories of unknown heroism and courage.

Nobody asked questions, nobody demanded money. Villagers lied, covered up, procrastinated and concealed, but most importantly they welcomed.

This is the story of an isolated community in the upper reaches of the Loire Valley that conspired to save the lives of 3500 Jews under the noses of the Germans and the soldiers of Vichy France. It is the story of a pacifist Protestant pastor who broke laws and defied orders to protect the lives of total strangers. It is the story of an eighteen-year-old Jewish boy from Nice who forged 5000 sets of false identity papers to save other Jews and French Resistance fighters from the Nazi concentration camps. And it is the story of a community of good men and women who offered sanctuary, kindness, solidarity and hospitality to people in desperate need, knowing full well the consequences to themselves.

Powerful and richly told, A Good Place to Hide speaks to the goodness and courage of ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.

265 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 1, 2014

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About the author

Peter Grose

4 books12 followers
Started work as a journalist on the Sydney Daily Mirror, then moved to London as correspondent for The Australian. Returned to Sydney to set up the Australian office of Curtis Brown, the literary agency, then moved back to London to work for Curtis Brown there. Switched to publishing, as publishing director for Martin Secker & Warburg in London. Worked briefly and none too successfully as an independent publisher, then joined Australian Consolidated Press (UK), selling the Australian Women's Weekly cookbook series. (Even wrote a book for the series ... hence the rather unlikely appearance of Caribbean Cooking in my list of books published.) After retiring from Australian Consolidated Press, started writing proper books.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 116 reviews
Profile Image for Susan.
2,643 reviews598 followers
July 21, 2016
This is a book about ordinary people, in extraordinary times. The villages of the Plateau were an isolated community of scattered, small communities, in the Auvergne region of France. Due to a variety of reasons, they were perfectly placed to act as a shelter to those fleeing the Nazi’s and, at this point, I am not even referring to the personal bravery of the inhabitants and the fact that some prominent people, including a former mayor and local pastor, had links with organisations, such as the Quakers, who could finance this incredible rescue mission. As a place, it had a rural, scattered population, who were large Huguenots who had, themselves, suffered religion persecution and who had a tradition of sheltering victims. The villages geographical isolation, plus a lack of industry or resources to interest the invaders, meant they were able to hide under the enemy radar – at least at first.

As the war unfolded, pastors Andre Trocorne and Edouard Thesis issued a declaration of their intent in a sermon. They gave their community a direction and gradually a trickle of refugees started to arrive; hearing that shelter was rumoured to be available. Trocome was also asked whether he could provide shelter to Jewish children, if the Quaker’s provided the finance. The answer was yes and so a community – scattered geographically, but united in faith and belief – began to help those who arrived on their doorsteps.

A trickle become a flood and it is estimated that approximately 5000 refugees were saved. At first they were hidden, but as the war intensified, it became clear that these people needed to be given false papers and transported across the mountains to the safety of Switzerland. This then tells the story of that huge mission, involving great physical risk to all those involved. The back of the book includes a section entitled, “Whatever Happened To….?” It is fascinating to read of these people – both those from the communities of the Plateau and those who turned to those communities for help, and received it. This is a very humbling and interesting read about what can be achieved and of the personal bravery of everyone concerned.

Profile Image for Anne Hamilton.
Author 34 books146 followers
November 17, 2015
I first came across the story of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon towards the end of Unspeakable: Facing Up to Evil in an Age of Genocide and Terror by Os Guinness. After discussing the enigma of a good God in a world of appalling evil, Guinness turns the tables and relates the story of Jewish historian Philip Hallie.

An acclaimed author and respected scholar, Hallie was an expert on the Holocaust. After years of study, he discovered to his horror that you become what you read. One traumatic night, he left his family home and walked for hours until he reached his office. Looking around in despair, his gaze alighted on his shelf of books about the French Resistance. Thinking that the heroism of these tales always made him feel better, he went to it and there noticed a book he’d never read before.

After just a few pages, he found tears on his face. Impossible, he thought. But his heart, hardened and calloused by decades of studying atrocities, broke open at a story of irresistible, unmitigated goodness. The villages surrounding Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, on an isolated plateau in central France, had been instrumental in saving thousands of Jewish children.

As Guinness told it, it was a profoundly affecting story: Philip Hallie was perhaps the last Jew to be saved by the villagers of the Plateau.

So it was with great eagerness I approached A Good Place to Hide. It’s workman-like, rather than impacting. It’s missing the emotional wallop I was expecting—I’d been brought to tears by Hallie’s story but this is a brisk and business-like account, not a spiritual rollercoaster. It is dotted throughout with a dry, laconic Aussie humour which, while it raises a smile, sometimes strikes a discordant note.

Grose brings a journalist’s background as he relates the both the individual and collective stories of the pastors, the doctors, the carers, the forgers, the police, the resistance fighters—even the Nazis themselves. He points out that Hallie who went on to make the village famous through his own book, Lest Innocent Blood Be Shed made many mistakes in this account — though he also got much right.

At the start of the Second World War, the predominately Huguenot villagers of the Plateau were influenced by their ardently pacifist minister André Trocmé to take in refugees from all over occupied Europe. These included Jewish children who had been interned in camps across France prior to being shipped off to Auschwitz or Buchenwald. These ‘legitimate’ registered children made it possible to conceal others in town, under the noses of German soldiers, who were there to recuperate and recover after fighting on the Russian Front.

An astonishing account of what Christians, working together with love and compassion, can achieve. Too often we read inspiring accounts of particular Christians and, heroic as they are, Christianity was never meant to be a faith renowned for its rugged individualism. Rather it is meant to be a story of the Body of Christ, all parts working together. Here is such an account.

Despite its sarcastic wit and investigative-reporting style, this is a moving story of which all Christians should be aware.
Profile Image for Dale Harcombe.
Author 14 books298 followers
July 1, 2014
This books tells the story of an isolated community in France that worked together to save the lives of many Jews during World War 2. It tells of a Protestant pacifist pastor who was prepared to put himself in danger and his life on the line to save others. This story of The Plateau shows both the horror and bravery of war. Much of the book is interspersed with fragments of letters and interviews from survivors and family of those who were involved.
It tells the story of heartbreak for some parents who make the decision to save their children even though it means they will never see them again and of children who were never allowed to be children. One quote in particular struck me; ’All wars produce strange coincidences, bizarre misunderstandings and chance events.’ This is evident in the poignant story of a young man who wanted to be a doctor who through a strange set of circumstances ended up a forger for the Resistance.
Simply told, in a matter of fact way, it in no way diminishes the bravery and heartbreak of this tale. I’d be surprised if people manage to read without at least a few tears. I certainly couldn’t. Some of the events are devastating. It certainly shows the courage and bravery of honest people as well as those who live out what they believe and their Christian faith.
My one quibble was with the conclusion the author came to about how geography led to the people of The Plateau getting away with what they did for so long. I’m inclined to think there was another reason. But, maybe it all depends on what you believe.
Regardless of what you believe, it is a thoroughly absorbing book that I have recommended to friends. This is a beautiful story of the courage and compassion of a group of people for fellow human beings. I received my uncorrected proof copy from The reading Room and Allen & Unwin.
Profile Image for Lyn Elliott.
687 reviews179 followers
December 30, 2016
Former journalist and publisher, Peter Jose’s book,A Good Place to Hide: How One French Village Saved Thousands of Lives During World War II is a well told story of how one small community in the Auvergne region of France saved thousands of Jewish lives during World War II.

The centre of this activity was Le Chambon sur-Lignon, situated on a isolated high plateau which had no strategic significance, was difficult to get to and where the community was mostly Huguenot (Protestant).

The community’s Huguenot background meant that the people were used to maintaining a separate identity, sticking together, and keeping secrets. They had a long history of stubborn resistance to authority, following the C16 French wars of Religion.

Grose believes that these background characteristics, together with the region’s traditions of hospitality, meant that the plateau community was perhaps uniquely suited for its role in taking in strangers.

There were also men and women within the community who took leadership initiatives first to rescue Jewish children from internment, then to hide young men avoiding German forced labour conscription and more Jewish refugees who made their way to the Plateau. (Quite a few French Jews came to Le Chambon for refuge first. They were followed by foreign Jews, who were more at risk than the French because their language set them apart).

A committed pacifist, Protestant Andre Trocmé preached an electrifying sermon the day after France capitulated to the Germans – ‘we must fight them with weapons of the spirit’, not with violence. This was the start of active non-cooperation from the whole village in identifying Jews – foreign or French. Instead they took them in, fed them and smuggled thousands to safety in Switzerland.

Other key people were Pastor Édouard Theis; Head teacher Roger Darcissac, who could never produce an accurate record of all the students at the school for the authorities; ‘a glamorous American female SOE agent with a wooden leg (which she called ‘Cuthbert’), who helped to arm and organise the Resistance on the Plateau Vivarais-Lignon; the 18-years-old Latvian Jewish typewriter repairman who forged 5000 sets of fake papers, and whose only ambition was to be a doctor; the 15-years-old schoolgirl whose parents tried to keep her out of harm’s way in Le Chambon, and who risked her life running suitcases stuffed with money for the Resistance; the 17-years-old Boy Scout who ran 20 missions escorting Jews to safety in Switzerland before joining the Resistance’. And there are many more.

Boy Scouts were active people smugglers, escorting the refugees into Switzerland. Smuggling the necessary money back into France was organised by a former mayor of Le Chambon who headed the international YMCA and who lived in Geneva during the war.

Grose concludes that ‘while there were individual acts of courage and humanity all over France, and throughout Europe for that matter, the sheer scale of the Plateau operation dwarfs all others. That is what makes the Plateau story special…It involved a sophisticated money smuggling operation, the creation of a series of institutions to house refugee children, and a forgery bureau that was second to none.’ (p270)

The people of the Plateau saved thousands of lives.

There was a long period after the war when nobody talked about what had happened. The courage of the villagers was recognised, first by a group of Jewish survivors who put up a plaque in Le Chambon. Trocmé himself was awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette, the highest order of that French military decoration.

Yad Vashem in Israel initially named some individuals from the village as Righteous among the Nations, and later the village of Le Chambon and surrounding communes were awarded this honour – the only French village honoured this way and only one of two (the other is in Holland).

Grose said in an interview that research was extremely difficult. He had to learn French and track and translate the documents in French archives. ‘Truth lies in the contemporary record’. He also interviewed survivors, children who had been ‘transferred’ from internment camps to safety in the village, school, and community members.

It’s an important book and I hope it finds wide readership.

Peter Grose’s website is here http://www.petergrose.net/Peter_Grose...
513 reviews220 followers
August 16, 2015
Another of those extraordinary World War II stories that continue to surface. The setting was south-central France in the village of Le Chambon. In defiance of Nazi and the collaborationist Vichy government, the Protestants and Catholics in the village provided a safe haven for Jews and others persecuted by the right-wing regimes. The project was coordinated by pacifist minister Andre' Trocme' and his assistants and it is estimated that perhaps as many as 3,000 lives were saved; although that number is in dispute. The subterfuge included forgeries for documents that enabled the targets to elude capture and helped some to obtain refuge in neutral Switzerland.

Although the village was in a somewhat remote location which spared it from frequent sweeps, there were harrowing episodes and some, including village leaders, were ensnared. The Resistance also set up quarters there and this led to some tensions with those committed to total pacifism. Once the Allies landed and began advancing across France, the Resistance would become more visible and violent as they retaliated against the Germans and collaborators.

A film version of the Le Chambon story was released in 1989 - " Weapons of the Spirit". However that didn't have the benefit of the subsequent decades of research that are covered in this gripping account by Grose which demonstrates that even under the most oppressive of regimes, heroism can flourish and human dignity can be preserved.
Profile Image for Mick Gillies.
46 reviews4 followers
June 27, 2014
Such an amazing read relating to an area of France during World War 2 that I never even realised played such an important and perilous role. The narrative is about the people of the Loire Valley and how they helped so many “refugees” without any question of payment or why the people were on the run. All that mattered was that they needed help – nothing more, nothing less.
Risks were taken on a daily basis and to be discovered would mean death to both refugee and saviour.

The initial entry into the story is a little slow but needs to be so as so many twists and situations occurred in the early days that one needed to be informed just to appreciate what was to follow.
The story has it all – excitement, romance, peril and at time harsh reality and sadness.
How the “organisation” evolved from a raw, rather uncomplicated gesture into one of great skill with so many talented people ”on board” is amazing and awe inspiring in itself.

All in all a very professional narrative that really displays the Good, Bad and Ugly of a land in occupation.
Profile Image for Ruth.
118 reviews13 followers
November 3, 2015
I liked the tone of the book. Kind of chatty, if you can say that about such a serious topic. Grose put together some things that I didn't see. (I saw the trees but not the forest.) Like the fact that WWII was really an extension of WWI. Compared to the many horror stories I have read about this subject, this was tame. Not a bad thing, of course. I feel myself waffling about the book. I liked it, but it didn't really engage me.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,122 reviews23 followers
October 22, 2018
The incredible story of the Plateau in the Loire Valley region of France where several villages sheltered, guarded, and guided Jews, French Resistance fighters, and young men avoiding conscription into Germany’s factories in WWII. The book is at its best describing individuals - the pastors whose pacifism and historical understanding of oppression led them to inspire their parishioners to save so many, the refugee with a talent for forgery, the famous spy with a wooden leg, etc. It falters a bit in describing the more military actions of the maquis/Resistance primarily because the not-strictly-chronological nature of the people-focused sections doesn’t work as well with the military parts.

Despite the risk of repetition, I wish all authors would repeat years at least on every pair of pages rather than just months & days as this can be very confusing for the reader who hasn’t been attentive to a date several pages ago or when the year isn’t repeated after a section/chapter divider.

This book is quite inspiring, offering hope that as communities we are able to resist grave injustice and weather truly terrible situations with morality intact.
Profile Image for Lisa.
3,313 reviews417 followers
July 26, 2016
A former journalist, literary agent and publisher, Peter Grose is an Aussie expat living in France, who writes histories of WW2. I have read and reviewed both his previous books which focussed on the stories behind the occasions when Australia came under attack on home soil: An Awkward Truth: The Bombing of Darwin and A Very Rude Awakening: The night the Japanese midget subs came to Sydney Harbour. This new history, A Good Place to Hide is a departure for Grose because it focuses on events in France. And it’s not about military strategy or lack of it, it’s about the heroism of ordinary people who saved thousands of Jews from the Holocaust.

I think it’s fair to say that in general Vichy France embraced German anti-Semitism with enthusiasm. Grose acknowledges that the Vichy authorities cooperated fully with German demands to identify Jews and to put repressive measures in place to restrict their freedom of movement, to exclude them from certain occupations, to appropriate their property, and to deport them to the death camps. If you’ve seen that shocking film The Round Up (2000) you have some idea of how Jews were arrested en masse, herded into the stadium and imprisoned there for three days without food, water or medical help before being forced into cattle cars and despatched to their deaths. I myself have seen a plaque in Paris that was a chilling reminder of these terrible events, but it wasn’t until 1995 that Jacques Chirac got round to apologising on behalf of the nation for this perfidy. So it was a surprise to me to read about the brave people of the upper Loire Valley who throughout the war, sheltered Jewish refugees, and facilitated their safe passage to neutral Switzerland.This remarkable and inspiring conspiracy came about because the upper Loire Valley had long been home to religious dissenters, going back to the days of the Huguenots. It’s an inhospitable part of France with little in the way of resources worth coveting, and the terrain of the plateau protected it from invasion and conquest. It was one of those places that was easier to bypass than attack. A helpful couple of maps at the beginning of the book show its strategic position as a hideout and a staging point en route to Switzerland. And so it was that when a pacifist Protestant pastor preached that it was the duty of the community to help those who came knocking on their doors seeking refuge, the people of the Plateau agreed.

To read the rest of my review please visit http://anzlitlovers.com/2014/07/09/a-...
893 reviews3 followers
April 30, 2015
This is not "popular reading." While the author's prose is very readable, this is a book that would appeal more to historians than to the casual reader. It focuses on a small area of France, and the actions of the locals during World War II as they acted to hide people at risk. Some of these were, of course, Jews, but also at risk were young men in danger of being conscripted into serving in German factories. The actions of the Vichy government with its oppressive anti-Jewish actions--at times more severe than the Germans--are explained as well.

Personally I was more interested in learning more about this region of France, with its Huguenot population, since it is an area I had not previously studied. Forgers, people in hiding, the maquis, and passeurs (people who led others to freedom) I had read about extensively, so it really was the land and the locals that I was most interested in.
Profile Image for Carmel.
272 reviews3 followers
May 25, 2021
The list of heroic actions undertaken by ordinary people during wars appears immense. This is the true story of the inhabitants of a remote French village who secretly saved thousands during WW2. The danger they put themselves in without too much thinking was heart racing. It is stories like this that need to be read so we can see that the world is full of good kind generous people even when they are surrounded by unspeakable situations and horrors.
249 reviews2 followers
March 9, 2021
This book was very interesting once past part 1. It is the story of extraordinary people during WW2 in a little known area in the middle of France. An 18 yr old boy forged several thousand papers for Jewish people to get them out of occupied France. If history isn’t of interest then this book would be tedious. I enjoyed the accounts of these people and what they did to save lives during this time. The author tells you what happened after the war to them which was a plus.
Profile Image for Laurel Kehl.
101 reviews2 followers
December 27, 2020
Great narrative of how Le Chambon-sur-Lignon and surrounding areas saved thousands of Jews and resistance fighters in WW 2.
Profile Image for Dorothea Miller.
117 reviews1 follower
July 6, 2017
This book tells a tale of bravery that's little known to Americans. If you love stories of people like Corrie Ten Boom and Schindler, this story tells about a whole region of France that stared down the Nazis and won!
7 reviews
December 15, 2016
I recently read A Good Place to Hide by Peter Grose. It’s about this French town called Le Chambon-sur-Lignon who saves over 3,500 Jews during WWII. What I liked about this book was the bravery of the people. No one questioned helping the Jews and they also hid resistance and soldiers running from the German Army. The pastors were the people who got this movement going; they started preaching against what the Nazis were doing. In my opinion, that is very brave because you could get killed for voicing your opinion during that time. But what surprised me is that the whole village participated. Usually you hear about a few people that helped the Jews and the rest of the neighborhood supported the Nazis.

After the pastors took action, the people organized committees and started seeing whose house was available to hide people. They got people in a number of ways. There were organizations that the Nazis let in the camps to “improve” conditions. Those organizations got the children out when the parents couldn’t be saved. There were also people brought by train and many of them heard about it and traveled looking for safety. Lots of people hid in the forest and with farmers due to limited space in the village. The Germans did come and search trying to scare them by telling them what would happen if they got caught. They did do lots of raids but they never found anyone. The key to this town was the landscape. Because it was isolated and had lots of country around it, anyone coming would be spotted a mile out and a warning could be radioed in.

What I didn’t like about this book was sometimes it got super specific and it got boring. It spends a lot of time on each subject and I found myself wanting to move on and see what happened. I would recommend this book to people that like nonfiction history. It is slow but once you get started it picks up. This book also made me realize that tragedy can bring people closer together. When everything is well people tend to get used to it and take it for granted. When the Nazis started putting their plans in motion and war broke out, people started leaning on each other because that was all they had. Bad events forces us to make desperate choices and we work together toward a common goal that everyone values whether we like them or not.

If I decided to stop midway through this book I would stop after the town starts helping Jews because then I’d know they successfully got their operation working. It was interesting to see how everything fell into place and who stepped up to help. I don’t think there is a movie version of this book but there are so many similar stories like this one they would be interesting to watch.

Overall, this book was an easy read if you liked lots of details. The author was very through and you
could tell he did his research. The amount of generousness of the people surprised me because everything was rationed and they still gave what they had to anyone asking for help. This book shows that there is always hope in the darkest situations.
Profile Image for Kimberley.
37 reviews14 followers
April 6, 2016
Thank you Allen & Unwin for a free copy of this book via Goodreads. It's important to note that the following review is written having read the Uncorrected Proof.

A Good Place To Hide told the story of a French community which saved thousands of lives during the horrors of World War II. It was beautifully told, combining the touching stories of individuals with the cold facts of Vichy France.

Although perhaps beginning a bit slowly, it soon picks up and the reader is transported into the world of the Loire Valley, as residents do their outmost to give aid to those in need.

The only real critique I have is that I would have appreciated some support from the author, in that things like maps and a general timeline may have helped to ensure that I properly understood all that was going on at the time.

Otherwise, a wonderful book that tells the inspirational story of real people who put their lives on the line for the sake of others. I especially appreciated that the author had gone to the lengths to find out what happened to the people described in the book after the war. It gave the book a real sense of closure and was a lovely way to round it off.
Profile Image for Angela Smith.
417 reviews51 followers
August 6, 2016
Not exactly a page turner, but very few factual books are. It lays the foundations for the main players of this real life story and it's a slow process at times. A village in occupied France is a haven for Jews and other political etc. refugees trying to escape from the Nazis, some of the officials and even the Germans closed their eyes to what was going on under their noses. Through some very resourceful individuals whose courage and various skills saved thousands of Jews from deportation.

It shows how war can bring out the best and the worst in people. There was one female spy who stood out for me, Virginia Hall, she had a wooden leg, but didn't let it stop her rallying and supplying the French resistance with arms to fight the Germans at great risk to herself.

Best read in bite size pieces so you can digest all that you have read.
11 reviews
June 25, 2014
I received this book as a Goodreads Giveaway.
I truly do not know where to begin with this incredible book. I was blown away by A Good Place to Hide, the tale of a French community who saved thousands people during World War 2. The content was astounding, inspirational and quite often heart breaking; this book exposes the incredible acts of both horror and bravery in such a desperate time in our history. Grose weaves the story of “the Plateau” and its people, featuring interviews with some of the survivors and excerpts from a range of memoirs written by some of the most prominent figures in the story. A Good Place to Hide was an exquisite read, and an international treasure honouring the small French community who risked their own safety and saved thousands of precious lives.
37 reviews1 follower
June 16, 2014
I received this book through Goodreads first reads. This book was a great read. With our manners and etiquette slowly diminishing from generation to generation, this narrative reminds us of and accentuates the true courage and strength found in ordinary people. This book is heart-warming and easy to pick up. It is quite realistic and reminds us of the horrors and mistakes of the past that must not be repeated. This book reminds me of Schindler's List. If you liked the ideas in Anne Frank or even the boy in the striped pjs, i would highly recommend this book.
Profile Image for Helen Mason.
15 reviews2 followers
July 26, 2016
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. The people were amazing at the lengths they would go to just to survive. The generosity of people at the time and how there was no discrimination. A community (no matter what their occupation was) that was prepared to go to all sorts of lengths to hide and help people out. Small criticism would be, that I would of liked a map of the area to know where places were.
Profile Image for Laura Florand.
Author 31 books897 followers
July 26, 2015
An amazing story, well researched and told. Each person involved would be, by him or herself, a fascinating story. (Virginia Hall, a minor character in this book, is, all by herself, riveting.) Highly recommend.
595 reviews2 followers
December 18, 2020

Peter Grose neatly narrates the history of how the tiny village of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon (and other surrounding communities of even smaller size) saved thousands of Jews and other "fugitives" from the Vichy regime. A Good Place to Hide is every bit as exciting as The Nightingale or The Paris Architect, but with the added benefit of being a true story. Grose takes care to examine the many facetsiss border, to influential religious leaders who encouraged both non-violence and peaceful resistance from the earliest days of the war. The fact that the people of the Plateau were largely Huguenots who had, themselves, suffered centuries of religious persecution certainly didn't hurt.

As good as the history itself is, I was especially glad for the appendix of what happened to each of the individuals in the book in the years after the war. Sadly, the character who most impressed me, 17-year-old passeur Pierre Piton, who led more than 20 smuggling runs to the Swiss border helping scores of Jews escape France, has essentially disappeared. None of the people Grose interviewed has any idea what Piton may have done after the war, whether he is alive, and if so, where.

Fans of World War II history will be particularly drawn to this book, but above all, th
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,049 reviews
October 24, 2021
To love, to forgive, to show kindness to our enemies, that is our duty. But we must do our duty without conceding defeat, without servility, without cowardice. We will resist when our enemies demand that we act in ways that go against the teachings of the Gospel. We will resist without fear, without pride, and without hatred. But this moral resistance is not possible without a clean break from the selfishness that, for a long time, has ruled our lives. We face a period of suffering, perhaps even shortages of food. We have all more or less worshipped Mammon; we have all basked in the selfish comforts of our close family, in easy pleasure, in idle drinking. We will now be made to do without many things. We will be tempted to play our own selfish game, to cling on to what we have, to be better off than our brothers. Let us abandon, brothers and sisters, our pride and our egotism, our love of money and our faith in material possessions, and learn to trust God in Heaven, both today and tomorrow, to bring us our daily bread, and to share that bread with our brothers and sisters.
299 reviews
November 9, 2021
Sorry to say I did not quite finish this book .... I thought the story could have been better written, it seemed to jump around a bit. Still glad it read 2/3 of it which honours those that helped the cause. It starts out with the history of one family and then they are not mentioned for over 100 pages. I jumped to the end to see what happened to the characters in the book and other things that happened after. The village/town was not the only one in the area to do the same things ... there were many small communities doing the exact same thing but only Le Chambon was later recognized and awarded a special medal by Israel "Righteous Among the Nations".

I am unsure if a link will work here but if there is none please just google Le Chambon and there is a great article on exactly what happened there. I found it far easier to read and understand than this book. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/conten...
Profile Image for James Tidd.
260 reviews1 follower
August 17, 2022
This book tells the story of a dramatic, yet virtually unknown story of World War Two. It is the story of how the people of a rural area of France, fooled the Nazis at the height of the German occupation, which saved many thousands of lives.

The villagers of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, an isolated plateau in the upper reaches of the Loire, saved the lives of some 5,000 men, women and children, including 3,500 Jews from under the noses of the Nazi occupiers and the Vichy authorities. It features an extraordinary cast of characters. The unswerving pacifist pastor who was awarded the Medal of the Resistance with Rosette, the glamorous female SOE agent with a wooden leg, the 18 year old Latvian Jewish typewriter repairman who forged 5,000 sets of forged papers, whose only ambition was to be a doctor, the 15 year old who ran suitcases of money for the Resistance, and the 17 year old Boy Scout who ran 20 missions escorting Jews to safety in Switzerland before joining the Resistance.

592 reviews1 follower
October 19, 2020
This is such an important story, a story of an entire community who worked together to do good, to help others, even in the worst of times, during Nazi occupation of France. I've read about this village in other books about WWII, but this book focuses on the story of the community itself. It's a story that is heart-warming but also very telling of the courageous and independent thinking of the people of Le Chambon. They saved so many lives. They serve even today as a beacon of the decency that humans can be capable of in the midst of evil, though we hear too little about it. I'd like to be able to think that it could happen in America too, but, given the last four years, I doubt it's possible. Thank you, Peter Grose, for writing such an important book about really good people who chose to act as their best selves even when it put them at risk.
270 reviews1 follower
April 9, 2018
This book tells the story of the role that the people and small villages of the plateau of the Haute-Loire region in France, centered around Le-Chambon-sur-Lignon, served as a sanctuary during World War II and their efforts in saving the lives of thousands. The story encompasses the pacifist Huguenot ministers who set the tone for their communities; the work of overseas relief agencies; the arrival of refugees; the work of forgers and escape routes; the rise of the resistance; and the eventual liberation of the region. The first person accounts are numerous and this book is very well written. It is not a mere reciting of facts but truly makes this history come to life, sometimes in tragedy, but most often in triumph.
28 reviews1 follower
March 13, 2017
Amazing story - Real people operating in the shadows of German occupation

This was an astounding story of bravery and ingenuity in a remote area of France during WWII. These people saw a way to help and save some of the children of Jews and others who had been arrested and sent to camps. Their methods were simple, but oh so effective. This was WWII history that was totally new to me. I had never heard of Virginia Hall or the Trocmes. And the roles played by Protestant pastors and their congregations, local farmers, Congregationalist churches, peace organizations, and the Boy Scouts were a joy to read about.
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