Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, France
April 7, 1901 – June 5, 1971
André Trocmé was the pastor of a small community in the south east of France, Le Chambon-sur-Lignon. He was instrumental in the building of a school there. As the pastor, he preached non-violence and tolerance in the face of the horrors of World War II. His wife, Magda, was also a strong believer in those tenets.
When France was occupied by the Germans in 1940, Trocmé urged the villagers to side with God over government and give shelter to Jews. The entire village took up the struggle, always resisting without violence. Trocmé told them helping the Jews was more important than resisting the Nazis. On numerous occasions, Trocmé told investigators that he didn’t know where any Jews were.
The village saved about 5,000 Jews through their efforts. They housed them, schooled them, and when the Germans came, they sent them into the hills to hide. Many were helped to cross the border into Switzerland or Italy. Trocmé was once arrested, but was released as the authorities worried he would do more harm in the prison that out of it.
Both André and Magda were declared Righteous Among The Nations in Israel. The town itself became the first community to be added to the Righteous Among The Nations in 1990.